By Booth Moore
Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic
February 17, 2013
We saw a record-setting snowstorm, a disgraced designer given a second chance and Santa Cruz cited as a fashion inspiration. New York Fashion Week, which wrapped up Thursday night, was as crazy as ever.
Here are the week's big takeaways about coming trends for fall and things of note in the design world.
Galliano's second chance
"Schmuck." That was the headline the New York Post ran Wednesday with a cover photo of disgraced designer John Galliano wearing a black hat and curls that appeared to make fun of traditional Orthodox Jewish clothing.
It's probably not what Oscar de la Renta had in mind when he invited Galliano to come work in his New York studio. Fired from the French fashion house Christian Dior for making anti-Semitic slurs in Paris, Galliano resurfaced in New York, the land of second chances, advising De la Renta on his fall collection. Galliano's influence was evident from the opening suits, one ruby red with a peplum, which resembled his work at Dior.
De la Renta has said he would like to have Galliano stay on, and if he does it will be something to watch this mind-meld.
Borrowed from the boys
Houndstooth, herringbone, tweed, glen plaid, camouflage and other military touches were all over the runways, as menswear touches permeated the women's collections. Rag & Bone designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright had one of the freshest takes on the trend: 1960s inspired, with a little punk and grunge thrown in. They showed a new, boxy proportion, with quilted leather or tweed jackets worn with cropped utility pants or miniskirts. The hot new shoe was a quilted loafer bootie in electric blue pony hair.
Pony hair was the fall season's favorite new fabrication, seen on flouncy skirts (Jason Wu) sweat shirts (Rachel Zoe) and more. And on the runways, the hairstyle of choice was a ponytail — sweetly tied with silk ribbons at Jenny Packham, peeking through a slit in a knit hood at Alexander Wang and swishing back and forth as aggressively as a horsetail swatting flies on a summer day at Donna Karan.
Sweats not just for sweating
Luxe sweat shirts with pony hair, leather or fur details were a hot item, seen at 3.1 Phillip Lim, Victoria Beckham, Rachel Zoe and more. Slouchy but sophisticated sweat pants with ribbed cuffs came in fleece, merino wool, satin and buttery-soft leather.
Fur (and leather) still flying
Just when you thought there was no real estate left unfurred, out came the fur mittens at Alexander Wang and Joseph Altuzarra. If not mittens, you might fancy a full-on fur pencil skirt (seen at Marc Jacobs' spectacular, sepia-toned light show that closed the week). Or you could select from a cocktail dress with a fur bodice (also at Altuzarra), a shearling T-shirt (at Reed Krakoff) or the week's best handbag, the rainbow-colored rabbit fur "Ryder" cross-body satchel by 3.1 Phillip Lim. There were also a lot of fantastic leather pieces to choose from, including oversized biker jackets at Rodarte and a sophisticated pleated silk and leather gown at Ralph Lauren.
Opulence at all prices
Contemporary designers, who sell clothing at comparatively accessible price points (mostly less than $1,000), continued to up their game, showing must-have items in high-quality fabrications. Nobody did it better than Tory Burch, who was inspired by the rich textures of Gustav Klimt portraits, Art Nouveau and Rene Lalique, showing opulent-looking embellished jackets and dresses that would be jewels in any woman's closet.
Into bohemian territory
In some circles, fashion is entering more bohemian territory. Inspired by Morocco, BCBG's urban bedouin look included layered loose silk pants, tunics and dresses in laser-cut mosaic-like patterns. J. Crew created a look that might be described as Marrakech prep, with hand-embroidered, beaded boho tops and sweaters reminiscent of Oriental rugs, paired with menswear-inspired basics. And Prabal Gurung mixed folkloric embroideries with military-inspired tailoring.
The Minimalist movement was still going strong too, seen in Calvin Klein's strong and sculptural perforated felt dresses, Narciso Rodriguez's asymmetrical crepe tops and dresses trailing silk hems and Reed Krakoff's utilitarian sportswear in luxe exotic skins.
Inspired by the work of L.A. photographer John Divola, whose "Zuma" series captured the slow decay of beachside structures, the Proenza Schouler collection was one of the week's highlights.
Shapes were spare but decorated and ladylike. Barely-there colors highlighted innovative textures, including printed perforated leathers woven together to give the illusion of tweed, modern boucles made from synthetic yarns woven on elastic looms and futuristic lace and eyelet created using ultrasonic welding techniques. The look was young Audrey Hepburn, if she lived in 2013.
Fashion's free spirits
Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy took inspiration from Santa Cruz, creating a magical melding of counterculture style, hippies, Dead Heads, goths, Hells Angels, yogis, beach bums and all. The stars of the show were body-skimming tie-dyed satin gowns in reds, blues and pinks, some with crystal rose embroideries. Not all of it worked, but at least the Mulleavys had the creative juices flowing.
So did Kimberly Ovitz, daughter of Hollywood power player Michael Ovitz, who was inspired by protective exoskeletons that evoked otherwordly warrior princesses. What was really unique, though, was her debut jewelry line, created in collaboration with Shapeways. The pieces, made using 3-D printing technology, which involves lasers cutting through blocks of powder, were designed to look like a second skin, said Ovitz, who is interested in exploring how fashion designers can use new technology. And it's a topic more designers should be thinking about.
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