Spring is at our cusp. It must be time the Fall 2014 American Collections.
Just when you think you can’t mentally process another snowflake, it’s time to consider what you’ll be wearing for Fall 2014. I know–killer, right? It’s almost sadistic.
But that’s the way it works so bear with me as I unveil some highlights from Fall Fashion Week which has been going down in NYC this past week, a time when all the designers convene to ask us to consider spending $2000 on a skirt they think will transform our lives and make us beautiful, desirable and clever.
And even if you don’t have a lot of big labels hanging in your closet in suburbia, just know those stores you frequent in the malls–their designers are watching these runways like hawks. Because it’s all that trickle-down effect, remember?
Marc Jacobs doesn’t really have a definitive look season to season. He’s the chameleon that alludes us every time. We can’t wait to see what delicious nonsense has been knocking around in his head as we wonder what’s inspired, influenced or pissed him off or what he finds ridiculous, ultimately coming forth in his latest collection.
Kendall Jenner walks the runway at the Marc Jacobs show. Her nipples created the greatest reaction. Not the clothes.
He must have been in a bland mood lately.
I was disappointed with his Fall collection on several levels.
One, he allowed Kendall Jenner (of Kardashian fame, above) to walk the runway. Gone were her looks and modesty. She sported a razor-cut bob, bleached eyebrows, stark, nude make up and a see through top showcasing her nipples, a shot that has gone viral. (Clearly we are a nation nipple-obsessed. Europeans must be laughing at us.) Bottom line–your Hip Reporter wishes the Kardashians could be kept on lock-down in LA and not allowed the privilege of being at any Fashion Week ever. You hate to say it but they just make the place janky.
All that aside, Marc Jacobs’ collection was duller than dishwater. Beige, soft grays, ugly silhouettes (read: baggy and unflattering) and a lack of Jacobs’ breathtaking luxe permeated just about every runway look. Pantsuits with graphic color contrasts were groovy but in a dull way and the see-through sweater Kendall wore was has me confounded-come on–some woman in Chicago in November is going to wear that to the office?
The only saving grace to this underwhelming collection will be in the fabrics. They must be of the highest quality to offset the simple (boring, actually) lines and uninspired lack of overt luxury one usually sees in Jacobs’ runway looks. I love going in a Marc Jacobs store or at Capitol here in Charlotte where it’s sold and being blown off my feet by his pieces. It’s the best feeling and it didn’t happen this time as I watched the runway show.
Polo Ralph Lauren for Women
Oh yes, you read right. Polo Ralph Lauren for Women.
It’s normally the ‘Collection’ line that goes down the runway at Ralph Lauren, his highest-end look that showcases the ultimate in passementerie, sequins, rhinestones and general craftsmanship. ‘Collection’ is the big exclamation point to Black Label and Blue Label and RLX, the sport line. It’s also got a big, big price tag.
But a brand new women’s ‘Polo’ line was introduced for Fall and it encompassed everything we are over the moon about when it comes to that RL label we’ve been loyal to for decades. Twenty-five looks went down the catwalk, each of them the best of what Lauren does.
The Ultra Cool Neon and Black Athletic Look
Me with nieces Reese (r) and Reagan (l) in Greenville, SC. Top, Ralph Lauren Black Label, skirt, Ralph Lauren Blue Label, shoes Ralph Lauren Collection, sunglasses, Tory Burch. Reese was hot (I think it was about 97 and it was only noon that day) and upset. Either that or she didn’t care for my RL look.
This combination creeps in to Lauren’s Black Label line often–the slick mix of black with neons–the hippest sport look out there.
About two years ago he did a riff on it for Black Label and your Hip Reporter scooped up all the Day-Glo orange and Acid Green and black she could because it’s just universally gorgeous on most anyone. I love pulling this signature RL look out every summer hence. (above)
The American West
From there, Ralph Lauren had us hitch a ride to the Great West for his iconic Navajo Blanket looks, Concho belts and cowgirl gear. Fabulosity.
Top and skirt, Ralph Lauren Blue Label, Ralph Lauren Collection clutch and shoes.
Your Hip Reporter’s loved that All-American look too, having found her inner American Indian a few seasons back with RL’s gorgeous Navajo Blanket halter top and long wool skirt. I wore this look on New Years Eve in Palm Beach and yeah, okay, I stood out, the only Western-themed girl there that evening among a sea of bling but I loved the combination of elegant long, black skirt with the cashmere American Indian inspired halter. (Excuse the blurry quality.)
Merrie Olde England
Then on to the English Gentry look with flowing flowered dresses (feeling a little ‘Downton Abbey-ish) paired with natty tweed hacking jackets and tartan scarves at the neck. (Note how the lines are blurred: Turquoise jewelry added to the mix.)
And the final inspiration came from the Ivy-League halls of the East Coast. Prep done as only Ralph Lauren can. Chiffon tartan skirts paired with Fair Isle sweaters were so wearable, they might require a visit to the Atlanta Ralph Lauren for me to see in person. My heart is racing.
One of the last looks of the show was a gown-length Fairisle sweater (below). I swoon.
From there, the lights at the Ralph Lauren runway show dimmed and his Collection line was shown. It’s always glamour and more when it comes to Collection and this season was no different. It’s just that the glamour factor for Fall was interpreted in a more hushed way.
Winter white silhouettes, with snug cashmere turtlenecks, jackets and soft blush and gray coats made up one of the most timeless collections to date. The best look? A simple heather gray cashmere turtleneck (shown below) paired with a long floor-length skirt, slit up to there.
In one word: perfection. This is how your Hip Reporter would dress if husband had a hedge fund.
Ralph Lauren Collection
No wonder your Hip Reporter thinks the world begins and ends with Ralph.
Oscar de la Renta
What can you say that hasn’t been said about this man? Another ovation walked down the runway in the form of dress after dress of luxurious embroidery and detail. And the gold gown with spangles (below), the movement, the sexiness–who couldn’t see Hallie Berry in that little number on the Red Carpet?
There’s a reason why women would offer up their firstborn for a shot at a private fitting with the master, De La Renta.
Alexander Wang’s fall looks were boxy. You’d be hard-pressed to find a waistline on any one of his pieces. Coats and dresses had an (odd) array of pockets and storage compartments, some looking like they were even made to hold bullets(?). Techno-looking dresses and pants were of course some portion of black, Wang’s signature color. There were neon greens, yellows and vivd purples to contrast. Hair was reminiscent of comb-overs at Moose Lodges across America.
Wang’s not for everyone but there’s definitely some hanging in your Hip Reporter’s closet. And when I wear it, I get some looks. Yeah, I’ll take that.
I haven’t any idea how I discovered Joseph Altuzarra, a young designer who has a Hollywood following if you’re keen enough to notice. But I found him and ever since, I am always checking out what he’s up to.
His pieces are modern and yet unlike Alexander Wang, they have an elegance and maturity to them that makes them perfect to wear if you are 30 or 70. Some day I hope to own one of his pieces but they are hard to find in Charlotte, North Carolina and probably difficult to find where you call home, too.
Still keeping in mind the trickle down effect, what he and all the other designers create is being watched with great interest by mass-market retailers. Some version of all of this will be found in your local mall some time. Promise.
Back to our man, Altuzarra. His fall looks were so beautiful, simple and flattering, feminine and yet modern enough you could pair the toughest bootie with any of them and you’d be ready for your own urban jungle or version thereof.
I loved the cobalt blue in his collection. I will be able to create my own version of his look with a cobalt blue Marc by Marc Jacobs sweater and a cream pair of Armani smoking pants in my closet come fall. Such inspiration.
Altuzarra’s woven halter tops and dresses (above) were an homage to Shelia Hicks, a gifted and unusual textile artist he discovered while at Miami’s Art Basel last year. Hicks happens to be one of my daughter’s favorite artists and I have a Hicks screen saver on my iPad she set me up with to help me be that much cooler. Hick’s work is like nothing you’ve probably ever seen. And it was well interpreted in Altuzarra’s Fall Collection.
Shelia Hicks, textile artist
A Shelia Hicks installation.
Earlier this year it was released that Michael Kors is officially a billionaire. I’m not surprised. He’s done what Ralph Lauren has succeeded in doing–giving American women a style focus by channeling iconic images and building collections around those delicious stereotypes we want to emulate: The Aspen Socialite, The Urban(e) Manhattanite catching the private jet to some big location, Jackie-O (when she was vacationing in both Hyannis Port in Cape Cod and Palm Beach), The Safari Sojourner, The Hollywood Glamour Girl. He’s hit them all and done so both with a razor-sharp accuracy and the most lush fabrics and thoughtful details. The Kors girl has the blonde California hair, a perma tan, legs up to her neck and always, always a pair of aviators at the ready.
For Fall, it’s been said that his collection was ‘Stevie Nicks meets Big Sur.’ An odd combo if ever there was one but that’s the excitement and ‘art’ in fashion–inspiration comes in ways that aren’t always circuitous.
I wasn’t particularly bowled over by these pieces as I often am with Kors’ runway looks. Many of them felt downright dowdy–full skirts were almost swallowing up slight models– one look (below), a full denim skirt and white blouse reminded me of how my seventh grade math teacher at my Baptist Christian school would dress. The only thing that made it not so, was the sumptuous fur the model wore with it all. Mrs. Wiseman wasn’t packing any fur at Heritage Christian School in Findlay, Ohio in ’79.
The dresses and skirts were boho/peasant-y which is why the reference to Stevie Nicks has been used. Chunky, waffle-knit fisherman’s-inspired sweaters and cardigans were featured in the collection too–a Kors trademark– really always so fabulous and definitely a nod to Big Sur.
Still though, it was just a peculiar collection with a lack of a cohesive look. I guess if you’re going in to Kors to shop come fall, you’ll find some great separates but I’d never do most of these looks completely.
One real standout was a python cocktail dress (below)–gorgeous and almost any woman would look like a million bucks in that.
The dud of the show? A see through cocktail dress (last photo) Karlie Koss wore down the runway, showcasing her nude panty underneath. Come on Michael. No woman wants to attend an evening event with her underwear front and center. We’ll leave those kinds of shenannigans to Rhianna and Miley.
If there’s a Tory Burch store in my vicinity, I’m there. Always. Ask my husband; he’s warmed many a bench in Las Vegas, Charlotte, Miami, Boca Raton, Detroit, Palm Beach and Chicago while I am drawn in to her stores, like a moth to the flame. I enter with such excited expectation: How cool is Tory going to make me look today?
And when I look in my closet, I see a lot of Tory. It’s what I wear when I really want to feel comfortable, cool and hip but always a classy, monied tasteful hip mind you–never vulgar. (Wanna talk vulgar in fashion but a beautiful vulgar no less? —Roberto Cavalli, Dolce and Gabanna, Versace, Gucci in the Tom Ford days. Gorgeous.)
Anyway, the Tory Burch girl–she’s the exact opposite–she”ll be the one at the party who looks like she’s got something really going on but you are going to have to break a big sweat to figure it out. And it might not cost you just time– but money.
But sometimes Tory’s collections are well, a little old and fusty looking, a little too ‘Old Money.’ Past collections have left me wanting more hip and less laced-up and staid. Honestly, some of her recent collections have been downright nerdy.
If you feel the same as I do, you are in for what appears to be a great ride on the Tory train as cold weather arrives later this year. Buckle your seat belts because you will love the theme of her Fall collection: Medieval Knight meets Equestrian Lady.
Inasmuch as we’ve been dealing with her beetles, her flapper and prepster, the Old Philadelphia Mainline Socialite, the Island Vacationer, Tory usually doesn’t get us too far beyond our Americana borders. But for Fall, she’s transporting us to bonny Scotland, inspired she says, by the armor her father once collected.
Burch sent models down the runway wearing skirts made of ‘scales’ of leather (those scales being so reminiscent of ancient armor–very, very cool). Tops too, were made of scales and yet, this design on their own (without say, any reference to armor), looked so modern, almost 1960s Courreges. Mention must be made of the thigh high wool socks and ‘ghillies’ all the models wore: the ghillies (shoes, below) were completely inspired by those of Scottish highland dancers.
Prints were Medieval inspired with roses, horses that looked as if they came off a coat of arms, jacquards looked like large and bountiful tapestries hanging from the dining hall of some damp Scottish castle. Silhouettes felt like the layers of a knightsman’s robes. And yet, as Tory does so deftly, she keeps it from looking like some wardrobe room at Disney- shirt dresses and big sweaters perfect with short skirts or jeans, kept it all impeccably modern.
I was in my Charlotte Tory store yesterday talking to my favorite girl there about the new collection. She was as excited as I was and we both agreed this collection was the best in awhile…and oh, those knee socks and ghillies–we decided we had to have those on our hit list for Fall.
J Crew Collection
J Crew is the yin to my yang. It’s the button down shirt I wear with my Tory. It’s the cashmere I pair with my Armani. And yes, J Crew shows at fashion week.
The J Crew Collection is the sophisticated ‘big sister’ to the J Crew you see in the stores. Infinitely more expensive and sometimes ‘odder’ than the regular Crew, and it gives Tom Mora, head of J Crew’s women’s design and Jenna Lyons, its Creative Director a chance to showcase everything they’re made of. And it’s all in the details of course. J Crew Collection is marketed as being upscale and runway so you’re going to see a whole different look versus the Schoolboy jackets and simple but oh so lovely cashmere sweaters you’re used to in the store.
For Fall, Mora drew upon the German cabarets for inspiration. I tell you, I have looked and looked through this collection and seen no more reference to German cabarets than I would reference to the Mayan Empire. It’s just random and I am struggling to go there with Mora.
That said, what I see are clothes that I would never wear because of the price tag and the general peculiarity of the cuts and fabrics. The black and white botanical fabric by the way, just felt very Tory Burch Fall 2013, reminiscent of her Devon print , here:
The floral pants, fifth photo, lovely as they are, reminded me of some sumptious Dutch Masters painting, below. Do you see any German cabaret references in any of this? I’m scratching my head.
Of note–Sophia Webster did yet another collection for J Crew for Fall, oh cobbler of English fame. Remember you’ll see her shoes come Spring of this year on the website and they are touted to be quite lovely indeed. (Mentioned in a past post by your Hip Reporter, by the way.)
Rag and Bone
Marcus Wainwright and David Neville of Rag and Bone always give us some sort of amped up version of the J Crew girl. Fabrics are finer, cuts are more ‘perfectionst,’ buttons and seaming are that much better and they’re just more cutting edge— and dare I say urban about dressing their girls. There’s a lot less preppy running through their veins than J Crew but yet, even in all the black and odder cuts, it’s still there.
I love all my Rag and Bone and especially love their jackets. I have a Rag and Bone sweater too, with daggers all over it and love the ‘edge’ to that.
So I’m always interested in what Wainright and Neville are telling me about their vision for each season. I’m always listening.
For Fall, they channeled the working ‘man’–the painter, the lumberjack, the factory worker. Plaids, paint-splattered skirts and jeans and simple uniform-like lines to many of the looks thumped down the runway with pride telling us that even the working man can have some style and swag.
If you don’t have at least one Rag and Bone jacket, it’s something I recommend you put on your bucket list. Reasonably affordable, they are a splendid investment for your closet. The buttons alone on them are worth notice–little daggers clustered on them. What can I say? I love their buttons.
There you go. A few collections from Mercedes Fashion week in NYC this past week. While you were huffing through the snow, designers were showing what you’re going to huff through the snow in, in another nine or so months.