Rag & Bone Fall collections, presented on the runway in New York, tend to play up the sartorial aspect of the young brand’s heritage. The Spring collection, shown in their ever-expanding offices, favors sport. If whiplash is the occasional result for the editors, it’s hard to imagine that David Neville and Marcus Wainwright need to worry too much about that. Their empire is on the expansion path, and they’ve earned the right to do just as they please.
“We wanted to twist the familiar,” Wainwright said. So they did. Working with a new stylist, Jay Massacret, they shot their new collection on skaters in a skate park not far from their Meatpacking District digs. The clothes themselves had a motocross, rather than skateboarding, bent. Nylon cycling pants came in flashy primary-color blocks and, for more wearable effect, in black and navy. Wainwright pointed out that the latter, which looked more modern, actually harked back to the styles of an earlier day. So did the wide-leg shorts based on those the British Army issued to soldiers during World War II. Nylon parkas and a digitized map print (also knit into intarsias) picked up the military theme. Though military and motocross meet in the desert, by this point the designers might’ve taken a twist too many. The mash-up of influences and inspirations left assembled looks a little light on what we’ve come to think of as classic Rag & Bone.
Still, there’s Fall for that, and whatever new twist that brings. Will it be back to English tailoring? Consider only this: Last week, the ribbon was cut on the label’s first London store, their biggest yet. Wainwright and Neville hopped a plane to check it out and will be back to toast it with a bash for London’s women’s fashion week. Then again, an L.A. shop’s in the works as well.
Look at Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, so ascetic and spare with their dark clothes and modest demeanor, and you can only wonder at the intensity of the clothes they create. So, obviously, did the scribe who penned their show notes, as lost in the search for words to define the collection as everyone else was after the fact. That’s because Chiuri and Piccioli are like the solitary writer who spins a magic kingdom out of his imagination. “Regal beauty,” Piccioli said by way of explanation. “Sensual but severe.” And if that had a Game of Thrones tang, well, that fitted with a Couture collection that felt like a world we were allowed to enter without fully understanding what it was we were seeing.
The mood board in their studio was dense with nineteenth century altered states: the symbolists, the decadents, a romantic spirit that combined ecstatic release and exhausted lassitude. Valentino is a house that traditionally reads red, but Chiuri and Piccioli dialed down to blue, introspection and reflection versus the extrovert essence of house habit. It made for a quietly spectacular opening in crepes, chiffons, and cashmeres with a lush sobriety. That same idea of modest luxury carried over into a full-length lace and chiffon floral dress, and a coat that was encrusted with cashmere appliqués of flowers and leaves in a pattern that was inspired by William Morris’ Tree of Life. It was so ludicrously vivid that you could imagine the old boy himself would have felt one step closer to God when he looked at it.
If there have been times in Chiuri and Piccioli’s tenure at Valentino when they seemed a little stultified by respectful politeness, today felt like a once-and-for-all cutting loose. The way they introduced brocade, for instance, an oldish idea, but here zapped with yellow. Then there was the blue, of course, antithesis of all the house traditionally holds dear, even if the red did reinsert itself toward the end of the show (which only created a pleasurable tension for Spring). One of the most memorable outfits from this Couture moment in Paris will surely be the evening dress in navy plissé with the black shadow falling diagonally across it. Stark lushness—why does that notion sound so right with Couture in such transition?
There may have been a moment in Josh Goot‘s career during his earnest
efforts to establish himself in the Northern Hemisphere when he
soft-pedaled his Australian connection, but since moving back to Sydney,
he’s made peace with that bit of his past. And Resort may well turn out
to be the answer to that seasons-in-reverse issue that dogs designers
down under, especially when, as here, the collection was so full of the
things that make great Australian designers—like Nicky Zimmermann, Jenny Kee, and Dion Lee—so, er, great.
The prints that draw on Oz’s incredible natural environment, for
instance. Goot’s striking digital motifs were inspired by the underwater
colors and textures of the Great Barrier Reef. “I wanted them to feel
like animal prints,” he said. So he made fish look like zebra and tiger—as well as flowers, or complete abstractions like the graphic he called “future fossil,” which was a psychedelic Rorschach.
Another Sydney strongpoint, the body consciousness that comes with the
climate, has always been one of Goot’s strengths, too. Here, he bonded
silk to thin foam to create a second-skin alternative to neoprene and
cut it into a new silhouette with darting detail. The dipped hems and
mesh inserts added a go-faster athleticism.
Goot’s first attempt at knitwear fit right in with the high-tech
body con. His intarsias felt as dry as a bone. “I love cold, dry
textiles,” he almost apologized. “They feel really clean.”
There was the same quality in Goot’s tailored pieces, also new territory
for him. He focused on corsetry, using 100 percent cotton jersey bonded
to a thin layer of foam. If you ain’t got the Bondi bod, Goot’ll give
it to you.
Paul & Joe‘s Sophie Albou sympathizes with customers who question the retail calendar. “The resort delivery can be frustrating; women want to buy clothes and wear them right away,” she says. Her pre-collection, she insists, offers a wide enough range for beach vacationers and city slickers alike.
Despite the nods to nautical—thick cable-knit sweaters, brass-buttoned coats, and wide-legged pants with front pockets—Albou steered more toward a broader, breezy sensibility. Lace in dusty pink and blue made repeat appearances as a pencil skirt, cigarette pants, and a men’s blazer. Tiny cats and dolphins showed up as prints on a tunic dress, a boat-neck top, slim pants, and bikini bottoms. And a silk crepe covered in lipstick kisses easily wooed as blouses and drawstring shorts.
On the rare occasions Albou strays outside her comfort zone, the results can be mixed. Take the jumpsuit designed to look like two pieces; initially, it seemed clever in a trompe l’oeil way. But there’s no reason why a blouse and trouser pairing could not achieve the same look—and minus the logistical hassle. What was clever was the way Albou allowed a few standout pieces—a sheath that plunges beautifully in back and a sleeveless blouse with scarf tails in an Escher-esque print—to anchor the brand’s easy wardrobe updates. These aren’t clothes to save for special occasions, but that’s exactly why the collection works so well.
Rigor is essential to a designer. But an excess of discipline—like any other kind of too-muchness—can be the undoing of a collection. When Osman Yousefzada launched his line four years ago, his clothes were rigorous almost to the point of sterility. He obviously had a way with cut and a strong and refined sense of color, but his sculptural aesthetic was rather monastic, a tone hard to square with the warm, curious young man responsible for it. Now, with the debut of his first Resort collection, he finally seems to be having fun.
The playful feeling here was due to two positive developments: First, Yousefzada has loosened up his shapes, and second, he’s accommodated himself to the idea of decoration. The looser mood could be summed up in a simple, slit-up-to-there black gown with painterly flowers embroidered on the bodice. The piece breathed. Elsewhere, the designer applied the same embroidery to more typically structured looks, such as squared-off strapless dresses, but the cuts were softened by their sexiness. Likewise, the repeated use of an open shoulder, in A-line dresses and peplum tops, modernized pieces that would have otherwise come off atavistically prim. There was still a vintage-y mien—Yousefzada’s pastel jacquard tank and brocade cigarette pant wouldn’t have looked out of place on Jackie Kennedy—but overall, the collection was sprightly and up-to-date.
Like other designers this season, Peter Som has been struck by wanderlust. He hasn’t gotten further away than Fire Island himself lately, but pointing to the pictures of camels, Moorish doors, and Moroccan tiles on his Resort mood board, he described the look of his new collection as “nomad chic, with a Talitha Getty sort of feeling.” Well, he who seeks shall find: After a Fall show that found him cozying up to a crisp, referential minimalism, his latest offering signaled something of a return to form, emphasizing the charming prints and colorful tweeds that have become, over a decade in the business, house signatures.
Those mood board photos of wall tiles inspired a striking mosaic vine print that appeared on everything from a matching pantsuit to a maxi dress; damask wallpaper, meanwhile, was the starting point for the blue and white cotton burnout he used for a long-sleeved dress. Som let the fabrics do the talking. If it backfired on him in the case of a tweed jacket and torn paper-print blouse worn with pink paillette pajama pants (those materials were practically shouting over each other to be heard), it worked well in the case of a simple T-shirt gown cut from aqua Chantilly lace. Talitha would’ve appreciated its zip-up-and-go efficiency.
Michelle Smith is rounding out a long Resort season with a new lineup for Milly inspired by the irresistibly catchy seventies tune “Funky Nassau.” With its polka-dot PVC trenchcoats, neon bungee cord belts, and graphic prints, her collection had an upbeat vibe similar to the song. And stylish moms will be happy to know their girls can dress just like them in scaled-down, coordinating pieces from the Milly Minis line (Smith’s daughter Sophia was happy to skip summer camp for a day and model for the lookbook). Tailored shorts suits and corseted shifts for daytime came in a “wood grain pattern that I wanted to be a non-pattern,” explained the designer. Another highlight was the slouchy, marled sweater paired with a ruffled geometric miniskirt, which struck a nice balance between free and easy funk and fashion.
Did Marie Antoinette play sports? It strains the imagination a little, but it’s not entirely impossible to picture her pitching up in the backyard of the Petit Trianon for a nice game of croquet. Maybe even a set or two of badminton, before retiring to her rooms in Versailles to have her wig clamped back on as she nibbles on macarons and dreams of Count Fersen. Anyway, this train of thought comes courtesy of the latest Camilla and Marc collection, which takes its inspiration from the interiors of Versailles. Siblings Camilla Freeman-Topper and Marc Freeman have put a jaunty spin on the baroque, turning out abbreviated cocktail dresses trussed with ruffles; sharp, shoulder-baring peplum tops and cropped trousers in reflective pink or a magnified jewel print; and striped knit and tailored dresses in colors of buttercream frosting. The strongest pieces here, unusually for the brand, were the most casual—the short, squared-off silk dresses with a high neck and fluttering sleeve were particularly good, as were the waterfall tank tops featuring a contrasting band of color on the hem. It’s also worth calling out the Camilla and Marc denim: This season, the jeans were high-waisted, perfectly cut skinnies executed in a handful of pastels, and they looked like a cult phenom waiting to happen. Or to put it another way, the jeans seemed like exactly the thing a modern-day Marie Antoinette would don for a game of petanque, before shimmying off to meet her lover.
The last time New York’s fashion set got together for a day of polo, the main event was people-watching. Hoping to shift the crowds’ attention from extravagant hats to the playing field, Nacho Figueras and the Bridgehampton Polo Club decided to relax the dress codes for this summer’s season out east. “The idea was to make polo more about polo and not so much about what was happening in the tents,” the Ralph Lauren poster boy told Style.com at Saturday’s match.
But despite Figueras’ best efforts, the weather gods had a different agenda. “The field is a little bit wet from the rain last night, so we are actually going to test it now to see if we can play a serious game or not,” the polo star said before the match. The crowd got their answer when the game ended after only one period. Instead, the likes of Veronica Webb, Michelle Harper, and Alina Cho sipped Champagne in the VIP tent with co-hosts Peter Brant and Ferrari North America CEO Marco Mattiacci and admired the Ferraris on display. “Do you think if I show them the giant Ferrari logo tattooed on my back, they will let me take it for a spin?” asked Jenny Shimizu as she checked out the new FF four-seater (the brand’s first snow-ready car). “I actually used to be a mechanic. I really love cars.”
As the polo party started to unwind, guests began buzzing about the next event on the agenda, ACRIA’s annual Cocktails at Sunset dinner benefitting AIDS research. Held at Ross Bleckner‘s house in Sagaponack, which once belonged to Truman Capote, the evening kicked off with a silent auction that included work by Julian Schnabel, a hand-cut Waterford crystal bowl, and Francisco Costa‘s favorite piece, a Barbara Kruger lithograph on wood. “Isn’t it gorgeous?” he asked. The multicourse dinner featured a different Veuve Clicquot reserve for each dish and a “magical forest” dessert treasure hunt. At the end of a dark pathway, the likes of Steven Klein, Bruce Weber, and Paul Sevigny found macarons, brownies, and cookies tucked away under a tree lit up by tea lights.
Coral fashion accessories make for great summer statement pieces. These pieces are great for color blocking and dressing up a conservative look. Coral is a color that compliments sun kissed skin. This makes coral accessories perfect for hanging out at the beach.
Whether it’s completely coral or partially coral, a coral statement necklace take an outfit from drab to fab instantly. ChicEscape, paired this J. Crew coral necklace with a blue pleated dress. We totally love this look. Who says color blocked has to stop with articles of clothing? Add your accessories to the mix.
Adding a coral accessories to your look is much easier than you may think. Perhaps you are wearing jeans and a white top, add a large coral ring to your hand. This will add the perfect touch of color to your look. Shardette (pictued above)wore an blue and white stripes with dark jeans. Her color comes in with her accessories.