Cut25 by Yigal Azrouël

May 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Yigal Azrouël recently created ballet costumes for choreographer Emery LeCrone, which debuted at the Guggenheim as part of the museum’s Works & Process series. The cultural collaboration found Azrouël contemplating the human form and complementing the dancers’ fluid movements. The designer’s new Cut25 collection reflects a different approach to the female physique. Instead of tracing the figure, Azrouël focused on covering it with sharp, sculptural silhouettes. Still, he managed to keep the overall look sexy and consistent with the DNA of his brand.

Azrouël opened his Fall lookbook with a structured bomber coat that merged panels of regular tweed and “reflective glass finished tweed.” He also incorporated bonded neoprene treatments into sporty sweatshirt dresses, and played up exaggerated volumes with enveloping outerwear items such as a draped, funnel-neck topper cut from a textured bouclé jacquard. Elsewhere, Azrouël reinterpreted his linear preoccupations in more streamlined ways, featuring a graphic brushstroke print on soft crepe de chine separates and showing slim sheaths with asymmetric cutouts. Meanwhile, a cocoonish, blanket stripe wrap teamed with coordinating, relaxed trousers was a definite standout, as was a cozy, color-blocked cardigan styled with herringbone denim stovepipes. Overall, there was a lot going on in the conceptual mix, but it ultimately came together and felt like a considerable step forward for Azrouël’s diffusion line.
—Brittany Adams
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Victor Alfaro

May 10, 2014 by  
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Victor Alfaro was a designer on the rise in the nineties. He picked up the Swarovksi Award for Womenswear (then called the Perry Ellis Award) in 1994, but eventually experienced business setbacks that forced him to shutter his company in 2003. In between then and now, he designed a lifestyle collection for the Bon-Ton department store chain. Last year he relaunched his signature label, selling it to ten specialty boutiques for Spring 2014. The new Fall collection, handbags included, has been picked up by Barneys. Alfaro learned a lot of valuable lessons working in the hinterlands, keeping costs down being chief among them. He reports that he devoted a lot of energy to finding Italian factories that could deliver his products at the prices he wanted. In his new venture, he’s opted out of runway shows entirely, preferring to hone the retail viability of his clothes. He’s mainly addressing professional women’s working wardrobe needs, and he’s built a lot of versatility into the Fall pieces, both in terms of the collection’s mostly neutral color palette and the many layering possibilities. There’s an emphasis on leather, and the key shape is slightly sack-backed—chic but not constricting, and super-easy to wear. A pair of bold, abstract prints based on the designer’s own paintings gave the lineup its energy; the green version in particular looked striking on a silk cady sheath dress.

Alfaro is thinking big: He says he’s planning on adding a contemporary-priced collection within the year and a menswear line not long after that.
—Nicole Phelps
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Rhié

May 9, 2014 by  
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Rie Yamagata emphasizes wearability above all with her relatively straightforward collections, but introduces elements of her own quirky personality with thoughtful details that make the clothes feel special. At a Fall preview, the Rhié designer explained that this season was partially inspired by fragmented memories from her formative middle school years spent in California. A flashback to the shiny bathroom from her childhood home, for example, steered Yamagata toward a python-embossed lamé that she featured on a pleated midi skirt as well as a crafty pullover that mixed together a variety of materials. But those two silver items were about as flashy as this lineup got. Elsewhere, Yamagata focused on honing her tailoring skills, which was evident in relaxed, double-breasted suits and jumpsuits, as well as a variety of menswear-inspired topcoats (that will retail for less than $ 1,000), including a standout style in bright grass green. As usual, there were subtle references to school uniforms, with preppy plaid pieces and crisp shirting dresses. All in all, this well-considered range should appeal to girls both buttoned-down and eccentric.
—Brittany Adams
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Christian Dior

May 8, 2014 by  
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Dior in Brooklyn. Who would’ve ever imagined those two proper nouns together in a single sentence? Alexander Wang broke the outer-borough barrier back in February when he showed at the Navy Yard’s Duggal Greenhouse. But Dior, the storied French house and LVMH bigwig Bernard Arnault’s baby? It happened tonight, and the likes of Rihanna, Marion Cotillard, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Leelee Sobieski, Allison Williams, Margot Robbie, the artist Sterling Ruby, and designers including Christian Louboutin and Proenza Schouler’s Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough arrived by water taxi and town car to witness fashion history in the making. Bureau Betak spent nearly a week constructing an elevated floor at Duggal that situated the show’s 1,000-plus guests at window level. The Manhattan views vied for attention with the LED light display at the opposite end of the warehouse space.

Neither could compete with the clothes. This was another lively, smart, lovely collection from artistic director Raf Simons, one that married the practical realism the designer says he sees among his new American clients (he’s been at Dior only two years) and typical French chic. Simons took up the silk scarf—le carré, as they say in Paris—as the show’s leitmotif. It meant that these clothes were more fluid than the sculpted and molded silhouettes of some of his previous collections for Dior. Softer and breezier but without sacrificing the clean, modern look that is so identifiably Simons, or skimping on the wearability factor. Despite the show’s laser focus, Simons had propositions for all occasions.

The feminine silhouette was ultra-high-waisted with long, lean trousers and flaring, knee-length skirts (including at least one in sheared fur) scraping the rib cage. On top there were torso-limning, backless silk camisoles in graphic, abstract prints or draped and layered tops with a boxy, geometric fit. Simons explained he found some of the prints in the house archives; others were created for the show. “I wanted to explore print without being too romantic about it,” he said. “I was surprised by how raw and artistic some of the archival scarves were.” You’d never call the prints and patterns in tonight’s show dainty, not when they were boldly juxtaposed three against each other, as in the case of a cocktail dress that combined multicolor sequins with embroidered flowers with chevroned stripes. Simons’ January couture sneaker evolved here into a sport sandal with scarf straps; it gave printed tunics and long silk evening skirts a fresh, zippy attitude.

There were sixty-six looks in the collection. When Dior president and CEO Sidney Toledano made notice of that fact before the show, he told Simons, “Did you know? This is the sixty-sixth year that Dior Inc. U.S.A. exists.” A total coincidence, Simons asserted, but one that had a special meaning for him. “Christian Dior was a bit superstitious, and I am too.” And, more important, “There was always a strong relationship between Mr. Dior and U.S. clients. It makes sense for us to come here now.”
—Nicole Phelps
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Bottega Veneta

May 7, 2014 by  
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“I can’t show you a stretch pant and a T-shirt.” That was Tomas Maier in the Bottega Veneta showroom today, presenting the label’s Resort collection for 2015. Some designers do take a straightforward approach to in-between seasons like Resort and Pre-Fall, but Maier’s not one of them. BV’s creative director is as intrigued by process as he is by the final product, a fact that his new clothes crystalized.

He started with the idea of bleach and how laundering a garment in the stuff can fade it in random ways. Extending that notion, he used a process called corrosion to remove color from pieces in graphic patterns—bleach stripes at the neckline of a crisp cotton shirt, a white floral motif on a lilac top. Other times, the actual substance of a material was changed, as in the case of a dévoré blouse and a jacquard flower-print lamé miniskirt.

Maier’s trick was that nothing felt contrived. Industrially washed for a faded effect, his knit sweaters were utterly simple, yet completely divine. And that enviable sense of simplicity extended into his evening dresses. No ball gowns or bustiers here, of course. Maier’s long dresses are modeled after tank tops and T-shirts. The ease is built right in; the drama comes from the way he corroded and then over-dyed them. One featured a bold grid pattern, another an abstract, oversize floral. Perhaps the best part: When they go into production, no two dresses will ever be 100 percent the same. “I like that,” Maier said, “and it’s good for the customer.”
—Nicole Phelps
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Electric Feathers

May 6, 2014 by  
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While Electric Feathers designer Leana Zuniga made no concessions where her usual billowing shapes were concerned, her Fall offering was notably more lissome than collections past. Perhaps that’s owed in part to a couple of heavyweight influences. When presenting the pieces, Zuniga name-dropped Yohji Yamamoto (circa the eighties) and Isadora Duncan, both of who represent different sorts of lightness. Yamamoto could be spotted in a boxy, utilitarian, funnel-neck jacket and tool-belt-like vest, both in indigo-and-cream-checked raw silk (the latter tricked out with black plastic snap buckles that felt improbably charming). Duncan, meanwhile, came through in diaphanous numbers, like Electric Feathers’ signature Infinite Rope dress, which stunned in a blush double georgette. There was plenty of gossamer silk lamé, too. A gorgeous swingy ivory coat with poet sleeves and a chunky, striped silk belt was a true standout, and bore hints of the Ballets Russes around the edges.

Even at its most dialed-back, the label is going to be a hard sell for some women—for the body-conscious, for those who’d rather their clothing show off weeks’ worth of Pilates rather than double as an ensemble in which to do Pilates. But Zuniga comes by her aesthetic quirks so naturally, it’s hard to escape their pull. Fall boasts some of her most impressive fare yet, and with a boutique on Williamsburg’s South Side just opened? Things look bright for the brand.
—Kristin Anderson
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Diesel

May 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News


Thursday marked exactly one year to the day since Nicola Formichetti took over at Diesel, and that was all the excuse Renzo Rosso, who founded the brand thirty-five years ago, needed to throw a party. He flew three hundred people from all over the world to Venice. “My town, the most beautiful place in the world,” Rosso enthused. After an Aperol-fueled gondola ride down the Grand Canal, only a churl could disagree with him.

But before the party—and the after-party at the Palazzo Grassi, which saw the hardiest revelers reeling into a gray Venetian dawn this morning—there was a huge fashion show to clarify how far Diesel has come under Formichetti…and where it might be going. The denim, the leather, the military/utility looks have been pillars of the Diesel aesthetic for decades. “But what makes it unique,” Formichetti said before the show, “is that it’s not street, it’s not luxury, it’s a hybrid, a new breed of alternative-spirited brand.” Which kind of describes Formichetti’s own work over the years, first as a stylist for magazines, then as a creative director for the likes of Uniqlo, Mugler, and Lady Gaga.

The many facets of Formichetti were all over the Diesel show. “Any crazy idea I come up with, Renzo says, ‘You can do better than that,'” the designer said with his insanely infectious giggle. So we saw power pop looks; digital backdrops by longtime collaborator Nick Knight; Brooke Candy on the catwalk; a Tumblr-enabled model casting; clothes customized and glamorized to individual taste; and an overall feeling of inclusiveness, which is something the designer has deliberately cultivated with his social media presence. “There’s no difference between the digital and physical world for these kids,” Formichetti mused. “They’re a new species, indigo children. I find them through Tumblr. They’re everywhere, but they don’t know about each other till I connect them. That’s what I am, a connector.”

His connections have inevitably led to some social/political subtexts in his work—LGBT models, a Pussy Riot-inspired finale—but that only makes Formichetti a better match for Rosso, who’s no stranger to controversy himself. Last night was more than a mutual admiration society, it was a virtual lovefest. “I want to be just like Renzo when I’m older,” said Formichetti. And Rosso is going to make it easy for him. “He said he’s giving me the keys to the kingdom for the next thirty-five years,” the designer added.
—Tim Blanks
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Chadwick Bell

May 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

This season, Chadwick Bell “focused on the idea of nomadic women” with a pared-down collection accentuated by eclectic pieces designed to look, he said, “like finds from their travels.” A graphic, color-blocked suede belt (Bell’s take on traditional South American fajas) captured this sense of worldly adventurousness. Ditto went for the frayed, braided-rope trim decorating clean coats and sheaths that came in a pretty blue wool. Piled-on fox fur pelts further upped the luxury factor.

Meanwhile, Bell displayed his first-rate tailoring skills with a precise, slouchy suit. He whipped up an oversize sweatshirt with a dramatic low back from a soft alpaca bouclé that highlighted the nape of the neck and paired it with a matching wrap skirt featuring a high slit. That standout look was simultaneously unexpected and sophisticated. Elsewhere, Bell energized the lineup with pops of on-trend fuchsia seen on a rounded suede jacket and the piping of a quilted puffer. For evening, he showed several gowns with simple silhouettes that had a linear purity. A long, cream-hued column merged geometric planes of silk with floating seams, while a sequined maxi dress cut from a block of “shapeless” tulle mesh twinkled like a starry night when in motion. All in all, Bell earned favorable marks here for his bold yet unfussy approach to everyday luxury.
—Brittany Adams
Runway Feed

Trademark

May 3, 2014 by  
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It’s season two for Alexandra and Louisa Burch’s Trademark label. Fall picks up on the ideas that they began establishing with their Spring debut. “It’s always a classic shape; it’s always functional,” Alexandra said. “It always feels a little bit like a uniform.” Trademark is a collection of basics, in other words, but not boring ones. The Burch sisters believe in strong colors, and there were plenty here, from the bright pumpkin of a Sherpa wool cropped peacoat to the sky blue of a varsity jacket trimmed in tomato red. Other things elevating these pieces beyond the everyday: the occasional oddball fabric, like the polka-dot jacquard of a sack dress, and offbeat proportions. Trousers are cropped well above the ankle and sweaters really slouch (knits are the Burch girls’ strong suit so far). But all that said, these clothes are very much designed to be lived in, a fact that’s reflected in price tags that situate the brand at the lower end of the contemporary market. Trademark’s first store is scheduled to open in June at 95 Grand Street in New York’s Soho.
—Nicole Phelps
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Juicy Couture

May 2, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Times (not to mention parent companies) may change, but the essence of Juicy Couture‘s customer remains the same. She is youthful, bohemian, has a rock-and-roll streak, and embodies the laid-back Los Angeles lifestyle. While the brand stayed true to its aesthetic this season, the look felt more grown-up. Take, for example, Juicy’s quintessential velour tracksuits, which starred in the label’s recent Spring campaign lensed by Inez & Vinoodh and styled by Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele—both parties have signed on again for Fall. This time around, the design team whipped up a plush leopard onesie that should appeal to JC loyalists (plus CCD, who has a known affinity for both tracksuits and animal spots), but they also updated the signature sweats in a variety of fresh fabrications, such as washed indigo and silk crepe. Another category that felt much improved here was outerwear. In addition to transitional staples like leather biker jackets and sporty bombers, there was a terrific range of novelty tweed blazers and classic styles including peacoats and cocoonish, menswear-inspired toppers. Elsewhere, ripped, distressed jeans and plaid kilts introduced a tough edge to the mix, as did a bedazzled, lip-licking T-shirt that channeled a Miley Cyrus vibe. On the more feminine side of the equation were romantic guipure lace pieces and wispy floral dresses that would fare well with the festival set at Coachella.
—Brittany Adams
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