Monday, September 8, 2008

The Onslaught Begins

Fashion Week for Spring 09 (if you can believe that) got started in NYC this weekend, and I read in the New York Times that there appear to be something like over 260 different shows on the schedule, so you're going to have to forgive me if I don't cover everything. Good lord, that's ridiculous. I mean, I love fashion, and I love looking at the stuff that saunters down the runway as much or more than most bipeds, but I gotta tell you -- I start getting downright resentful every time I click onto the homepage and see the list of covered shows get longer... and longer... and longer... It's impossible to keep up. And New York bleeds into London blurs into Milan runs into Paris. I despair of keeping up, but I'll check in when I can.

So here are a few highlights so far...

Charles Nolan isn't one of fashion's heavy hitters, but I see his stuff in the Austin Saks all the time and I usually like it -- it's good, well-designed sportswear and separates, not crushingly expensive. My current favorite white blouse is by him, and here's another one that I'm going to keep an eye out for because it really gets me excited.


Nolan's collection this time out had a 20's theme, and this was one of my favorite iterations of it:


What a lovely dress. I'm going to want to wear that next summer -- so easy & elegant.

Usually I'm a tremendous fan of Jonathan Saunders -- I think he's one of the most talented young designers out there. He does great construction and most of all, he has a delirious and delightfully brilliant way with color. Those elements were definitely there this time around, but... I thought a lot of the collection missed the mark by being too forced.


There are many things about this that I just love in theory, the fantastic tailoring on the jacket and the great detailing of the skirt, and yes, the ballsy/perfect combination of colors. And yet... not quite.


There's something too mannered about this -- the curve of the neck and the whacked-out peplum... I'm not afraid of extreme, lord knows, but this is just too much. It doesn't cohere, to me, it's out of balance (although get ready, friends, for tons and tons and metric tons of this proportion -- large & constructed between the waist and knees, offset by narrow on top. It's all springing from this:


from myboyfriendStefanoPilati's last collection for YSL. Many people hated this, but I loved it, and so did just about every fashion editor alive, and I'm here to tell you it's the silhouette that ate everything this year. But more about that later.)


I mean, this just looks like something that would get you auf'd on Project Runway.

There were, fortunately, some things from Saunders that indicated this silliness is a temporary condition:


Oh, that puts me right over the edge. How fantastic, how dreamy, how chic. I want to wear that very badly.


And here is the masterful geometric use of color he's so brilliant at. I think that's just beyond gorgeous, and so very deftly handled when it could just be a nightmare. It reminds me of one of those kaleidoscopes I had as a kid with the bits of brightly colored plastic in them. Just beautiful.

Everyone wants to be Miuccia:





Expect lots & lots more lace this season, although I'm sure Miuccia Prada has moved on to goodness knows what (Bathmats? Oh, wait, she's already done that. Scuba suits? Oh, yeah, been there, too. Maybe astroturf...) already and will view all these lace garments with one raised eyebrow and dismiss them with an unperturbed (and grindingly chic) Milanese shrug.

Here's more of that diamond-shaped silhouette:


(But Just Say No to Hi-Tops. A public service announcement brought to you by Style Spy.)




Preen -- note also, more lace

Now, before everyone just rolls their eyes up into their heads or starts jumping up & down & screaming about how awful that is, let's take a moment. Truth be told, most women are pear-shaped. And yet, fashion never is. So we squeeze our pear-shaped selves into long tubular shapes that never quite do what we need them to. But these looks, friends, are already pear-shaped, quite unmistakably and deliberately so. This is a GOOD thing. That black dress with the red obi by Tibi (Say that out loud: red obi by Tibi. It's fun.) is quite stunning, and even an extremely hippy woman is going to look absolutely marvelous in it. The same with the jodphur-shaped pants: there is room in there for what you need room for. A GOOD thing. A lot of folks, myself included, have a knee-jerk reaction to this shape because we've been taught (brainwashed, if you like) that the acceptable, desirable shapes for women are either very long and very lean (Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, every model on every catwalk) or hourglass (Salma Hayek, Catherine Zeta-Jones). I say, if the Fashion PTBs wanna give us pears, we should buy them like crazy so that they keep giving them to us, happily wiggle our pear-shaped butts into them and revel in the chic.


I love this. You wouldn't even need Spanx!!

And this dress makes me crazy:


Great shape, not to mention I am over the moon for that print. Gorgeous.

And one more completely random thing, just because I'm head over heels in love with it:



Bryan Bradley knows how to make a dingdong dress, let me tell you. This may be the Perfect Dress for me. Oh, what a gorgeous thing.

I'll be back with more when I can! Until then, hit's coverage (they've upgraded their photo coverage and you can now view things full-screen, which is great) and don't miss Cathy Horyn's blog on -- she's posting like a maniac, and there's some great stuff on there, including postings with videos from guest blogger Eric Wilson. Eat your Fashion Wheaties and roll up your sleeves, it's going to be a bumpy ride!


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Belle de Ville said...

As always I love the Tuleh. For me Tuleh is the closest you can get to haute couture without actually being haute couture. The craftsmanship is impeccable.

Mrs.Hendricks said...

Style Spy, love, love, love your insightful and helpful comments and your fortitude in viewing so much and then giving us a report. But I have my doubts about the new silhouette and "pear" shaped women. Won't those things just make us look more hippy? That's my fear. An hourglass silhouette is about balance, whether you have one or not, and I think many of us look good trying to approximate it, full well knowing that we aren't really all that proportional. For me, it's about tricking the eye with line and color and proportion, you know? Just a thought.

Duchesse said...

That Tuleh dress reminds me of the green long dress Keira Knightly wore to great effect in "Atonement". There is someting about a fluid spare sweep that makes the other dresses lok tricked out.

Jen said...

I do wonder how the pear-shaped silhouette will work on us non-pear ladies? I guess it could help give an hourglass shape to slim-hipped girls.

Plumcake said...

Ha, how well do I know you? When I saw that white blouse come down the runway at Charles Nolan (who was also today's subject at the big girl blog) I thought "That's a Style Spy blouse."

I actually really liked most of Saunders' collection and thought that with the manicured curved neckline he was honoring the iconic Givenchy "Dovima" neckline (which I first saw in Funny Face and have loved ever since)

Deja Pseu said...

Oh, I'm in LURRVE with that Tibi dress!

Karen said...

O Style Spy, what do you know about Monique Lhuiller? I confess I don't follow fashion religiously, and I hadn't heard of her. But I was looking at some of the slideshows at New York magazine, and some of her work just took my breath away. Like this:
or this:
or this:
or this, which reminds me of one of my favorite Barbie outfits from 1963:

Is this stuff as good as I think it is? Or am I just swayed by a lot of willowy models and flash?

I won't know until you tell me!

Robo said...

The Tibi dress and the printy dress with the similar are absolutely beautiful. I hope you're right about even the hip-y ones being able to wear those, which would be great because I've got hips and then some. Not feeling the pegged/taper leg trousers, though. Perhaps, as you said, we've been so conditioned to think taper = bad...but still won't work on hip-y girls, just pear-shaped ones.

carolynbyron said...

Gorgeous. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. I love love love the Nolan 20s green classic dress. Ok, so now moving on to Fall where in other parts of the country, it actually gets cold. Dresses and high cowboy boots? Really?

Oh, Style Spy, impart some fall fashion finds please.