Monday, October 4, 2010

Victoria Beckham Spring/Summer 2011

Inspired by her own personal statement, it's no surprise that with the many body-conscious dresses on display at the Victoria Beckham show, one needs a flawless body to wear one; just look at her.

Still dresses-only, the collection was comprised of smart, approachable shapes that tastefully showcase a woman’s sensuality. Languid parachute silk was effortlessly wrapped and knotted into a purple day dress (that stated the collection), and cut long and lean on a glamorous black evening gown, draped to perfection and secured with an invisible interior belt. Everything had a distinct femininity, even when the look was structured, as in the stiff lacquered jacquard dresses that were fitted up top with short, full skirts.

Stella McCartney Spring/Summer 2011

There were plenty of girly red-carpet dresses for her front-row gal pals, but for me, the best parts of this Stella McCartney collection was the masculine/feminine dichotomy that peppered the presentation.

There was a lot of strong tailoring, slightly softened this season in a palette of faded pastels like rose, pistachio, and a darling baby blue.
On one hand, McCartney stressed the mannish silhouette by loosening the jacket away from the body and on the other, working from a palette of gentle pastels and pairing suits with girly polo knits.

Dries Van Noten Spring/Summer 2011

For Dries Van Noten, “a handsome woman” was his stated spring muse, one he sees as strong, dignified and casually glamorous. And  very real. “These are simple clothes,” he said in a pre-show interview, “really clothes to wear. Not a big extravagant statement.” Anyone attuned to Van Noten knows this is hardly anything new for the designer.

But don't be fooled, this was no peasant fest, but a glorious reimagining of everyday sportswear characterized by dramatic oversize proportions, made feminine by an intricately executed pale palette and floral prints pilfered from Chinese porcelains, and glam by plenty of high-shine iridescence.

Referencing Chinese ceramics and art, Van Noten took bleach to some fabrics, and, to others, added prints inspired by the subtle color gradations of Belgian artist Jef Verheyen. While other designers are going for vibrant color clashes this season, Van Noten kept his soft but no less offbeat; for instance, a blue coat over a peach shirt and jeans in a wash from green to peach. Though his primary embellishment was iridescent in silvery fabrics and leather accessories, Van Noten gave in to his love of elaborate embroideries for a masterfully crafted coat, tossed casually over a sheer shirt and wide pants.

Bill Blass Spring/Summer 2011

Jeffrey Monteiro, who's previously worked for Jane Mayle and Derek Lam, has the unenviable task of returning the house of Bill Blass to fashion consciousness. He's at least headed in the right direction with this collection of smart suits and chic evening dresses.

The clothes were classy and unfussy (as in a black point d’esprit blouse was paired with ivory pleated silk pants), while elsewhere clinging to the body with chic simplicity.

Prada Spring/Summer 2011

I have to admit that when I first viewed this collection, while I didn't dislike it, I was like "Huh?" After going back to it, I love it. The colours are so refreshing, and only Miuccia Prada would fling together such disparate elements (nurse's gown, Chiquita Banana, religious iconography, prisoner's uniforms) in such a madcap manner.

Along with the sombreros and flora-fauna prints, a pair of dresses with Carmen Miranda silhouettes heightened the suggestion of south-of-the-border festiveness. But the clothes were plenty urbane, too. In fact, the more cautious among Prada devotees will find plenty of chic black looks from which to choose. And this was precisely the reason why I liked the collection- despite all the OTT cartoonish-ness, the pieces, even if one was so inclined to take all the looks apart, are quite wearable.

"I'm tired of minimalism," Prada is noted to have said before her show in an interview. "I asked myself, 'How can I do minimal Baroque?'" Her answer? Simple shapes, explosive color and multiple patterns including monkeys and bananas by the bushel. Prada also loves seemingly plain-cut clothes such as a round-shouldered, stiff T-and-skirt combo; a curvy flight attendant suit; a slipdress. Only they came, respectively, in the previously noted pattern play, paired with a giant striped sombrero, and cut in a newly loosened shape.