Looking back at Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week, Day Two held four very exciting shows coming from designers whose names are perhaps too easily overlooked in the Midwest, but well known to fashionistas who value quality, originality, and wearability. Let’s take a few moments and examine the fall lines that may make you want to reconsider what hangs in your closet this fall.
CZAR by Cesar Galindo is purposed to be a more youthful look, and Galindo accomplishes that in a couple of ways this season. One is a dangerously high hem line on several of the dresses. While the black opaque hose shown with these looks provides warmth and might cover any varicose vein issues, the high hem is invariably a strength for younger, athletic and well-toned legs. The second is a number of silhouettes that are fitted on top and more flowing on bottom, again emphasizing factors that favor a younger body. The trend for arm coverings is addressed not only in terms of opera gloves, but arm warmers for those days when one might actually need to use one’s fingers, and quarter-length sweaters over bare-shouldered tops. Galindo isn’t afraid of color and utilizes a palette that is vivid and exciting. While there are certainly some beautiful winter whites and natural tones, the first piece down the runway was an eye-catching powder blue, and vivid reds, purples, and golds would come later. No matter what a woman’s personal style might be, one would have to be beyond fussy to not find something worthy of space in her wardrobe.
When one brings up the name Carmen Marc Valvo, there can be only one word that comes to mind: Elegance. From the moment this 7th Ave. independent launched his first line in 1989, he has had a focus on glamour that is unparalleled. His styling and tailoring is unmatched, making his dresses and gowns ubiquitous on every red carpet around the world. Of course, being formal wear, black is the dominant color for this collection. Yet, even there the designer manages to avoid boredom not only with his frequent use of sequins, but with an abundant showing of lace and sheer taffeta. Then, just so he doesn’t get too predictable, he tosses in elements of leather so delicately crafted that one might easily mistake it for something else. Beware of the one bright red dress in the collection. While it looks like lace in most every photo I’ve seen, the garment is actually laser-cut leather! This level of detail and styling is really the strong point of the brand. Accenting the largely black palette are hues that remind one of wine: oxblood, deep purples, and the kind of greens one might find in a grape vine, all very warm and appropriate for fall/winter.
Noon By Noor, is still quite young (this is their third season to show in New York). Yet, what we see with their fall/winter 2013 collection is a level of sophistication that is bound to garner them a lot of favorable attention.Let’s start with the fact that Noon By Noor is largely a separates line. While each piece has ensemble mates with which it pairs well, the designers have kept in mind the fact that most women by individual pieces to compliment their existing wardrobe. As a result, every element of the line gets the same attention to detail, the same careful stitching and tailoring, the same customizations and homemade embellishments, as other designers might lavish only on single pieces. Be ready, Noon By Noor cuts for a high waist, which means the jackets are cut to match. That might mean that purchasing a jacket by itself requires some consideration as to what one might wear beneath. One will also find color more abundant in this line than many. This is very much a daywear line that can then be adapted going into the evening. Looks are largely business appropriate, for the most part, and even when they do go for a daring plunge it is done with a careful cut so as to avoid any chance of embarrassment.
Then, there’s Jason Wu. Regardless of what you thought you knew about the designing phenom, put it on hold and take another look because this is a line that leaves the D.C Beltway far behind. I mean, can you just imagine the scandal that would erupt if the first lady were to step out in the ensemble pictured above? Jason Wu has never been just ball gowns and business suits. His ready to wear line has been contemporary and sexy from day one. However, he ratchets the intensity up a level this season and shows that he can match wits with anyone out there, including, dare I say, Raf Simons. Granted, the line starts conservatively enough with sharp white collars that look as though they might chafe a bit after an hour or so, but then the hem lines get short, fabrics get sheer, shoulders get bare (more than once!), and we discover that Wu knows how to show off a woman’s cleavage in ways that are definitely not conservative enough for politics. There’s a definite architectural feel to his dresses, and he utilizes some asymmetrical draping that is perhaps unexpected but never inappropriate. In fact, for all the boldness found in this line, there’s nothing here that wouldn’t play well in the Midwest. Wu is creatively non-offensive. This collection is for women who don’t wait around for some ball every four years but go out and start their own party!
Fall styles will be hitting stores before you’ve had a chance to stain your white summer shorts, so pay attention and get ready to re-think your closet!