NYFW: FRANCESCA LIBERATORE S/S 2015

I enjoy watching the runway presentations of designers who are showing in New York for the first time. They bring a breath of fresh air, a different perspective, and frequently new and innovative ideas that help the industry progress and change. Francesca Liberatore has formerly exhibited in Milan and has taught extensively across Asia. An award from a well-known package shipping company helped bring Ms. Liberatore’s work to the United States this season.

That being said, I really hate it when I have two shows back to back that don’t set well with me. I don’t like being negative about fashion and I am concerned that too many negative reviews in a row might cause me to come across as mean, which I’m not, or vindictive, which I couldn’t be since I’m not a designer. Yet, I’m faced with the sad fact that, putting the most positive spin on this I can, there is much about Francesca Liberatore’s spring/summer 2015 collection that just doesn’t work.

I’m sorry.

Here’s what I do like: the Asian influenced prints on many of the clothes, especially tops and dresses. Okay, it seems a bit creepy that on several of the prints one bird appears to be biting another bird. I am satisfied, for now, assuming that’s just a cultural thing and if I knew the story I wouldn’t find it creepy at all. Please, don’t tell me any different because the art work really is very cool.

I like the silhouettes of her blouses. They are full, but not to the point of being bulky. Unlike many we’ve seen, she doesn’t over-pad the shoulders or make them unnaturally round. Add to the fact most have sheer backs to them and I think they hold a lot of potential for spring/summer wear.

Unfortunately, the rest of the collection is a bit more challenging to accept. One of the first things we noticed is double splits in skirts and dresses. This is one of those things that looks good on paper, but in reality forces women to walk with a long piece of fabric flapping between their legs. The effect is annoying with a regular dress, and downright frustrating when the skirt is full length. One could see visual discomfort on more than one model as they attempted to walk these pieces down the runway.

Then, there were the leg coverings. I understand these were a popular trend last season for this fall and winter. They didn’t make a great deal of sense then, because they are strapped to the leg, eliminating any protection from the cold. They make less sense now because not only do they look silly, their suede and leather construction is going to cause legs to perspire.

The list of little things that just doesn’t not play well in an American market is long. I can see where some are simply cultural differences, and that’s totally okay; but, she sent men down the runway in shoes that have no sole in them. You’re picturing that correctly. There are tops that look like strappy open-toed sandals, but there are no bottoms. For all practical purposes, the men are barefoot. Obviously, Ms. Liberatore has not experienced a summer on the hot streets of New York. Barefoot on hot asphalt is just not an option.

I see enough positives, enough creativity, enough originality, that I really want to like this collection and I’m sad that there’s so much I just can’t support. I’m going to hope that we see Francesca again in February and that then we will be able to provide a more positive report.

I’m really not a mean person. Really.

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