Runway News

Tory’s Refined Touch, Golden Girls Everywhere and More Notes from the Second Row: Day Six of New York Fashion Week

Subtle vs overt: That’s the choice every designer faces with each new collection spawned from a specific reference. Tory Burch could have gone overboard with the armor references, but she and her customer are too sophisticated for that. Instead, this is a collection you’ll want to examine for the details—then again, so do I: From the (seeming) rafters of my seat I thought the initial looks were paired with boots, but upon closer inspection discovered thick woolen socks under lace-up pumps. Socks with strappy sandals have been around for a while, but this season the look really is everywhere. Burch did include a great pair of boots later in the collection, deep gray and pleated in the back to reveal red leather (an apt inclusion given all the tapestry-inspired red florals in the second half of the show). I would look slightly ridiculous wearing socks with strappy sandals, but those boots? Yes, please.

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Gold. Gold everywhere. If you want to look current for evening, buy something in gold or embellished with gold for Fall. That’s among the strongest messages being communicated to us in trends debuting this week, and I’m wondering if it’s a statement about our economy? When gold is seen in such abundance in fashion, it means the economy is healthy and we don’t have to worry about cashing in our retirement funds or selling a spare kidney, yes? I also mention it because Badgley Mischka’s Tuesday-morning show offered up a variety of gold statements, but like Burch opted for the subtle side of the equation. And the reference was quite fab: turn-of-the-century Vienna, with a particular emphasis on the painter Gustav Klimt. You know Klimt, of course, for The Kiss, but did you know that painting is one of several in the period (his most successful) defined as his “golden phase?” That’s real gold leaf on The Kiss, painted between 1907 and 1908, and knowing all that, you can more eagerly drink in the details on Badgley Mischka’s looks, the bronzing the duo added to tweed, the shimmer of a lighter-than-air floral brocade, or the gold rectangular paillettes added to the tulle overlay of a pencil skirt, lush around the hem and then scattering upward. The other bonus: These deep golds look fantastic with so many skintones: Chrissy Teigen, front row at Badgley Mischka, is a great example. (On a side note, do we think the rumors are true that she graces the 50th-anniversary Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover? Not much longer to wait, Jimmy Kimmel unveils it Thursday night on his show.) Ultimately, everyone’s talking about metallics this week, at this point equal to our conversations about warrior women, and Badgley Mischka’s latest effort proves all that glitters doesn’t have to scream gold.

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Gold references were likewise abundant at Naeem Khan, but one of the best dresses in the collection actually was, more accurately, bronze, a pleated stunner with a scarf-tie neck. Judging from Twitter mentions alone, that was the winner of the collection. Khan’s cabaret-themed collection was rooted in 20s and 30s, and this dress had an undeniable 70s vibe about it—though that decade finds much of its style roots in Depression-era 30s. And the 70s reference is an apt one: When Khan was 20 he apprenticed for Halston and considers the master of 70s chic to be his mentor. So there’s a nice bit of symmetry to such a moment: Halston was close with Liza Minnelli and designed the costumes for her 1972 award-winning Liza with a Z special; that same year Liza, of course, would star in the film version of Cabaret, which a little more than four decades later would inspire Tahari for this collection. Full-circle moments in fashion are amazing when found.

Elie Tahari kicked off the official celebration of the 40th anniversary of his label with a festive party at the ground-floor space of his building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Joan Rivers, Bella Thorne, Kelly Bensimon were on hand, as well as a trio from the Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks: Bryan Walters, Walter Thurmond and Phillip Bates. Everyone mingled while viewing Tahari’s gallery-like presentation of models wearing his Fall 2014 collection, filled with great pieces that won’t break the bank: a leather legging under a bouclé coat, or a comfy hand-crocheted sweater paired with a printed pant. Tahari said the collection was inspired by “a ray of light through the darkness,” or more accurately, the idea of lightning striking. That sense of electricity was fused with his desire to embrace tech-friendly materials and techniques, such as combining neoprene and knit in a skirt, or wool and neoprene in a coat (the latter sounds wonderfully warm on the coldest day projected for New York Fashion Week).

Saw Barbara Walters at Oscar de la Renta Tuesday night, and she loved every bit of his show: “One of his best,” she added while heading backstage, and noted she was wearing one of his coats from four years ago. That’s Oscar, eternally elegant. Look at any one of the dresses that floated down the runway Tuesday evening—the tulle beaded confections in soft cream and gold, or the candy-cotton pink draped satin skirt with its strapless bodice in plum velvet—and think about whether you could wear those four years from now, and chances are you’re nodding in the affirmative. A legend, confident in his aesthetic, knows how to do such things.

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