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New York Fashion Week Spring 2013 – Part I

Every season I’m at a loss as to how I should approach the fashion show reviews. There are so many that I don’t know where to start, how many I should try to review, or how to justify which shows I choose over others. It’s oddly stressful considering I’m sitting in front of my laptop in San Francisco and NOT running around the cobblestone streets of New York City in stilettos with a 50 lbs handbag.

So this season I have come up with a plan of attack. I’m going to publish four separate pieces for New York Fashion Week:

  1. The NYFW Institutions – i.e. Oscar de la Renta, Diane Von Furstenberg & Carolina Herrera
  2. The more reasonably priced or secondary designer lines – i.e. J.Crew, MARC by Marc Jacobs & Alice+Olivia
  3. New up & coming brands that I’m just discovering or which are new to the tents – i.e. Z Spole by Zac Posen, Thakoon Addition & Victoria by Victoria Beckham
  4. And finally the street style & front row fashion of the NYFW attendees

So without further ado – Welcome to the fabulous runway fashion of the New York Fashion Week Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear shows:

BCBG Max Azria:

This collection was an interesting juxtaposition of hard against soft. The dresses all had a harness-like construction on the bodice, evoking a tough, bad-girl vibe that contrasted with the softer colors and flowing silhouettes.

Black, white, grey, and coral were the colors de jour and all the looks were paired with a wide ankle strap adorned heel in black or white. The fitted, midi and maxi-length skirts were equipped with high slits in the thin, wispy floral, lace, and paisley prints, making them utterly perfect for hot summer nights.

Peter Som:

This sweet collection was filled with great prints, bright colors and pastels, florals, flowy silhouettes and just a touch of lace. It was structured and well put together, but relaxed and fun – New York City girl meets boho chic.

The prints were chic and I loved the cropped pants – of course – and the hippie vibe throughout. I don’t think that I can say it any better than The Man Repeller: “Peter Som is punk rock tea party infused with tigers and ponies.”

Derek Lam:

I heard the phrase “sporty luxury” to describe Derek Lam and couldn’t get it out of my head – That’s the perfect description for this master of chic sportswear and exquisite tailoring. These clothes were modern and chic, I can easily picture them on streets all over the world.

Interesting fabrics and textures, bold prints, and slouchy silhouettes were the hallmarks here. Knee-length skirts and sheath dresses in brightly colored leather, all-over geometric prints, separates, and the retro-inspired midriff baring tops that were all over the runways in New York all made an appearance.

Calvin Klein:

The collection that Francisco Costa presented may have been primarily black and white but it was a far cry from boring. And a far cry from the slinky pastel numbers favored by Hollywood starlets on the red carpet last season.

These looks were sleek, body conscious, and strikingly sexy with dramatic cuts and a variety of reach-out-and-touch-them fabrics and textures including lace, satin, mesh, and leather. No florals or pastels for the Calvin Klein girl this coming Spring, she’ll be breaking out killer heels and wowing everyone with her confidence and daring.

Ralph Lauren:

The Ralph Lauren show was a combination of make-believe and reality. There were costume-like pieces inspired by Spain and Latin America – fringe, matador jackets, and ponchos – and there were chic, wearable pieces that I’m sure we’ll be seeing soon on the red carpets and sidewalks of Hollywood.

I absolutely loved the flowing, ruffle-adorned maxi dresses and skirts in stripes and bright florals, as well as the vaguely Parisian looking prim A-line skirts paired with fitted jackets, and the double-breasted, oversized suits with dramatic shoulders.

Ole!

Thakoon:

If I had to pick a single word to describe the Spring 2013 collection presented by Thakoon it would be beautiful. The cuts & silhouettes were flattering, the fabric & textures were interesting, and the prints & details were nothing short of divine.

From pretty, colorful, whimsical prints for daytime outings to daring but still utterly chic lace, eyelet, and sheer fabrics for nighttime.

A collection like this one really illustrates the difference between a designer like Thakoon and one like Lee McQueen – While I’d call them both artists the wearability of a collection like this one is unparalleled. I wait with bated breathe for the McQueen shows and gasp at the artistry and showmanship, but I can picture every single piece of this collection in my wardrobe, not something most of us mere mortals can say about McQueen.

Diane Von Furstenberg:

Who knew being a techie could be so darn stylish? DVF went geek chic this season and sent her girls down the runway in brilliant colors, prints, and flowing caftans paired with the brand new Google Glasses.

Glasses aside this collection had a classic DVF feel – Great 70’s styles & prints, flowing silhouettes that would be right at home in Saint Tropez or Marrakech, and eye-catching accessories like oversized earrings, brightly colored sunglasses, and matchy-matchy handbags. The whole collection had a delicious retro vibe that made me nostalgic for the heyday of Miss Diane herself.

Victoria Beckham:

I always look forward to the Victoria Beckham show, I adore her personal style and that chic, timeless style always shows up in her collections. And while I love – and would die to own – all of her sexy, second skin sheath dresses, I was thrilled by the amount of separates and slightly less body conscious pieces that she sent down the runway for Spring.

Everything was still sleek and sexy, with little color or prints per her usual aesthetic, but somewhat more relatable for the non-Hollywood set. I especially liked the A-line skirts and high-necklines, and the black, white, and the brilliant orange color scheme suited the austerity of the designs.

Well done!

Tommy Hilfiger:

Stripes! Stripes! Stripes! But we’re not talking about your basic, boring stripes for Spring, these are chic, retro stripes adorning flowing suits, maxi dresses, and separates in red, white, and navy.

The devil was in the details of this collection – The drama of a double-breasted, oversized suit jacket, delicate chevron prints, bright piping on a two-toned blazer, contrasting denim on denim pockets, thick weave cable knit sweaters, gold rope detailing, and flowy silk shirt-dresses. You’ve got to admit, nothing says All-American quite like Tommy Hilfiger.

Jason Wu:

Jason Wu may be best know for dressing Michelle Obama, but when a runway show starts with Carolyn Murphy strutting her stuff in a black leather mini dress you know the collection is heading in a different direction than usual.

While the primarily black & white collection was filled with leather & lace, his red lipped models also wore some killer separates and pieces with exquisite tailoring. But even the prim looks amped up the sexiness with mesh, sheer panels, studs and animal prints.

Donna Karan:

City girl Donna Karan presented an unusually soft and sweet collection pulling inspiration from the ballet which gave the pieces ethereal undertones that were further emphasized by the pale color palette.

The soft, gauzy looking fabrics, flattering drapping, sweater-sets, and pastel satins were sugary sweet and picture perfect for good-girl actresses like Reese Witherspoon, Ashley Greene, or Nicole Kidman. Among the draping and flowing fabrics were two numbers that caught my eye though – A sharp white sheath dress with a matching cropped jacket and a sexy sheer panelled navy gown perfect for a siren like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley during her next red carpet appearance.

Zac Posen:

Calling all supermodels!

The Zac Posen show was the place to be when the audience was surprised by Naomi Campbell, Angela Lindvall, Karolina Kurkova, and Coco Rocha all hitting the catwalk in his gorgeous, retro-inspired designs.

The dresses were phenomenal – From floral fifties inspired day dresses with sweetheart necklines to second-skin suits with his trademark dramatic bodice cuts, to sleek gowns in satins, florals, and chiffons. I could picture the likes of Eva Mendes and Emma Stone wearing the chic, but prim daydresses, and I guarantee that the rest of these gowns will be all over the red carpets come awards season.

Marc Jacobs:

There’s a reason that no one could stop talking about the Marc Jacobs show – It was amazing. Fabulously retro and evocative of the stylish Warhol girls of the 60’s, without appearing costumy or over the top, the kind of clothes you can really picture yourself wearing.

Loads of stripes – from thick to thin & horizontal to vertical – interesting lengths, cute separates, matching handbags, low-heeled shoes, and chic outerwear. I loved the long jackets with the high collars, the tiny shifts that us non-supermodels would need to wear slim trousers under, and the adorable pointy toed kitten heels.

Michael Kors:

Another show that emphasized stripes and had a Mod feeling to it was Michael Kors, which was brightly colored, bold, and very sporty. While it may not have been innovative, this collection showed piece after piece of very wearable clothing – For both men and women.

Stripes, colorblocking, contrasting collars, flats, wide low-slung belts, matching suits, tank & shift dresses, and separates all made lovely appearances. I may not be able to live without the green tunic & matching shorts set, it’s one of my favorite looks so far from the NYFW collections.

The menswear was fabulous – Full of color, great silhouettes, and classics styles. The men also got the stripes treatment and he showed great suits, white boat shoes, separates in the form of slacks, shorts & sweaters, and killer outerwear.

Carolina Herrera:

This light airy collection was filled with pale hues – from peach and aqua to olive-green and daffodil yellow – All perfectly ready for Spring. There were shorts, midi length skirts, trench coats, maxi dresses, gowns, and some sweet separates.

As gorgeous as CH’s gowns always are, the separates and short coats were what really caught my eye. They were chic and well-tailored, but more approachable than her collections have been in the past. The wide strap heeled sandals worn by all came in every color imaginable and thin belts cinched all of the waists. And interestingly enough, not a piece of jewelry could be seen!

Oscar de la Renta:

What I love about ODLR is his consistency – Each show will inevitably cater to a handful of crowds, from high-powered businesswomen & ladies who lunch to the fashionable young things & “It” girls that compose the celebutant set.

The splashes of colors in this collection were shocking yellow, pink, and teal – An interesting choice that worked surprisingly well. The collection was vibrant and fun with lots of beautiful textures and fabrics, and a great separates that I can imagine a few fashionistas in. Personally I’d be first in line for the thin striped dress paired with the black & white plaid coat and the sequin encrusted retro tunic & slim cropped pants – Tres chic!

Jill Stuart:

I’m always excited for a collection that pulls from Kim Basinger’s Veronica Lake look-a-like character in LA Confidential as it’s inspiration – The old school, golden age of Hollywood was such an extravagant and glamorous period fashion-wise.

You could really see that in the boudoir-feeling of the silks and slinky satins, and in the sequins, lame, and metallic brocades. While this wasn’t a “real woman” collection, there were beautiful dresses, gowns, and a few separates that will cater perfectly to a certain set.

Alexander Wang:

Wow.

Cut outs, netting, mesh, beading, lucite, sheer fabrics, leather, and garments that glowed in the dark when the lights went down. Cool club kids of the world unite! The pieces were minimalist and simultaneously dramatic and eye-catching, a feat few designers can manage.

Architectural and structured, but still fun and irreverent, all of the looks were paired seamlessly with strappy sandal-boot hybrids in black, white, or clear lucite. Definitely not looks for the average woman to wear walking down the street, but something that the cool girls that love Wang dearly can wear for a night out on the town.

{Sources: Style.com, Fashionologie, The Sartorialist, & Tom & Lorenzo}

Previous NYFW Collections: New York Fashion Week Fall 2012, Pre-Fall 2012 Part I, Part II, Part III, and NYFW Spring 2012 Round-Up.

Additional reviews, photographs, shows, and videos: The Man Repeller – NYFW Day I, The Sartorialist – Boy by Band of Outsiders, Tom & Lorenzo’s Tadashi Shoji Spring 2013 Collection, Late Afternoon’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Diary, or check out IFB’s Spring 2013 Pinterest Board.

What’s your favorite collection that I’ve reviewed so far? If you could go to New York City for Fashion Week what would the number one show on your list to see in person be?

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And the Oscar goes to…

Did you watch the Oscars last night? Per usual, I skipped watching the show live and merely enjoyed the highlights online and via Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook after the fact. There were some gorgeous gowns and great tuxedos out there to enjoy though, I must say. What was your favorite look?

I absolutely adore Leslie Mann and was thrilled to see her on the red carpet. I think that this sleek Roberto Cavalli gown suits her slim frame perfectly and the color is very pretty against her pale skin.

The dramatic gold detailing and flowing train on Jessica Chastain's gown made it one of the highlights of the evening. She looked absolutely stunning.

Rose Byrne is someone who I'm really enjoying lately, she seems to be trying out a new look and its fun to watch. I loved this black sequined Vivienne Westwood gown with the drop earrings, she looks beautiful & statuesque.

 

Another sequined stunner was Ellie Kemper, who donned a gorgeous bronze sheath that was perfectly complimented by her dramatic gold earrings, cocktail ring and clutch.

Gwyneth's Tom Ford gown was one of a kind. I loved the floor-length cape - SO Katherine Hepburn - and the cuff was fantastic.

I wish more fashion insiders did red carpets... Wouldn't it be a kick to see all the magazine editors dressed to the nines instead of just judging everyone else's looks? Anyway, Nina Garcia knocked one out of the park in this Jean Paul Gaultier Couture sheath. Gorgeous.

Polka dot gown? LOVED IT!

Octavia Spencer has been choosing some great Tadashi Shoji gowns on the way to this red carpet and the designer worked incredibly well for her yet again. Gorgeous!

Yes, this dress was very busy - between the ruffles, the diamond bow broach, the tiers and the silhouette, there's a lot going on. But it suits her somehow. Well done!

When I saw this Giambattista Valli Haute Couture gown in December I knew it would make its way to the Oscars. Emma Stone has been embracing brilliant jewel tones lately with great success (remember the emerald Gucci suit?) and this frock did the trick yet again.

Rooney Mara looked head turning in her favorite designers of late, Givenchy. I like the uniqueness of this dress, yes there were other white dresses, but with her hair & makeup, the train and the intricate back of the gown, she was in her own category.

Stacy Keibler looked like she was auditioning for the role of the Oscar itself, but in the best possible way. Her Marchesa gown was flattering and fashion-forward, perfect for the Oscars red carpet.

 

Viola Davis was a vision in Vera Wang. This color is just breathtaking on her.

 
There were a lot of sweet, dreamy, pastely gowns that while gorgeous, tended to get lost in the melee. Rather than review them all individually, here are some of the prettier ones…
 

Source, Source, Source & Source

My favorite looks? Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain and the two visions in white – Rooney Mara & Gwyenth Paltrow. I loved all of these looks for different reasons and couldn’t narrow it down any further if I had to. Emma brought the standout color, Jessica brought the drama and Rooney & Gwyneth both brough the unexpected – gowns that were unique, unusual, and totally head turning.

And don’t worry my loves, I’ll cover the Oscar tuxedos and afterparty dresses in my Looks of the Week post later on today.

Happy Fashion Monday!

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