I remember hearing Cathy Horyn explain just after the Christian Dior show last February during Paris Fashion Week that she appreciates how Raf Simons’ clothing practically writes the reviews for itself. I could absolutely understand the sentiment but not necessarily how and why that particular show could or would write the review for itself. Sure, it was beautiful – breathtaking, really – but past his obvious respect for and understanding of the late Dior and the streamlined, clean silhouettes he’s infused into the company’s DNA, what’s putting pen to paper?
Then I saw Rodarte yesterday, which elicited that feeling. If not because I was slightly off-put and beautifully confused by the combination of tiger and leopard print, slightly reflective of Nicolas Ghesquiere‘s Pre-Fall collection for Balenciaga in 2012, than certainly because if the crystal work on some of those show-girl style bralettes weren’t clearly hand done in tasteful fabric and beads, they could have been a city away from streaming into the local Hot Topic.
But then again, this is the kind of show that brings the spirit of fashion week back to fashion week. Would I know how elaborate and grand the aforementioned beads were had I not been in attendance? Probably not. It’s hard know how the large-fit 80s style, power-woman blazers move when against the fringe trimmed panties (a clear nod to female liberation as far as I’m concerned) and how nicely it looks without having been at the show. Similarly, you can’t quite peg the artful craftsmanship as evidenced by the details apparent on a look that includes a thick bulleted hip belt and white satin buttoned vest, under a white tuxedo jacket from afar. The Rodarte sisters expressed that the show was very much a continuation from last season’s nod to California. This time, clearly done so methodically to denote a sense of power and boldness.
Another collection that could be viewed as a continuation of its resort counterpart appeared on Monday night at Rosie Assoulin‘s presentation for her new, eponymous line. It’s remarkable that after only two seasons, her contoured vision is so clear, you can pluck a Rosie Assoulin garment from a mile away. Here’s the thing of it, though, even in spite of the cancan skirt, and the season’s colored grommets (which looked eerily similar to the candy Dots of my childhood) on a gown and her signature JNCOs and the hand painted striping work on two such garments, Assoulin’s clothes are still not about the actual clothes. They’re about the woman who chooses to live in the clothes.
Across town a day later, Wes Gordon played with his own vision, scaling back on the notion of formal wear as formal wear. In a series of walking negligees, intricate lace work, simple sweaters and denim-style jackets and pants, he reintroduced his range as highly acceptable any-day garb. It’s almost impossible to say no to a white oversize men’s-style blouse paired with a sheer lace pencil skirt no matter the climate, isn’t it? And as for the Manolo Blahnik shoes, they skillfully eschewed the spirit of this season – which is, of course, flats or bust.
At J.Crew, where the fabric of Jenna Lyons spirit is still magically watermarked across each styled look, the supposition was very clear: with sequined hawaiian print sweatpants, easy white dresses and bermuda shorts, even a sleeveless pencil dress for a formal occasion, come summer, you’re not going to need, or want, to wear anything else. Next door at Steven Alan, his women’s collection took a turn for the more masculine honing in on his exceptional ability as a menswear designer and translating that to mean something for his female fans. Case in point: one 90s style slip dress paired under and over an ivory pin striped suit and that beige duster. If this season has taught me anything of important note, it is probably that I should take my robe de chambre to the street.