New York Fashion Week Fall 2015: Day Six
Tory Burch: Magic Carpets
“Marrakech meets Chelsea” – whether the New York or London district was not specified, but that was the Tory Burch line for her autumn collection.
One look at the worn, patterned Moroccan carpets that were on the runway, and used as a backdrop, explained the story.
And Those rugs worked as magic carpets for this version of twenty-first century Bohemia.
The designer, wearing a dress with a rusty North African pattern, defined the look: a new and polished version of Seventies Hippie Luxe.
It is tough to take on a Moroccan theme without turning it into a parade of sandals and carpetbags. Those generous carrier bags were there, but in a sophisticated way, like the Berber jewellery influences.
Tory did not dig too deep into the artistic heritage – any more than she did last year with her Picasso-inspired summer collection.
There were also sleek, tailored pieces for winter 2015, starting with a tailored coat in a jacquard pattern, worn with streamlined pants, not some gypsy skirt.
The masculine-feminine look was as gently done as the faded rug patterns. In many cases, perhaps just a plaid coat or a skirt with a single, blown-up ethnic-patterned square. By contrast, a full-on Moroccan-patterned top was the height of elegant simplicity.
Tory has developed the idea of taking a subject and running with it – but within the parameters of her own style. The show of Marrakesh-made-chic was a fine example of her skills.
Rodarte: A Confident Flight
“We started with the idea of birds leaving the city,” said Laura Mulleavy, explaining the origins of the Autumn 2015 Rodarte show, which was as fresh as it was compelling.
Finally, after a decade of hovering between a streetwise vulgarity and romance with a dark edge, it seemed as though the Rodarte sisters, Kate and Laura, had hit the perfect fashion note.
The difference was that for the daywear, the seedy side – suggestive of dubious downtown LA – was smartened up with tailored jackets or even a roomy coat, worn with short skirts, stretch leather pants and skinny hose, often with lace running down the side.
These women in their tweed blazers, softened with lacy tops, looked less fragile than the typical Mulleavy image, and more in charge of their destinies.
But, suddenly, these powerful women, walking through a set of fallen branches, were descended upon by a flock of colourful figures. The invaders wore dresses of intense colour with layers of crystal stripes and flowers that blazed like neon lighting.
Then, like departing birds, the flock of glitter flew away, replaced by more ethereal draped dresses, decorated with wispy feathers. Backstage, the duo could no longer remember how the original storyline had first unfolded.
The lyrical beauty of the eveningwear had no trace of the blood-and-gore stories from which the siblings had started their collections. Nor was there anything approaching the Star Wars references we have seen previously.
There may have been a faint undercurrent of discomfort, but every single outfit was wearable – the first truly desirable fashion collection that Rodarte has offered. Which is probably why this season it was the hard-nosed American buyers, not press and friends, who were the first ones backstage with heartfelt congratulations.
Oscar de la Renta: Copping — Respect
As the models wearing smart striped suits, high-waisted skirts and tailored coats stepped out in elegant heels, there was a sigh of relief from the line-up of loyal clients at the Oscar de la Renta show.
Socialites, philanthropists, and famous TV personality Barbara Walters had all come to see the new man at the helm after the passing of de la Renta last year. And Peter Copping, the British-born designer lured from Nina Ricci in Paris to take control, got a resounding thumbs-up.
“Very respectful,” said Mercedes Bass, jiggling her emerald earrings as she picked out her winners, while Nancy Kissinger had already marked potential purchases.
Backstage, Copping said, “I didn’t want it to be an homage, but Oscar felt very present.”
All fashion ‘takeovers’ tend to start by not rocking the boat. Alexander McQueen’s madcap inventions for Givenchy is the only time I can think of a deliberate upheaval.
So the new designer made chic daywear that would not frighten away existing clients: a jacket with mink cuffs or a check tweed coat. Missing was the floral prettiness shown by Copping at his Paris house, but the pieces were graceful and seemed beautifully made.
Since Taylor Swift and model Karly Kloss were also front row, the designer made a more youthful offering in a short ballerina dress. Although grand gowns swept the catwalk as the show progressed.
This outing did seem like an homage, with Copping “not putting himself first” as Mercedes Bass said. Yet, recently, Oscar himself had introduced some striking and modernising elements, such as dayglow colours and flower jewellery as intense decoration.
However noble it is to follow a great American fashion hero, the new designer must start to fill up himself those high-heeled shoes.
Marc by Marc Jacobs: Game On!
Aggressive, anarchic, rude and crude – but fun!
Rambunctious British duo Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley have made Marc by Marc Jacobs far more than just a second line to the designer’s big brand – which he still handles himself.
In fact, the two are smart, using simple fabrics like denim for long, slightly hippie-ish dresses, or cute short skirts – and then adding messages like ‘”Solidarity”, the final “Y” offering up a two-finger salute.
As a way of pepping up the brand meant for a younger crowd, the system is working. The romp across a vast green turf was fun, but Team Marc may not be able to play the same game each season.