New York Fashion Week Fall 2015: Day Three
Lacoste: René did it First
MC Solaar – France’s best-known rapper – pounded out the sound while Lacoste sent out an insolent message on a T-shirt: “René did it first!”
Beating America at its own sportswear game was the story of Lacoste’s Autumn/Winter 2015 season. And designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista is right: back in the 1920s René Lacoste and his crocodile logo marked the beginning of sporty clothes incorporated into fashion.
The designer took his theme of “winter tennis” and ran with it. For both sexes he played with the tracksuit but also offered cute, girly, pleated tennis skirts. He also followed a strong theme of opening up seams and silhouettes: coat sleeves slit open to release the arms, and some panels ofmesh to reflect the tennis net. Plays on checks or stripes set at an angle were graphic and stylish for both sexes.
Some balls landed out of court, but the general effect was younger and sharper. For while René may have done it all back in the “Anyone for tennis?” era, the brand now has to play the fashion game to 21st-century rules.
Alexander Wang: A Tough Take on New Romantics
Rage radiated from every metal stud, glimmering on collars, coat fronts, dresses, bags, and clumpy don’t-mess-with-me boots. As the Alexander Wang show rose to an aggressive crescendo, even a chocolate from mom and dad Kim Kardashian and Kanye West could not calm baby North.
Yet surely it was all a game? The sullen-faced models with strands of wet-look hair tangling over angry faces should have been proud to wear such striking and subtly-worked clothes. Even the hard metal panels encasing the walls of the East River pier came in waves – the better to match the body-skimming silhouettes of the outfits.
Was it aggression – or entertainment?
“It was meant to be fun!” said Wang backstage, after his familiar gallop down the runway, his straight black hair flying behind him. “I always use polarity codes – New Romantic versus hard edges, a bit of Victoriana,” he continued, referring to dark dresses in plush velvet, although those gentle beauties were followed by bodices that caged the body.
Wang is such a powerful designer because he is energetic, purposeful, and has a vision that could come only from someone young enough to put forward his take on references from the past.
The collection is best described as a mash-up of the brash 1980s, with elements from other decades – not to mention the Victorians. So, giant shoulders puffed out with fur, while sleek pantsuits had cropped jackets like a barman’s, with brass buttons and a fob chain as decoration. The hardwear might be lines of metal studs or metallic clips – appearing mostly on black – but a scarlet plaid with a punk feel then took over the palette.
Wang was right to talk about contrasts: of furry surfaces and heavy metal; mesh caging the body in contrast to velvet. And, as ever, when a young designer re-invents the past, the feeling was fresh, funky, and forceful.
Moncler Grenoble: My Snowy Valentine
All you need is LOVE – and a budget and a red chocolate-box set large enough for model couples torise up on through the floor in homage to St Valentine’s Day.
This extraordinary manipulation of hearts and hydraulics was achieved by Moncler Grenoble – the brand that taught the world to wear puffa down jackets. Here they came out on a day when New York was smothered in snow and these stylish winter warmers with a variety of furry trimmings could not have looked more appropriate.
To be truthful, the fashion crowd was too excited to watch this visual fashion celebration. Songs about love ran ticker tape on the backdrop to encourage the audience to sing along. And it all ended, of course, with a kiss – one, or two or ten for each couple. Oh yes! And along with the trays of drinks there were plates of chocolates. Heart shaped – of course.
There was a gentility about this show that had a womanly appeal. But the designer’s lavish look of mesh and slits seemed optimistic for Winter 2015.