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Friday, October 9, 2015

NY Bridal Week: THEIA Fall 2016

NY Bridal Week got off on a very sexy start Thursday with THEIA's Fall 2016 Bridal collection. Designer Don O'Neill's inspiration this season was the sultry spirit of 1920s opium dens. 

What I love about how O'Neill designs his collections is that he considers his theme both aesthetically and intellectually. Aesthetically, you see influences of the time period in bias silhouettes and the very current trend of fringe worked into elegant gowns. You also see hints of Asian influence in the use of red for bridal gowns and the embroidery without veering into cultural appropriation that lesser designers are tempted by. A bit of the flapper influence immediately set the tone with that first look of vampy eye shadow and fur chubby and the beaded gown. Intellectually, the opium den was carried through in the spirit of a bride who has rid herself of her inhibitions and is now free. There were sheer dresses that served to highlight the graphic patterns of the embroidery. The 1920s was a breakthrough decade of major progress in women's lives so the liberation idea was appropriate there too.
In practical details, THEIA does a great job of taking classic details and current fashion trends and reworking them into bridal. Instead of standard cowl-back bias gown, there were multiple draped strips framing the back. Off-the-shoulder silhouettes were cut in modern shapes. Instead of using fringe in a bohemian way or traditional flapper dress, the placement was used to create movement where a sheer skirt or back cape detail might be.

A perfect partnership, floral designer Fleur de Pascal created dramatic orchid bouquets, lillies and over-sized lotus flowers for a sophisticated look. He wasn't afraid to go dark for the darker colored gowns adding to that sultry, illicit opium den vibe.

The THEIA bridal collection once again gave us a beautiful collection that is flattering, sexy and fashion forward. It has hints of classic bridal silhouettes but pushes them forward with updated trends. When the foggy opium den haze clears, what an image these gowns make.
photos by Mariana Leung


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Blonds Retrospective with Rootstein Mannequins

the blonds costume

katy perry costume

the blonds mannequin

Do you know that spectacular spangly outfit worn onstage by your favorite pop diva? It was probably made by The Blonds. That impossibly perfect specimen of male/female beauty on the runway? That's Philippe Blond. The iconic mannequin company Rootstein immortalized him as one of their new mannequins in both his masculine and feminine looks. Gender fluidity never looked this good.

During NY Fashion Week, I enjoyed a fabulous cocktail party/retrospective exhibit of The Blonds most iconic looks. I recognized most of the outfits from my favorite concerts. While they looked great from afar, it was really impressive to see the work and construction up close. The highly dimensional embroidery with jewels, spikes, chains, electric wire was incredible.

Together with partner David, The Blonds are icons of 1990s club looks taken to the Nth degree. Each outfit is creating a character unto itself. They are so flashy, so over the top that it makes the person wearing them larger than life as well. They costumed everyone from Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Beyonce, well, any modern pop icon you can think of actually. Such mundane concerns as wearability or practicality are not considered.

Do you have a favorite look from The Blonds? Sound off below.

Check out Top Fashion Museum Exhibits in the Next Year
by Ms. Fabulous at Mode
All photos by Mariana Leung 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Paul Frank Spring 2015 Circus

Hey little monkeys! The most whimsical fashion show of NY Fashion Week had to be the circus party of the Paul Frank children's fashion collection. A garage event space on the West Side was turned into a carnival featuring aerialists, hoop spinners, actors on stilts and lots of other amusements.

While the famous Paul Frank sock monkey was present on a smaller scale, the spring clothing collection was about celebrating motifs of other animals like zebra stripes, tiger and leopard spots. Sporty separates with athletic stripes and some glittery accents also made the mix.

Celebrity guests included Rachel Zoe and family. Also, strangely, a "celebrity" dog named Marnie who is famous for a tongue that seems permanently hung out to one side.

It was hot as hell and humid from the pouring rain at the party. That didn't stop guests (me) from chowing down on marshmallow ice cream and popcorn. Marnie the dog enjoyed cotton candy, a meal
that I doubt was endorsed by a vet.

NYFW gets too serious and too uptight at times. Thank you Paul Frank for letting big kids and little kids just have fun.
photos by Mariana Leung


Friday, October 2, 2015

The Secret Society of Ex-Mermaids

secret society of ex mermaids
ex mermaid fashion
When is the last time you saw a bit of magic on the runway? The Secret Society of Ex-Mermaids has to be my favorite name for an up-and-coming fashion collection this season. The clothing was a mix of streetwear with whimsical touches.

Designer Francki Harrell worked for established brands like Michael Kors, Issac Mizrahi and Rebecca Taylor before striking out on her own.

You can see designer Harrell's love of illustration in some of her prints and graphics. Iridescent shimmer fabrics and ruffles are paired with edgier separates. Harrell imagines that an ex - mermaid might have a slight transition period from ocean to land and turn to sea-inspired appliques on the chest to replace the pasties they are used to wearing underwater (apparently a trend that Gucci picked up on with their collection a few days later).

Other little touches that helped the narrative was the use of bandages on the models knees. I guess a mermaid strolling on land is bound to have a few mishaps. 

If Ariel from the Little Mermaid grew up today and had some attitude, she would probably  think the Coney island parade was her personal fashion week. The Secret Society of Ex-Mermaids however is where she would shop.
All photos by Mariana Leung

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

West 56 Brings Luxe to Athleisure

west 56 fashion

What is the hottest fashion category right now? For industry insiders, the big buzz word is athleisure. Designer Alston Yang was well aware of that when he launched his label West 56. Athleisure describes fashion forward clothing that is also made with performance capabilities for working out (or at least putting on after the workout). I thought I would bring you some stylish gear to inspire you for Women's Health & Fitness Day.

Most young designers who launch their first label aim for a luxury collection to express their wildest creative leanings. While a few create something great, maybe even gather some press, it rarely sells on a large scale. Ths is not a workable model for a new line. Pricing ends up being exhorbitant, production is not even factored in the creation of the samples. Retailers are reluctant to take a chance on a newbie with super expensive clothing when there are hundreds of other competing, more established designers.

Alston Yang on the other hand, paid his dues first working with Derek Lam and Opening Ceremony. He then spent his time working with his family and factory to develop a proprietary fabric call HEATIMPACT. As a fashion designer who lives/works a healthy lifestyle, he created the ultimate collection to outfit the way he lives. In his first few months out, West 56 already landed a major deal with upscale gym chain Equinox.

So newbie designers, what have we learned? Market for a lifestyle, not celebrities. Have a unique fabrication, not just "creative vision". Also, West 56 pieces retail for under $100, making it accessible to all potential customers. I was most surprised by that. It has a high end aesthetic. I loved that many of the pieces had intricate seaming details, hidden pockets. I usually see this level of execution on more expensive brands. Of course it helps that Yang is producing with his label with his own collections. 

So get ready to get healthy. Make your running track your personal runway. West 56 is there for you, affordable, luxe and ready to sweat.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ohne Titel Spring 2016

ohne titel spring 2016

Parson's School of Design grads, Alexa Adams, and Floral Gill started their label OHNE TITEL (the German word for untitled) in 2006. The brands most common themes are sleek and sporty silhouettes, with an emphasis on feminine details. This season there was no shortage of unique fabrics in bold colors perfect for the modern woman. The collection featured three distinct color palettes in lightweight fabrics such as sheer viscose, chiffon, lace, taffeta, pointelle knits, and macrame. The must-have pieces from the collection were the delicate knit separates and the peekaboo shoulder caftans. Other great details were the suede fringe shoes and beaded choker necklaces. But don't take my word for it...have a look at the images and video below!

Recap and photos by Elaine Fioravanti of Best Dressed Ginger.
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