Fall Fashion Week's second year at New York's Lincoln Center continues to be more exclusive than its Bryant Park years (its high-tech security actually keeps out gate-crashers), but the fashion - although simple and minimalist - is inviting, not to mention glittery. Still, that sparkle doesn't evoke a party-all-the-time vibe: Skirts are longer. Gauchos abound. Layering is important. And designers such as Tracy Reese, Diane von Furstenberg, and even Philadelphia's Ralph Rucci are offering sleeveless fur vests. Yes, this looks like an extension of fall 2010 trends, but instead of dreary grays, we're seeing fire-engine reds, kelly greens, and cobalt blues. Here is a look at some of my favorite Fashion Week shows so far.
Strong, yet soft as a roseOne of the first shows I saw was Lela Rose's sensibly colored collection for next fall. She stayed away from the monochromatic, but used muted fabrics to create sleek sheaths. She wrapped models' shoulders in gauzy fabrics, and she wasn't afraid to pair knee-length socks with closed-toe wedges - to great effect. She mixed metallics to give simple silhouettes an extra punch, and the models' Marcel hairstyles really finished things off. Will these styles be big next fall? Looks like it, as so many collections for 2011 are simple, ladylike, and demure. The days of over-construction appear to be over.
DVF does glitter chicDiane von Furstenberg's American Legends collection is full of sparkly, classy pieces in bold shades. Usually I am a fan of red - of which she showed a lot - but my favorite shade in her presentation was mint. The green in this dress is bold and yummy (it's easy to wear and pairable with leggings or jeggings) and I love the off-the-shoulder sparkle. She even featured a mint fur vest with evergreen wool pants. Furstenberg kept with the mood of the season - covered up and minimalistic - but she gave her runway looks a spicy feel.
Ralph Rucci wowsPhiladelphia-born Ralph Rucci always gets a star-studded crowd for New York Fashion Week, and his Monday night show was no different. Actress Whoopi Goldberg sat front and center next to Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley. Ken Doonan, buyer from Neiman Marcus, was in the house, as was fashion doyenne Iris Apfel - such a big deal that New York's Peabody Essex Museum showed more than 80 dramatic ensembles last year from her personal collections.
Rucci presented a series of shocking red ensembles: a red Mongolian lamb coat over skinny pants, a red chinchilla tunic over black pants, a red quilted satin pagoda jacket and gown. This 61-piece collection was so great, I waited with bated breath as each outfit rounded the corner and down the runway. The audience agreed, as three pieces drew applause, including a Spanish embroidered silk gown. Rucci also worked matte jersey into his line in a beyond-classy way - I'm eyeing a gray dress. And no Rucci collection is complete without sheaths that feature what he calls "suspension" - pieces of fabric that look like they're floating within his clothing cutouts. Phenomenal. Artistic. Fashion at its best.