Carmen Marc Valvo: Carmen Marc Valvo began with one of his show’s strongest looks: a mink capelet over a long, lean-jacketed pantsuit in brown pinstriped cashmere. It was smart, chic, even sexy, but it was a maverick in the collection. Because Valvo is, after all, the man you go to for evening dresses, especially those floaty numbers on which he built his reputation and his business. And while there were lots of them, too many were a little deja vu. Among the few that could add some excitement to a Valvo fan’s wardrobe were the long burnt ombréd silk mouseline dress, a pale rose lace look and the black ruffled beauty.
There’s no question that furs are one of the important trends of the season, and Valvo offered his ladies some stunning fur coats, such as the lean beauty in brown broadtail, reversing to cashmere and a pink Swakara version. But perhaps he embraced the trend with too much gusto, since he piled fur pieces on just about every look — rather than enhancing his clothes, they often detracted from them. Over the years, the designer has demonstrated the talent to do it all, and while this collection had plenty to offer, it lacked Valvo’s usual focus.
Cynthia Rowley: Motherhood suits Cynthia Rowley. Just weeks after giving birth to her second daughter, Gigi Clementine, the designer sent out a more mellow, more sophisticated collection. The opener, a flowing rust jersey gown with a plunging neckline, made a fabulous, chic understatement. She carried that through the rest of her dresses in beautiful, airy chiffons, paired with a long, sporty coat or a chunky cardigan. Still, as her show notes indicated, fall was based on luxury camping looks. And, at times, Rowley certainly put the camp in camping, taking the motif a little too literally. Sometimes it was funny — the long-burning matchstick necklace — and sometimes not — nylon rock-climbing ropes lacing up a pullover or the gold appliqué antlers trimming a dress’ neckline. Those kitschy details, however, shouldn’t detract from the overall grown-up attitude of simple, luxe knits and the sophisticated appeal of an unadorned black satin dress. Next time she ought to concentrate on improving her presentation, as the disorganized seat assigning delayed everything by almost an hour. The sooner Rowley gets the runway going, the sooner she’ll be at home toasting marshmallows with her girls.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"