Elegant and Exotic – Vera Wang, Sebastian Pons and Alvin Valley
The last of the New York collections showed there’s more than one way to create a strong collection. You can do it with stunningly elegant evening beauties or by creating terrific looks with ethnic influences.
Vera Wang: Has anybody ever doubted that Vera Wang has the Midas touch? Certainly her track record as a designer suggests it. And now she has proved it definitively with a new fine jewelry collection, which Sarah Jessica Parker dipped into for the Emmys on Sunday night.
The beautiful new jewelry underscores Wang’s design aesthetic, fusing femininity, sensuality and subtlety — qualities mirrored in her spring lineup, which she presented informally on Monday. Wang is a real pro when it comes to dressing celebs, and she thinks her intricately pleated, short, black charmeuse skirt paired with a ribbed cotton cardigan is perfect Oscars fare. Then there was an ivory silk basketweave coat, belted with a blue ribbon and embroidered in floral sequins, which she showed over a fancy cutout skirt, but thinks it could be “great with jeans.”
Although there was a wonderful easy sportswear slant to many of the evening looks, she didn’t — and shouldn’t — abandon those dreamy, almost ethereal dresses she does every season. They never get stale and her fans crave them. For spring, the best included a long, pale pink charmeuse number with a cascade of side tulle ruffles; the airy, delicate gold-embroidered slip dresses, and frothy tulle tops worn with cropped wool tuxedo pants. But Wang knows how to make simplicity as alluring as the overtly glamorous gowns for which she’s known.Cases in point: the chic, lean navy wool “monk’s” coat and the brown draped silk jersey top worn with a gray wool pencil skirt.
As for those jewels, the collection is full of pink and white diamonds, yellow tourmalines and pink morganites set in delicate gold, platinum or titanium. Most striking, from the capsule advance, were the earrings and ring in an airy abstract rose motif of pavé diamonds set in titanium. The line will be launched early next year at select jewelers and specialty stores. After all, diamonds — and Wang — are a girl’s best friends.
Sebastian Pons: After two years of working at Miguel Adrover’s side, Sebastian Pons left his position as design director at his firm in December 2002. The reason? Pons says he wasn’t satisfied with Adrover’s business direction — or lack thereof. It’s clear the experience has influenced Pons’ own work, particularly on the production side. He claims, for example, that his factories are ready to roll and that he can name the exact number of pieces he can make of each design.Still, comparisons between Pons and Adrover are inevitable, and while there are some similarities, Pons’ collection is a thing unto itself. He shares Miguel’s interest in ethnic references, but he omits the high-handed statements and witty gestures. Instead, Pons, whose inspirations range from Ancient Greece to his native Mallorca to India, has taken a relatively straightforward route to chic. The line is peppered with great pieces: beautiful creamy crocheted dresses, a floral-print caftan, a china blue-and-white ikat jacket. Pons aims to combine the best of both spheres — Old World techniques and materials with silhouettes tweaked to suit the contemporary girl.
While there were fully conceived looks, like a slew of matching cream embroidered linen skirts and jackets, the designer knows women like to mix it up. And they will no doubt find some great pieces from his spring lineup to add to their wardrobes for life in the city or country.
Alvin Valley: After last season’s show at the Waldorf Astoria, Alvin Valley has obviously learned that it’s better to have the Ladies in the front row than on the catwalk — especially when it comes to the ubiquitous Hilton sisters. This time, Valley and creative director Gisele Zelauy were inspired by nothing less than Dada — a notion that fortunately proved to be better in practice than in theory with tailoring and construction that was polished and chic. Crisp linen and Lurex suits looked fabulous, while the cheeky little matador jackets in brocade were fresh.In a surprising turn, Valley also sent out a slew of colorblocked jersey dresses and gowns, which, though reminiscent of Nineties Calvin Klein, looked perfect for the girl who wants to dress up without a lot of fuss. Also of note: smart blazers, sexy pencil skirts and charming knits. With all that was good, it’s easy to overlook the not-so-sweet eyelets and frumpy prints. Overall, Valley’s collection showed a step towards maturity — he even chopped off his signature long locks to clean up for the occasion. But one has to wonder how much of this change he owes to his collaborator — superstylist Lori Goldstein.
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