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Whether ladylike or tough, decorated or sleek, one thing’s for sure — these looks are made for cool girls everywhere.
Lela Rose: Lela Rose is a Southern belle who has built a business out of clothes that are sweet and ladylike, if a bit familiar. This collection was all of those things, demonstrated with plenty of pretty dresses. She served up scalloped hems, metallic polkadots and jeweled necklines with an appealing quirky quality, while a sporty motif — albeit a girly one — leveled the saccharine factor with taffeta jackets and anorak dresses.
Stephen Burrows: Stephen Burrows’ clothes are known for their element of fun. And this season, the designer found his party in Spain, delivering plenty of flamenco flourish in cascading ruffles, dramatic flounces and exuberant tassel work. The colors were inspired by the country’s cuisine, and Burrows even cleverly worked in the kaleidoscopic mosaics of Antoni Gaudí to chic effect.
Yeohlee: Yeohlee Teng’s clothes are a visual feast of ever-evolving architectural shapes and inventive fabrics. For spring, her focus is on boldly cut winged blouses in silk organza, arch-shaped coats in glossed cotton and crescent boleros. These striking silhouettes may have landed in many major design exhibitions, but they don’t necessarily play well on the streets. Yet this collection did have some cozier, effortless looks that hit the mark: the gracefully flared dress and skirt in linen and silk seersucker and the lovely frocks in powder gray silk chiffon with hand-cut diamantés.
Jeremy Laing: Ever the student of minimalism, Jeremy Laing wove a clever conceptualism into his spring collection with softly draped dresses — several with capelet or canopy overlays. Laing also indulged in some Nineties-era colorblocking, even gracing one frock with painter pal Karen Azoulay’s festive firework print, which had the front row celebrating.
Julia Jentzsch: Spring marks the debut of Julia Jentzsch’s eponymous line, but the former designer of the now-defunct Naum has not sworn off that clean, streamlined look. In fact, Jentzsch said this collection is simply “an evolution” of the old Naum. She still carries on with a sculptural touch, but the architectural shapes have now softly, and elegantly, deflated. Everything, whether tailored smokings or tank dresses, came long, languid and lean — and with beautifully restrained embellishments.
Preen: Presenting here for the first time and celebrating Preen’s 10th year, the Brit duo Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton proved a welcome addition to New York’s cramped schedule with their covetable tough-chic ideas on dressing. With Lauren Hutton, circa “American Gigolo,” and Seventies Grand Prix Monaco pit girls in mind, they sent out lots of relaxed jumpsuits and unstructured jackets and coats. Lest it all read too masculine, though, lace bodysuits, sequins and bondage straps kept things racy, and a mostly pastel palette lightened up the mood.
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Cynthia Steffe: Waleed Khairzada’s first full collection for Cynthia Steffe was as colorful as a box of crayons, but his repetitive update on classic American sportswear, though lovely, needed some serious editing.
Tse: Tess Giberson struck a fine balance between the romantic — delicate knits, silk dresses — and the structured, à la tailored silhouettes with a military edge.
Vena Cava: Inspired by Old Hollywood, Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai turned out a tight lineup of minimal, graphic-printed dresses based on Thirties silhouettes, but the duo also indulged its tomboy side with some great Windbreaker vests and pleated pants in men’s wear fabrics.
Carlos Miele: His sultry coral and turquoise gowns with intricate rosettes seemed overdone, but Carlos Miele’s more subtle day looks in muted champagne lace hit the right note.
Charlotte Ronson: Coy knits and nautical stripes exemplified the Seventies flair of Charlotte Ronson’s collection, providing a much-needed youthful touch, without baring too much flesh.
Chris Han: Uberfemininity was Chris Han’s guiding principle for her collection of flirty chiffon dresses and tops, marked by intricate details and soft draping.
Douglas Hannant: A pair of flowy, floral prints — one green, one blue — was the strongest of Hannant’s uptown dress parade that ran the gamut from daytime shifts to floor-sweeping evening gowns.
Miss Sixty: Creative director Wichy Hassan struck a more sophisticated vibe with a heady dose of silk day dresses and voluminous tops, some trimmed with metallic leather.
Chesley McLaren: Illustrator Chesley McLaren is taking on a second career in fashion with a Parisian-chic collection of ruffle-sleeve dresses, Louis XIV-inspired coats and coquettish silk satin knickers.
Sue Stemp: Embracing the Summer of Love, Sue Stemp delivered a vivid collection of maxi- and minidresses in batik and feather prints, all sprinkled with just the right amount of whimsy.
Binetti: According to Diego Binetti, love is all you need, and he turned out a hippie-inspired collection of pretty, hand-painted floral caftans and delicate lace bohemian dresses, all with a hipster edge.