Luca Luca: They’re back! Luca Orlandi resurrected his flash appeal with a Luca Luca collection writhing in sexpot skin-tight looks à la “Lara Croft, Tomb Raider.”The return to overtly sexy clothing was a natural move for Orlandi, who took an uncharacteristic minimal route last season. For fall, black leather and stretch duchesse silk ruled the runway in the form of jackets and tops, dresses and skirts, all with corset or harness details. Super slim pants and tight, cropped jackets had a distinct motocross feel with padded details and crisscross straps over knees or waist. He even revisited his favorite glitz blitz with Swarovski crystal-studded tops and dresses. Sometimes, however, Orlandi took the theme to extremes with clothes that only a model on a runway could, or should wear, like the saucy pair of black pants laced up the sides. Fortunately, there were a few moments of restraint, resulting in some nice pieces like a black trenchcoat and a demure pink dress with a hint of beading — a welcome antidote to sex overload.

Christopher Deane: There comes a time when even nice girls grow up and decide to trade in sugar for a little bit of spice. Enter Christopher Deane’s Christopher Crawford and Angela Deane, whose usual cute-as-a-button downtown collection took a decidedly sophisticated turn for fall. The duo started with chic black silk jersey dresses with silver insets, the freshest being a ruffled shirtdress with a shimmery cowboy yoke. Then came the color: bright blue liquid jersey paired with pale gray and accented with that same silver, a lavender tweed peacoat paired with a full skirt in striped pajama silk, and delicate ballerina dresses in the palest blue and cream. These two have certainly come a long way, and their growing pains never felt so good!

Cynthia Steffe: Known for her charmingly feminine looks, this season Cynthia Steffe branched out in a new direction — the English countryside in the Victorian era. She worked with luxe fabrics — rich velvets, soft cashmeres and nubby, textured tweeds, all in a neutral-based color palette with hints of gold, green and coral. And Steffe pulled it off with a modern twist. Corsets went over cashmere tops, while a tweed blazer was paired with a stitched velvet riding skirt and strapless dresses with tops. For evening, Steffe sent out some sexy velvet numbers that would have made the proper blush. And to keep in tune with her English-heritage theme, there were plenty of traditional men’s wear fabrics, such as plaids, herringbone and striped shirtings.

Nicole Miller: For fall, Miller continues the saga of last season’s shipwrecked damsel all the way to her arrival back to the city. But this time, the lady finds herself and her luggage in disarray. One could argue that, at times, Miller realizes this notion too literally, with a handful of mismatched looks, such as a strapless taffeta dress over pants. Still, there were plenty of appealing numbers to be found, such as the ivory popcorn sweater with a satin peacock skirt or the raw-edged golden velvet skirt paired with a little jacket. Layering was a big theme throughout and looked best with the fun little sweaters in checked patterns with hoods or little collars. Antique gold beaded tops contributed to the vintage feel of the collection, and Miller’s little black dresses got a makeover with delicate streaming lace ribbons. While the collection didn’t quite live up to last season’s ace, it certainly carried its own brand of fun and girlish charm.

Catherine Malandrino: It’s difficult to put your finger on exactly what it was that made Catherine Malandrino’s collection disappointing. It was best at its simplest, such as a black silk dress with an embroidered neckline and waist, but these looks were few. When broken down into their separate components, the more complicated looks seemed harmless enough: a pretty color palette of dusty lavenders, grays and greens, special details such as embroidery, laser cutouts and pintucked pleats, and a slew of cropped pants cut to a chic and refreshing length. However, more often than not, there were too many of these puzzle pieces forced into a single look and the overall effect was exceedingly disjointed. Sometimes, gestalt works in reverse, and something can actually be less than the sum of its parts. That was the case with Malandrino’s collection.

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