Rock ’n’ Roll Cool, a Twenties Twist and Downtown Girls – Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens, Revillon, Sonia Rykiel and Martine Sitbon
Ann Demeulemeester laced her rock ’n’ roll attitude with falconry, while Rick Owens showed deconstructed looks in his own house and for Revillon. Sonia Rykiel added a Twenties flavor, and Martine Sitbon courted downtowners.
Ann Demeulemeester: Everyone knows that Ann Demeulemeester likes a bit of rock ’n’ roll, but sometimes she’s able to temper that harder edge with a softer poetic sensibility. With allusions to the sportier side of country living — think falconry and horseback riding — Demeulemeester did just that, and presented a stellar fall collection that was tough, yet romantic.
Demeulemeester used a strict color palette of black, white, chocolate and cognac to chic effect. Military coats and fencing jackets in ponyskin, leather or washed cotton were paired with skinny leather pants or kilts, all sporting multiple buckles and straps. Long-haired shearlings were cut into everything from jackets and vests to coats and scarves, and even extra-large gauntlets were made cozy with the stuff. Chain mail car-wash skirts were more dainty than warrior woman, and vests with metal rings sparkled. And for the girl who is put off by all those straps, Demeulemeester did floaty silk tunics abstractly printed with the nape of a horse’s neck.
Rick Owens: At its best, Rick Owens’ disheveled deconstruction, complicated wraps and rough-hewn hems convey rock ’n’ roll cool. The fabrics are boiled, wrinkled and crinkled, and the colors are dirty, distressed and muted. For fall, he delivered more of the same, much of it with assurance and calm, showing he has no intention of shifting course.
In fact, Owens strives to be called avant-garde. But at times, he tries so hard to live up to that label that his clothes end up looking contrived. Consider the disproportionate wrap skirts. Instead of being experimental — after all, we’ve seen this stuff before — they looked forced. A wrap skirt was clumsily short in front and long with an unseemly point in back, while too much superfluous fabric dangled from jackets and coats. More restraint and rigor would have made them modern. Those qualities did come through in some of his clothes with good results.
Crumpled leather jackets with knit ribbing on the inside of the sleeve were strong, as were leather blousons cut away in back. Knitwear, at its simplest, created an alluring, long silhouette, and thin twisting knit and jersey dresses hugged the body. But even the avant-garde would pass on those droopy knit trousers that resembled long johns.Revillon:Rick Owens’ redirection of this staid furrier into cooler territory has begun to take shape. And it looks as if the groovy designer believes Revillon should be made over in his image, because his fall effort for the house was barely discernable from his signature line. That said, there were differences, the most notable of which was that Owens controlled the overwrought deconstructions that weighed down his own brand. Here, the designer’s familiar tattered fabrics, low-slung corduroy skirts and clinging knits became the accessories to his focus: fur. He draped all variety of the furry stuff long in front and cropped in back. He engulfed gloves in fur and long scarves rolled down the torso like unruly beards. His little boleros, which combined both short and long-hair furs, were part rock-star, part homecoming queen, and, when he felt discreet, he simply fur-lined a big puffy jacket. Owens’ rock sensibility may not appeal to the Ladies who Lunch, but it’s giving Revillon a jolt.
Sonia Rykiel: Cheeky humor has always peppered Sonia Rykiel’s designs. And that sassy spirit flowed in torrents in her lively fall collection, flavored with a Twenties twist. A pair of eyes peered out from the front of a black sweater, while hands were strategically placed on the rear of a tight-fitting black knit skirt. Animal tails dangled from voluminous fur coats and wraps, while figure-hugging knit dresses were attached in front with a bevy of bows. This Left Bank designer wants her girls to have fun. Rykiel zeroed in on the trends, too, with tweed and houndstooth suits and coats, and filmy ruffled chiffon skirts and dresses printed with flowers. She ended by flooding the runway with little black sweaters decorated with rhinestones that spelled out “So Rykiel.” Indeed, it was.
Martine Sitbon: When she’s good, Martine Sitbon serves up the type of fare downtown girls devour. Her floaty chiffon dresses are pretty and cool, and her masculine-feminine mix has the right edge. For fall, velvet with chiffon was juxtaposed, tiered and wrapped in complicated asymmetric dresses, while knitwear was cut away at the shoulder or in back. Pants were wide, and many of her confections came with crushed abstract bows. Some of it had soul. A layered skirt of chiffon and velvet in yellow with vague flower patterns was a case in point. But at times the effect was heavy, lacking Sitbon’s usual ethereal flair. Meanwhile, big crushed velvet coats and form-fitting knits and simpler skirts in a palette of pale pink came closer to the mark.
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