Clean lines, girly touches and sexy little details — that's the recipe designers have followed for the new season. Blend well, and the finished product is pretty as can be.
Diane von Furstenberg: All that was missing from Diane von Furstenberg's show was the Trevi Fountain. Inspired by Sixties-era Rome, von Furstenberg called her collection "La Dolce Diva." And what dolce there was. She's well acquainted with the glories of diva-dom, but more importantly, she also understands the realities of daily life. Yes, there was plenty of glamour here, but these clothes were the real stuff. Her signature wrap dresses — for which enthusiasm never wanes — had a throw-on-and-go quality, combining sex appeal and comfort. Von Furstenberg also added a slew of new, accessible lady-to-the-max looks: little flared jackets, the best in dark denim, tossed over every silhouette; an ivory crochet suit; Empire cotton baby dolls, and a knockout beige trench. But back to that glamour, which had an element of surprise to it. Alek Wek's strapless leopard gown was pretty enough, but all the more so in sequined navy-and-red silk and worn casually with a cotton cardigan. The diva's gone the distance.
Betsey Johnson: Ooh la la! That was the echo heard down the line of petite tables at Betsey Johnson's latest fashion week frolic — this time inspired by Parisian cafes. And who's more fun to have a spot of chocolat with than Johnson, or perhaps her guests, Kelly Osbourne and the Hilton sisters, who sat down front? There were ruffles galore; a girlish color palette of pink, blue and white, and the traditional bit of Betsey camp, such as pretty Swiss dot blouses and tulip skirts, fruit- or floral-print silk dresses that ranged from mini to maxi and some great denim shorts. It remains to be seen if ladies not of the model variety will actually wear the gingham mini bloomers and bubble suits, but they sure did look sweet.
Cynthia Steffe: Buh-bye, boho. For spring, Cynthia Steffe did minimal. But Cynthia being Cynthia, her presentation wasn't exactly a study in spare. She chucked the bright colors and embellishments of past collections in favor of more architectural details in a clean palette of black, white, red, gray and one Mondrian-inspired print, which she used sparingly. She focused her energy on intricate pintucks and seams, such as the tight pleats of a white canvas skirt — paired with a fresh red seersucker jacket — or the corset effect on light cotton tanks and dresses. Steffe only broke her appealing new minimal stride with a few looks — a pair of party frocks in bright yellow flounces and jade eyelet, and some black lacquered coats that were a tad too retro.
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?"