Helmut Lang: It’s been a dramatic week for Helmut Lang, since he sold the remaining stake in his business to Prada, and took on the title of creative director. But if the collection he showed on Wednesday afternoon is any way to judge, then Lang is feeling upbeat about those changes in a big way. Last season he explored his dark side with a vaguely kinky French-maid motif. This time around, he pondered more wholesome fare, and his moody edge bloomed into something sunny and crisp. And the transition was sensational.

In his artsy way, Mr. Urban — the man with his name riding high above New York City’s taxis — took a strangely preppy detour. And it worked. Smart, tailored jackets and pinstriped pants banded in white at the hem were positively jaunty, while cotton sheath dresses decorated with neat knotted rosettes wouldn’t have looked out of place in Nantucket. Who knew that Lang would ever become the go-to guy for pants printed with a field of prairie flowers?

Still, while he tinkered with the stuff of sweetness, he gave it plenty of city grit. He also sent out enough draped jersey tops and sleek pants to remind everyone just how he got to the top in the first place — by tweaking luxe basics until they turned cool.

In the same lean-and-clean vein, Lang showed some of his most beautiful evening gowns to date in a take on the traditional goddess dressing. In white and in black, his ethereal stunners came gently knotted, draped and slung with pearl halters, or worked into thick twists wound round with strands of beads and pearls. Heavenly.

Jean Paul Gaultier: Ooh-la-la! On its surface, Jean Paul Gaultier’s bewitching spring look took inspiration from a caravan of flamenco dancing gypsies, but beneath, it crackled with fierce Parisian style. Shown in his glamorous new atelier, the collection marked one of those quintessential Gaultier moments when he hits his groove and it all comes together — the fun, the flamboyance and that ever-precious freshness.

Layering lean skirts over those in long tiered lace that exploded from underneath, Gaultier created a fit-and-flare flamenco effect all his own. But while the collection was more focused than it has been in seasons, and specifically on those romantic gypsy types, it also delivered a great range of ideas in the form of gloriously wearable clothes. After all, for Gaultier’s woman, chic is not a costume. Jackets gently rippling with ruffles down the front and slim skirts with sporty trimmings will bolster her wardrobe for seasons to come. Meanwhile, Gaultier’s evening look — richly layered with flame-stitched knits, techno-bright pleated dresses and gypsy skirts banded in gingham and stripes — was joyous enough to see a party girl through a week-long carnivale.

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