NEW YORK — Halfway through the collections and the uncooperative weather doesn’t seem to be slowing the shows down. Over the weekend, die-hard fashion lovers were treated to shows by a number of rookies, along with those of more experienced designers.
First off, to be filed under designing wives with music celeb husbands, add Marie Claudinette Pierre-Jean — Wyclef’s better half. She premiered her Fushá line with Patti LaBelle and Ben Vereen cheering her on from the front row. Out came what she billed as French-Caribbean couture or, translated, super-sexy clothes mixing hip-hop style with a bit of 18th-century romance. Of note was a fabulous shirred mink dress, but the black and silver-striped ballgown had too much going on. And the black leather and lace catsuit? More Shania Twain show than Mary J. Blige cool.
Now, pay attention, hipsters. Newcomer Doori Cheung is designing with you in mind. For her first Doo.Ri. show, she turned out a lineup of beautiful draped dresses with string details, pleated tops and smart full skirts. The felt coat with a shredded scarf effect at the neck was strong, too. But the batik-print denim skirt and shrug seemed out of place in an otherwise solid effort.
Also testing the waters was Texas-born Parsons grad Matthew Earnest with his M.E. by Matthew Earnest presentation. He showed a deft hand at tailoring with well-constructed jackets, skirts and dresses in traditional men’s wear fabrics, topping it all with such girly elements as gold lace accents or colored satin linings. The results were hit and miss. The hits showed real promise. But one word of advice: Lose the leotards.
As for the more seasoned Alice Roi: Too cute — unless you’re Mary Poppins and need all those balloon skirts to lift off. Her lineup was rife with them, some even worn over pants. At times, she did touch down, though, with knit cardigans and tailored jackets over little shifts. Meanwhile, Lloyd Klein showed billowing chiffon blouses and delicate satin knickers played off tailored military jackets and three-piece corduroy suits in his fall collection. Its theme, as he wrote in the program notes, was the romance of two lovers in wartime Paris. His military motif had potential, but, unfortunately, the drama ended there, marred by too many shredded hemlines and poorly proportioned silhouettes.
And while it may have been snowing outside on Friday, it was hot, hot, hot inside Bergdorf Goodman when Rosa Cha’s Brazilian Amir Slama presented his latest sizzling swimwear, including a maillot with an artfully sliced front or a triangle top with provocative slits. Slama also layered thin strips of fabric tightly together for a horizontal pin-tuck look or sewed these individually onto a suit to suggest waves. But the audience seemed most excited by his photo series. For about $200, shoppers can have their favorite photo transposed onto one of six swimsuit styles or a canvas tote.
The goal of Tawfik Mounayer’s collection seems to be an admirable one: making clothes for girls who want their sophisticated chic with a little something extra. He succeeded with a group of wrapped, black jersey knits in a variety of stylish silhouettes that evoked Seven Easy Pieces-era Donna Karan. And while the shape and print of the silk dresses and tops didn’t always work, the cut of the shoulders was distinctive — cleverly crafted to appear to be casually slipping off.