Calvin Klein: Francisco Costa’s got one of the toughest gigs in fashion. Not only did he succeed a major god, accepting the mantle of expectation inherent therein, he did so just after that god had cashed out to new owners with their own set of hopes, not the least of which is to push the bottom line, sooner rather than later. Then of course, he faces a third set of expectations: his own.
It is the role of any designer taking over a house to maintain its integrity while putting his own mark on its aesthetic. Klein created one of the most unequivocal viewpoints in all of fashion, and in his first three collections, Costa started from a vantage, if not of pure reverence, then at least unwavering solidarity. The fall collection he presented on Thursday revealed his first inclination to break ranks with the master in significant ways, at times even a bit recklessly. The effort pulsed with the essential ingredients of experimentation: surprise, mistakes, and most of all, confidence.
Either by design or accident, Costa chose to limit volume at a time when many other designers here are puffing up big time. While in past seasons he has favored fluid, even billowing proportions, this time he opted for stricter shapes, some with a Sixties Space Age look, until now completely alien to the house. A shirred mink coat flaunted a grid motif; origami decorations trimmed tops and dresses; shiny patent leather tiles and strips glistened from skirts and coats. It was, in fact, in this penchant for decoration — and a harsh moment in brassy citron — that Costa strayed most boldly from the revered Klein purity. And though a few looks felt too tricked-up, many were lovely, as when he wrought subtle havoc on men’s wear grays, with tailored patchworks of herringbone and wool lace. He also showed some graceful evening frocks and here he gave a nod to volume, most notably in a short, airy bubble of an evening dress.
Sometimes during the show, one felt the age-old struggle between art and commerce. And there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s a designer’s job to reconcile the two. Hopefully, Costa will be allowed to do so in a manner in which tricks won’t overshadow the essence of the house.Vera Wang: As was reported in WWD just days before Vera Wang’s Thursday show, company president Susan Sokol referred to the growth of the luxury label as “fast and furious.” With a number of expansion plans on the drawing board for Wang’s burgeoning divisions (opening stores in San Francisco and Los Angeles), it’s a sound assessment. But finding success in the business of high-end clothing isn’t merely a numbers game. Luxury fashion can be just as much about evoking emotion as it is about the bottom line. The designer’s romantic fall show certainly did its best to tug at the heart of what women love about clothes.
Wang’s color palette was a gorgeous and painterly mélange of rich but subtle hues — mossy green and gray, cobalt blue, burnished gold, deep wine, to name a few — that practically required poetry to describe. She imbued dresses, tops and skirts with a wonderful fluidity using filmy tulles and chiffons, draped and pintucked into place, though Wang sometimes worked the details to distraction. Two standouts: a forest green and burgundy dress and a deep violet one-shouldered gown. On many of the dresses, a length of velvet ribbon or a jeweled band at the waist often provided a chic counterweight. On the more structured side, Wang worked pale brocades and stiff silks into skirts with softly ballooning hems. Jackets were also richly appointed, mostly in velvet and fur, and many were shown in abbreviated shapes to complement the stream of dresses. Although translating beauty into dollars is an inexact science, Wang and her team are on their way to a winning formula.
Anna Sui: Just when the midweek blues start to creep in, along comes Anna Sui’s Wednesday night show to chase them all away. “Last season was just so quintessentially Anna Sui — ruffles, prints, very girly,” the designer said of her spring cowgirl romp. “This time, I wanted to go to a different place.” Like many designers this season, Sui went indoors to the world of interiors. But not for her those fussy, Old-World tapestries. Instead she took her cues from the graphic patterns and colors of David Hicks and the textiles of Jack Lenor Larsen and Dorothy Liebes, whose work in the Sixties made groovy colors like turquoise, orange, brown and moss green a part of the decorator’s lexicon. Read: the colors of your childhood kitchen.Nevertheless, the visual and textural riot was still Anna’s party. She worked each look with a focused palette, from Day-Glo combinations of oranges and pinks to more reserved ochres and browns. Within each cohesive color scheme, she wove in a walk-in closet’s worth of elements: adorable dresses in Hicksian prints, skirt suits and coats in tweeds both roughly woven and flat, satin and Lurex bow blouses, knits both intarsia and bejeweled. As if that weren’t enough, the whole lot got topped off with matching printed tights, Erickson Beamon beads and Adrienne Landau fur hats. And if it was ever too much, Sui’s earnest spirit made it a show to love.
J. Mendel: There’s much that makes a J. Mendel fur so special, and it was all there in look number one: a white broadtail princess coat with a bullion-trimmed bib. Designer Gilles Mendel knows how to gild the lily better than anyone, this season with jewel or bullion trim on his precious furs. His program notes cite his youth in Paris and the effortless chic of Charlotte Rampling and Romy Schneider as his inspirations. And their influence shows in this collection that’s all about romance heightened with luxurious decoration.
There’s also the slim factor, which most women crave, no easy feat to achieve in furs. Mendel does it beautifully, managing to minimize the volume even in down jackets. His versions are down-filled sheared mink, showing that luxury needn’t always be so serious.
Mendel first introduced ready-to-wear a few years ago as an accompaniment to his furs, but he’s been adding more each season. For fall, he showed some terrific coats, especially the mink-trimmed gray tweed, paired with a charming silk corset top and metal-trimmed bubble skirt. There were also plenty of lovely evening looks, short and long, including a porcelain silk chiffon gown with bullion trim and the embroidered nude tulle Empire number. His ready-to-wear offering may not be considered a complete collection with its own voice, but it makes perfect sense for Mendel to offer his customers clothes along with furs in his New York and Paris boutiques. After all, you always need a pretty frock to go along with your drop-dead fur.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye