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Downtown chicks, you’re in luck. Designers have fall covered with everything from asymmetric cuts to camp-chic layers.
This story first appeared in the February 2, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Yigal Azrouël: Yigal Azrouël’s had his eye on the New York downtown girl, he said preshow. And if his fall lineup is any indication, he’s been watching her closely. All the cool city chick basics — from slim trousers to leather jackets — were covered. Asymmetric seams and folds added an arty intrigue to his streetwear. And Azrouël once again proved his skill with contradictions, particularly in playing masculine against feminine, as in a silk henley tucked into an embroidered striped skirt. While there were plenty of men’s wear and sporty references, it was the sculptural ruffles and extra attention to cocktail and eveningwear — a return to his roots, not all of it successful — that pushed things forward.
BCBG Max Azria: Max and Lubov Azria had a lot of tricks up their sleeves — make that dresses — showing frocks with origami pleats, jersey twisted into rosettes and gowns with gauzy, asymmetric ruffles hanging off shoulders. When they showed restraint, however, the gentle pintucking and slim silhouettes worked well, most notably on a cream silk crepe dress, gathered at the back, and a slim heather beige jersey number. Refreshingly, the season’s dark, stormy colors were cast aside for soft, subtle tones, as with a tan wool twill coat and a pale gray hammered silk satin dress that seemed to float down the runway.
Generra: With former creative director Pina Ferlisi having just decamped to Coach, who’s next in line to take over the reins at Generra? Apparently, no one. A spokesman said there were no immediate plans to fill the vacated position, noting that many in the design team have been with the company for years. And that, judging from its newest merch, should suit its customer just fine. The collection for fall still has a strong grasp on a downtown cool ethos: effortless chunky knits, military-style coats, leather jackets and silk shirtdresses. Ultimately, this is the stuff of which an urban girl’s wardrobe is made, right down to the lengthy scarves and aviator frames.
Yeohlee: Yeohlee Teng’s show had its charming moments, but overall, it was an erratic collection with a mix of peculiar silhouettes — including a cube skirt — that were simply unflattering. More successful looks such as a skinny tunic in plum taffeta and a flared trenchcoat dress showed the designer at the top of her architectural game. And her terrific signature outerwear, as in boldly-collared Shaker-inspired jackets, quilted shrug wraps and a belted lantern coat in alpaca and mohair, rounded out the lineup.
Douglas Hannant: Inspired by the contours of ballerinas, Douglas Hannant turned out delicate dresses with plenty of texture, such as a glazed lace gown with a horsehair bodice, and a pleated crinkled silk shift in deep aubergine. He played up volume, too, though it was carefully placed, most effectively in coats. Lean, body-skimming gowns moved with attached swaying scarves, while a silver Lurex ballerina dress was given a slim bodice and a flouncy skirt. Still, a few of the fuller looks — a black coque-feather cocoon jacket, a shredded organza dress — were overwrought.
Boy by Band of Outsiders: For his wonderful second collection, Scott Sternberg said he was thinking about camping — luxe style. Most girls, though, wouldn’t dare waste his boyish plaids, cashmere layers and raccoon fur trimmings sitting around the campfire. “I wanted to make the clichés of American sportswear feel cool,” said the designer, so sleeves were lopped off, blazers were shrunken and patterns and textures mingled to pitch-perfect effect.