Michael and Hushi: Michael Sears and Hushi Mortezaie have long been inspired by Jennie Livingston’s 1990 film, “Paris Is Burning,” documenting the lives of the highly creative gay men who design costumes for and compete in drag balls. Much like the men in the movie, the pair are accustomed to bringing their elaborate visions to life with precious few resources. But out of struggle can arise real originality as well as beauty.
In that something-from-nothing vein, the duo worked humble materials to glamorous effect in witty looks, such as a perfectly chic Fifties-style party dress with a bodice made from a nylon messenger bag. And who can deny the brilliance of a black-and-white jacket and skirt crafted from a tracksuit with a sensor tag as the zipper pull?
Most of their silhouettes were tight and ultrafeminine, as in slim pencil skirts, nipped jackets and curve-hugging dresses. They continued the upside-down top idea from last season, this time with a crisp men’s oxford shirt flipped and worked into a sexy blouse. While this sort of approach might not be a retailer’s dream, the workmanship and thought that goes into it are evident to anyone who takes a moment to look. This is one design team that deserves to move beyond the realm of editorial darlings and into the world of retail favorites.
Atil Kutoglu: This season, Atil Kutoglu softened his usually tough, masculine lines into unquestionably sexy ones. He did it by softening shoulders, creating flirtier shapes and adding sheer or bare touches. The best styles were a pleated camel silk minidress; a one-shouldered silver maillot, and a green crushed-leather trenchcoat worn with fluid, embroidered chiffon pants. At times, things got too gimmicky, as with the tricky Turkish pants and assorted asymmetric looks. But judging by this collection, it looks as if Kutoglu is headed in the right direction.
Zero by Maria Cornejo: It’s not often that you come across a young talent who creates clothes that are individual, well-made and wearable, but Maria Cornejo fits the bill. For her label, Zero, Cornejo sent out a small spring collection of minimalistic looks with geometric constructions that had an architectural quality. This might sound tricky, but it wasn’t. Among the best looks were a group of cropped obi jackets, slim, high-waisted skirts, an assortment of wrap tops and a sexy dress with a long sash that tied in back — all of which are sure to be hits in her Mott Street boutique.
Yigal Azrouel: Azrouel, who showed at his boutique, sent out a collection packed with plenty of sexy appeal. But he still wants his ladies to look like ladies for every hour of the day, so there was no denim here. The designer, who’s known for his printed jerseys, took a different tack for spring with glamorous, body-conscious silk charmeuse dresses; sharply sculpted jackets; a sizzling strapless dress; smart pants, and a beautiful slipdress with intricate lace insets.
Bahar Korçan: Watching the parade of sliced, shredded Tarzan-cum-Jane clothes worn by models who were bandaged, greased, dusted with seeds and taking their job very seriously, even a fashionista might ask, “Who on earth would wear that?” The clothes themselves were definitely frivolous, fun and sexy. What was notable was the variety of terrific pants, especially those that combined dressed-up and dressed-down elements. Consider the striped beige tuxedo pants; a layered chiffon and organza pair; plum pinwale corduroys with a denim waist peeking out, or the good-looking capris, including a jolly green jumpsuit.