NEW YORK HEAD TO TOE
TODD OLDHAM: Todd Oldham said last week that, with this collection, he would return to all the intricate handwork on which he made his reputation. And certainly the collection he showed on Tuesday was a lavish one — at least in terms of the elaborate embroideries and beading, the rich textural plays, the level of daring. And sometimes, he worked them in ways that were approachable: a pinstriped suit worn with a racy beaded vest, a long dark denim dress, a white cable-knit sweater over full-cut animal print pants, some amusing fake-fur pieces.
But these moments were all too few. More often, Oldham went crazy with clothes that were too loud, too wild — and no longer as humorous as they once were. There’s a lot to be said for marching to a different drummer. But sometimes even a talented drummer has to beat out a new tune.
BADGLEY MISCHKA: If a soundtrack can make you hate a show, this would have been the moment. But, fortunately, Badgley Mischka’s beautiful clothes — accessorized with dazzling Fred Leighton diamonds — were strong enough to drown out the noise pollution.
This season, Mark Badgley and James Mischka are really smokin’ — with some of the sexiest smoking suits this side of the Atlantic. They sculpted them with lean, bold-shouldered jackets over pants or short skirts — and, for truly festive evenings, sprinkled them with beads.
Beads have become big business for these designers, who built their reputation on the kind of sexy, beaded gown that can make even a plain jane feel like a sex goddess. When they’re not beading, Badgley Mischka are creating sumptuous fabric combinations, using a collage of up to a dozen fabrics, for instance, in a delicate gown. Long, stark T-shirt or slipdresses are also rendered in an ethereal mix of velvet, lace, net, metallic threads and beads.
And it’s all paying off for them — Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue will each open five Badgley Mischka boutiques this fall.
FERNANDO SANCHEZ: When it comes to all-out glamour, Sanchez is hard to beat. And in this collection, he balanced restraint with his sexy signature. The show focused mainly on loungewear — luxurious enough, however, for a Met gala — with a sprinkling of dresses translated from his lingerie. The best reinventions: A fuchsia silk satin coat with orange lace over a long matching slipdress and the flowing ivory or black satin gowns the designer calls “sweater dresses.”
SPOOKY: Roger Padilha and Jennifer Groves take their cues from a raucous crowd of old-school rappers and American punks of the splash-paint-and-motorcycle-jacket variety for a sexy Eighties roundup that is ready to rumble. From floor-length parkas to tight leather skirts riddled with zippers, this rowdy collection is more tough chick than Tough Chic, but it has never looked better. Padilha and Groves are known for their astute takes on the Eighties; they’ve been delving into the decade since opening Spooky in 1994. And although the company’s sales are still relatively modest, the duo put on a show that mixed professionalism and humor — A-list models took to the runway as an emcee delivered shout-outs to the models and editors in the audience. With miniskirts and power shoulders popping up everywhere, this is surely Spooky’s moment.
PHILIP TREACY: Leave it to milliner extraordinaire Philip Treacy to stage one of the few real happenings of fashion week. It was also the London-based designer’s premiere New York show. Treacy got a standing ovation on Tuesday night for his stunning parade of whimsical chapeaux, which brought to mind “Alice in Wonderland” court jesters, Elizabethan harlequins, space ships, decks of cards, cocoons and pea pods. The show — which was quite literally fantastic — seemed to delight its audience, which included Domenico Dolce, Rupert Everett and Cyndi Lauper. The usually poker-faced fashion crowd smiled and applauded throughout.
Treacy, who had showed most of this collection at London’s Hippodrome in March, added a few new looks this time. “I’ve always wanted to do a show in America,” said the designer.”I have some fantastic American customers and it’s a big market for what I do.” He used clothes from Alexander McQueen, Deborah Milner, Anthony Price and Rifat Ozbek to set off his medieval-inspired concoctions.
This was also the U.S. launch of Treacy’s new accessories collection, which consists of over-the-elbow length leather gloves, laser-cut silk scarves, hand-carved hair combs and boomerang and comma-shaped bags. It will debut at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Harrods and Isetan this fall.
William Horsman, Tracey’s backer and owner of the English mass market hat company W. Wright & Son, also provided financing for the new accessories line. “It’s a natural move for me,” said Treacy, who uses his own hat blocks as molds for his crocodile and satin evening bags. “I have a strong feeling for proportion, quality and elegance for all accessories, not just hats.”