Rebecca Moses: Rebecca Moses has a problem — the wave of black that has recently swept over fashion. “Women need to be stimulated, and all this black certainly doesn’t help,” said Moses at her showroom presentation. “Just ask the retailers.” The outburst is understandable coming from a designer who believes in the power of color and serves up an eye-popping palette season after season. Moses takes a consumer-friendly approach to design, offering clothes that are easy to wear, comfortable and make a woman feel confident. This season, her hard-core sweater girls have an array of great coats to wear over the knits. Moses showed softly tailored, belted styles along with ones cut close to the body, shown sans buttons and crafted in double cashmere and angora blends.
The coats (orders are up 50 percent this season) came in solids and two-color versions with combinations of bitter chocolate and marshmallow pink or beige and canary yellow. Also on display were windowpane wool pants and A-line skirts woven in a macro houndstooth.

Moschino: The models walking for Moschino were dressed like ladies in modest tweeds, corduroys and even boucles — but they acted more like ladies of the evening, stopping at a banister that ran all along the runway to shimmy and vamp like the pros. Try as they might, however, there’s nothing sexy about a cardigan with the contents of a sewing kit tacked to its lapel or deconstructed oddities that combined half of a plaid or plain wool skirt with half of another in satin or beaded fringe. A slouchy tweed coat thrown over a slinky satin dress let the audience see past all the lowbrow antics, but for the most part guests sat there bemused, wondering what the revved-up girls would do next.
Working humor into a collection is not an easy task, though Rossella Jardini’s team at Moschino has certainly done it well in the past. But when the funny factor depends on a boost from the models, maybe it’s time to freshen up the old act.

Antonio Berardi: In his first season since signing with Gibo, Antonio Berardi is breathing a sigh of relief. “I feel I can finally do my work and have a life,” said the designer, just before his show. And judging from the girls’ vibrant energy on stage, what a life he’s having. Fun, fun, fun was Berardi’s message for fall, and it came through in cool, fashionable gear. There were his usual bias-cut chiffons, this time printed in baby blues and pinks, cut short, trimmed with pom-poms and worn with killer stilettos. Berardi also dished up plenty of hard-edge glamour in oversized leather trenches laden with cowboy buckles and fringe, flouncy denim skirts and a razor-sharp suit decorated with leather petals.

Ruffo Research: Alexander Mathieu, the French designing duo, is just finishing a two-season deal with Ruffo Research, and they are leaving the same way they came in — without much fanfare. It’s not that the clothes are bad, but after this fall showing, one came away with the feeling that we’ve been here before. Leather trenchcoats worn over bustiers, T-shirts and pants cut wide and long enough to sweep the floor, or suede shirts and dresses with cross-stitching and slashing looked cumbersome and, in some cases, trendy just for the sake of being trendy. The vintage-y distressed looks were all too familiar, and those short, cracked leather jackets and skirts would look more at home in a dollar bin at the local thrift shop.