JAM SESSION

NEW YORK — In fashion, good and bad often go hand in hand. But sometimes, as is the case with the American collections thus far, the positive outweighs the negative.
After working with Miguel Adrover on the Dugg collection in the early Nineties, designer Douglas Hobbs staged his first solo runway show for the label on Saturday night. Pieces such as architectural tops or halters made of mens’ ties were too tricky, but he hit the right note with tucked tops, tuxedo pants with spiral — as opposed to vertical — stripes and striped A-line skirts with the lining peeking through. And although there was an undeniable Adrover influence, Hobbs’s collection was more commercial and wearable.
R. Scott French premiered his women’s collection and continued with the signature fine tailoring of his men’s wear. The show’s highlights were the minimal pants, flannel jeans and slim suits and knits. Another disciple of tailoring is Thomas Steinbruck. At the showroom for BMW, where he recently signed on as a design consultant, Steinbruck showed beautiful cashmere suits lightly sprinkled with Swarovski crystals, several stunning sequined ombred gowns and a Russian sable-collared cashmere herringbone coat. The collection has unquestionably matured, and the overall look was cleaner, slimmer and more confident.
Meanwhile, Fausto Puglisi got attention for both his presentation and where it was held — at the Ten’s strip club. With Madonna’s “Music” on repeat, Puglisi’s girls sexed-up the stage with moves that would make even the regular dancers blush. And the clothes were just as wild, but more fun and sexy. While the endless versions of his Swarovski-crystalled belts, made famous by Madonna herself, were great, the rest — red tiger-striped white leather pants, bright one-sleeved blouses and one-legged leather pants — is best-suited to the rock ‘n’ roll crowd.
Alice Roi caused a stir of her own, turning her back on all the rote retro stuff and opting for the absurd world of Sergeant Pepper. She knit her snug sweaters with images of big sailing ships and sent out looks with festooned sleeves, brass buttons and military braids with the abandon of a nouvelle Vivienne Westwood. She was truly original for evening — has anyone ever printed silks with Honore Daumier’s 19th-century satiric caricatures? The awkward suspenders and mumsie suits were clunkers. But when it worked, as it did with the puffed-sleeve blouse printed with deer, Roi’s whimsy was wonderful.
Meanwhile the ORFI and Giesswein collection was an interesting creative and financial collaboration of the downtown group’s avant-garde designs and the Austrian company’s traditional Tyrolean jackets. Giesswein supplied the jackets and fabrics, which ORFI took apart and reworked into wearable slouchy, oversized shapes, sometimes with distracting copper hardware or dangerous-looking lapel decorations. These were paired with high-neck tuxedo shirts, cable sweaters and full skirts printed with country scenes.
In her second season, Aliona Yurtsevich showed more of the unconventional knitwear, for which her Co. of Unorganized People line has become known. Looks ranged from the innovative, yet wearable, sweaters with shredded fabrics on the shoulders and dresses with crocheted bubble details to unflattering skirtpants. Also in his second season is sportswear designer Andrew Urbain, who’s become a favorite with New York’s uptown crowd as well as in Miami and London. His fall showing was spring-like with lots of sexy dresses, all in different styles, but with the same Op Art prints. The collection has potential, but to command designer prices, it needs tweaking in the fit and construction departments.

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