SIDES OF THE EQUATION

NEW YORK — As the American collections continued, the shows were proving to be an eclectic mix of, well, everything, from no-nonsense simplicity all the way to the most pasty-fingered arts-and-crafts funwear.
Brazilian-born designer Geova, who established a name for himself by combining wacky vintage fabrics in offbeat ways, showed quirky hooped ballgowns this time around, as well as pieces with furry dog appliques, sequined insets and plenty of lace. If the collection wasn’t sugar-coated with enough whimsy already, the show itself was a cute mock photo shoot.
Another line that unquestionably marches to a different drummer is Custo Barcelona. Custo Dalmau and his brother David delivered exactly what their fans expect of them — bold prints and mix ‘n’ match looks. It was a pretty standard fare for the duo, though they did manage to tone things down by showing some basic knits.
On the other side of the fence is simplicity, and Deborah Hampton showed just that at her informal presentation on mannequins. Hampton, who sells to Henri Bendel and Nordstrom, did easy, wearable looks such as a one-shoulder, asymmetrically pleated dress, sheer shirred top and a pleated leather skirt.
Han Feng, who decorated her showroom with red flowers suspended from fishing wire, is known for her refined clothing with an Asian twist. This season, there were beautiful featherlight cashmere sweaters, delicate shearlings, embroidered organza coats and smocked velvet skirts, tops and dresses. She also presented her home collection of colored bowls, cups and gorgeous pleated organza pillows.
Yigal-Azrouel expanded his business interests this season, too, premiering his new evening line, Yigal-Azrouel Couture, alongside the regular collection, which has definitely matured. The looks were quieter and more sophisticated this time around. He demonstrated his tailoring skills with great-fitting suits, delicate cotton blouses and charming cashmere car coats. There were also rabbit fur jackets and wrap tops. But the Couture line, though based on a good concept, needs some fine-tuning in its fabric choices.
Once upon a time, young designers didn’t have formal shows until they had a few seasons under their belts. But now, in keeping with today’s credo of “I want it now,” James Urinyi and Sara Lundgren of Sara James held their first show before they’d sold even a single piece of clothing. With a black, white and red palette, they were in sync with this season’s tuxedo trend — the tuxedo skirt and capris paired with a leather vest and “smoking” shirt, for example, looked just right. The cape sleeve treatment was repetitive, however.
And finally, the Portugal Fashion International group presented their show of eight designers last weekend. While about half of the collections were menswear, the women’s offerings weren’t newsworthy save for one: Luis Buchinho, who showed lots of knits with interesting kimono-style belts and some leather skirts, both pleated and wrapped.

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