ALL AROUND THE TOWN
Sonia Rykiel: Sonia Rykiel’s love for a good sailor sweater runs deep. But it’s no ordinary love. It’s an epic romance — an awe-inspiring liaison between designer and knitwear. For spring, Rykiel sent out model after model in her striped sweaters and big, baggy-legged pants in a jazzy play on her signature theme. In fact, for the show’s finale, her entire cast of models paraded down the runway in the look, each with her hair frizzed out wide like the designer herself.
But every sailor needs a dancing partner. In honor of those saucy babes, Rykiel supplied plenty of Forties-style floral dresses, ruffled numbers and layered skirts that would be great jitterbugging across a crowded room. A trompe l’oeil tuxedo sweater further fueled Rykiel’s cute puttin’-on-the-Ritz plays, while in a more elegant mood, she sent out a sleek black satin evening suit with a short jacket and wide-legged pants. It was understated, yet dramatic, and the kind of look Katharine Hepburn could have used to make a real entrance back in her black-and-white days.
Vivienne Westwood: Is there anyone who does English eccentricity with more assurance than Vivienne Westwood? Probably not. It’s in her veins like water is in the sea. In her dishevelled taffeta ballgowns, she has the ability to evoke an image that is part Joshua Reynolds portrait, part sensuous sex kitten. For spring, the gowns were there, and given a sylvan flair. Dubbing her collection “Nymphs,” Westwood presented her rococo woodland feast to the strains of Mozart. There were theatrics, such as lace masks, Alpine walking sticks and plenty of boudoir fun. And there was Westwood’s hallmark irreverent take on the aristocratic tradition, her rollicking striped rugby-shirtdresses, for example. Meanwhile, on a more staid level, she gave us schoolgirl sweaters, slouchy pants and cool jackets. Those may be adapted to everyday life — but they are hardly as much fun.
Jose Enrique Ona Selfa: Though he was recently appointed Narciso Rodriguez’s successor at Loewe, Ona Selfa is a relatively unknown talent to many in the fashion world. Hence, the slew of curious editors and designers who attended the young designer’s show this season for the first time. And what did the uninitiated witness? His knack for body-conscious silhouettes.
Ona Selfa was born to Spanish emigre parents, and a flamenco theme runs though much of his work. For spring, it came out in cute skirts with kick-out hems or ruffles, worn with lacy tops. He’s also known for his knits, which he honed while working with his buddy, fellow Belgian Olivier Theyskens. This season, his otherwise-staid sweaters — much of Ona Selfa’s aesthetic involves giving bourgeois elements modern pep — were spruced up with detached hems. His talents, however, emerged more clearly in his leather pieces, which included ruffled dresses, skirts and jackets. Doesn’t that make him a perfect match for Loewe?