Jennifer George: Simple Pleasures
Jennifer George knows a good thing when she sees it. She returned to the tableaux-style showing that she did successfully for spring and it worked again. Over breakfast, accompanied by soothing live music, she showed easy shapes sans gimmicks — just well-cut sportswear with a modern twist. A short cashmere flannel jumper had a grown-up schoolgirl appeal, and her knits, from a short ribbed cashmere dress to a cropped basketweave pullover, looked great.
Hubert Franco: the right cut
In only his second season, Hubert Franco showed he knows how to cut a mean suit and dress. This is one young designer who doesn’t bulldoze you with his presentation, yet manages to pitch all the trends of the season. The beauty of Franco’s collection was in his artful combinations of textures, such as copper wool jersey and silk crepe, as well as his details. His love of glamour came through for evening with his striped chiffon pants or gowns. The only runway guffaws were the skimpy charmeuse and jersey A-line dresses.
Gemma Kahng: Well-Suited
Gemma Kahng has always been big on the little suit, and this time around her fitted jackets topping flippy short skirts have hit their stride. She showed them with tights and knee highs, ankle boots and lady-like backpacks. Kahng’s toned it down from past seasons lightening up on the embellishments just a tad, but keeping her sense of humor. A circus animal print and feathery Tibetan lamb and Mouton collars and cuffs on jackets and coats were fun and lighthearted. Kahng, however, got a little heavy-handed with her tricky black satin and velvet evening looks.
Elizabeth Fillmore: Night Line
Elizabeth Fillmore staged a salon-style showing of her evening clothes Friday night. Models lounged in arm- and boudoir chairs, one in lavender leather, creating an oh-so-civilized mood for clothes that fit the bill. Fillmore did justice to wine-colored coup de velours in some skin-tight T-shirt dresses and kept the casual but elegant sensibility going with some casually sexy satin slip numbers. It may only be her second season, but she’s already learned the power of keeping a show short and sweet.
DiGeronimo/Leva: Two’s Company
Stephen DiGeronimo and Michael Leva teamed up again for fall to split the bill for a joint show in the tents. The two kept it short, sweet and to the point.
DiGeronimo’s 20-piece collection was strong from start to finish with highlights that included playful cropped puff coats over fisherman knit sweater dresses, a group of minisuits in pale green or terra cotta, some with peacoats, jumpers or little pleated skirts and a cozy “teddy bear” coat in rich chocolate alpaca. For evening, DiGeronimo did fresh takes on the fabric of the season with a sexy mohair lace slip, Empire and T-shirt dresses.
Michael Leva’s strength also came out in his sportier pieces — a schoolgirlish wool herringbone jacket that topped a matching jumper, or the wool and Lycra tweed bustle-back jacket layered over a fitted tank jumpsuit. His plaid mohair swing-back jacket looked new cropped at the hip and mixed with velvet pants.
Alpana Bawa: Bright Moments
Fashion really is a rich mosaic this season, and Alpana Bawa is a particularly colorful part of it. The designer, who always marches to the beat of her own drummer, showed a small collection of dresses and suits for women and some for men, and — amazingly — there wasn’t a black frock in sight. Bawa’s zip-front pantsuits in aqua and green looked like little worker suits, while her tobacco boiled wool mini-suit trimmed in lilac had a Tyrolean air.
Although Bawa got a little carried away with some of her crazy pattern plays and her caftans, the one that stood out was a lavender iridescent silk number worn with matte silver pants. But the show’s best pieces were saved for last, with the floor-length A-line organza dresses touched with gold, shown with super matching clunky shoes. What didn’t seem to fit on the runway were the grape and cherry A-line dresses. But Saul and Gayfryd Steinberg, who seemed to be enjoying the view from their front-row seats, probably didn’t notice the collection’s lackluster moments.