NEW YORK — While some designers brought back stark black chic, others did their best to cover the city in stars, stripes and flowers for fall. And, of course, there were the ubiquitous, but always welcome, ladylike looks.
Long before James Coviello started his own collection, he was known to insiders as the man behind Anna Sui’s great knits. While he has capitalized on those beginnings and come up with some nifty collections along the way, those cozy sweaters were just what was missed on Coviello’s runway last Friday. His fall collection was full of floral chiffon dresses that, while nice enough, didn’t have the same funky flair that the designer has displayed in the past. Here’s hoping there’s a lode of great Coviello sweaters tucked away in the showroom.
Ellis Kreuger of Tocca chose flower patterns, too, though his took the form of beautiful embroidery on silk dresses, coats and skirts or piping on pants and trenches. The collection had an arts-and-crafts motif, which worked best in the floral pieces and multicolored lace-striped skirts. Also of note were the retro Russian military-style coats, pinstriped vest and pants and the lace-inset coats.
Malaysian-born Zang Toi loves the U.S.A., and it showed in his “An American Collection.” Yes, there was the requisite dramatic eveningwear — bias-cut skirts with ruffled hems, mink-trimmed jackets and beaded cashmere cardigans. But the color palette was mostly red, white and blue. A few stars-and-stripes pieces, however, might have been fun, but putting the pattern on nearly every item took it too far. Meanwhile, at Morgane Le Fay, Liliana Casabal found inspiration in a more subtle love of country — the “grace, courage and style of young Argentinian women,” as she put it in her program notes. The designer, born in Mar del Plata, evoked the colors of her homeland in the rich ivory, blue and red tones of her clothes. These worked well on constructed wool coats and dresses, belted tops with wispy asymmetric-hemmed skirts or draped tops and skirts.
Downtown, designers Sonja Rubin and Kip Chappelle showed one of their best Rubinchapelle collections ever, featuring shawl-collared wool sweaters and knotted silk tops. The leather pieces were sharp and ran the gamut from pleated jackets to pinstriped pants. Michael Soheil, who’s only in his third season, proved that he’s one to watch. For fall he reworked the kimono silhouette into a shearling jacket, military coat or blouses and a gown with quilted sleeves. Other highlights included the wing-sleeved tops, scarlet circle skirts and a black striped bias-cut dress with sculptured sleeves. However, the top with raw-edged rabbit trim and the antelope skirt could have been edited out.
And finally, after a six-year hiatus and a relaunch last fall, Go Silk, a commercial powerhouse in the Eighties, held a formal presentation in their showroom. The firm’s new designer is Barbara De Vries, and the company has expanded its washable silk lineup, adding a range of other looks, including “techno” silk, which is blended with Lycra spandex. Boxy suits, loose-fit pants, belted cardigans and riding pants came in a black and gray palette, with the sole bursts of color coming from a few orange and green quilted vests.