Heatherette went over the rainbow, United Bamboo was preppy but took a trip into space, Ruffian visited English country houses and Jasmin Shokrian had an otherworldly elegance.
Heatherette: All the kids — club and otherwise — can rest easy. Heatherette’s indefatigable designers, Richie Rich and Traver Rains, are here to stay. As reported last week in WWD, Rains and Rich are now backed by the Weisfeld Group, the investors behind Fubu and Coogi. But a little cash doesn’t mean the fun is over. Studying the riotous rainbow of sequins, gewgaws and doodads flying past, one could imagine that, handled properly, this could develop into a real business. What teenaged girl wouldn’t want a heart-intarsia cardigan with multicolored buttons? Or a supercute clear raincoat printed with pastel starbursts? The same goes for the tiny denim bomber, loads of fun T-shirts, a slew of printed tights and even pretty printed sundresses. Next up: lingerie, accessories and makeup. We can’t wait.
United Bamboo: United Bamboo: Design duo Miho Aoki and Thuy Pham are known for their witty, subversive take on preppy gear as well as for their tailoring, and for fall showed both to appealing effect. These two can really cut a coat, as they demonstrated with a sharp gray double-collared trench. And their high-waisted circle skirts and minidresses with asymmetric military-style plackets combined polish with downtown cool. But the designers took a daring turn when they sent out a few astronaut-inspired pieces, such as cartoonish color-blocked coats and sweaters. While these looks expressed a certain whimsy (and elicited a few smiles), Aoki and Pham are at their best when they aren’t going “where no man has gone before.”
Ruffian: There’s right on and there’s way off. Some designers can be both within a single collection. Brian Wolk and Claude Morais had just such a bipolar time of it at their Saturday Ruffian presentation at the National Arts Club. On the upside, they were clearly inspired by England’s toniest villages and grand manors owned by fox-hunting types. To wit, they started with a set of well-tailored herringbone looks — capelet-like jackets, loose trousers and swingy skirts — accented with liquid silk blouses. But then, it was as if the designers pulled down the tapestries hanging in those same manors and sewed them into a bewildering parade of Seventies-style pantsuits and dresses, replete with tricky butterfly sleeves or asymmetric ruffles. Even Ruffian’s usually charming signature neck ruffs, done here in mink, seemed to go one step too far.
Jasmin Shokrian: It speaks volumes that Ecco Domani winner Jasmin Shokrian is receiving both editorial and retail accolades at a time when conceptual fashion is eyed wearily or with suspicion. At her first show, which was enviably well-attended, it was the low-key designer’s time to shine. Her fall collection continued the thread of an idea from spring: clothing cut from paper patterns based on the soundwaves of anonymous messages. It may sound overly artsy to most, but in Shokrian’s hands, it works. The result is a sort of otherworldly elegance best seen in looks like a textured knit cape over a chiffon T-shirt paired with a charmeuse skirt whose hem is tucked under and pinned to add subtle volume. And even a staunch traditionalist can’t deny the prettiness of a black silk shell with an asymmetric, pleated panel.
Patrik Rzepski: After a look at Patrik Rzepski’s invitation — a photo of model Lisa Davies with a deathly glare and blood dripping from her mouth — one could only approach his show with a sense of curious apprehension. To follow up last season’s foray into the world of the Baader-Meinhof gang, Rzepski upped his inspiration’s shock value, turning here to David Cronenberg’s 1996 movie “Crash,” based on J.G. Ballard’s novel about the sexual subversions of car-crash fetishists. But one gauze-wrapped head aside, Rzepski’s collection was anything but a wreck. Rather, it proved beautifully tame with cigarette-pants, sculptural jersey dresses — lean and taut in some areas, draped loosely in others — and a series of Ts reconstructed into new silhouettes — some to blouson effect with bishop sleeves — all in a minimal palette of white, black, gray and coral. While Rzepski prefers to provoke his audience with morbid themes, he is the model of restraint when it comes to his clothes.