Rebecca Taylor: After seasons of playing to rock ’n’ roll muses, Rebecca Taylor is showing signs of homesickness for her native
New Zealand, particularly its glorious crystal waters. And who can blame her? But just because life isn’t always a beach doesn’t mean a girl can’t indulge in a sea-nymph reverie, which is what Taylor did in her collection, shown against the wall-to-wall fishtank at the Coral Room and a calm ocean backdrop.
Taylor champions a kind of approachable romance with a strong enough current of hip to keep her ultra-girly clientele coming back for more. Though they might find the abalone and scale prints a bit mumsy, they will surely love the floaty chiffon dresses in dusty pastels encrusted with sequins and antique beads, as well as little capelet jackets, cropped sweaters and skirts with iridescent insets. And to keep things interesting, Taylor worked some traditional Kiwi symbols, such as the Maori fishhook and the fern-like koru, into her simple yet striking jewelry.
GF Ferré: Gianfranco Ferré said last week that his curiosity about the young had prompted the creation of the GF Ferré line for men and women under his new deal with IT Holding. Originally presented during men’s fashion week in Milan, the show was directed by actress Asia Argento, best known for her role opposite Vin Diesel in the action-adventure film “XXX.” But as searing heavy metal riffs filled the air of the black-paneled Bryant tent, it appeared that much of Argento’s own hard-edged punk aesthetic had found its way into the collection.
Models posed in lean, mean Eighties-inspired silhouettes in strong colors, but this gambit simply made it look as though Ferré was trying too hard. A chainmail group, for example, offered Mod-ish minidresses with shots of fluorescent color that suggested early Stephen Sprouse, while straps and zippers adorned denim and leather minis, bustiers and motorcycle jackets. An oversized slouchy leather vest over cropped pants, techy sneakers and leather accessories looked fresher, but not enough to overcome the feeling that this vision of the future has been seen before.
Zang Toi: Whimsy has its limits. So does the deep blue sea, at least when it comes to fashion inspiration. In the collection he showed on Saturday evening, Zang Toi took his oceanic musings a tad too far. On one hand, you’ve got to love a wildly indiscreet kelly green sequined mermaid skirt, while on the other, so many au naturale sea shells and coral branches embroidered on the backside of jeans must hurt when a girl sits down. But then, Zang doesn’t design for the faint of heart, and built his business catering to a woman who likes a little flash. His “Mistress of the Mediterranean” offered plenty, from sea-printed swimwear to those coral-encrusted denims and lovely, glamorous gowns.
Still, the riches of the sea can prove a bit too dear for some fashion lovers. Which is why Zang introduced a group of what he called “fun, fresh, adorable and affordable” pieces that payed homage to every girl’s one-time fantasy, the ballerina. While fluffy organza skirts may have looked tutu literal on the runway, sans lace-up stilettos, they’ll make a delightful ingenue option.
Matthew Earnest: Ever wonder what a prepster from Texas might wear? In his sophomore collection, Matthew Earnest, a native of the Lone Star State, addressed the question with considerable authority. He started with a pure preppy vibe in, for example, skinny chinos worn with a sleeveless smocked top and deck shoes. There was a pinch of irony here, but just a smidgen. This is, after all, a collection inspired by his own old, brass-buttoned navy blazer.
As the show went on, Earnest’s Texas roots became more evident, as in a countrified, swingy side-tied cotton skirt. But while the prep factor far from disappeared. Instead, the two themes merged to delightful effect. Case in point: a flippy halter dress, true to its grounded, blue-blood roots in navy cotton twill piped in pink, but perfect for flirting with the ranch hands. All in all, a very promising effort from someone who just graduated from Parsons.
Small: Finally, that much-mocked men’s undergarment, the tighty whitey, gets a little respect. And leave it to two tongue-in-cheek blokes — “Sex and the City” contributing stylist Wade Blackmon and MTV motion-graphics designer David Foote — to dish out the props. The two teamed up in June to announce the launch of their line, Small, a name that suggests the British slang term for undies. The collection is a lineup of cheeky lingerie silhouettes using design elements from classic Y-fronts. The few innerwear pieces the pair sent out were essentially tighty whities reworked into bras and more feminine briefs. However, tops, dresses and jumpsuits, all with underwear seaming, got sequined treatments or tie-front details like the ones on football pants. It was all refreshingly playful and sexy.
Fushá: The fashion and music worlds fused for the showing of designer Marie Claudinette Pierre-Jean’s second collection at Bryant Park on Saturday. Russell Simmons, Damon Dash, Naomi Campbell and Cuba Gooding Jr. turned up to support Wyclef Jean’s better half, who presented a made-to-order lineup inspired by both 18th-century fashion and her Caribbean background. Pierre-Jean, whose private clients have included such stars as Ja Rule, Patti LaBelle and Whitney Houston, concentrated on eveningwear that was a little extravagant and plenty colorful, in shimmery fabrics and some bold prints. Although she faltered with some pieces that were more experimental — the striped minidress with a piece of ruffled fabric running over one leg, for example — her simpler fare, such as a long, pink ruched-front frock or the beaded minidresses, worked best. Her business is still young and limited to custom work, but she’s eager to wholesale in the future.