Monday, September 16, 2013

A Moderate Finale for New York Fashion Week Spring 2014

A review from the Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein Collection, and Marc Jacobs Spring 2014 shows. 

details of designer collections spring 2014
From Left: Details of a Marc Jacobs Spring 2014 coat; Calvin Klein cotton tweed deconstructed seams; Ralph Lauren spring 2014 floral pattern trench coat.

The last day of New York Fashion Week contains one of the most anticipated and recognizable international designers of all time. It sounds appropriate to end fashion week with such designers like Ralph Lauren, Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein, and Marc Jacobs. But contrary to day 6 and 7 that included one of the best shows of the season – Narciso Rodriguez, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, etc. – day 8 (the last day) wasn’t so compelling after all for these three designers. 

ralph lauren collection spring 2014

Ralph Lauren has always had a talent for telling such a beautiful and romantic story. It’s hard not to grasp what the designer’s new theme is all about. For his new upcoming spring 2014 collection, there was a minute I thought a new creative director had been hired to take over the label. The clothes looked like something similar you’d find at a commercial retail store. I felt disappointed there were not that many truly designer pieces that conveyed a gorgeous detailed story like last season’s Russian inspired coats and dresses most women would dream of becoming the protagonist. 

He began with sporty (60s inspired) school uniform looks in black and white that later transformed into stripes, and patterned suits accessorized with big chunky ties. They added a very youthful appeal to the new collection, especially when paired with his midi A-line skirts and black leggings. His geometric and floral print numbers were simply nice and pretty, not aweing. He also wanted to introduce a series of strong neon colors – green, orange, yellow, red, and blue – that turned up to be nostalgic. There was a great start to the cut of these sporty designs, but it was clear that if Mr. Lauren would have used his perfectly feminine pastel colors, these looks would have added much more presence.  Evening dresses like a blue neon one Karlie Kloss wore above or a final red dress with a cape were the most convincing ones in this minimalistic collection.

Mr. Lauren knows how to do great evening gowns just like any other piece in his collection, but taking into consideration how much emphasis he has put into his previous collections of masterpiece, this may be the first time and the only time this collection lacks character. But was this collection nice? Yes, indeed, but we know Mr. Lauren can do so much more than this when it comes to his personal COLLECTION. 

calvin klein collection spring 2014 dresses

At Calvin Klein, Francisco Costa wanted to expose deconstructed seams to say the least. It looked better in pictures than it did close-up. The clothes had a nice message of a minimalistic touch in most of the looks, even though most pieces seemed to have been unsewn at the hems and sides of tops. 

The first model came out with a white strapless top and skirt that looked awkward with those exposed side seam allowance I’d wonder how many women would want to be walking around with their seams and threads exposed; his colored cotton tweed – red, mint, and pink – made an interesting intro to the classical colors of the label –black, gray, and white. There could have been a great potential for his new jackets to become a hit if only he wouldn’t have added too much confusing patchworks into them.

His most innovative looks that imbued a subtle couture sensibility were his yarn like threads that acted as fringe. He used some colored threads to etch into one woven leather black jacket and skirts, but his final three looks of fringed dresses were the ones that were noteworthy. And if you though everything was lost, his snake print tops and dresses patchworked from graphic leather and silk (above) were what minimalism should have been all about in this collection. 

I believe the collection could have worked, but the problem with the clothes was Francisco’s use of stiff fabric that didn’t help much. It became an esoteric collection maybe even editors themselves didn’t quite grasp. One thing I did admire about Mr. Costa in this new collection was his attempt to experiment with more proportions while keeping the Calvin Klein aesthetics untouched.

marc jacobs spring 2014 collection

If you didn’t quite understand what Francisco Costa was trying to do, then you certainly may have been confused with Marc Jacobs’ new spring collection. It felt more wintery then summer with those dark bulky clothes that went down the mystical setting. Well, the clothes did go well together with the dirty, gothic, vintage runway props that were built for the show. And somehow, this was a weird collection for Mr. Jacobs that worked in some sort of way.

His oversized shoulder jackets embroidered with tassels weren’t that pleasing, but his detailed shorts were the ones that may have a potential when next summer arrives. His jackets would have been very enticing if only he would have toned down those shoulders, but he seemed to have known the audience reaction, and he did lower its volume in some of them; Mr. Jacobs always knows. Other chunky leaf patterned tops and dark colored sweaters matched with beaded skirts and Uggs look alike were just amusing. I actually happened to find his leaf patterned and final embroidered dresses quite normal for a casual day paired with sneakers or sandals. 

The most important part one should understand about Marc Jacobs is that he is a risk taker, and the woman who wears his label is one who is very confident in who she is. She doesn’t have a season in her wardrobe as well as a dress code from daywear to evening. She just puts whatever on, and as long as its luxury, doesn’t give a damn about what the rest have to say. And that’s what we love about a Marc Jacobs show. You never know what he’ll bring next season.

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