Monday, March 21, 2011

Mad Ave. (PHOTOS & TEXT)

There is nothing quite as luxurious as a stroll on Madison Avenue on the first Spring like day of the season. The windows are filled with the most expensive and exclusive collections all ripe for buying.
What stands out during your stroll is that “Mad Ave.” has become a veritable who’s who of the “haute joalliers” whether it is Graff, Chopard, Fred Leighton or Solange Azagury-Partridge. Then there is the endless amount of apparel stores which include Ralph Lauren, with 2 of the most exquisite mansions devoted to his collections, and just about every other designer you have ever heard of or thought of or imagined including Gucci, Hermes, Cavalli, Chloe, Tom Ford, Zanotti and many many more.
Today was given to the exploration of the new Ralph Lauren women’s store which was assembles across the street from the Rhinelander location which houses the men’s collections. This new store was built to echo the feeling of the Rhinelander but was really created from scratch with dazzling end result. There is no detail left out, no luxury overlooked and one cannot be anything but overwhelmed by the extravagance of it all.
Once you arrive at the location, you cannot help but be impressed by this masterpiece which has made Mr. Lauren the sole purveyor of fashion from 71 St to 72nd street on Mad Ave. I was lucky enough to have not been stopped from photographing the interior as wisely used no flash and am very pleased to share with you the opulence and vision that is uniquely Ralph Lauren.
The other photographs which prove to be equally arresting are those of the jewelers who are unequaled without including the big names of Bulgari. Tiffany, Harry Winston or Verdura and more but I cheated and included a Van Cleef (5th Avenue) “zipper necklace” which is beyond fabulous.
The rest of the stroll can only be considered to “swoon worthy” but there are few places where you can stroll along and pass “Mr. Big” and Tom Selleck doing the same thing you are…enjoying the first taste of Spring and the sights of Mad Ave.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

LOEWE by Stuart Vevers

Stuart Vevers offered up a particularly wonderful and tasteful

collection filled with what else…leather. He served it up every way possible and cut it and sewed it as if it was cloth. I am a fan of his and of the collection although it has a rather rocky track record as being desirable. Nevertheless, I always have to have a look at it and this season certainly proved to be worth my attention.

Vionnet fall 2011

This is a collection that is in its nascent rebirth and as of this collection, has gained one more fan, well at least of the critical variety. I found the collection to be very refreshing and very appealing, even with the plethora of prints and the “busy” background. The silhouettes were good and as a whole it was hard to find fault with …see if you agree.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

BALMAIN by Christophe Decarnin

This is another collection which fits into the “I don’t get it” category, but this season I do get it. Unfortunately, it seems that Mr. Decarnin had little to do with this collection due to “his unfortunate incarceration.”
At any rate I wish him well, and I think this season the collection has become more approachable, if that even applies to a collection such as this. Somehow, commercial is not on the menu here, but they need to sell clothes to stay in business and judging by the activity I have seen around these clothes at Bergdorf Goodman, I would have to say they have an audience.
I know that the clothes have been stratospherically expensive for the rock star style that Mr. Decarnin has adhered to for the collection and it appeared to me that he was a bit of a Johnny One Note. I cannot exactly say that for fall, the collection has a universal appeal, but I can say the door has been opened a bit wider which should be beneficial for the house. The dresses are still dangerously short and the pants and jackets require very thin, think skinny to emaciated, bodies but there will be more activity than when the main attraction was highly embellished jackets.

Rick Owens Fall 2011

Sometimes I need some space so I can learn to like a designer and sometimes it takes time for the designer to distill his or her image/look, nevertheless, time has passed and I have become a fan of Rick Owens. This is not what I am generally attracted to but there is a clean line and a definite point of view which, in my opinion, is refined to a tee with this collection.
The clothes look perfectly crafted with hard edges, which is the vocabulary and DNA of the collection. This is a designer who is certainly fluent with the use of leather and fur and uses them to maximum effect for each look. I am very taken with the leather gauntlet like gloves he uses to achieve a totally finished look.
These are not supermarket clothes nor are they the perfect little throw on to head out to dinner, but with an acquired taste, these are clothes with a long life crafted by a designer who is certainly an artist amongst designers in the fashion business.

Chriistian Dior by John Galliano

When I first saw the collection there was something that bothered me other than all the drama of the past week. I felt a somewhat uncomfortable feeling about this collection which may or may not have been influenced by the most current events. With a little research I was able to figure out that the runway itself was different as the surface of the actual runway was flat and dark as opposed to r

eflective and glossy which cast a certain pall over the collection. Maybe it was like looking in a mirror and seeing no reflection.
Yes there were all the Galliano touches of pirate attire, knickers, skyscraper stilettos and boots, the filmy dresses amongst all the other unwritten language that the designer had created for the famed house. Galliano created a vocabulary which had no dialects…there was only one and that was Dior by Galliano. As sad as I may be about this whole affair, I found the collection to be a halfhearted attempt at another season of more clothes and more forced drama. Yes, the makeup was toned down yet that didn’t jive with the clothes which were not toned down and yet there seems to be tedium present.
In essence, Mr. Galliano is a master story teller and a master of the spectacle and he achieved it at least 4 times a year for the last 15 years at Dior. For whatever the reason and whatever the circumstances of the not so distant past, I do know that he will be missed as showman and designer and can’t help but have a feeling that there was some sort of divine plan, bigger picture involved which caused this enormous upheaval for an individual, a brand and an entire industry .

Friday, March 4, 2011

BALENCIAGA by Nicholas Ghesquiere

It appears to me that this season, more than any other, one is in need of a doctorate in philosophy in order to write a review on many of the current Fall collections. Somewhere there is a university that has graduates who are able to expound on the philosophical design aspects of a collection yet never consider the salability or wearability of any items or maybe there is a debriefing process that one must attend before the shows. Oh yeah and they never really give an opinion, they seem to avoid that at all costs, especially if the review sounds scholarly and knowledgeable except here is a new flash …..these are clothes, this is not a cure for cancer, this is not solving the issue of global warming and new seasonal collections should be reviewed within the parameters of the apparel business and not on some existential theory of beauty!
With all that said, who can say that Balenciaga is beautiful? Yes I think that Mr. Ghesquiere is fabulously talented, yes I believe he raises the bar on the technology that is involved in fashion but there is way way too much blah, blah, blah involved. The collection as a whole is relatively ugly, relatively ungainly and most certainly unbecoming. Why are people raving about collections which are much less than the words would imply. If the media and goddesses of editorial are in such need of stars, why can’t they find one who has some validity? Part of it appears to be that editorials are no longer photographed in a straight forward manner in which you might see the article of clothing which culminates in a sometimes totally unrecognizable image. These clothes will fit right in since anyone who can afford or dares to wear these concoctions will be met with shaking heads and quizzical expressions.
So, yes the collection is directional, I guess, and it certainly tears a page from the Prada Marni book of unattractive and maybe this is the heroin that true fashion addicts/victims crave on a seasonal basis. It is hard to believe that I stand alone with these observations and I really must question how anyone who unequivocally raves about these blah, blah, blah collections. Tell me that reviewers really understand what they see or are they just pawns of the advertising dollar and pandering to the tabloid mentality that has invaded all forms of the media.

Zac Posen Fall 2011

It is just as easy to show unattractive clothes in NYC as it is to show them in Paris and it is cheaper to do it at home so why does Mr. Posen insist on bring his roadshow to the city of light. Actually he does himself a great disservice as the competition is far stiffer and he stands out as the “ugly American.”
He provided a few pretty moments, a few pretty ugly moments and then he finished off

with a few Morticia moments. Last season he was the wardrobe t=for the Folies Bergere or some might say for the ladies of the night and this season he is not sure who he is and who his customer might be. Someone needs to get with the program here and decide who is your client base and what exactly do you want to stand for and hopefully that will not be ugly collections. Time’s a wasting and the dollars keep adding up and there is not even editorial material here to work with. There seems to be a lack of direction, a lack of guidance and like I said when I saw the ZP department at Bergdorf’s, a lack of clothes to sell!!