Monday, February 4, 2008

new york - women's fall/winter 2008 - day three


there's a quiet british invasion going on in new york city. first matthew williamson decided to cross the atlantic, then last season the designers at preen made the jump, and now, one of london's brightest lights, jonathan saunders, has decided to show his recent collection in the big apple. saunders' clothes is in many ways the ideal clothes for women in new york. one gets a sense that if the minimalism of calvin klein were merged with the detail and structure of geoffrey beene, you might end up with someone like jonathan saunders. his ability to harmonize cut and print is extraordinary. able to divide the body into parts with his ingenious use of print and paneling and combine it with technique is instant photoshop. for his new york debut, saunders didn't as much stray from his trademarks, instead, he was able to tweak it and make it more appealing to an american audience. his colours were more muted, offered more separates, and since winters in new york is far colder than damp and rainy england, showed coats, lots of them. ranging anywhere from capes to coats with industrial zippers trimmed with a fur hood (something also very american), the young designer is learning to read the wants of his clients even before he's met them. and this wouldn't be a truly american collection without evening wear to seduce stylists for the upcoming oscars. in this field, saunders also succeeds. structured bodices gave shape while a billowing train of pleated jersey endowed the gown with gracious, dynamic movement. an effect that would surely turn heads. london might've lost one of its talents, but new york has just been injected by one.


just two seasons in being included in the official new york fashion week calendar, ohne titel has quickly garnered quite a bit of a buzz. this could pose to be a little problem to a label that is so new. especially with one that received such unanimous praise with their last effort. as beautiful this collection was, it did feel rather like a blockbuster movie sequel. falling into the trap of sticking to what they knew worked from their previous collection, designers alexa adams and flora gill played it safe this season. a little too safe since most of the looks, particularly the pant suits, didn't even offer a hint of difference from spring/summer, except this time they were replaced with more obvious fall colours of dark burgundys, deep purples, and crimson red. even their take on ethnic inspired prints resurfaced, but this time instead of looking towards africa, they've taken on a more folkloric theme using knits instead. even though a lot of the looks were a bit redundant, they did provide the audience with enough things to keep them thirsty for more. voluminous jodphurs, softly draped dresses, structured coats, and their treatment of knits provided enough excitement that the two designers will still be prominent on next season's calendar.


for their second collection shown in new york, british designers thea bregazzi and justin thornton continued their direction to "americanize" their design philosophy. that meant a lot of separate pieces to build outfits from, a very american lumberjack plaid, an easy and relaxed silhouette, and the most american of all, the influence of grunge. for the past few seasons, the homage to kurt cobain has been a source of inspiration to many fashion designers. especially the younger ones who are looking to connect with today's youth by traveling back their own memory lane. what makes the preen collection different from a marc jacobs or takahiro miyashita of japanese label number (n)ine who both continue to revisit their passion for cobain, is that bregazzi and thornton throw in their own little bit of english eccentricity and humor. their play on proportion and reinterpretations american classics like an oversized shearling coat in a cocoon shape and lumberjack plaid coats cut with an ease of a bathrobe in mind demonstrates the individuality the two designers infuse into their collections. the boyfriend blazer, pleated pants, and jumpsuits added a masculine element to the collection that complimented all the light, fluid silk pieces and swinging clothes that have become somewhat one of their trademarks. a nice addition to their continuously growing, international company.


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