Take a dash of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie, a splash of Issey Miyake (as seen through the lens of Irving Penn), and mix in a heavy dose of folk, ethnic-inspired prints, and ticking stripes, and what do you get? A feast for the eyes, for sure — or Suno's Spring 2013 collection. Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty combined all with their usual deftness, resulting in a collection that not only felt fresh, but also felt right in line with the aesthetic they've been building steadily for the past few seasons. The use of some high-shine fabrics — in the form of printed silks and metallic novelty chiffons — added a hint of glamour, while midriff-baring tops, drawstring jackets, and ruffle-bottomed skirts lent a youthful edge.
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Billy Reid's Spring 2013 presentation Friday night lured showgoers with the promise of craft ales from Dogfish Head, but the crowd assembled stayed to watch the designer's muted take on Americana come down the runway.
As is always the case, Reid's main focus this season was on making sophisticated alternatives to traditional men's workwear. A gold cotton windbreaker was shown layered over a hand-tailored gray linen suit, while a tough lambskin jacket got paired with deep brown python penny loafers.
The women's side was infused with the same hardworking spirit but enjoyed its own touches of refinement. A beige suede duster floated over a simple white gauze dress, and suits in varying neutral shades were perfectly primed for the office. But a pair of silk dresses decorated with pale golden stripes were the height of the collection's easy elegance.
If you were expecting a dark, rock 'n' roll tinged collection from Nicole and Michael Colovos for Spring 2013, then you may be out of luck. This season, the duo drew inspiration from the aquatic drawings of Ernst Haeckel, and the result was a decidedly softer take on classic sportswear. In a palette of marigold, taupe, white, crimson, and watery blue, the Colovos offered up boxy jackets, slim skirts, and loose-fitting shifts. The real winners, though, were the prints; in radial florals and mirrored sea anemones, they gave a welcome boost of lushness to the abundance of high-tech fabrics and sporty silhouettes.
Bartenders serving ice-cold Peroni, a live DJ set by Thom Yorke, and the biggest fleet of street style paparazzo seen yet this fashion week: the Rag & Bone show generated some serious heat (or maybe that was the lack of air conditioning in the venue?), and that was before the first look even came out the gate.
Excitement aside, there is something about a Rag & Bone show that always feels intrinsically New York, despite designers Marcus Wainwright's and David Neville's deep British roots. That spirit was in full effect for Spring 2013, with a hodgepodge of influences — off-road racing, motocross, prep, sport, and military — expertly layered in the very embodiment of downtown cool.
Silhouettes were ample: moto jackets came oversized, miniskirts flared, vests boxy. And while there was nary a print to be found, fabrics were textural in the form of striped seersucker, crackled leather, and crocheted lace — the latter of which peeked out from beneath several hems.
Michelle Ochs and Carly Cushnie are feeling beachy for Spring 2013. But don't go thinking that means a collection filled with Hawaiian prints and wide-brimmed hats. This is still Cushnie et Ochs, after all, and the brand has made a name for itself — and garnered a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nomination in the process — with its signature femme fatale dressing. So, despite finding inspiration in the relaxed beach dressing of the Philippines (Ochs's home country), the duo stayed true to form.
Body-skimming dresses were the main focus here; some came with architecturally sharp shoulders, some with skin-exposing panels, and all were impeccably cut. The palette was strictly white, black, violet, and sea foam, with fabrics ranging from leather to embroidered organza or lace. A series of scroll-edged swimwear and a breezy poncho-and-pants combo hinted at that Philippines beach, but it was the use of draping on a pair of slinky wrap dresses that really felt relaxed.
"It's two completely different styles," Jason Wu said backstage at his Spring 2013 show. He was referring to the two photographers who inspired his collection, Helmut Newton and Lillian Basman, but he might as well have been talking about his collection as a whole. The designer played with the contrast between sensuality and innocence this season — and the result was just as naughty as it was nice.
Strong silhouettes and masculine tuxedo tailoring were softened with the addition of organza panels, point d'esprit insets, and embroidered lace. Angular darts — like those on the bodice of one sexy little sheath dress in creamy beige leather — were trimmed in grosgrain ribbon, and curve-defining corsets peeked out from filmy tulle blouses and drippy chiffon skirts. Nearly everything, including softly beaded collared blouses and twinkling, fairy-tale ballgowns, was topped with dramatic leather harnesses.
"I wanted to make a collection that sort of balanced, just teetered on that line, of sexy but still sophisticated," Wu explained.
Monastic in its simplicity and effortless in its wearability, Yigal Azrouel's Spring 2013 collection drew inspiration from organic architecture in the natural world. The silhouettes were therefore clean in appearance, but not necessarily simple in construction. Hand detailing touched everything from the collection's sandals to its handknitted dresses and chunky sweaters. The color palette, described in the show notes as including "ice, quartz, and cactus," kept the mood subdued, but waffle knits and cotton eyelets drove visual interest. So too did the disembodied drawstring hoods that Azrouel paired with many of the looks in the collection, which at times called to mind sisters in a particularly chic order of nuns.
New York-based designer Misha Nonoo is simultaneously feeling sporty and romantic for Spring 2013; models wore both crisp white sneakers and Frida Kahlo-style ribbon headpieces. Feeding into the flirty side of the collection were vintage-inspired floral dresses, lace details, and ruffled skirts, while cobalt drawstring trousers, piped short suits, and loose-fitting shorts lent a more relaxed look. Delicate prints and bright colors, as well as bursts of crisp whites, gave the collection an exuberant flair.
For Spring 2013, Deborah Lloyd offered up everything a Kate Spade girl could want — and then some. Colors were sweet, silhouettes girlie, and of course, there was plenty of hot pink and preppy quirk. But the real fun was in details: clutches made to look like old-time radios, purses shaped like picnic baskets, minaudieres like retro candy bars, and even bracelets in the form of Brad Goreski's glasses. Pointy-toed loafers, Lana Del Rey nails, and slicked-back hair gave it all a real "Greased Lightning" goes to the garden party appeal.
If last season was an exploration of the stricter side of things, then Spring 2013 may just mark a return to playfulness for Peter Som. Sure, there was a certain sense of underlying danger in some of those angularly cut floral-print dresses (the best of which were rimmed in dark lace), but right out the gate, these looks were softer, sweeter, and prettier than nearly anything the designer sent down the runway the season before. What really made these looks shine, though, was Som's killer sense for color, pattern, and detail. A pencil skirt in airy pastel tweed, for example, was given a tactile boost with the addition of a sexy little hip panel in lace, while a series of vivid chevron-patterned looks were actually made from panels of patchworked snakeskin.
Earlier in the week, the designer told us that the song that most defines Spring 2013 for him is "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" by The Smiths. Thanks to these brightly clever looks, it's easy to see what he means.