"The idea of a girl in a gallery, any gallery, anywhere in the world," Burch explained of her inspiration. In the short amount of time since Burch started her company, this was easily her boldest collection to date; a risky move whose well-received reaction paid off in dividends. Burch already has her classics well established, and together they laid the foundation for her new fall additions that expressed her well-developed range. Among the highlights? A spangled, chiffon bomber and a boyfriend cardigan and metallic knit worn over a lavender feather skirt. It was the quintessential balance of uptown-downtown, day-evening, feminine-masculine and classic-trendy. And while her best-selling Reva flat will no doubt continue to sell briskly, it's got new competition in the form of a brand spankin' new construction lace-up bootie.
Just when it seems impossible that Michael Kors can get any better, the king of American sportswear goes and outdoes himself yet again. The collection for fall begged the question (as most of his designs do): recession? What recession? The 64 runway looks represented a brilliant cross-section of current lifestyle dressing. "All about ease and relaxed glamour," he said in his show notes. That translated into the most sumptuous chunky cashmere sweaters, distressed leather cargo vests, camel suede wrap shirts and, for the requisite red-carpet outing, elegant floor-skimming sequined jersey gowns. Simple full trousers were cut in crushed flannel while slits befit the elbows of a white coat worn with a deep-V sweater with the aim of keeping the arms slim. These are the sorts of clothes that conjure up private jets, mansions in the mountains and a no-limit credit cards (a shredded fox skirt anyone?). Let's face the facts: this is a collection to covet.
As his legion of red carpet fans can faithfully attest to, Narciso Rodriguez can design a power gown. For fall, however, the designer reinforced and reminded us of his abilities to realize fabulous sportswear. Inspired by "beautiful curved lines and shadows," the collection featured easily one of the week's best-executed outerwear and short, color-blocked and ombré dresses combos. The curved lines translated in a number of ways: as a bell-shaped black shearling or in the circular silk mikado inset on the front of his gorgeous wool twill coat. Dresses, for the most part short, were ruggedly paired with cropped jackets boasting nail heads as studs. The shadow effect was slightly more obvious: a wool/angora coat that morphed from chalk white to gray to green. Then there was the update of Michelle Obama's Narciso dress she wore when her husband won the Presidency in the form of a zip-front dress that swirled from brick red through gray. A literal translation of old Hollywood glamour Rodriguez does not do; rather, this collection represented as maximal as the minimalist gets.
Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta is one of those great designers for which there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Most of the time, however, he is the one leading the way with flashlight in hand. Fall was no exception. The richly vibrant collection he presented was iconoclastic, upping the ante on understated glitz and glamour he has long been associated with. It was clear there was an Eighties vibe happening, from the big, feathered 'dos and glossy makeup to the architectural sturdiness of a gold astrakhan printed silk faille embroidered coat. Look five--a cinnamon alpaca coat with orchid alpaca collar--set the tone for the rest of the collection. From something as simple as a navy flannel dress emerged a dip-dyed emerald astrakhan printed cloqué dress. Not to say de la Renta didn't show black; rather, he used it as a canvas upon which he embroidered all sorts of colorful floral prints. For evening, the canvas was much more subdued. A subtle knee-length cocktail dress in beaded lace jacquard and a black double-faced coat embroidered in a similar Art Deco style was refreshing, as was a matador's organza blouse and high-waisted black pants with fans embroidered down the sides. Standout gowns included a silver satin back crepe and crinkle lame gown as well as black silk faille gown with a delicate and delightful fluted back, the latter shouting to have a grand red carpet moment.
3.1 Phillip Lim
Simply put:, Phillip Lim is a talent at designing outerwear. That's not to say, however, that he lacks in any way when it comes to stylish cocktail dresses or progressive daywear. Lim is truly one of the few designers who knows exactly "what girls want." It's with this desire to pare down that highlighted some fabulous outerwear: a collarless camel coat in black silk, a luxe black buckled cape; a shearling-and-tweed toggle coat or a leopard-print shaved rabbit fur. Outerwear aside, Lim second standout was in the form of must-have pants. The black suede flared pants he showed was just the tip of the iceberg, eventually leading way to many creased and high-waisted pants that followed. Preferring to explore the challenge of dressing for evening, Lim eschewed long gowns for a slew of asymmetrical silk dresses that were overlooked compared to the blush bouclé pants paired with a gold sequin blouse.
Lace. Sculpted organza. Feathers, flowers, tulle and beading. Would we expect anything less from Marchesa? While Georgina Chapman has continually refined the Marchesa label--each time with flawless executions--there is always room for improvement. To wit, her fall collection, inspired by the performer and courtesan Lola Montez and her travels and quest for love, were a tad softer than the rigid Madame Butterfly theme last season. Sense of whimsy aside, there was a feeling of blossoming youth in the embroideries as well as in cotton-candy tulle dress. Always jaw-dropping are the couture gowns. This season's stunner was a silver siren gown that looked like liquid metal what with its lace-patterned beading on the bodice turned into allover beading.