Globe Style's Amy Verner has packed up from Paris and landed in New York to cover Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. On Wednesday, a number of big-name designers debuted their Fall 2012 collection, including Michael Kors
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The entertainment factor of fashion shows—pulsing music, leggy models, front row celebrities—can distract from the fact that fashion is a business. Shares of Michael Kors, which went public in December, rose 27.5 percent on Tuesday, with revenues up 67.9 percent. Translation: He’s having a good week.
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Kors sent out a tight vision for fall: Oversized luxurious furs mixed with graphic checks and plaids. Many of the coats, like this one in ivory alpaca, were extra shaggy. Purely by coincidence, the Westminster Dog Show also took place this week in New York.
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The men’s wear alternated between outdoorsy aspirational looks (because a guy would never actually wear such a posh anorak and fur mitts on a rugged expedition) and urbane plaid trousers and coats.
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Such sexy coziness—cashmere knickers and a coyote fringed blanket—is akin to using puppies or babies in a commercial: crowd-pleasing bait (that is, when the crowd is of a certain jet-set ilk).
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Because this was the signature Kors collection (versus the more accessible Michael Michael Kors), there were a number of slinky gowns that, according to the press person, were meant to evoke the 1930s. While unmistakably glamorous, they struck me as inconsistent with the rest of the collection.
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Ports 1961 interests me, not just for the Canadian connection (CEO and designer Fiona Cibani hails from Vancouver) but because the line is actually deceiving: While first impressions suggest restrained, up close, everything is highly decadent. For fall, Cibani was inspired by glass blowing techniques.
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The collection was neither man repelling (if you don’t know what that means, Google it) nor overtly feminine. It’s an elusive, sculpted sweet spot, nicely captured in this white sheath accented with pumpkin orange cashmere. Unfortunately, you can’t see the open back, which contributes to the fluid shape.
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Ay Carumba! If there were an American equivalent to “enfant terrible” Jeremy would be it. And on the penultimate day of New York Fashion Week, Bart Simpson bloomers, keyboard print pants, stuffed animal stoles and rainbow manga hair was exactly the kooky comic relief that everyone needed.
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But back to the seriously chic. J. Mendel is a French line that began as a furrier to the Russian aristocracy. Five generations later, CEO and head designer Gilles Mendel has split the focus between stylized fur outerwear and ready-to-wear with seductive Parisian flare.
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Where most designers used crocodile-stamped leather, J. Mendel uses the real thing.
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J. Mendel does a mean red carpet gown. Whether deliberate or not, the pattern of the beading and the turtleneck collar suggest a glitzy ski sweater.
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Marchesa’s designers Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman say they were inspired by “A Soul Brought to Heaven,” a portrait by William Adolphe Bouguereaus from 1878.
KENA BETANCUR/Kena Betancur/Reuters
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There was a lot of Alexander McQueen in this Marchesa collection; gold painted feathers, capped sleeve bodices, skeletal detailing. But all pleasure no pain.
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Having just seen the Haute Couture collections in Paris, I can say that Craig and Chapman design to this level of craftsmanship. They have a reached a point where they are now considering those magic micro touches—spun gold overlays and gauzy leggings—more than the grand statements.
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Am I the only one who looked at this gown and pictured the bathtub scene in American Beauty?
KENA BETANCUR/Kena Betancur/Reuters
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This gown could easily end up on the Oscar red carpet. Aside from the dazzling liquid gold effect of the lamé, the circumference of the hand-draped pouf skirt would appeal to any actress requiring a large body bubble.
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The Anna Sui muse for Fall ‘12 strikes me as the type of girl who sells Brady Bunch coasters on Etsy. That is, when she’s not knitting her owl toques.