Pictured, above from L-R: Runway looks from Derek Lam, DKNY, and Victoria Beckham.
Victoria Beckham doesn’t normally do cozy. You might think of her clothes as rather strict, whether the form-fitting dresses or the more recent power suit direction of her collection or the modern tailoring. But she has a softer side, evidenced by her adorable children who were snapping pictures as she took her bow on Sunday morning, now also coming through more clearly in her designs.
The main thing you might notice about Beckham’s fall collection would be the fabrics, the comfortable looking felts and creamy plush textures – a two-button dress looked as if it were made of corduroy, a great soft-shouldered wrap coat appeared to be embroidered with tiny strips of ribbon. And the fits are more relaxed and forgiving, which is right in line with the direction for oversize coats taking shape for the season, visible even in these early days of Fashion Week. Derek Lam had them too, so did DKNY, where a great big blueberry of a coat and a classic camel topper trimmed with jewels on the lapel were the hits. Big buttons are also going to be big.
Lam’s collection, especially, captured the new silhouette that’s been gaining momentum on the runways. It’s sort of an X-line, or perhaps more of a K-line, if the K were backwards, that is – broad on top, fitted and slender at the waist, and then flared from the knee down. It’s a less extreme version of the look Phoebe Philo introduced at Céline last season on her runway, where the pants legs practically soared. But Lam’s look was distinctly more American in its sportswear focus – a deep V-neck sweater over a leather skirt, or a superb two-tone trench with a portrait collar.
Sunday’s shows included a non-stop series of great moments, with a breakthrough collection by Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne. OK, I know, they’ve already hit the big time in industry terms, but their expansion into women’s wear has created an infectious energy fueled by the sort of street wear that no one has ever found a good name for. Is it urban? Not exactly. Some of these clothes would look just fine in any office. And the look is distinctly designer. There were plenty enough loose bomber jackets and baggyish pants, anyway, to call this tailored street (pictured, below).
Diane von Furstenberg’s collection (pictured, below), called “Seduction,” was inspired by “In the Mood for Love,” Wong Kar Wai’s love story that has been a fashion-show touchstone for more than a decade. Von Furstenberg made it feel fresh again, with densely printed and embellished wrap dresses, plus an excellent foray into red-carpet evening wear. A black lace dress with a neck that plunged to below the sternum looked like fresh Oscars bait, particularly in this moment of baring all. I just loved her quote printed on the programs: “By day she commands her world, by night she inspires fantasy…”
Prabal Gurung had a few eveningwear tricks up his sleeves as well, literally. His sequined gowns actually had sleeves. T-shirt dresses that glittered at the end of his show were emblematic of his easy, cozy approach for fall that loses nothing of the sex appeal you’d expect of his generation – a deep slit up the back left a lot of leg on display. His inspiration, curiously, was the Adirondacks (hence, the grand knits with funnel necks, pictured, below, and another show filled with big-time furs). But on what happened to be the coldest night that New York has seen in years, these clothes seemed destined for a big city wardrobe.