Eric Wilson's Front Row Diary: Imagining Marchesa's Entire Collection on the Oscars Red Carpet
With the Academy Awards falling so close to the end of the collections this year, it seems abundantly obvious that designers here are thinking about the red carpet, even when their collections are about something else entirely. It’s not an understatement to say that savvy celebrity stylists are hitting the refresh button on Instagram every few moments to see if any bright new ideas might be coming down the runway. Well, they need look no further than Marchesa.
At the risk of alienating my dear friends at other fashion houses, I would like to mention a little fantasy that crossed my mind at the Marchesa show. What if every celebrity conspired to wear only the gowns from this collection on Sunday night? Wouldn’t that be fabulous? The designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig returned to their fantasy evening wear this season with a collection in which “imagination is induced through opiate-hazed dreams.” One dress was designed with puffs of gray tulle to suggest a plume of billowing smoke, and several others were adorned with 3-D poppy flowers made of organza (pictured, above). I’m starting to feel high.
So high, in fact, that I picked out a sexy silver embroidered scarf worn as a halter over tuxedo trousers for Emma Stone, a black strapless gown dripping with cascades of poppies for Julianne Moore, a pale gray caftan covered with ostrich feathers for Rosamund Pike (pictured below, from L-R).
Oh, but back to reality. There is one more day of shows. Michael Kors wasn’t fooling around with fantasy dresses in his lavish collection that suggested bonuses on Wall Street had better be big this year. Kors dipped his coat sleeves deep into fox fur, pulled out all the stops for men’s wear haberdashery, put models in paisley pajamas under divinely rich coats, and shod them in investment bankers’ brogues. One extravagant dress appeared to be made of solid gold (pictured, below).
Boss generally caters to hotshots of the financial industry, as well, but designer Jason Wu took a less showy approach. Gray is the currency of Boss. Wu added strips of rust red as layers and linings, but his best looks actually came in black, especially a tuxedo for night (pictured, below left). By comparison, Anna Sui’s models looked as if they were hippie Vikings, bathed in fuzzy color-block fake fur jackets and incredible knits that were like bohemian candy (pictured, below right).
Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler operate on another level. As the new establishment of New York, they have defined a sharp sense of New York style that is both well-rooted in the traditions of Seventh Avenue (I saw some exceptional day suits in their collection) and strangely experimental.
Their show was held in the Marcel Breuer building on Madison Avenue that until recently was home to the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the intention was plain. Their fall collection was inspired by the New York School, “the mid-century movement that shifted the focus of the art world to New York for the first time in art history,” according to the collection notes. This seemed appropriate, since Hernandez and McCollough are more than a little bit responsible for bringing the world’s attention to New York fashion over the last decade. Helen Frankenthaler and Robert Morris inspired them to cut slashes into their clothing, and Breuer’s famous chairs must have suggested to them the idea of dresses and coats in cowhide. Their grommet-heavy gowns, caged in bands of copper embroidery that looked like mineral deposits (pictured, above), were too heavy for the red carpet, but they worked in a museum.