Sienna Miller was looking fantastic as she took her seat at Ralph Lauren’s show on Thursday morning, at the start of the final day of New York Fashion Week. Miller wore a black silk dress of Lauren’s design (above), her hair up and smiling, which suddenly reminded me that the Oscars are just over a week away.
Lauren has had some major hits at the Academy Awards of late, so who could he be dressing this year? Kate Winslet, perhaps? Just a guess, but she did look great in his navy dress at the Golden Globes, and little birds are chirping that she might be headed for a repeat performance. Anyway, be sure to check out our Oscars Dress Debate for more inside intel.
Those hoping to find an Oscars gown on Lauren’s runway, however, might have gone home empty-handed, for the show opened with a study on taupe, and plenty of options for either commanding attention at the office or on the hunt, as in the English countryside. But then things went in multiple directions at once, with a Western-fringed black jacket worn with tuxedo pants, for example, and a dramatic little cocktail dress in what looked like black velvet, trimmed with pleated ruffles that scooped around the model’s neck, making her look like an angry cobra (below). Actually, I’d like to see that on a red carpet.
For evening, Lauren’s references were also intentionally mixed, like a sweeping gown in a print that combined paisley with tartan, and liquid-looking gold dresses that suggested the designer is entering his modernist period (tempered, mind you, with sleek black boots, below).
Mixing men’s wear patterns – houndstooth, Prince of Wales checks, herringbone, etc. – has been a trend on the runways, from Sophie Theallet, Derek Lam, and more. So have rustic patchwork and color block coats at Narciso Rodriguez, Tory Burch, Proenza Schouler, and Lauren, too. But Francisco Costa’s latest Calvin Klein collection had both, as well as a whole lot more.
Costa’s day looks were strong, and certainly there was a lot here for professional women who are bored with the same old suits, since Costa exaggerated his double-breasted classics with what looked like chalk marks, small details of colorful threads, and mixed fabrics. A plaid dress featured different plaids on front and back. Then came more conceptual pieces – and I’ve always thought of Calvin Klein as more minimalist than conceptual. There were exposed shoulder pads à la Margiela, cloth coats with photorealistic prints of fur coats (and fur coats that were actually faux fur coats), and other witty repartee to chew on, such as dresses with large slices of minerals applied as if they were sequins. It was impressive.
Finally, the fashion masses made their way to the Park Avenue Armory for the Marc Jacobs finale, which, as usual, was worth the trek, even if we were greeted not with another fantastic fantasy set, but instead a pristine (if plain) white stage in the round. My hunch is that this was more of an aesthetic decision because the collection Jacobs showed was so dark, with black poodle skirts, black cardigans, and black webby gowns embroidered with all sorts of things (below), Sixties kitties, birds, a gilded cage (designer metaphor alert), ballerinas, even some little rats. The exaggerated proportions were Kawakubo-esque, with an added dose of American humor and playfulness.
Jacobs’s spring collection, the wildly gaudy movie-spectacular held at the Ziegfeld Theatre last season, was in a way a nostalgic show, recalling the good old days of Old New York before everything in fashion became so corporate and harried. That sense of fondly looking back came through here as well, with models wearing platform boots with soles that had to be eight inches high or more, which brought to mind the recent sad news that Patricia Field, Manhattan’s costume designer of choice for drag queens and female impersonators, and a nightlife and retail queen here herself for decades, is shutting down her store as we speak. These are my thoughts, and not necessarily Marc’s, but I think it’s fair to say there is nothing cynical in his approach, just a strong desire to bring fashion to an audience who most appreciates and celebrates it. Why else would Lady Gaga have appeared as a model herself, right in the middle of his show?