New York – New York Fashion Week is well on its way with its celebrity-filled front rows and extravagant runway designs. Here are some highlights:
NARCISO RODRIGUEZ, PROSPECTING FOR MINERALS
For his new collection, Narciso Rodriguez went prospecting for minerals.
Mineral colors, that is. "I opened up and let much more color into the collection," said the designer, who often sticks to sleek black and white, in a backstage interview. "There are great mineral tones, of sulphur, chrome, aluminum, granite, onyx."
That onyx color showed up early on, in a lush cashmere handknit sweater and wrap scarf. Sulphur appeared in a "crushed paper" silk dress, and in a darker suede dress. The granite color graced a cashmere handknit sweater, paired with a silk skirt and top.
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Another change for Rodriguez: the textures. "I found and developed very beautiful cashmere techniques, pleated fabrics, and distressed fabrics," he said. "I'd never worked with them before. They're traditional fabric techniques that were then converted into modern fabric. I left them unlined and a bit deconstructed."
Rodriguez has a loyal celebrity clientele, and sitting in the front row Tuesday night was actress Claire Danes, who said her TV shooting schedule for "Homeland" had prevented her from attending many of his shows in the past.
"I am a fan and a friend of Narciso's and I haven't been home for a really long time," Danes said. "So finally I get to show up. And yeah, his work is wonderful and I just want to support him. I feel most myself when I wear his clothes."
Backstage, Rodriguez was philosophical about the idea of "fast fashion," meaning designers having garments ready for sale right after they're shown on the runway, rather than months later.
"I think everything's too fast," Rodriguez said. "People lose sight of the fact that for a true designer, they need to create a very special very unique thing, whether it's luxurious or at any price point, to create things that are desirable. And whether you show them and ship them today or in a few months, if you create something that's very good someone will make it a part of their lives."
"And for me that's always a big part of the design process, how do you seduce a woman, how do you excite her about buying new things and get excited about fashion" he said. "And how do you keep her intrigued enough that when she saw it on the runway and bought it X amount of time later, and then in two years or 10 years still has the same feeling (about it), that's a great thing. I love things like that, that I've made a commitment to."
NATURE AND FRITZ LANG'S FUTURE AT DELPOZO
Delpozo creative director Josep Font is nothing if not a romantic, even when he's honoring the lady robot of Fritz Lang's 1927 classic film "Metropolis."
But wait. There's more to this Spaniard's fall/winter collection. Blended with his severe geometry and his cool metallics of silver, gold and bronze is the powerful strength in nature of digital illustrator Daria Petrilli, in tiny-waisted Victorian coats and beautifully sequined evening gloves in riots of three-dimensional flowers.
Both Lang and Petrilli are more than a little evident in the details. The Madrid-based brand is known for volume, which Font said in an interview poses a slight challenge in the United States. Not everybody will be drawn to his huge bows at the neck and overly rounded shapes.
But here, he used volume daintily in spots. Some dresses had large block leaf motifs in fabrics that offer the same soft but structured curves as the scuba material so popular on runways in years past.
Font also speaks fluently in pleats, putting a soft version on a long tulle train on a finale gown in black, and razor-sharp pleats elsewhere, including a skirt where they stand on their own at the waist.
He carried flora and fauna detailing into embroidery, putting delicate orange stems on black evening looks. One of his appliques came in red leather squares and rectangles.
Font is a humble romantic, declaring in his spare English the outdoors as a major love.
"All weekends I am going to the country," he said. "I love my garden to connect with nature."
A MEDITATION ON CONTROL AND RELEASE, AT PROENZA SCHOULER
It was fitting in more than one way that Proenza Schouler managed to secure the venue of venues — the newly reopened, downtown Whitney Museum of American Art — for their fashion show Wednesday night.
First, the designing duo — Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough — cite artist Frank Stella as one of the influences on their new collection, and the Whitney's exhibit of Stella's work just closed. In fact, the fashion show was held in the same beautiful room overlooking the Hudson River.
And second, each Proenza Schouler garment arguably resembles a Stella artwork — with colorful layers constructed together in ingenious ways.
The designers presented a runway show that was a meditation on control and release. The control was at the top of the body — with laces and knots and tight-fitting tops.
"And then it all falls into kind of a slouchier silhouette," McCollough said backstage. "The trousers are big, and the shoes are a bit lower, for a woman to be able to walk fast, with freedom and confidence."
Beyond the concept of control and release, the idea of process and materials was key, and it harked back to American art of the '60s and '70s.
"It's about the process, not the outcome," McCollough said.
Regardless, the outcome seemed pretty pleasing to the crowd, which included actress Liv Tyler. Especially appealing were figure-hugging knit dresses that appeared to display control, with their shape, and release, with their softness, at the same time.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.