Thank you Christian Siriano, a Fashion Designer Who Speaks Size Sense
At New York Fashion Week, Christian Siriano showed that beauty has no size, Eckhaus Latta found the glamor in garbage, and Banana Republic was full of on-trend joy.
Christian Siriano by Brea Tremblay
It was wildly humid in West Chelsea as we waited for Christian Siriano’s show to begin. According to the handout, the collection was inspired by Settimio Garritano’s photos of Jackie O vacationing in Capri. The show’s invite featured a vintage beach beauty looking coyly over her shoulder. It was printed on heavy cardstock so it made a great fan.
The front row was bananas, a who’s who of ladies that seem like they’d be a hoot over cocktails. Before the show started, they were all hidden by a scrum of camera crews but occasionally, pieces would peek through, illuminated by the phones held up in the rows behind them.
Coco Rocha was there. We saw flash of her incredible cheekbones. And then a corner of Ashley Graham’s smile—even her teeth are radiant somehow. A photographer’s shoulder dropped and Jaimie Alexander’s browline was revealed. Stunning. Christina Hendricks was there too of course—she was in Siriano’s wedding last month. Her perfect hair was tied back in a perfect bun.
The roar ramped up when Pamela Anderson popped in and we could only see the top of her head.
“She’s tiny,” the girls behind me murmured and all was aligned in the universe. Celebrities are always smaller or larger than they appear onscreen and that must be commented on.
The lights dimmed. The show began.
The palate ranged from neutrals to great shocks of orange and turquoise. A series of little white dresses would be lovely for a beach wedding somewhere. A series of little black dresses would be lovely for a chic beach funeral, if such things existed. Some of the models wore deliciously snotty sunglasses—almost cat-eye-like and perfect for the coolest girl at the resort to look down on the hoi polloi from her lounge in the prime cabana.
The greatest thing about the clothes was that they moved, adorned with raffia and crystal dangly bits that rustled like they were being jostled by a seaside breeze. Great wide pants, split to the thighs, flowed like capes as the models walked. The arms of the clothes were slit open too—they fluttered like even more tiny capes. And then an actual cape! It crowned a stunning black gown. The underside was turquoise and the dress was so smashing that it singlehandedly redeemed the shade from decades of Arizona trinket shop hell.
Some of the eveningwear in crepe organza and satin looked like the fabric was pulling a little strangely, but the ruffles were exuberant enough to cover far greater sins. The shoes, wild little pumps cut with sharp wonky angles, are available at longtime Siriano collaborator Payless. Siriano also designs for Lane Bryant.
Because of these collections, women from Capri to Jersey Shore can adorn themselves in Siriano and this inclusivity has made some in the fashion world itch but I’ll swing by a Payless to try a pair on. Hopefully it’s BOGO week and I can get a second free.
The models were lovely, and they ranged in sizes and colors. Earlier this summer. Christian Siriano made headlines for designing a dress for Leslie Jones. When he was showered with praise for designing a dress for Leslie Jones, who is not a size zero, he deflected it by stating bluntly, “It shouldn’t be exceptional to work with brilliant people just because they’re not sample size. Congrats aren’t in order, a change is.”
In the same vein, these models shouldn’t be news but because they are, a change is in order. Regardless, they looked great. The fabulous famous ladies in the front row cheered them on.
On the way out of the show, a woman behind me said, “Too commercial.”
An old man told his companion, “Nice clothes for fat girls.”
Thanks, asshole, for the rude return from a very enjoyable trip to Capri.
Eckhaus Latta by Allison McNearney
With the first eerie notes of an electric cello backed by a thumping bass beat, an otherworldly tone was set for the Eckhaus Latta Spring/Summer 2017 collection.
Models took to the runway in looks that explored the limits of deconstruction and experimented with innovative materials. But it was hard to get into the spirit given the suffocating heat and humidity of September in the great NYC outdoors.
Every season, there seems to be one trending storyline about how the designers or their most avid fans incurred the ire or amusement of the flock of fashion onlookers.
Last February, it was all about the front-row denizens braving snowstorms in the incongruent uniform of slinky summer dresses and strappy heals. Brrr.
But for this season, designers ranging from Tommy Hilfiger and Rebecca Minkoff to Kanye West have called on Mother Nature to provide the backdrop to the big reveal of their latest collections. Sometimes it works. But other times, it can become a hot sweaty mess that has onlookers cringing on behalf of models making their long walks down the 90-degree runway in full-coverage winter knits.
But despite the battle with the sun in Seward Park on the Lower East Side, Eckhaus Latta showed a strong and thought-provoking collection.
Designers Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta play with deconstruction in a variety of different ways—ripped hems, prominent seams, re-imagining shirts into skirts. There was more than a whiff of the 70s—get ready for bell-bottoms to replace your skinnies—and a celebration of 90s-era denim in a series of off-white and light-blue ensembles that hinted that jean-on-jean may soon be a thing.
Eckhaus and Latta played with proportion to great effect, showing oversize jackets, shirts, and skirts juxtaposed with slinky see-through numbers that highlighted every curve. And their work in knit was phenomenal.
The show provided lots of surprising design moments, but these were capped off by a brilliant series of finale-forming looks.
The last few models walked out decked in pieces made out of garbage bags. They were intriguing and oddly wearable: something one hopes might pop up on the funkier red carpets during the next awards season.
After sending such an inventive collection down the runway on an eclectic group of tatted up models, Eckhaus Latta has again proven that they are a forceful duo willing to experiment and shake things up.
It was a hot affair, in every since of the word.
Banana Republic by Sarah Shears
At Banana Republic’s NYFW presentation, the guests were the main attraction. However, other than Olivia Palermo— the brand’s global style ambassador— there weren’t any “celebrities” in the traditional sense, although there were many who were clearly celebrated in their own worlds.
It was a full crowd, made up mostly of late 20s, early 30s creative professionals; a mix of bloggers, artists, musicians and some fashion industry people, but of the hipper, younger and more downtown variety. Although the air was steamy from the rainstorm that had just passed and left the day even more humid than before, the mood was fresh and vibrant, with a feeling of liveliness amongst the attendees.
Guests chatted and made new friends, and asked to take photos of each other as much as they did the actual models working the show. There was a real electrifying positivity and youthful spirit in the room.
A model broke the fifth wall to take a group photo for some guests, and a couple of other models made flirtatious eyes at the stunning blogger/musician/writer twin sisters T.K. and Cipriana Quann, whose style, beauty and intangible coolness somehow managed to glitter off the exposed brick in the industrial space.
Like others in the fashion business shaking things up, (like Misha Nonoo) Banana Republic is blurring the lines of what season they are showing for. Under normative circumstances, the presentation would be for items available Spring 2017. However, Banana Republic is offering 13 garments available for purchase immediately, online and in their flagship store. Their website has a special NYFW section where you can “shop the show” with the looks displayed as they were shown at the presentation.
Michael Anderson, the senior vice president of design, spoke with The Daily Beast about how Palermo helped curate the see-now-buy-now items and the thought process behind making items from their Spring 2017 ready-to-wear line available immediately. “We want to make sure there is enough of a seasonal point of view but there is also this new feeling of season-less clothes--it can still be desirable and covetable but not having something that is specifically tied to one season. I think that’s really exciting too, to take these pieces right now and literally go to the website and buy them, it’s kinda cool.”
On the stage lovely, young, lithe men and women posed in Banana Republic’s newest line, which was a mix of seasons and contained items that could be layered or used in an array of combinations and for many settings. A 1970s palette was blended into the line: a women’s burnt red suede top was paired with a peachy pink lightweight skirt. Stripes were in bounty. A blue and red silky striped pajama suit was reminiscent of the 1970s, while nearby a bright red mid-calf pencil skirt recalled the 1960s.
There was even a bathing suit, a checked black and white bikini paired with a very Jackie-O a-line waist length coat. There were a variety of casual dresses: floor length sun-dresses, white tea length dresses, and shirtdresses.
For men, a grey and red madras button-up was combined with light gray pleated trousers and a striped tie, and checked patterned items were mixed throughout the suiting, in vest, trousers and shirts.
The men’s looks were dapper but subdued, and came mostly in greys, navy and earth tones. Suiting was consumer-friendly and straight-forward with slim but not too-slim cuts. And there were wardrobe standards for everyone: trench coats in light pink for women and in a camel color, polished anoraks worn layered, and blazers for both men and women.
Off the shoulder looks for women came in multiple varieties, and other than a bright neon tangerine ruffled jumpsuit, everything seemed very wearable, well styled, and like most of today’s fashion, rooted in the last century.
One attendee to the presentation, the 26-year-old fashion blogger Arshia Moorjani, said “there were a lot of pieces I feel I would wear out of the line... lots of good basics and classics, very wearable, but it's Banana, they don’t take risks.”
The brand seems to have moved on from the loss of Marissa Webb, the former short-term fashion-forward creative director of the brand who launched her own line after leaving BR, that also showed this past week.
Even though Banana Republic no longer has a singular visionary to drive their new collection, there was a bounty of easy-to-wear items that appeal to many and had well-styled versions of wardrobe basics.