Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.
#SuzyNYFW: Altuzarra's Cherry Ripe And Prabal Gurung's Tribute To His Mother
Two New York designers offer collections that have a deeper thought process than first seems
15 Сентября 2016
It's a bit of a fruit salad this season!” announced Joseph Altuzarra to define his collection decorated with lemons that gave zest to a jacket or cherries to make a skirt flirty.
The juicy collection for summer 2017 was the lightest in spirit Altuzarra has shown, taking inspiration from David Lynch's 1990 film Wild at Heart. The designer called it “a modern take on romance and kitsch” and said he wanted the collection “to be joyful and playful, but also glamorous, flirty, sensual and erotically charged”.
That sounds like a big statement about an intensely summer collection that had frilly tops above pencil skirts, juicy fruit decoration and, as its finale, a cloud of organza splattered with cherries, pineapples and blueberries.
The collection sang out for happiness in a troubled world. But I had the opportunity to see up-close some of the decorative outfits that walked the runway which gave me a different vision on what, at first, seemed like a collection light-hearted to a fault. The idea of fruity patterns is familiar not just from Dolce & Gabbana, but in high street summer windows from Brazil to LA. Yet the craft in the Altuzarra collection put it in a league of its own. Decorated denim turned out to be a jeans effect printed on python that was then over-embroidered with lemons. Yet with all those intense handwork, the outfits looked light as a breeze.
The same was true in reverse when the cloud of organza for a dress was covered with embroidered pineapples and lemons. Crinkled gingham with ruffled details had similar effects, with the entire collection from pencil skirts to knits predicated on masculine and feminine shapes.
With a visit to an Elvis mansion in Palm Springs as inspiration and the designer saying “I was interested in doing bad taste and kitsch in a really beautiful and expensive way”, I saw the Altuzarra collection as a bold up-close-and-personal statement in a digital world.
What seemed airy and casual clothes were, in fact, intensely worked. The cherry ripe details would look much more desirable up close than online.
With sexy, clingy clothes and brief shorts on every Manhattan sidewalk, Prabal Gurung made a feminist statement with a touching introduction. The show notes read: “To my mother, who always wanted to change the idea that the higher you go, the fewer women there are”.
Those programme words suggested to me that the collection would be a feminist statement. But the clothes were more about softness and decency — what Prabal called “modern feminism”.
The show opened with some of its loveliest creations: cashmere sweaters in pink-tinged porcelain colours, the knitwear sloping off one shoulder and never clinging to the body. By the final outfit — a masculine black pants suit, as if from the start of feminism's long march — the designer had shown a modern wardrobe that was about covering up in a graceful way.
The effect of mid-calf dresses, the skirts discreetly slit to allow for easy movement, was to see the designer as a helpmate in the wardrobe.
Offering a variety of solutions from the soft sweaters to wrap skirts with artistic hemline patterns, Prabal stated his commitment to dressing women in the spirit of Gloria Steinem: femininity with a bite.
It sounds like a big statement for what was basically a collection of American sportswear-light. But who would not relish a designer whose stated aim is to “celebrate the complexity of a woman layered far beneath surface beauty”?