Erin Fetherston took a trip around the world for fall, a trek through different cultures and inspirations that were then mixed and matched in a chic, feminine collection. Moroccan references echoed in the color palette with warm spice tones, such as saffron, paprika and turmeric, as well in rich prints that were reminiscent of opulent Indian fabric and shoes inspired by North African pointed slippers. These ingredients helped Fetherston create a charming wardrobe, filled with breezy maxidresses and tunics embellished with tassels that were paired with wide-leg pants for an international globetrotter. The abundance of charming ethnic details were balanced by more urban pieces, such as a relaxed velvet suit and a ribbed turtleneck sweater worn with knitted pants. Despite the lineup’s Seventies’ Bohemian attitude, Fetherston avoided any nostalgic feeling and managed to translate her inspirations into an elegant collection for modern women.
Elie Saab conjured the bygone glamour of the golden age of Egyptian cinema, with the designer citing actress Faten Hamama — in a party scene from film “I Don’t Sleep,” starring opposite Omar Sharif — among inspirations.
The more elaborate gowns in his sparkling, red carpet-oriented collection included a sheer tulle gown with hazy pale blue and silver placement embroidery evoking boats on the river Nile and palm trees, with the silvery fronds of one tree peeking over the sweetheart neckline. Other highlights included a long-sleeved gown in tan satin peppered with deep blue “evil eye” motifs.
Oriental gold embroideries and geometric crystal formations — presented as a surprise feature on the back of a cape, say — were a nice update on the designer’s signature embellishments. Mini crystal tassels and draped chains of gold beads on the bibs of dresses added movement. This is what couture is meant to be.
The frenzied thrashing of strings from John Williams’s theme to Jaws washed over the audience as the last models left the catwalk. The song was a clue about David Koma’s inspiration for this Mugler collection. “I have this little obsession with sharks—their danger and their beauty,” he said backstage. You could certainly spot a streamlined shadow of the sharks flitting through the runway waters here. Dégradé paillettes glittered in sharkskin shades of gunmetal while patent flats with inset commando soles had the bullet-like shape of a great white’s nose.
Less elusive than Koma’s starting-point sharkiness was the influence of scuba and swimwear. There were black pants that fitted like wetsuits, with tidelines of white piping running down the leg. A cropped, shoulder-padded, sweatshirt-shaped sweater and mini skirt were reminiscent of that shark chainmail worn as insurance by undersea adrenaline hunters. Leather bonded to neoprene were used in white jackets with faux-utilitarian fastenings and gently rounded shoulders and arms. There were a lot of aesthetically-placed zippers designed to draw the eye to the thigh, neckline, or hip. Ultimately this was a broadly enjoyable collection of sleekly sexy, sports-inflected womenswear. Koma said that his main goal for this season was to have fun. He was certainly working within his comfort zone: treading water but in no need of rescue.