Monique Lhuillier Spring 2017 RTW

As Monique Lhuillier prepared to celebrate her 20-year anniversary, she was feeling a sense of nostalgia, according to the show notes for her spring collection. Naturally, this made her revisit some of her signature silhouettes — but it also led her to explore a darker side. Looks from the former were far more abundant, as Lhuillier started her runway presentation with a floral embroidered jumpsuit with black ribbon belt and a blush embroidered gown with tulle bow straps — very familiar territory for the designer, whose love of fairy-tale eveningwear often leads her into romantic territory. She rooted Spring in a cotton candy palette. A teensy mink jacket was dyed a milky lavender; tulle, Chantilly lace, and chiffon gowns came fast and frequent in minty green, pale pink, and blue. That fantasy-princess element was also present elsewhere, as tiny heart sequins embroidered here and there, or bejeweled embellishments at the collar and down the back.

She did venture to more carnal places with a revealing allover oversize-sequin slip in rose gold, a deep-V Deco-inspired white and silver cutout-shoulder gown and a glitzy coatdress with a black sash belt, proving that nice and naughty are simply different sides of the same fashion coin.

 

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Brandon Maxwell Spring 2017 RTW

Though Brandon Maxwell is a cult newcomer (and Lady Gaga’s stylist) to New York’s eveningwear scene, it hasn’t stopped him from pulling out all the stops to frame his designs in exactly the kind of baroque environs his customers most certainly frequent. For his third season that meant staging his show in the Russian Tea Room, a gilded, mirrored box that provided all the decoration needed for his collection of monochrome suits, gowns, jumpsuits and cocktail frocks.

The clothes were energizing. Maxwell admitted to wanting “to make a bit more of a wearable collection,” and that this one in particular was inspired by “learning a lot of different types of love this year.” That goal was accomplished, that love shown (Naomi Campbell, in addition to Gaga, rose for a standing ovation). Where in the past Maxwell’s gowns and separates have been relatively covered-up and statement-making, tonight he offered more sexiness, more sharp silhouettes, and more general variation than before (though keep in mind that the before, here, is just one year—Maxwell started his business for Spring 2016). He noted the introduction of an olive colorway, and a new “petal pink,” which is “becoming a signature.”

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Oscar de la Renta Spring 2017 RTW

News broke on the Friday before Labor Day that Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia of Monse are the new creative directors of Oscar de la Renta. The duo worked alongside Mr. de la Renta and launched their fledgling label after Peter Copping was selected as the late designer’s successor. Kim and Garcia, who will continue to design Monse alongside their new OdlR duties (not an easy task), took in the show from the front row; they’ll make their Oscar debut early next year. The Spring collection presented at the Morgan Library this afternoon was designed by the studio team, 10 members of which came out to take a bow at the finale. It was a feel-good moment for the brand ahead of Kim and Garcia’s homecoming.

There’s no substitute for a distinct point of view, but the design team has a fine handle on the house Oscar-isms. They touched on many of them here: the knit skirt suit, the safari jacket, the peasant dress. Of course, there was also a full complement of cocktail frocks and evening dresses. Not everything had the refinement of fit that we expect from this label; the safari shorts set comes to mind, as does the off-the-shoulder closing number in pintucked pink silk taffeta. But for a placeholder collection, this had some charmers—a cayenne red strapless silk faille number with a ruffled hem, and a black dress liberally stitched with pearls that looked particularly Oscar-y, among them. With flat, sometimes bejeweled, sandals for accessories, the show had a breezy, youthful, not-too-serious tone. The real business of renewing the house founder’s legacy will begin next February.

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Erin Featherston Spring 2017 RTW

This season marks the tenth anniversary of Erin Fetherston’s New York Fashion Week debut (before that, she showed in Paris); it’s also her first collection since she became a mother.

“I have a more relaxed attitude because you just got to go with the flow,” she explained of her latest lineup. “That has translated in the best possible way to my designs this season.” Indeed, Fetherston’s signature flirty frocks were longer and looser for Spring; of note were the slouchy off-the-shoulder dresses that seemed tailor-made for a dinner party in Laurel Canyon or a casual beachside wedding. More surprising still, were the suits, which were slightly oversize and cut from a pliable crepe. Though at times they came across a little staid, the suits toward the end—which came with blouson sleeves—deserved a second look (the sleeves particularly provided a smart tweak for women who like to look put together, but not buttoned-up). These must have been what the designer was referring to when she spoke of striving for a “refined take on bohemian dressing.”

Despite these unexpected turns, Fetherston stayed true to her signature girlish romanticism. The iridescent opal looks—which shimmered like butterfly wings—felt particularly true to her brand. Of the offering, Fetherston said, “I feel like this is a perfect anniversary collection for me because it really reflects who I’ve been, but it’s also very much a look forward.”

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