Saturday, September 13, 2008


The Spring|Summer 09 collections are on at present and I was really interested by all the designers inspirations for their collections. Off course all the trends are pretty much the same and all the silhouettes are repeated in most of the collections so far but for me there are a few that stood out all for various reasons.........the following collections and thoughts engrossed my mind over the last few days.

Chado Ralph Rucci S|S 2009 Photographer: Marcio Madeira/

Firstly it was great to see Chado Ralph Rucci on show (I love the name. FYI 'Chado' is the name of a traditional Japanese tea drinking ceremony symbolizing respect, tranquility and integrity). He is really a designer who has impeccable craftsmanship and like the tea drinking ceremony has an austere sense of style. In fact only the second designer to be invited by Paris’ Chambre Syndicale to show on schedule at the Couture collections in Paris. He had a 'sabbatical' to Paris recently but is back in New York and has a small atelier on 7th Avenue run by his sister. His 2009 collection was a follow on from his last Winter collection. Laser cut jackets and wool insets on tulle created a very structured collection with strong architectural influences. Muted colours reigned supreme and the intricate geometric tailoring and construction made this collection one which only those with a refined appreciation of clothing as art and couture could take in. Rucci is an artist himself and his has an extensive collection of art from up-and-coming artists. He often collaborates with them to create new prints or references them in his collections. For his shows he has mostly collaborated with Thomas Newman (film score composer) to create the music. I mention all of these as I think it is something back here in SA we are often scared of doing........i.e. collaborating. Pooling creative talents in attaining the final look is sometimes crucial to the final product. If you ever get to see this designer's collection then you will understand the level detail he goes into in producing and showing a collection. I loved this collection...........

Vera Wang S|S 2009 Photographer: Marcio Madeira/

Vera Wang showed a collection that was inspired by proto-pop French artist Niki de Saint Phalle. Garments were layered and embellished with abstract geometric sequin shapes with interesting colour blocking. Layers of transparent gazars in citron, mandarin and bronze were overlaid on solid bases to create a relaxed take on post modern boho chic. This collection was a strong attempt at creating a unique signature for her ready to wear away from the 'oh so pretty' wedding dress empire she has established. The buzz was that this collection had a 'newness' to it to please Wang's loyal clientele but also strong enough to attract new clients as well. The chunky cameo type jewellery was a collaboration between Wang and jewellery designer Janis Savitt. Wang echoed all the trend silhouettes this season..........skinny cigarette pants........the slouchy relaxed fitting dresses and the ethereal lightness of layering fabrics.

Ralph Lauren S|S 2009 Photographer: Marcio Madeira & Maria Valentino/

Ralph Lauren took a trip down to North Africa this season for his collection and one could not help but think of Yves Saint Laurent's take on this in the 70's. In true Lauren style the collection was a balanced mix of wearable separates. The fabrics were luxurious and ranged from laminated linens in olive, beige linens, cream silk satins, black, parachute silk in bronze and the ever present gold that Lauren loves so much. If anything he added to the relaxed and slouchy feel that is coming through so strongly in the collections this season. The pants sat on the hip and were caught mid calf or ankle - think harem pants but not as traditional worn with double belts. Oh and the jumpsuit made its biggest comeback in this we can look foward to that making a huge return in the months to come. The over the top turbans set the tone for the collections but entrenched the collection and in some way I cannot help but think that it also added to another important debate going on at the moment when it comes to the catwalks. Lauren used a large contingent of black models this season (yep 5 out of 20 models on show was major news!) and was probably the only designer who addressed this issue in his show........he closed with Somalian model Ubah Hassan.

A good start but lets see if this continues in the collections to come.
There were many other collections that caught my eye........ Marchesa (my money is on Oscar nominees wearing these gowns. This presentation was held at the Chelsea Art Museum with models on white cubes. Twenty four exquisite pieces that left you drooling for more.

Marchesa S|S 2009

Phi super cool label that presented interesting takes on the seasons staples. Again inspired by Ettore Sottsass the highly influential designer/architect of the 60's. Intricately pleated dresses and a new take on the 80's silhouettes were major standouts.

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