Overboard.

It being Fashion Week Season and all, I’ve been geeking out on my computer, painstakingly sifting through the collections that have been posted.  There are still more to come that I’m waiting on (Stella McCartney), but what I’ve seen has been so amazing that it’s certainly time for the first of what I hope to be many installments regarding how the designers are interpreting, adapting to, and reflecting the current economic situation:  the clear hot button of the season.

Our wallets suffer, but art trudges on!  I expected to be supremely disappointed in what I saw, and for the most part I was pleasantly surprised by the inspiration that has come forth.  For some of my standbys, however, I must say that I was a bit let down.  Christopher Kane, Band of Outsiders, Rick Owens, Balenciaga, and even Rodarte (horrors!) were, from my personal perspective, unnecessarily dull, dreary, and pessimistic.  Christopher put out uninspired houndstooths paired with black black black on girls with little to no makeup, which was so depressing coming from a man who, last season, relied on a theme based on Planet of the Apes!  Christopher, I was counting on you to lift my spirits!  Band of Outsiders’ collection reminded me of one of the girls I knew in sixth grade, who used to attempt to compose something slightly grunge from a wardrobe of middle-upper-class Limited Too separates (I’m sorry, but it was true).  Perhaps Kirsten could rock it out and change my mind.  And the rest?  Too black, too grey, too simple, too ordinary, too sad.

Wallowing in this disappointment would simply reinforce the reason for the disappointment in the first place.  Fashion is joy!  Escapism!  While I have always been one to search religiously for the political and philosophical in fashion (and it is not only there, fashion is saturated with it!) I don’t see the need to directly reflect the obvious; the simple act of doing so leaves no room for commentary.

That being said, here’s who blew my socks off.

Pt. 1:  The Standbys

Maison Martin Margiela

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My favorite of all conceptual mystery men!  The photos I have shown here are my favorite looks in chronological order.  The “cloud” was the turning point of the show:  before was black (which shifted from simple to more complicated); after were sweet, naked, little cloud-girls.  Genius.

Lanvin

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Here’s what I love about Alber:  the man is both romantic and practical, both opulent and reserved, both realistic and full of imagination.  If I had to give this collection a title, it would be “Bleak, not Broken”.  Alber’s reaction to a suffering economy is to give the women both what they want and what is useful to them.  Luxurious (but not outrageous) fabrication, beautifully and classically crafted handbags and shoes, outrageously chunky jewelry, and perfectly placed embellishment.  Essentially, luxurious novelty that was completely devoid of TREND.

lanvin-f09-detail2And the makeup and hairpieces were effing flawless.

3.1 Phillip Lim

At this point, Phillip Lim earns the place in my heart reserved only for the designers that I can count on season after season.  So far, this is my favorite collection that I have seen yet for fall.  Lim’s exuberance is all too clear in his designs for the season, as his devout followers have not lessened due to his comparatively reasonable price point.

Now, I feel that Lim tackled what everyone else tackled in a perfect way.  To me, when it is time to cut back (which it certainly has been!) my first instinct is to hoard, hoard, hoard; to pile on all of the “good” pieces, like a nomad or a bag lady.  There were soooo many influences that it seemed almost as though the Lim Girl this season simply raided her mother’s, grandmothers’, and great-grandmothers’ closets and put all her favorites together.

The layering is done with an artfulness that hasn’t been accomplished since Marc last did it right in 2005, and with chutzpah that I haven’t yet quite seen at all.

Here are my favorites:

pl-fall-09pl-fall-09-3pl-fall-09-4pl-fall-09-5pl-fall-09-8That’s a rabbit print.  So you know.pl-fall-09-6The SHOES.

pl-fall-09-7And, of course, more shoes.

pl-fall-detailpl-fall-09-detail-2I just love the combinations!  The lace plus the studs plus the slouchy pants plus the contrasting blue and red…heaven.

Stick around for

Part 2:  The Newcomers

and

The Fashion Week Awards!  That I Made Up!

Which will be posted either tonight or tomorrow.

(Haider Ackermann, Elise Overland, Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony, Victoria Beckham and morrreee)

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