Fall 2007: Marc Bower and Nicole Miller
While I was freezing my ass off and drinking far too much at a wedding in Chicago, Special Correspondent Leighann was covering the shows for me in the tents. Here's her report.
Imitation is Life. (And so is being in the right place at the right time!)
The tagline for Marc Bouwer’s Fall 2007 Show could not have been more fitting for my first Fashion Week experience. Pretending to be Cheryl, a.k.a, covering the first three days of shows for her while she was whisked away to Chicago by an inevitable scheduling conflict, brought me to opening day at Fashion Week. As assigned, and with invitation in hand, I attended Marc Bouwer, but was determined to gain entrance into Nicole Miller, the closing show of day one. Quite by chance, I ended up chatting with someone who offered to bring me into her show…where I later proceeded to snag a seat (and some swag) in the back row! What a great start to my “imitation" weekend!
First, New York designer Marc Bouwer’s PETA-approved, glamour-doused runway. Call me a kid in a candy store, but I was floored. The cohesiveness of all facets of the show, inspired by the sunrise and sunset on the arctic sea, was really what drew me in. The color palette, fabrics, hair, makeup and music were reminiscent of old-Hollywood nostalgia and echoed with today’s socially-responsible, globally-conscious mindset. With a soundtrack of big band, forties-style jazz, one couldn’t help but be transported. From the first piece, Marc Bouwer commanded two important and continuing trends for fall: animal print and the Olsen twins-inspired oversized-slim combination. I loved the first piece, which incorporates both: A dramatic you-can’t-believe-it's-not-fur trapeze coat in white Siberian tiger over a superslinky slip dress.
Good news: The empire waist holds up through fall, appearing in short babydoll dresses, long, slinky gowns and Grecian-style dresses. With such a varying color palette, there’s a high-waist style in everyone’s future. Of the reds, violets, gun-metals and glistening pearls, I was partial to this golden-hued taffeta dress. Its fun, flirtatious length, (great for those with sizable stems) and crisp skirt are stand-out in this collection.
Dramatic necklines added to the mystique of show. I particularly liked this floor-length velvet gown. A sparkling brooch upped the glamour.
Here, in sparkling, flaming red, a neckline plunges down the natural waist. Not a look for everyone, but undeniably sexy.
With all this decadence, it was hard for me to be anything but mesmerized. Mink-inspired stoles, head-to-toe velvet and billowing ribbons were overflowing from the runway. As gorgeous as this sounds, I began to realize that, with no sign of the red carpet in the immediate future, many of these styles weren’t accessible for those of us not attending any film premieres any time soon. Just then, I saw this:
In one simple knee-dusting dress, Marc Bouwer nods to the Grecian influence sweeping the runways, injects it with a healthy does of starlet power and secures it all with a bold belt cinched at the waist. Beauty lives indeed.
As beginner’s luck would have it, I next found myself in the back row of Nicole Miller with a bag of notable swag in hand: a colorfully printed silk poncho! Reviewing the run of the show, I noted Chanel Iman in the lineup, the aptly-named, fresh-faced new sensation, as well as Flavia De Oliveira, Katarina, Ajuma and Irina.
The show began with a strong jacquard jacket in black and white chulucanas, a print that set the tone for the entire show--batik style, safari-wear for the chic adventurer.
Appearing in various jackets, skirts and scarfs, this print, while striking, was not what grabbed me about the show. I was more interested in the heavy menswear-influenced cuts and silhouettes that dominated the majority of the show. For example, take this combination of a silk scarf blouse, metal and lurex jacket and striped pant, all topped off with a bowler hat.
Or this layered look, in head-to-toe wool.
Even with a long, swishy skirt at the foundation, it's hard to deny the masculine tone.
And how about those hats? I am big hat person myself and could really appreciate the use of hats in rather unusual situations. Like a ski hat sitting atop this tailored look. Although I would never wear it, the print along the edge really pulled the look together.
This hat, however, was the star of the show. The Peruvian Bowler appeared atop maxi skirts, cinched dresses and tailored jackets. I loved the refined accent it brings to this silk top and metal skirt combo, which I initially thought was a layered swing dress.
After a smattering of heavy fabrics and highly-tailored styles, I was more than happy to welcome the run of ultra-feminine dresses that came next. The sweetest of which was worn by Ajuma, a full-skirted silk charmeuse number with a metallic-embroidered bodice.
A fall spin on the minidress also dotted the show. My favorite, a youthful interpretation of the oversized trend, was this poplin and metal pintucked version, completed with a bow.
I was slightly jarred by this dress, which reminded me slightly of the dress cuts circa my junior prom. The slate-ish blue color and uninspiring neckline seemed drab in comparison the lively prints and shapes that populated the rest of the show, while the metallic just seemed out of place.
Looking at the entire show, it’s easy to see the balance struck between the main concepts: tailored pieces vs. ultra-feminine skirts and dresses, cropped jackets vs. long tunics, cinched vs. trapeze and cape, printed jacquards vs. solid silks. A well-rounded collection enhanced by all-American hair (side-braided ponytails) and makeup (warm, fresh faces). As the last of the dresses sauntered down the runway and disappeared backstage, the designer popped out and waved to a burst of applause from the crowd. The perfect goodbye to my first exciting day at fashion week!