Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Libertine, L.A.M.B., Callula Lillibelle & Walter Spring 2012

I wish all fashion shows were like Libertine: guests were given free drinks, everyone had an unassigned front-row seat, and the models got to totally camp it up on the runway—they smiled, they danced, they pretended to drink and smoke. It was the most fun I'd had at a show in awhile (and will likely be the most fun I have all week). As for the clothes, whereas last season designer Johnson Hartig embraced all manner of wacky color, this season he went for a primarily black-and-white palette, though still with a madcap mishmash of prints. Like the models, he seems to be having a great time, and such enthusiasm is contagious.

I was really excited to be invited to Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B. for the first time—until, that is, I saw the line to get in (one guest likened it to 'Nam). And considering Stefani wasn't present (she was reportedly in California, recording), I'm not sure what all the fuss was about. The collection read like Gwen's greatest hits: cargo jumpsuits, ikat-print maxi dresses, stripes, menswear-inspired shorts. The shoes and bags, however—bright, strappy platforms for the former, colorblocked totes and clutches for the latter—looked, as Stefani would say, hella good.

Callula Lillibelle is a line that's been around for a few seasons, but, to me, hasn't had a very strong identity until now. Originally launched as a work-friendly line, designer William Calvert seems to be having much more fun now, perhaps targeting a more fashion-friendly customer. The spring line carried a slight 1950s Elizabeth Taylor vibe, with innocent polka-dots mingling with slim-fitting sheath dresses, sexy lace tops, and brocade separates. It was put together in a fresh way, with modern neon accents and a refreshing mix of prints. It was all very wearable (in fact, even moreso than before), proving that it's not enough to give women what they need—you have to give them what they want as well.

Walter Baker presented his spring collection on the rooftop of the Empire Hotel, which, if you watch Gossip Girl, is where Chuck Bass resides and presides. I really like Walter—I find it just edgy enough to still be widely appealing, but I felt sad for the clothes, which seemed like a total afterthought to the utter chaos (earpiece-wielding doormen, open bar, reality TV cameras, party crashers) surrounding them. My favorite pieces were a series of sheer dresses and tops, some layered with snug jackets in leather or tweed. Then again, I'm not sure I even saw the whole collection—the crowd had swallowed all the run-of-show sheets by the time I arrived, and I wasn't about to fight for one. Sometimes, as the song goes, you got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run. And run I did.


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