Ten Favorite Looks from the
New York Spring 2008 Shows
- by Bernadine Morris, senior
editor lookonline.com. Bernadine was for thirty years the senior fashion writer
for The New York Times.
Possibly because the season is
spring and the season less dour than winter. The clothes are at any rate more
playful than usual. The colors are brighter, the prints more cheerful. The
styles are more diverse, not only within each collection, but from show to
show. Women will certainly have plenty of choices about lengths and
Whether it is the complexities.of modern life, the uncertain
economic situation or the war situation, most clothes are not meant to dazzle.
Theyíre meant to work: to look pretty , to feel comfortable, and to have a
bit of imagination, though not too much. There is comfort in the familiar.
Squashed as they were between Labor Day and the Jewish Holidays, the
collections may have limited the time designers had to fuss over their styles
and this may have been a good thing. There may have been less time to overwork
their ideas. The results at any rate were friendly, unlabored and appealing.
The most outstanding presentation was that of Francisco Costa, who is carrying
the mantle of Calvin Klein quite successfully. His clothes were elegant, simple
and had their own distinctive look. Hemlines were midcalf, shoes were very high
heel sandals and the models all looked tall and graceful. The shapes were fluid
and there was no chance they would be mistaken for the work of any other
designer. Mr. Costa is to be commended for developing his own style and keeping
the Calvin Klein mystique intact.
The Bill Blass collection
didnít fare so well. It was a reprise of the traditional Blass curriculum.
The dresses were pleasant, easy to wear and pretty. Nothing riveting. The
excuse was the clothes were credited to the Design Studio. Peter Som. who was
recently appointed the head of design, obviously didnít have time to get
Ralph Lauren had the most prestigious show when he decided to
present his collection on upper Fifth Avenue instead of amid the canyons of
lower Manhattan. He chose the Conservatory Garden at 105th Street covered it
with a tent, established comfortable cushioned seating and a wide, shiny
runway. It was his 40th anniversary and he celebrated it with grandeur for an
audience. of more than 500 people.
The backdrop was a painting of
horses surrounded by women in long gowns and men in black Panama hats and black
suits. It gave a faintly nostalgic air to the proceedings. But basically it was
a fashion show. Instead of cowboys and Indians, there were gl.amorous dresses
and his favorite style, a snugly fitted jacket with a ripply peplum that
appeared with long evening dresses, pants and even shorts. There was a faintly
old fashioned look about the whole collection, but it also looked modern.
Oscar de la Renta also tried a new venue with some success. This was
an old Christian Science church on Park Avenue. It too was fitted out with
comfortable seating and there was also a choir; But the guest of honor was
Roger Federer, the champion odthe U.S Tennis open who had just won his title
the day before. He came with Anna Wintour and he roused great cheers from the
audience.Oscar opened his collection on a casual note with neatly tailored
pants suits, but he soon moved into lively printed dresses, jeweled shifts and
flowered skirts. It was ineed vintage Oscar. and Mr. Federer paid close
The established designers generally performed well and this
includes Carolina Herrera who wore couture clothes by others before she began
to make her own. She showed her share of sparkling dresses, ruffled blouses and
decorated dresses for women who want to dress up .
Furstenberg who made her mark decades ago with snugly wrapped dresses has been
doing well with loose styles that look superbly comfortable.Some have bold
printed patterns and are amusing as well as easy to wear.
presented three collections--casual for men and women under DKNY, a more
sophisticated group under the Donna Karan label. Among the DKNY clothes were
short skirts. wrapped middles and lots of orange., Donna Karan had halter tops,
bare backs and wide belts.
Anne Klein, for whom Donna Karan used to
work, is now being styled by Isabel Toledo. There is no dominabt impression yet
of what the Anne Klein look shold stand for though their are shiny pants,
pletead tiers and thin gauzy fabrics.
Stripes and skirts turn up at
Anna Sui,s lively collection. Ruffles and sequins are popular at Tracie Reese,
Michael Kors gets behind sweater dresses and Reem Acra promotes cheerful
flowers and full skirts.
Below are 10 of my favorite looks from the shows. They are
in no particular order. All photos are by Randy Brooke. Click on images for