NYFW Fall 2013: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Donna Karan, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Karen Walker, Zero + Maria Cornejo, Thom Browne

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(NEW YORK) 3.1 Phillip Lim
Nothing tells you it’s autumn like a little leather, and this season Lim brought that always-reliable standby to the runway. Showing one of the most wearable collections we’ve come across lately, the former It boy and current always-reliable-guy, sartorially speaking, proved why he was always one to count on. The collection was packed with quilted coats, jackets, as well as leather separates in shades of fog, black, and cognac colors.

Donna Karan
It was back to basics at Donna’s main line The designer’s DNA was an important component of the equation, as the designer told The Daily backstage. As everybody knows, that means lots of draped jersey, and sex appeal in the form of transparency and strategic slits that give flashes of leg. Karan even included some looks shown with stretch mesh bodysuits, an ‘80s staple from her iconic “Seven Easy Pieces” collection. This time the focus was more on eveningwear—Karan said she wanted to dress her woman “from day into evening, Saturday to Sunday”—with several options that included capes (more than a few of those happening for Fall!). There were also dresses made of tiny strips of leather held together with rows of crystals. The show closed with several draped gowns in a brown chiffon embroidered with tiny, matte gray sequins.

Marc by Marc Jacobs
Country strong, by way of the seventies. Such was Marc’s girl this season—a country-chic bohemian babe. More specifically, or perhaps imaginatively, the kind of lass that would’ve driven Jack Kerouac wild. Plaid coats paired with pencil skirts and culotte-cut pants, matching printed separates and big hair.  The guys slouched down the runway in satin suits, done in cranberry, or punchy blue, mismatched with heavily scuffed-up sneaks. Interesting! Location-wise, the action transported from Jacobs’ usual Lexington Avenue Armory digs to the Theater at Lincoln Center due to all those showtime shuffles and customs scuffles. Drame, but this is Marc we’re talking about, now. All in all? We love!

Karen Walker
Siouxsie and the Banshees helped inspire Karen Walker’s Fall collection. The designer was attracted to Siouxsie Sioux because of that post-punk combination of toughness and romance, Walker explained to The Daily backstage. “The masculinity and the utilitarian nature of the clothes, but with just the right amount of romance—not so much prettiness but more romance.” Nothing like a great contrast to lend interest on the runway! A vein of hunter orange ran through the collection—an insurgent candidate for color of the season, also spotted everywhere from Lacoste to rag & bone to Delpozo. A pair of slouchy orange tailored pants, paired with a sweeping, ankle-grazing camel overcoat and army green sweater, opened the show with a bang. A floral print that might have been too pretty toughened up by looking dripping wet, with ink appearing to run down the shirts and knitwear the print adorned. Walker showed knitwear in a more concerted way than she has in the past, with some great intarsia sweaters in a scrambled-looking highlighter yellow pattern. A very welcome addition to the Walker oeuvre indeed!

Zero + Maria Cornejo
So much textural eye candy to behold at Maria Cornejo’s latest. Asymmetrical hems? Voluminous house coats? Slouchy leather pants? Cornejo had all the trends in check, but they felt fresh in bold colors and tantalizing textures like red lacquered basket weave. As for those artful prints, they were actually derived from Cornejo’s own abstracted iPhone photos. Crafty and tech-y in one tasteful, imminently wearable package.

Thom Browne
Thom Browne’s guests entered a magical space above West 22nd Street that appeared to contain a perfectly still, snowbound forest, where male models dressed in Browne’s famous ankle-grazing three-piece flannel suits lay bound at wrist and ankle to white army cots. Red strips of fabric served as blindfolds, and the models wore crowns of thorns. Around these tableaux wound a serpentine runway. But don’t look for any deeper meaning in the tied-up dudes. “I thought it looked good,” explained Browne, simply. As for the women’s wear, Browne showed looks that seemed to combine Marie Antoinette’s padded hips with David Byrne’s big suit from Stop Making Sense. Hips were almost absurdly extended, and shoulders were blocked out like architecture. “It was really just taking a woman’s body and exaggerating the proportions on the girl,” offered Browne. Female mods wore white stockings embroidered with three-dimensional red roses, while shoes and bags seemed to have been doused in dripping wax. They carried red roses, too, with which to tease the bed-bound male models in the process. Browne is known for his spectacular staging, perhaps as much as for his impeccable tailoring and construction.

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