NYFW Fall 2013: Carolina Herrera, alice + olivia, Theyskens' Theory, Barbara Tfank

by The Daily Front Row

(NEW YORK) Carolina Herrera
Often it’s the vintage silhouettes and fabrics, tweaked and perfected, that really make a woman feel elegant without effort. And who better to define this feeling than the timelessly chic Mrs. Herrera? A tailored suit, snug at the waist with wide leg pants and a fur collared overcoat is just the thing that made Katherine Hepburn so haute in her heyday, still makes women wild. A 40’s-style floral gown with a keyhole bust and teacup sleeves looks even chicer now than when the style first struck the silver screens. We didn’t ask Mrs. Herrera for her inspiration this season, because isn’t that besides the point? Show us a woman who wouldn’t feel like a zillion bucks showing up anywhere in Herrera. On the mod front: Mrs. H kicked off her Lincoln Center show with Karlie Kloss (flying in on the red eye, straight from the Grammys) and closed with Hilary Rhoda in an emerald green dress and fur. Overall? Divine! How the most elegant woman in fashion manages to never miss a beat is one of fashion’s great mysteries. But we’ll take this melange of bliss and beauty whenever we can get it!

alice + olivia
Stacey Bendet
asks her lasses to make room in the closet for her “Fantasy Street Style” collection, which was quite a win, as far as we’re concerned. “I played a lot more with proportion this season,” Bendet told The Daily during her packed and lively presentation. “I wanted to show how the alice + olivia girl dresses during the day. We’re known for party dresses and party looks, but this is the daytime look. We’re mixing the casual with the fancy!” The whimsical, sophisticated collection included patterned knits, oversized jackets with skirts made to be mini, and embellished separates with tougher elements. Think burnout velvet, plaids, chunky furs, and laser-cut leathers. Another winning and consistent collection from the fun, rules-free designer! Those alice + olivia devotees won’t be let down. No wonder this brand’s fan club grows by the day...

Theyskens’ Theory
Olivier Theyskens
has the future on his mind. But in Theyskens’ vision, the world doesn’t become a magical utopia: instead, though technology advances, human nature remains the same. For this reason, explained Theyskens, “it was very important that I bring something to the clothes that is positive, comfortable, and soft.” The world may not get better, but there’s hope for our clothes. Theyskens didn’t give the world a literal interpretation of what was on his mind — there were no spacesuits or driving shoes for your flying car, thankfully — but rather returned to classic tailoring. There were beautiful, strong-looking long blazers, some shown with shorts, and dresses with billowing volume that hinted sexily at the body of the wearer beneath. The shoes deserve a special mention — if we could hazard one prediction for the future, it’s that we expect to see those chunky heeled pumps and boots (which had a fetching silver off-center zipper in the front) everywhere come fall. In an industry where so many designers seem to imagine that a woman’s life begins with Friday night cocktails and ends with a black-tie event on Saturday, we need designers of Theyskens’ talent to pay attention to clothes that you could actually wear in your everyday life, too. 

Barbara Tfank
Barbara Tfank dipped into arty inspiration this season, namely a work by Matisse. Chic! Tfank’s found consistency with her ladylike looks. For fall, beautiful teal brocade pencil skirts coordinate with matching jackets with fur-trimmed sleeves, adding less warmth and more luxury to the look. Signature, double-faced silk (a rarity in this day and age, when garments often aren’t lined, much less doubled!) got worked into a midlength cocktail dress with a architectural neckline. A midnight shimmer print mashed up texture and hue to sumptuous effects. Liquid metal Manolo Blanik pointy heels rounded things out, and quelling that appetite for platforms that seems to have ransacked many a runway in recent seasons. Tfank shows a sincere interest in please her customer, and a real sense of the fickleness (and joy) of dressing women: “There is such a mystique with women and clothes. I’ve never met a woman who didn’t have an opinion about clothes, even if they hate them.”

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