To get inspiration for her collection, Vera Wang watched over 8 hours of Quentin Tarantino Kill Bill to achieve that East meets West look of a strong yet feminine exotic warrior. The austere collection had a Japanese influence with highly sculptural accents such as a dresses and jackets with origami or double obi folds, high wasted pants tied with sumo rope belts, futuristic quilted harnesses, kimono blouses, cherry blossom print taffeta dresses, and chrysanthemum sequined sheaths. To achieve the structured looks Wang used fabrics with body such as silk wool, taffeta, and horsehair inlays for peplum tops. Chunky crystal color necklaces looked stunning against the predominantly dark palette.
How many ways to reinvent the bandage dress? Let us count the ways. Hervé Léger presented 30 looks for the Spring 2011 collection, and this season designer Max Azria focused on Marie Antoinette, updating her regal style, stripping her of layers of tulle, lace and other 18th century trappings. Azria modern day Antoinette is ready for the step-and-repeat, and rubberized prints and perforated jackets felt urban and sporty. Hues of bone, peach, blush and ivory provided a lady-like appeal, and waves of ruffles jutted out at the hips like a Marie bustle, which is, in a way, the anti-body con look. Still, Azria managed to mesh the two silhouettes together—quite literally, with mesh. Let them eat cake! Just not in these form-fitting frocks.
Inspired by a the triangular shapes of the Sydney Opera House after a cruise to Australia last fall, Luca Luca designer Raul Melgoza set about softening the sharp shape to fit his sweet, accessible aesthetic. The geometry showed up in cutouts, faggoting stitch details, and layers of crepe and chiffon that were light enough to flutter behind the models as they walked. Chiffon frocks in pale pink and gray prints are perfect summer brunch fare, while skirt suits in silk linen jacquard will take ladies who lunch from office to cocktails. In all, a pretty, breezy, demure collection; women of all ages will find something to love.
Classic sportswear was on the Spring 2011 menu for Amy Smilovic at Tibi. Her line—a favorite on contemporary sales floors around the United States and Japan—is less about being directional and more about being practical, accessible, and adorable; Smilovic hit the nail on the head. An open-crochet sweaterdress tapped into the current knitwear trend, black and white leopard print separates felt fresh and sweet, and there were plenty of frocks to choose from, whether you’re looking for a circle-skirted version with laser-cut flower appliqués or a cream-colored gown with beaded details. It was hard not to be happy while watching Tibi runway show—a sentiment that will surely carry over to shoppers.
Narciso Rodriguez may be known for his super-clean, modern aesthetic, but it was all about nostalgia for Spring 2011, hearkening back to simpler times and classic women—most notably, the ‘90s and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s now-iconic wedding dress. “There's so much noise in the world — not just in the world of fashion, but in the world. You want to create things that just clear the slate for a moment,” said Rodriguez post-show. Translation? Slip dresses (not entirely unlike the aforementioned Kennedy bridal dress) in either entirely clean, lingerie-inspired versions or with minimal embellishment, like a tonal jacquard or with panels of sheer fabric and opaque “petals.” Collarless jackets, straight pants, and pencil skirts came in slate-gray waxed linen, but the dresses—nearly all mid-calf length with the same slim silhouette—were the real standouts. Nearly all of them were covered in a layer of sheer chiffon overlay, which muted glimmering embroidery or a bright red shade to subtler finishes. It was a quiet collection for Rodriguez, but it spoke volumes.