Alice + Olivia's moody-toned collection is an accessible mixture of feminine silhouettes meant for all access style ogling. What Stacy Bendet sacrifices in overarching coherency, a reoccurring aspect of her line, the general female populous gains in great transitional options. The floral floor-length skirt (in the second picture in from the left) brings to mind Paul Gauguin's St. Martinique oil paintings.The color play between the richly pigmented navy and deep rose and saffron accents in its overlaying flower and bird print plays up just the right balance of dramatics and utility for transition between cozy dinner with friends in October and festive holiday parties in December. Pop-of-color maybe the oldest trick in the book for temporarily curing your seasonly affected inability to muster up energy, but that's not stopping me from using it as an excuse to invest in this gorgeous and dramatic skirt this coming fall.
(Credit: Alice + Olivia)
Oh, Band of Outsiders, you quirky and complex creature. This is one line that I really can not get enough of. No matter the broader direction of the particular collection (in this case a menswear inspired 40's film noir mystery thriller with a tauntingly elusive female lead) Scott Sternberg never loses the essence of the label's identity. Direct your eyes to the vibrant yet subdued deep violet galaxy print and emerald plaid used to construct the knee length drop waist skirt and sashed shift. In addition to the cohesive larger cinematic reference, Sternberg collaborated with Atari to tweak the graphic print for the violet fabric just so, adding an offbeat kookiness to his sophisticated study on cool and confident female leads. The textile was originally used in Band's menswear line.
Let me just address turbans, quickly: Turbans are the always overlooked but surprisingly chic winter accessory. Winter wear is all about glamorous functionality. Offbeat yet functional, turbans are amazingly useful for tucking your hair into with a comfortable tee, waxed jeans, and statement scarf for unbearably frigid days. The height and maneuverability of Band's version are more overt than others out there (Eugenia Kim has gorgeous more subdued knit versions) but it's deconstructed volume is style gold. Throw your hair in and go about your day with a warm head and temporary feel-good three inches tacked onto your physique.
(credit: Band of Outsiders)
Prabal Gurung's study in military-inspired day wear is an interesting exception to my thematic introduction earlier. The military equestrian style, while classically cool, is a new exploration for Gurung. There were obvious nods to his more feminine approach in the skirted knee length trench coats and voluminous peplum detail on the army green blazer adorned with a militaristic body harness. I am interested to see where Gurung goes with this idea in further collections. He left room for improvement in dresses like the one farthest to the right, an attempted melding of feminine drapery in masculine textiles. The subtle softness of the satin skirt is a mismatch with the visual abrasiveness of the embroidered bodice. The structured demi-sleaves feel derivative compared his mastery of more ornate details in past seasons.
Ending on an ever elegant note are studies in tailoring, luxe, and detail from Zac Posen's F/W '13 collection. The citrine gown in the center feels like a modern yet subdued take on one of Charles Worth's 19th century architectural feats. The classic boned bodice and soutache embroidery pay reverence to France's first couturier. Electrifying the classic silhouette with the citrine coloring, downplaying the skirt's volume, and leaving off the princess puffy cap sleeves for almost athletic feeling thin straps breaths new life into a classic. When Posen is able to strike similar successful balances between the classic form and the modern female, I imagine its like a "you go girl!" high five from Posen himself in the form of an ornately constructed gown. Or maybe I have watched him to much on Project Runway... Either way, "I applaud you! You go Posen!"
The Cosseted Pauper