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Old is gold at the New York Fashion Week

Fashion's newness comes from old-school Hollywood at New York Fashion Week

The Jason Wu Fall 2012 collection is modeled during the New York Fashion Week
Image Credit: AP
The Jason Wu Fall 2012 collection is modeled during the New York Fashion Week.

Marlene Dietrich is having a moment. The runways of New York Fashion Week are paying homage to the late star's sultry, glamorous but sometimes slightly mannish style.

On the second of eight days of previews for next season, Friday's newness largely came from this old-school Hollywood star.

Here are some of the looks shown on Friday.


One of the dominant looks emerging this fashion week that Yigal Azrouel did well was the idea of a looser silhouette while still giving structure with tailoring. There was definitely nothing frilly or flouncy in his pieces, which were seasonal with what he called a bit of "cold minimalism".

He favoured cashmere and silk, with hints of leather and fur, with a stand out winter-white wool hooded pullover top paired with skinny trousers, and a lovely light tan gabardine dress with architectural lines. A cable-knit sweater dress seemed perfect for the chilly weather evoked by the line.

He embraced the use of soft, supple leather, another emerging must-have item, and a mostly neutral colour palette with pops of emerald green and shades of purple and burgundy.


Kate Spade New York offered a playful shoutout to Paris with styles in maraschino red, aqua and forest green, huge polka dots and graphic prints.

Creative director Deborah Lloyd perched her models on columns in a downtown space, inspired by gardens near the Palais-Royal in Paris and the columns in its famous courtyard. "The last time I was there, all these cute girls were being statues on columns," she said.

She went oh so French with a cobalt blue button-up swing coat adorned with a large matching bow at the neck, and a column skirt with large dots in two shades of blue and a girlie bow at the waist.

"There's definitely a French, flirtatious feeling to this collection," Lloyd said.


British-born Rag & Bone designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright started with English mainstays, including tweeds, tails and jackets fit for military officers. But a recent trip to India also got them thinking about former British colonies and the traditional dress in those mostly Asian places, they explained backstage before the show.

On the runway there were folded skirts — a particularly nice one done in walnut-coloured leather — that was paired with a polo-neck T-shirt and a high-neck, below-the-hip raj jacket, and draped, low-slung dhoti pants with a striped wool biker tailcoat.

The tapestry-style brocade outfits, jazzed up with flashes of silver and copper, were dressier than garments typical of Rag & Bone.


Peter Som's fall collection had below-the-knee hemlines, covered sleeves and wrap-style coats. It felt very modern and sexy — never dowdy —thanks to Som's creative use of sheer fabrics, especially a glossy organza that topped pencil skirts and slim sheaths. He showed awareness of a woman's body while never clinging to it. He used architectural shapes and clean lines to draw attention to the waist and a woman's curves, but that added layer — whether it was the organza or a peplum — gave her a little freedom.

Som said he "wanted to convey a sense of strength and beauty" inspired by Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn.


Jason Wu's confidence was evident in a dramatic show that was also highly personal, with Chinese-influenced styles inspired partly by a trip 18 months ago to Taiwan, where he grew up.

The runway show had studded fortress doors, billowing smoke and a theatrical finale. The clothes tapped into Chinese military uniforms with Mao jackets, grommets, strong shoulders and capes, with the best look in the show opener: a green coat with attached cape and black lace. Tassels, embroidery and brocades drew on ornate costumes worn by empresses, with references to 1930s and '40s Hollywood, where traditional Chinese dress was reinterpreted in movies like Marlene Dietrich's Shanghai Express.

The result? Puffy jackets in glitzy brocade.

The lingering look from this collection, though, is likely the finale: a black wool jacket with epaulets and mink trim covered in crystal embroidery paired with a black skirt etched with fabric through a process known as devore.