A Moderate Finale for New York Fashion Week Spring 2014

A review from the Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein Collection, and Marc Jacobs Spring 2014 shows. 

details of designer collections spring 2014
From Left: Details of a Marc Jacobs Spring 2014 coat; Calvin Klein cotton tweed deconstructed seams; Ralph Lauren spring 2014 floral pattern trench coat.

The last day of New York Fashion Week contains one of the most anticipated and recognizable international designers of all time. It sounds appropriate to end fashion week with such designers like Ralph Lauren, Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein, and Marc Jacobs. But contrary to day 6 and 7 that included one of the best shows of the season � Narciso Rodriguez, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, etc. � day 8 (the last day) wasn�t so compelling after all for these three designers. 

ralph lauren collection spring 2014

Ralph Lauren has always had a talent for telling such a beautiful and romantic story. It�s hard not to grasp what the designer�s new theme is all about. For his new upcoming spring 2014 collection, there was a minute I thought a new creative director had been hired to take over the label. The clothes looked like something similar you�d find at a commercial retail store. I felt disappointed there were not that many truly designer pieces that conveyed a gorgeous detailed story like last season�s Russian inspired coats and dresses most women would dream of becoming the protagonist. 

He began with sporty (60s inspired) school uniform looks in black and white that later transformed into stripes, and patterned suits accessorized with big chunky ties. They added a very youthful appeal to the new collection, especially when paired with his midi A-line skirts and black leggings. His geometric and floral print numbers were simply nice and pretty, not aweing. He also wanted to introduce a series of strong neon colors � green, orange, yellow, red, and blue � that turned up to be nostalgic. There was a great start to the cut of these sporty designs, but it was clear that if Mr. Lauren would have used his perfectly feminine pastel colors, these looks would have added much more presence.  Evening dresses like a blue neon one Karlie Kloss wore above or a final red dress with a cape were the most convincing ones in this minimalistic collection.

Mr. Lauren knows how to do great evening gowns just like any other piece in his collection, but taking into consideration how much emphasis he has put into his previous collections of masterpiece, this may be the first time and the only time this collection lacks character. But was this collection nice? Yes, indeed, but we know Mr. Lauren can do so much more than this when it comes to his personal COLLECTION. 

calvin klein collection spring 2014 dresses

At Calvin Klein, Francisco Costa wanted to expose deconstructed seams to say the least. It looked better in pictures than it did close-up. The clothes had a nice message of a minimalistic touch in most of the looks, even though most pieces seemed to have been unsewn at the hems and sides of tops. 

The first model came out with a white strapless top and skirt that looked awkward with those exposed side seam allowance I�d wonder how many women would want to be walking around with their seams and threads exposed; his colored cotton tweed � red, mint, and pink � made an interesting intro to the classical colors of the label �black, gray, and white. There could have been a great potential for his new jackets to become a hit if only he wouldn�t have added too much confusing patchworks into them.

His most innovative looks that imbued a subtle couture sensibility were his yarn like threads that acted as fringe. He used some colored threads to etch into one woven leather black jacket and skirts, but his final three looks of fringed dresses were the ones that were noteworthy. And if you though everything was lost, his snake print tops and dresses patchworked from graphic leather and silk (above) were what minimalism should have been all about in this collection. 

I believe the collection could have worked, but the problem with the clothes was Francisco�s use of stiff fabric that didn�t help much. It became an esoteric collection maybe even editors themselves didn�t quite grasp. One thing I did admire about Mr. Costa in this new collection was his attempt to experiment with more proportions while keeping the Calvin Klein aesthetics untouched.

marc jacobs spring 2014 collection

If you didn�t quite understand what Francisco Costa was trying to do, then you certainly may have been confused with Marc Jacobs� new spring collection. It felt more wintery then summer with those dark bulky clothes that went down the mystical setting. Well, the clothes did go well together with the dirty, gothic, vintage runway props that were built for the show. And somehow, this was a weird collection for Mr. Jacobs that worked in some sort of way.

His oversized shoulder jackets embroidered with tassels weren�t that pleasing, but his detailed shorts were the ones that may have a potential when next summer arrives. His jackets would have been very enticing if only he would have toned down those shoulders, but he seemed to have known the audience reaction, and he did lower its volume in some of them; Mr. Jacobs always knows. Other chunky leaf patterned tops and dark colored sweaters matched with beaded skirts and Uggs look alike were just amusing. I actually happened to find his leaf patterned and final embroidered dresses quite normal for a casual day paired with sneakers or sandals. 

The most important part one should understand about Marc Jacobs is that he is a risk taker, and the woman who wears his label is one who is very confident in who she is. She doesn�t have a season in her wardrobe as well as a dress code from daywear to evening. She just puts whatever on, and as long as its luxury, doesn�t give a damn about what the rest have to say. And that�s what we love about a Marc Jacobs show. You never know what he�ll bring next season.

Links a la Mode #7: Transitioning Into Fall Mode



September is always weird. The leaves start changing colors, the sweaters and coats are in the stores, we're back to school, summer's over... but it's still stupidly hot! I've always been so excited about fall, I'd be sweating in my boots, and wearing sweaters anyway. What a girl does for fashion, right? Well, this week, we have all kinds of transitional posts. Transitioning from teenager to adult, summer to fall, day to night, and the call for fashion week to transition to the next level. We also have a hilarious post about 20th century fashion as predicted in the 19th century, it's so spot on--not. Either way, pull up a tall iced-tea (remember, it's hot out!) and take a look through these links.

Links � la Mode: September 12th

  1. Attire Club: Discussions On India�s Obsession With Fair Skin
  2. Beauty & Sass: take your summer dresses into fall with these essentials
  3. Chicisms: How to Dress Business Casual & Go from Work to a Night Out
  4. Corals and Cognacs: A Love Letter to New York City (in the wake of 9/11)
  5. Fashion Moriarty: Recurring Images: Combat
  6. Fleur d'Elise: 6 Un-Boring Coats forFall
  7. Foxie Oxie Supernova: Paris Photo Diary: An Open Letter to My 18-Year-Old Self
  8. Girl in Betsey: Diane Von Furstenburg NYFW Review
  9. Happy Pretty Sweet: A Brief History of the Dirndl
  10. Lara Lizard: 1893 and predictions of 20th century fashion
  11. Runway to Style Freaks: The Top Men's Fall 2013 Must Have Trends
  12. See Lark!: Easy DIY: Graffiti Dress
  13. Skye Charlie Show: Consignment Vs. Thrift Store
  14. Stilettos and Tequila: Behind The Scene: How To Be A Better Writer And More
  15. Style Bizarre: Say no to Style Labels
  16. The Girl With The Bun: 3 ways to dress for fall (when it still feels like summer)
  17. Tickle Me Chic: Does Fashion Week Need To Be Revamped?
  18. Undercover Dress-Up Lover: How to wear high-waisted shorts
  19. We Are Ready Made: A Pair of Shoes Everybody Should Own
  20. Wild Beauty: Beauty Archetypes: Whores

SPONSOR: Eastdane Stutterheim, CKU, M Nii, Generic Man, Tretorn, JW Hulme, McNairy, Diemme, Canada Goose,

An Approach to Minimal Femininity at Spring 2014 Shows

details of designers new spring 2014 collection
From left: Close-up geometric cuts of a Narciso Rodriguez brocade dress; A bronze metallic textured cropped top; A black chiffon with a ruched detailed bodice.

It is no secret that American designers have one of the best luxury sportswear aesthetics women want. Something European designers envy when it comes to loosening naturally in such a manner. Americans love the mix of casualty, semi-formal, and luxury when dressing up, and American designers understand that demand very well; there was such a minimalistic approach designers took this time with sportswear. And even though we tend to focus more on international designers at the end, there were fascinating pieces some designers offered for next season at New York Fashion Week spring 2014 that proved to be on top of the league.

narciso rodriguez spring 2014 dresses

Narciso Rodriguez crowned himself with one of the best shows of the season. Minimalism is hard to master, but not for this incredible designer. There was something so intriguing about what Narciso did with proportion, cuts, and simplicity that put him on a high level of must see designers. He�s been keeping hems just below the knee for the past few seasons, but his new collection was all about bringing hems to the mid-thigh or even higher yet perfectly managing in keeping a refined ladylike balance; no vulgarity. 

He opened the show with a perfectly cut graphic white wool and black leather jacket that looked appealing with his dubbed version of a mini-skirt; they were actually short shorts with a panel at the front. Other skirts � ones cut to form double layers, other etched with different shades of fabric, and two white and black skirts layered over long chiffon fabric � were invigorating. 

What put him on the spotlight of triumph were not only his skirts, but his superb approach to minimalism, which wasn�t so minimalistic after all. The clothes were put together piece by piece in a very intriguing way that looked so effortless. I couldn�t have imagined how long it took to cut small slices of brocades and stitched them all together to look unified, or his detailed fringed embroidered tops which I suppose were more than embroidery as were his technical use of sheer, chiffon, and organza constructed into one slipdress. 

His final dresses were simply terrific. At far or in pictures, they appeared to have been embroidered or laced, but in reality those shiny patches were none the less but silk bonded to these dresses; it made you want to be close and personal to these light beauties.

 I haven�t had the opportunity to meet Mr. Rodriguez in person, but he appears so humble and shy that his simplicity of light spaghetti dresses (no one does it better than him) and super sharp tailoring make a sumptuous minimalism that just clicks for him. His pastel colors � pink, orange, grays, yellow � and black and white were feminine but sexy without overlooking it. It was almost a perfect collection - even shoes and handbags - other designers should start taking note.

reed krakoff spring 2014

Reed Krakoff was also fighting to imbue a minimalistic touch of femininity. It worked in some, like his asymmetrical chiffon dresses with a ruched bodice or nice looking satin sleeveless trench. But it lacked creativity, because even though Mr. Krakoff may be one to love for his sportiness and sharp tailoring (it was present here), there are other labels already producing these type of looks. Mr. Krakoff can become a copycat if he doesn�t awe with his innovation. But again, he left Coach to put more time into his own label, and with all the scandal that had been going on with his departure, I�ll let this one pass. One thing I admired though was his luxurious satin techniques, something the Rodarte sisters should take note; pictures can fool you from the true messy reality. It was also nice to see an intricate mesh appliqu� of flowers on a white dress; it earned him some bonus points.

Oscar de la Renta Spring 2014

At Oscar de la Renta there was really not that much to talk about. Mr. de la Renta is a genius who always has something available for every generation of women. From Karlie Kloss�s opening luxurious lady look � double-face sleeveless coat, cardigan, and pencil skirt � to strapless dresses, like a short salmon chiffon detailed dress for those young girls who need a little mix of class and youthfulness. It makes sense for Mr. de la Renta and for me.

Botanical prints were just the perfect brush of femininity, embroidery like a white numbered one above I could see any kind of women in, and lace and crochet numbers were a triumph for this icon. He knows what women want and does it in a very American sophisticated manner. It�s impossible to leave an Oscar de al Renta show without feeling cheerful and with great memories of beautiful pastel colors. Just like any other, his new gorgeous embroidered and tulle evening dresses, can leave any women feeling like a princess. A light green puffed up textured dress was one I had some younger girls� state they�d be dreaming for their Quinceanera. Gorgeous Mr. de la Renta. Just a gorgeous collection.

Proenza Schouler Spring 2014

And while some were producing ladylike and minimalistic clothes, the guys at Proenza Schouler were trying to give it all with their urban luxe. Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough are the designers everyone wants to hang out with. In simpler terms, they know how to make something look cool and effortless. They have a keen eye for superior craftsmanship that always awes. This season they seemed to have taken an approach to minimalistic urban wear, which wasn�t the most aweing thing to see but neither was it horrible. They boys somehow have learned to mix a designer collection with marketing techniques that work well, like in their new collection.

Their wide crepe pants cut well above the ankle were the ones that were noteworthy paired with lustrous metallic cropped tops and straight peplum suede tops. A burgundy red dress with a wrap skirt, along others was pleasing. Their lurex knit evening dresses and metallic pleated skirts were also show stopper. If this was their approach for still looking effortless, it worked, but I would have loved some more hardcore structures that I�ve been fond of for the past few seasons.

Last but not least, Michael Kors was the one who definitely knew how to balance his marketing side between his new collection. It was ridiculously chic and energetic. This would be the collection women would happily wake up to take their kids to school, go grocery shopping, take a walk along the park, and do so much more feeling feminine and effortless in what they wore. Even the models conveyed a fresh look with those minimum hairstyles.

It was as simple as putting on a slender white trench coat that added so much femininity with that flirty light brown belt, or layering on a light vibrant cardigan over your printed cropped bra top and pencil skirt. Crochet numbers were also beautiful and chic. And silk beaded dresses were perfect for a special meeting or date.

More Spring 2014 NYFW Shows: Tory Burch and Timo Weiland

tory burch spring 2014

Vibe: Going to the French Riviera Honey.

�The Easy Glamour of the French Riviera in the late 1960s.� That was Tory Burch�s inspiration for her new spring 2014 collection; it clicked immediately when a French country song played before the show. It�s hard not to love Tory Burch in the spring. There are some nice fall pieces to choose from in her label, but you have to agree spring is her niche. It�s flirty, youthful, and descent. Just what women need for a hot summery day in the Riviera. 

She opened the show with a beautiful white embroidered botanical print cotton dress that made its presence on other tops and pants. Her creative designs of embroidery and applique were the highlight of the show. It was even more captivating to see the final pieces of jeweled-collared dresses that would look effortlessly glamorous for any occasion; no need to accessorize. She also offered simpler botanical prints, like ones printed on jeans and cute dresses, the South would greatly appreciate.

Chic were her peter pan collar numbers � a green crochet and silk dress, jersey and crepe de chine print tops, knits etched with these collars, and other embroidered and laser-cut leather dresses. There was a lot of potential for this collection to be a success when spring arrives next season. Without a doubt, her collection was easy on eye, but with very luxurious fabrics. I can already picture girls wanting those white leather-laced dresses accessorized with her belt wrapped around her lower waist and mini bag for a hot summery day. And for those flirtier girls, her introduction of swimwear pieces were a must have. 

timo weiland spring 2014

Vibe: Just the clothes you want to wear _______.

Timo Weiland is quite a new brand that just keeps growing in a very positive manner. When it comes to menswear, the designers (Timo Weiland and Alan Eckstein) know how to execute something with refined tailoring. They�ve mastered menswear very well though, but they are still developing their mastering for womenswear.

It wasn�t quite clear what the inspiration was for their spring 2014 collection. Although, we could tell there was a sporty mood transmitting in some of their looks.  Either way, when prices come fair, I�d admit I have to let this one slip off. What worked here were their tank tops, a graphic sleeveless white dress with ruffled hems that created a two-piece set (tank and skirt); bonus points, an interesting print for a must have cropped top, and some knitwear and patchwork pieces (like one color-block dress with an open waist). Those were interesting to watch, and just appreciate the designers are taking time to mix fabric to make them work together without looking dull; great color and fabric use in most of their looks.

In the men�s side, they only presented five looks, but were enough to make them great pieces to incorporate into a men�s wardrobe next season. That light white cardigan with black spaced lines had the right elements for a summer look, and their outerwear jackets were worthy of a try, like their black leather hoodie any guy would want. 

Spring 2014 Shows: Victoria Beckham, Derek Lam, and More

Victoria Beckham Spring 2014

Victoria Beckham really stepped it up this season. She was looking for a boyish sportswear tailoring look, and she made it look flawlessly chic. Other designers have really gone for the tomboy 90s looks, but not her. There were so many special pieces in this collection that separated her from other designers themes that looked overt (I could name several now). Fashion is not meant for everyone � not even for celebrities who get criticized harshly when in a collaboration � but I�ll state it again, and with all the confidence in the world, Victoria Beckham is not a celebrity anymore, she�s a true designer who has earned the respect of many. 

She�s gaining confidence (and a good one) in outerwear. She began her show with a relaxed black and white ruffled top and cropped pants (these contained a very sharp tailoring) paired over a crispy white rounded shoulder suit jacket. There was only one white baseball jacket she showed � detailed with black cuffs and collar, and transparent sheer sleeves � that was breathtaking. Her sleeveless suit vests were also noteworthy. Yes, it was only a small percentage of outerwear, but enough to go for one (or two in another color).

 Now, if there was anything that assured Victoria Beckham�s designer aesthetics for details and high-tech fabric combos were the following: her midi skirts slashed to show details of pleats underneath (an interesting way to show creativity on layering), and her laser-cut inverted triangles � in fuchsia and white - etched on shirts. Beckham is better known for her immaculate glove-fitted dresses every women dreams of, but this new soft tailoring collection sure does have another run for the money. Oh, and if you wondered how Mrs. Beckham dressed for her applause, she wore a white shirt with her cropped blacked pants. So posh. 

derek lam spring 2014 dresses

Derek Lam is a designer who has been designing clothes for women. Sounds obvious, but that�s the only thing that comes to mind when you see his collections. His graphic checked prints were simply easy on the eye. That is what women want. Luxury clothes that looks effortless and gorgeous. There were some that may have not loved this collection, being that Mr. Lam designs for a more mature lady. But for the woman who has the opportunity to encounter with a Derek Lam piece, she sure has come across a beautiful treasure. 

He had lots to offer for next spring 2014; his color-block numbers from last season have been a sensation. His belted coats � washed gray and blue denim � may have looked minimal, but at a close-up you could appreciate all its details. Highly structured raffia skirts (especially one in yellow) and dresses were luxurious for such a fabric. These is how we�d want our mature girls rocking something out, and for younger girls, going bananas over those gladiator heels. 

dkny spring 2014 women's

DKNY, Donna Karan�s youthful sister label, conveyed a good energy for next season. Sportswear was yet again the theme of Karan�s spring 2014 presentation. Honestly, there never seems to be an inspirational theme that focuses on each collection, but the cool sporty looks make up for the uncertain themes. It is a ready-to-wear line after all, and DKNY finds ways to make each season seem different. 

Her vintage bandana prints were refreshing, while her denim fabrics � overalls and patchwork jeans � sent a 90s vibe that later affirmed with her sneaker looks and logo dresses. Her lavender and turquoise numbers projected much more girl power. One silk orange spaghetti strap dress Karlie Kloss wore seemed appropriate for a casual day to go shopping for some groceries yet well put together. 

dvf spring 2014 collection

Diane Von Furstenberg also had an �oasis� going on at her show. Her clothes never fail, are always marketed at fair prices and best of, are made for any type of curvy woman. We can tell she never thinks about clothes they way she wants them to be on skinny girls. Yes, thin models model her collections, but right away there are many options for women to choose from here.

There were selections of wilder prints to more tone down ones. She went from nice cropped tops to color-block and animal print gold buttoned denim shirts made for everyone. And her iconic wrap dresses updated to still look good on any woman.

 The most important part of wearing a DVF piece is having fun in it, and that�s what some of her smiling and graceful models were projecting. This is why she is the president of the CFDA. She herself is her own muse, managing to look youthful in anything she wears at her age, and so should you in her designs. Maybe that�s why she had the queen of the runway, Naomi Campbell, confirm that in one short gold embroidered dress. Age has no limits at DVF.

Spring 2014 Shows| Prabal Gurung, Altuzarra, and More

spring 2014 designer details

Prabal Gurung Spring 2014

Designer: Prabal Gurung

Sweet colors. That was Prabal Gurung�s idea of his new Spring 2014 �preserved elegance.� The theme didn�t quite convey the message in the clothes, but it did help with the setting. The models began the show with lining each other in two rows inside a plastic covered curtain and a melancholy song that made up for the lost theme. It felt more futuristic, which was something that did imbue in Mr. Gurung�s high-tech fabrics. 

The show began with a white cotton sheath number that exposed a plastic harness in the back. He really wants his harnesses to become a wardrobe staple for women. 

He played around with what he does best at � digital prints. It was captivating to see prints etched on plastic skirts and raincoats (every woman should own one of this), tweed, paper-thin leather, and glossy satin colored pieces that were major. His pastel colors � pink, lavender, green, red, baby blue, and yellow � made up a beautiful rainbow for a Saturday afternoon. Surprisingly, there were only three pants shown in the entire collection, but all had a great potential to sell out, especially that hot fitted lavender one with white details. Some final evening or cocktail dresses were also red carpet ready. Say that eye catching baby blue sweetheart satin dress we can�t get out of our minds yet.

Maybe he meant to make this collection preservation for the future of elegance. If that were the case, he outdid himself. But if were to implement harsh fashion into this review, who would this remind you of? Wouldn�t you see a dose of Prada or something our true fashion innovator, Raf Simons, has already done at Dior?

Designer: Alexander Wang

If there was anything present at Alexander Wang�s Spring 2014 collection, it was full on retro 90s. The setting reminded one of a badass school playground. Mr. Wang knows very well how to communicate with the streets, and it sure was present here. Street style has been the sole that has turned his label into a fanatic obsession amongst young liberating teenagers. 

The first three ruffled miniskirts � gray, blue, and pink � with white waistbands were sexy for the beginning of the show. It followed along with a number of gray cropped slouchy gray pants that looked the best in their white waistbands. There was something sort of fetish-y with some of the looks Wang sent out � hospital type gowns, men�s boxer-inspired shorts, single-buttoned collar shirts, �Parental advisory explicit content� tops, and laser-cut leather provocative overalls encrypted with �Alexander Wang.�

He brought back the logomania 90s with his �Alexander Wang� printed tops, laser-cut �Wang� leather gloves, and more that was put in your face. His best looks of the show were a black leather laser-cut �Wang� coat, and his visible stitched denim jackets. And we can�t forget about those overalls we hope to see someone wearing very soon discretely if they can. Overall, these pieces certainly had a demand for that target audience, and it was refreshing to see Wang include a slightly bit of color into his clothes this time. 

altuzarra spring 2014 dresses

Designer: Altuzarra

Altuzarra is one of the most anticipated shows in New York, and one of favorites amongst editors who we see wearing his label all the time. Joseph Altuzzara went for a more liberating tailoring this time, narrowing his structured embellishments to simply �layers.� Don�t take it wrong though, because if it�s Altuzarra doing his version of layering, it�ll be in the most genuine and luxurious manner. 

The show began with Joan Smalls wearing a silk striped button-down shirt and high-thigh semi-fringed skirt. If the first look said easiness with her shirt unbuttoned all the way to her waist, the rest was even more intriguing. Just about all skirts came with super-high slits on the left, but with Altuzarra�s signature of casual fringing. The most interesting skirts were the ones that seemed to be derived from an original button-down shirt cut to form a simple skirt; these will generate opinions and DIY when prices are revealed. 

The silk and layered shirts were the best part of this collection, but if the Altuzarra woman had something to say about these pieces it�d be in his suit jackets fitted to look easily luxurious with anything. His liquid silver and gold numbers � skirts, top, and dresses � brought a soft tailoring that were noteworthy.