Bouwers and Bill Blasss collections were, while beautiful,
on the long side, though Phillip D. Johnson did get a reprieve
thanks to OHalloran Co.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY CHERYL GORSKI, RICHARD
SPIEGEL AND THE AUTHOR
FOLKS are a very strange lot. We wallow in excess most much
of the time—except when it serves to irritate our senses. Then we
react with as if someone has taken our names off the lists of the
most exclusive, after-season sample sales. The New York fall 2004
shows had their ups and downs, but I have never felt so trapped
and held hostage—ever—as much as I did attending the Marc Bouwer
and Bill Blass collections. It’s very rare that my, ahem, butt hurt
from sitting in a fashion show venue, but in these two instances
it did. Without meaning to, designers Marc Bouwer and Michael
Volbracht managed to find that last working straight nerve
I possess and plucked away at it like a drugged-up, deranged guitarist
at a rock concert.
But I still loved most of the designs they showed
in their collections.
didn’t take a genius to figure out that South African designer Marc
Bouwer’s (right) theme was the red carpet. His runway consisted
of a U-shaped fire engine red carpet and the entrance from and exit
to the backstage was draped in the same fabric. Having said
that, this collection, in and of itself, was this close to
being near perfect. This was one of the most fully conceptualized
eveningwear collections shown in February—if only he had
edited it down some more before the show date. At 60-plus looks,
the collection started really great with beautiful dresses with
superb cut and fit that could easily be worn right off the runway
as is. I love his black lace one-shoulder gown with red silk underlay
and feather shoulder detailing, his black silk raincoat, Omahyra
in a black page-boy silk blouse paired with skin-tight silk leggings
with lace side detailing, and his black lace cocktail dress with
bell sleeves. It’s all very beautiful, attention-getting and sexy—as
it should be.
He only got into trouble at the midway point
of the collection when he began to repeat himself. What was initially
refreshing became tiresome the second go-around. Luckily, he regained
his sure footing towards the end. The stand out pieces in this tail-end
section of the show saved the whole enterprise from near ruin. I
simply adored his red and black print column gown with the trailing
red silk scarf, the silver lame and chiffon cocktail dress sparkled
like a newly-minted coin, as did its sister number, a silver silk
lingerie-inspired gown with a beaded bodice top. His white one-shoulder
lace gown (with bell sleeve and train), his red velvet slashed front
gown (with front kick flap), an olive one-shoulder column gown (with
cut-out detailing) and a red graphic leaf print long-sleeve gown
completed the collection in fine form. The make-up was exquisite.
The hair was divine. And the jewellery was wonderfully appropriate.
Mr Bouwer’s return to the Bryant Park tents this season—after an
extended absence—was very much welcomed and that was plain from
the reception he received at the end—despite the length of the show.
It’s all very beautiful, attention-getting and sexy—as it should