Call it whatever you’d like, the offerings of American designers for this in-between season have taken center stage on the world’s fashion front in the past couple weeks.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America made a recommendation in late 2008 that designers concentrate their Resort presentations in the first two weeks of June, rather than showing over a haphazard period of almost six weeks.
In this, the fashion industry’s first go-round under the guidelines of showing Resort only during the first two weeks of June, the results have been wonderfully cohesive. Many designers used this opportunity to stage actual runway presentations in their showrooms as opposed to just offering editors and retailers a rack of clothes to rifle through.
Clothes for this season are used for so many things – holiday gifts and special outfits, vacation travel clothes, something new to tide you over until spring – so offerings run the gamut from the very formal to the very casual (swim suits included!). There is literally something for everyone.
Read on to see what your favorite American designers have in store for you, and remember to support the creativity and the inventiveness of the American fashion industry whenever you shop. For 3.1 Phillip Lim, this hip designer showed really great double breasted jackets in varying lengths – cropped, hip length and as a trench – with short skirts and pants. ADAM Adam Lippes dressed models as jet-setting gypsies, complete with a mood-altering lemon yellow maxi dress. CFDA Swarovski Award winner for women’s wear, Alexander Wang has traded in his black legging-ed urban armor for lighter, more colorful fare including well-cut trousers and a couple of really amazing draped cocktail frocks. CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award winner Anna Sui is in the mood for a short, kicky dress for Resort in brightly colored prints.
Badgley Mischka designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka were in a Buenos Aires frame of mind for their long, tall party dresses that pay particular attention to the neckline. BCBG Max Azria’s Resort collection was much more edgy than it has been in past seasons – this girl means business. Behnaz Sarafpour loves a sarong or the look of one translated to trousers, skirts and dresses for Resort. Betsey Johnson is all about pop art for Resort, while still maintaining her quirky, girly sensibility. Brian Reyes experiments with shapes for his dresses and skirts in a neutral palette with shots of Latin American hots.
Long and lean and orange and gray, Carolina Herrera walked a thin, glamorous line with her Resort offerings. Francisco Costa’s collection for Calvin Klein was a study in light, airy, sheer, diaphanous fabrics that were draped in body skimming fashion.
Borrowing from a muted natural palette, Catherine Malandrino’s offerings for Resort are fluid and comfortable looking. Cynthia Rowley had the environment on her mind, recycling bits of fabric, ribbons and even newspaper as accessories for her whimsical Resort collection.
Derek Lam’s edginess was tempered by a more relaxed warm-weather vibe resulting in great asymmetrical shirts and drop-dead little dresses. Diane von Furstenberg’s Resort frocks were made for dancing in tropical locales, or locally, if need may be. DKNY was young, fresh and neon-hued, continuing designer Donna Karan’s love affair with the 1980s. Donna Karan draped, wrapped and twisted fabrics to highly flattering results – pretty dresses that can be packed up for more glamorous locales. Doo.Ri kept it simple with a concise collection of little dresses and really great pleated trousers. A more formal collection, Douglas Hannant’s Resort collection consisted of gowns and structured dresses. A capsule of Elie Tahari’s best looks, this is was a collection of short skirts, well-tailored jackets and sweet shift dresses.
Herve Leger by Max Azria chose to spiff up the collection with stark black, white and gorgeous graphic treatments to its signature bandage dresses. Using neons as neutrals, Isaac Mizrahi’s Resort collection spans the bridge from formal to fun.
J. Mendel’s Gilles Mendel practiced the art of his craft (or is it the craft of his art?), creating dresses and blouses with beautiful folding, tiers and ruffles. Michelle Obama fave Jason Wu expanded his offerings to include great blazers, shaped dresses and some dashing coats. Jenni Kayne’s California aesthetic translates into great little dresses, well-shaped trousers and shorts and looks you could even wear to the office.
Forever inspired by Holly Golightly, the Kate Spade collection was filled with bright separates to mix and match. For Lela Rose, Resort is all about the sleeve – a slightly longer, short sleeve, often cuffed, that lends a new modernity to near perfect little dresses. Marc by Marc Jacobs’ little dresses, skirts and great knits are all about being young, sweet and colorful, with a bit of an edge. One part old Hollywood, one part 1920s expat on the Riviera equals quirky and colorful high glamour looks from Marc Jacobs. Marchesa designers Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman kept their Resort offerings true to a Grecian inspiration with gorgeously draped, and closely fitted, gowns and dresses. Max Azria somehow combined opposites – short and long, loose and tight – and created really lovely looks with dresses and even jumpsuits. Combining an Asian mood with 1970s silhouettes, Michael Kors presented a completely packable collection of flow-y fabrics, swimwear and smashing sheath dresses. Monique Lhuillier stuck to her forte – gorgeous gowns – for Resort, offering long, tall columns of primarily black, white and red.
Working embellishment to his advantage, Naeem Khan’s Resort collection contained simple silhouettes that came off as simply spectacular. Short and sweet, Nanette Lepore’s Resort collection is completely tropical, in hues of the sun. Narciso Rodriguez knows dresses are the thing his customer wants and, for Resort, presented everything from body contouring sheaths to flouncy, lady-like frocks.
Nicole Miller is all about the short, simple sheath for Resort, mainly in solid colors, though sometimes in a print, all very wearable. Oscar de la Renta was inspired by France and all the details that are evocative of the fashion-y land – berets, tweeds, sweet little suits and a certain “je ne sais quois”. Phi designer Andreas Melbostad took one part scuba diver and one part motorcycle chick and the result was a concise collection of great little jackets and dresses with details to spare. Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez went short, short for Resort with trousers and shorts, all the better to show off these CFDA Award Winners for Accessories shoes and bags.
Rachel Roy is a lover of a strong shoulder in her Resort collection, either baring them in inventive ways or padding them for a more modern look. The Rag & Bone woman is a cool customer, and David Neville and Marcus Wainwright’s Resort collection of amazing layers will only make her more so. Easy trousers and skirts are the perfect foil for Rebecca Taylor’s relaxed Bohemian tops. Reem Acra broke it up for Resort, offering more separates, but her best pieces were still the gowns in a literal rainbow of colors. Richard Chai’s Resort collection is long on little lady-like looks especially attractive in the orchid hue.
Thakoon’s Resort offerings were sundrenched and turban-y in feel, wrapped, layered and colored in a relaxed fashion. Tibi, designed by Amy Smilovic, is all maxi, mini and jumpsuits in colors reminiscent of old time, sunny Palm Beach. Inspired by uber-couture collector Iris Apfel, Tory Burch’s Resort offerings are super urban with a colorful edge. “Prints please” must have been the mantra of Tuleh designer Bryan Bradley as they were used for everything and in amazing combinations.
Vena Cava designers Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai took a Venice Beach aesthetic and combined with South African brights for a body-conscious collection. Vera Wang has trimmed the volume out of her collection for Resort and has layered up filmy sheer shirts over shorts for much younger looks. Victoria Bartlett does not stray far from her VPL label’s lingerie roots, offering drape-y layered looks in sheers for Resort.
Attempting to define what modern must-haves are, Yeohlee Teng kept it simple with capsule collection pieces we all need. Yigal Azrouel’s long draped gowns for Resort are what he’s known for, and for good reason – he never misses his mark with them. Zac Posen stuck with clean shapes (for him) and a more simple execution than we’re used to, but the resulting collection was a celebration of chic.
Zero + Maria Cornejo stuck to the edgy, modern looks this label is known for, with her outstanding manipulation of fabric taking center stage for Resort.