NYFW S/S14 / by Mike Tyle

3.1 Phillip Lim: Really great. The theme reminded me a lot of minerals, which duh, but still I think it really shows that there is so much beauty in the world and it can be interpreted in so many ways. The silhouettes were modern yet wearable and I loved the embroidered marble effect on many tops and dresses. Not such a fan of the bags but I enjoyed the Marni-eque shoes with the crystal like embellishments must have been a bitch walking on that rock salt (which looked awesome btw).

Alexander Wang: A.wang commenters come in 2 types the fans and the haters. I get the aesthetic and I appreciate it, he has really done something that not often can happen. Every season his popularity increases and it is safe to say his name is a brand and thus his collection became based on his name. Literally and figuratively. From afar pieces looked to have cool laser cut leather or stamped prints but when seen close up it's all a play on his name. Tongue and cheek or just money in the pocket? I personally do not like my clothing to have branding, for the most part I prefer to wear something because I know what it is therefore I don't need to shout it. But then again I am not the customer he is trying to attract this time he is grabbing at the new client he doesn't yet have. The one who loves a logo but may have been "afraid" for lack of a better term of the modern silhouettes, fabrics and often colorless designs but slap a name on it and they understand it. I do however like the Japanese school girl style skirts and the rubberized shoes.

Altuzarra: I feel like you can't go wrong with Greek isles for spring as a theme or really Greek isles anytime. A strong collection with gypsy element from the past still showing up. Continuing the trend of the mens shirt and calf length skirt. That make-up however was not a good look.

BCBG: A darker look for spring with a nod to menswear in several pieces, BCBG knows what they do best and maintained their youthful punches of bright colored flowers and bold cuts. I enjoyed the pleated side panels on several of the dresses and the shoes and bags will sell well I am sure.

Band of Outsiders: A strong collection with loose, flowing silhouettes. I really liked how the mix between the 90's minimal trend had a romantic feel in the patterns and colors used. There was also a utilitarian feel about the trekking sandals and laced poncho over shirts à la look 14 & 34 for example. 

Calvin Klein: As usual I love anything Costa has touched; this collection is no different. Each season CK is modernity. Structure is at the forefront and this season his architectural side still is showing great stride. Interesting mix of materials and surprising use of color and if anyone knows Calvin Klein runway the surprising mix wasn't just in the clothes. Finally some black models were used. Albeit 4 out of a sea of vanilla but I will take what I can get! Don't even get me started on the fringe dresses as the end I can't wait to see those in editorial use. There were only a few looks I was unsure about namely the colored yarns in #16 (maybe it was the mix with tweed that turned me off) and #18 (the sweater with colored naps is nothing new  and if the model looks fat wearing it...).

Carolina Herrera: same old ladies who lunch as at OdlR every year.

Creatures of the Wind: Still with the quirk they are known for only now a bit more grown-up and edited. I enjoy a good 60's vibe and the bright colors worked well with the value of interesting fabrics which add a new dimension to the silhouettes. No offense to gold but the only looks that really threw me off were the gold lamé skirt with shredded flowers and the gold gaucho pants in basketball shorts fabric...

DKNY: I consider Donna Karan's younger line to be more of a straight to market venture as opposed to runway material. While the collection did showcase neoprene and mesh for the mass market, I considered it a way for the buyer who knows ok this is a "new" enough look for the end consumer to feel high-fashion but won't be too jilted by something to high-end. I wasn't too keen to seeing all the branding but then again it's DNKY. The platform/heeled high-tops on the other hand. No thank you. I did however like the neoprene heels and several of the cleaner looks. Even the mens items I found quite wearable. Sporty casual.

Derek Lam: I'm all for gingham in summer or really anytime and I love the size and colors chosen by Lam for this season. Besides that I found the collection in whole to be a very clean contemporary image and I thought it was well done, turbans and caplets aside. I really enjoyed the fabric from looks 16-18. Look 25 on Hanne Gaby was throwing me some FW07 Balenciaga realness.

Diane von Furstenburg: Over at DvF they have a formula and it works. The dresses always looks great but... this time what was missing was a theme. Unless the theme was a pretty dress, which in that case good job. Minus that cork print which didn't photograph well and I can't see it looking real even in real life. Oh, and python print. Again? It may be a basic over at DvF but I'm over it since 2 seasons ago. The models did look fresh and good job at starting that show out with Erin and ended with Naomi. I mean it wouldn't be a DvF show without a slew of money girls in the line up.

Donna Karan: I feel terrible but I often think of Chico's when I think Donna Karan. Maybe it's because they both have a penchant for bias cut, african print, chunky wood/metal jewelry and grey tones? This is starting to sound like I know a lot more about Chico's than I do... Anyways let's start with the hats. They were really distracting. Also there were enough shirt tents for Ina Garten to be set for a whole season. The mahogany colors and the western elements were very Arizona, which is still better than pastel New Mexico. Oh and can Hilary Rhoda lay off on the steroids! Those muscles are intense.

 Helmut Lang: I am all about a crop top and I found it alive at Helmut Lang. I enjoyed the surprising amount of bags, the straight boxy silhouettes as well. The clothing seemed easy to wear and the colors kept for a clean and crisp palette that only slightly deviated from black and white with a couple looks with a pop of fuchsia. The heels however weren't doing it for me.

J. Mendel: Traditionally feminine, this time with a touch of something out of the arts & crafts movement of the late 1800's- early 1900's. I found it in the use of some of the fabrics, jacquard flower prints, wicker-like woven set ins... but mixed in a modern with fur and python geometrically placed among the cut of the silhouettes in pastel and bright colors. Don't get me wrong it sounds odd and maybe I am the only one who thought of that reference but I think it really worked well. Different than what we have been seeing the majority of the week and also something a bit out of the ordinary for his style, I think the chance paid off. I wish it were a bit more edited or looks laid out a bit differently as a couple styles didn't seem to fit in.

Jason Wu: Not your average Wu collection. Yes, very feminine. Yes, luxurious fabrics. Yes, attention to details. Yes, perfect casting as usual. But what seemed different is how light and easy it all seemed. It's a stark departure from the hard sexy woman he usually portrays. A very toned down color palette of neutrals worked well with the airy and beaded garments. The sexy side was still there shown in the peek-a-boo lingerie elements.

Lacoste:  I always look forward to Lacoste. I really think the direction Felipe Oliveira Baptista is taking the brand is not only right but should be watched closely. He has reinvigorated a heritage line built on basics and shown them in a modern clean way that still nods at the past but moves forward using interesting technical fabrics and cuts. This season the looks were very light and airy framed in tonal & contrast, for a sports brand it can't get more summer than that. Reminded me a bit of Prada, just enough to elevate the collection without taking the real idea of sportswear out of it.

Marc by Marc Jacobs: Quirky and cute what I expect from Marc by Marc. I was getting some Miu Miu vibes from those silk and feather looks at the end which I can't hate. Overall the H.S./vintage/menswear/prints are common themes that never go out of style. Easily wearable and fun; I can't wait to get my hands on all of it!

Marc Jacobs: What you get if the Titanic shipwrecked in Hawai'i. I will say the fabric. construction and detailing did look really well done and not easy. I'm just going to ignore those wigs...

Marchesa: Very feminine and romantic as usual. Lace, flowers, feathers, beading...  after seeing close ups it all just seemed too much, from afar there were red carpet worthy pieces but up close it was almost too intricate in a way it aged the looks a bit. And the hair looked like a wannabe Nina Ricci FW07, which can't be beat.

Michael Kors: Much like Tommy Hilfiger he has that runway down to a science and it wouldn't be NYFW without either of them. Casting was spot on and can Karmen Pedaru not be more of a perfect fit as face of the brand This was american sportswear as it is known with a 70's twist. The menswear this season though need to gtfo. But damn did the models look fresh and alive.

Narcisco Rodriguez: Oh, that's how you make modernism feminine! I always love his collections but this one was especially nice. I can't even think where to start pointing out what I liked about it instead just check it out and dress accordingly next spring.

Ohne Titel: Cool use of knitwear. I liked how it had a futurist 80's robotic feeling mixed with pastel girly-ness. The painted hair was a bit overkill though.

Oscar de la Renta: I can't hate on a ball gown. I mean I think everyone who wants to be a fashion designer, it's because of ball gowns. When it comes to that who else can do it better than OdlR? I mean I don't know who is wearing them besides a movie actress/politician/vogue editorial. But I am sure if I saw an old women on the street wearing it I would DIE.

Peter Som: I am a sucker for neoprene and a good shoe, both of which were done right! I found the tightest looks of the show in the middle where I really got the feeling of the collection, looks 13-29, first half wasn't doing it for me either the silhouettes were odd or fabric mix of the jackets and look 34... not cute.

Proenza Schouler: Umm, I loved it. I mean I always love it. There are not many designers that can excite me like Proenza Schouler, every seasons is consistent. While they have a distinct look it is interesting to see how it has changed throughout the years. This season was no exception the fabrics and finishes were perfect. The silhouettes- very Proenza Shouler, boxy and yet feminine. The accessories on point. The bags were great the tassels seem to be a trend showing up both at several other runways this season and here woven into the bags with metal closures. The shoes alone were orgasmic. I may not be a girl but if I were then those shoes would be mine! The weaving was really interesting and the wooden soles worked perfectly. I also really enjoyed the coats and pants that were sprayed showing the seams, somehow a bit of a Margiela moment. Last but not least the metallic bottoms and halter tops were interesting and brought an average skirt up a notch.

Prabal Gurung: His take on the 50's meets 2013. It seems this seson he took cue from Prada and Raf at Dior. Which I must say I am not as much of a fan of Raf's Dior but I think here it's been well interpreted. A couple of the jackets hems I found difficult (look 8 giving me Pyongyang fashion week vibes...) but I really enjoyed the color range, femininity and mix between silk and plastic fabrics. The presentation itself being a highlight, more interesting than an average walk. Sadly I am sure some looks will be altered for retail, but at least we have seen the intention on the catwalk.

Rag & Bone: 2013 take on 90's modern minimalism à la Prada. Complete with spaghetti straps, clog like platforms and iridescent materials. All in all I found it to be a cohesive collection from the design duo and I quite liked it. My only quip is the flower embroidered see through material, which is very 90's but to literal for my tastes, I was hoping to forget that look was in at one point and time.

Rodarte: What the... I just can't. What happened? Let's think back to a time called Spring 2008. This was when Rodarte really broke and they had something to say, the memento was pushed towards FW08 which bridged both collections together and was everything. Those shoes are still being talked about! Since then they made steady interesting collections with a theme seen in a different way (i.e.- japanese horror flicks or mexican nightwalker) every seasons worked somehow until about SS11 where it got a bit shaky with the printed van Gogh paintings. But at least they had the fabric to back it up. Maybe it didn't translate in image form but in real life you can understand it. Then came the next couple of season which had some high low effects but FW13 happened and well no comment. I think the fact that I've gotten this far without talking about what went down on that runway this season is enough of an issue. Let's just hope these girls look back to beginning again next season because besides the silk plaid shirts and the tweed blazers and a couple pair of shoes...woof. I mean that bias cut zebra print dress is $6,000. Just no, that is wrong. $20 for that at Rue21 is too much. Also, whoever styled this gangsta rockabilly prostitute from the 80's needs to be heavily side-eyed.

The Row: Is it sad that the first thing I noticed was the use of black models? I mean, don't get me wrong the clothes aside I commend them for thinking out of the box in this day and age. I just hope it's not a one off seasonal thing. More diversity more the better! Anyways onto the clothes... as always the twins paid close attention to detail and are known for being meticulous when it comes to fabric choices. Hence the price tag reaching Balmain level. This season the look still had the Row feeling i.e. long draping tunic styles and layers of fabric but it had a bit of a hippie-vibe also. The veils threw me off but maybe rich hippy getting married in Marrakesh was the theme? Also the background was fab. the white linens draped on the walls made it seem so ethereal and cozy.

Ralph Lauren: While it is a different direction from what RL normally puts out (i.e.- tweed) the mod theme looked more Cher from Clueless than swinging 60's. Not a fan of the prints either.

Reed Krakoff: Very nice, I really like how feminine his take on modernity has. Usually I find it is quite stark in past season. This time his use of silk and light creme colors really brought the look. I didn't love the seam tension, I thought it cheapened a couple of the looks... And I thought I would be over florecent chartreuse as a pop but I actually liked it on the shoes, bag was another story... but the bags in general looked really interesting!

Sophie Theallet: Not my favorite collection from Sophie, I found a disconnect between the first half being very feminine with thistle prints that would fit in well at Anthro and the silk gowns she puts down the runway I always look forward to seeing. Both were nice but seemed to be 2 very different end consumers with no middle ground.

Suno: Sticking to their roots in african prints they played with colors, textures and silhouettes. Cute, summery and commercial. The zebra print was a bit Anthropologie and the last 3 looks very the Row.

Thakoon: Not feeling it. I get it, 90's are back. Minimalism, spaghetti straps, lace, silk... and pleather. First off the shoes were whack, I mean had it been Chanel I wouldn't have thought anything of it. Why, because Chanel did similar boots in tweed in FW06 and while they were questionable then it's still Chanel, appreciate but side-eye at the same time. Which reminds me pearl strap purse? I digress... Don't even get me started on the ill-fitted art school fabric mix pleated top (look 6, 22, 31) and the random 2 pleather looks or that Swarvski dangling beads/ neck straps (look 15 and 36). Ok, enough hating. I did like the laser cut lace in the denim fabric and a couple shift dresses. 

Theyskens' Theory: Black for summer! And it works. Very 90's, very Belgian. Both done right in this case. I don't know if this is his best work for Theory, it lacked the detail, not in technique but something was missing... The leather jacket (look 10) & skirt (24) were my least favorite, sorry about it. But the shirt dresses I thought were a nice departure and good direction for something other than the chiffon dresses which might not be as forgiving.

Thom Browne: No doubt about it Browne has been known for years in menswear and has been growing in popularity for a while now. It's hard not to see the red, white and blue tab stick out somewhere and not think of him. Then there is the coat Michelle Obama wore to the inauguration... with that being said something else he has become known for are his shows. Pushing boundaries and coming across as an Americana take on an epic McQueen runway. This season he really showed off his flair for complicated techniques and interesting details with a theme as bougie Elizabethan joker has got people talking.

Tommy Hilfiger: I feel like Hilfiger gets a bad rap in the US, where here in Europe this shit is gold. They have really perfected their branding and image. The new store by my apartment is really nice and I am not even the customer they are trying to get. This season they took beachwear to the next level. Instead of breezy summer dresses we got color block neoprene, 2 things I am obsessed with. Sometimes it seemed a bit excessive, but then again they had 48 looks. It's pushing Chanel/Armani editing level issue. Also the team jerseys and that crocheted business were not needed. Who do they think they are Isabel Marant?

Tory Burch: Zoey Deschanel meets 60's housewife with a penchant for gardening and money to spend.

Vera Wang: Sporty and sexy not what one would expect from a designer who is known more for her darker, subtle looks or demure wedding dresses. I was 50/50 this season I liked the colors, cuts and flowyness of the collection however I didn't like the scrunchies on the arm or the cut up tufts that were sewn to the shoulder or going down the back. It somehow really distracted me from the outfits and cheapened it a bit. It seems every couple of seasons (SS12, some of FW12) Vera tries to making a sporty more upbeat collection, which I am all for, but I often wonder how well the sell through for those lines are.

Victoria Beckham: Who would have thought 5 years ago that Victoria Beckham would be the Victoria Beckham that we see now. She has a distinct direction with a very minimal concise aesthetic which evolves each season. I am always looking forward to see the looks. Well tailored pieces and nice materials finish off yet another great collection. This time less constricting dresses and now a bit more fun, much like her diffusion line (just as well done) Victoria, Victoria Beckham. I can totally picture her and now many others wearing the mens shirt and A-line skirt trend the next coming months. Can't wait!

Zac Posen: The flowers in the hair was pushing the point a bit, but in general there was nothing else new here. As always a Madame Grès approach and a vintage cut heavy looking dress.

Zero + Marina Cornejo: I'd say it's one of the strongest collections she's shown, usually I find her collection in the same way I do other brand a bit art school (Ohne Titel anyone?). This time it reminded me a mix of Damir Doma, a bit of the Row and overall something different from the greasy haired 90's rehash that has become this seasons NYFW go to. I liked the pixilated photo prints, it broke up the beige and black looks and while it was the opposite of the dessert wanderer style it still worked. Also anything shiny I am automatically attracted to so the metal pieces were cool. The purple fabric looked a bit cheap and I get the idea of fabric mix but the neoprene didn't fit well with the linen.