For Fall 2014, Utilitarian Luxury
The fall 2014 fashion collections shown in New York this week have prescribed a utilitarian yet luxe antidote to the polar vortex: alpine sweaters, puffer coats in leather, fur and embroidery, and cozy flat-soled boots.
Just gazing at them is warming. One can only hope the weather will be as chilly next fall when Donna Karan's suede puffer coats and Tory Burch's chunky sweaters hit stores.
The concept isn't entirely new, but designers are doing it better this season, with richer detailing and greater practicality. Stuart Vevvers, hired in June after jobs at a string of posh European luxury brands to upgrade and revitalize Coach, included a fireman's coat in his collection, complete with toggle buttons but constructed of black motorcycle-style leather. He turned to a Tennessee workwear factory to make canvas coats for the collection.
'Utilitarian is very important,' Mr. Vevvers says in a clipped British accent. 'I started to look at actual authentic American workwear.'
The sturdy clothes unleashed this week appear timeless enough to work for many years. They'll give competition to London's Burberry-known for its weather-worthy coats-and to Brunello Cucinelli, the Italian cashmere magnate who has made a fortune selling an ultra-luxury-Banana-Republic look to wealthy weekenders.
'If someone is looking to make an investment for next fall, it would be a great coat with special details,' says Sheila Aimette, North American vice president for trend forecaster WGSN. Or, she adds, a spectacular sweater.
At the shows, many fashion editors look as though they've just skied in off the slopes of Mont Blanc in cable-knit sweaters and furry boots. Cuddly outfits that might have looked lazy a few seasons ago alongside the catwalks suddenly look chic.
One of the more spectacular coats of the week came from Ralph Rucci, who held an intimate show at his new studio, a preternaturally glossy space currently featured in Architectural Digest. Lined with Barguzin sable (referring to a Russian region) with an outer layer of Nappa leather, the coat looked as suitable for driving a dogsled as for hurrying down Fifth Avenue.
The week has been full of cozy plaids. Some were simplified and enlarged in ways that toned down the loudness, as at Delpozo, Tracy Reese and Marc by Marc Jacobs.
Tim Coppens was among a number of designers who included quilted or puffy coats. Alexander Wang, Thakoon and Opening Ceremony all included these warming looks, inspired by hiking and hunting materials. Mr. Coppens used ripstop nylon for pockets and added cozy details like plaid flannel lining under a suit jacket's collar. Peter Som and Jason Wu included tailored coats with patterned materials or embellishments.
The sense of ease extended to a predominant shape that is looser and more voluminous, both in tops and pants, than in previous seasons. It is as though Katharine Hepburn has become a muse to many designers. Pants are wide-legged and often long and louche. Jackets and tops have voluminous sleeves and curvaceous backs. Thom Browne-whose extreme shows don't always give a clear view of how the actual clothes will look, alluded to the volume trend in his medieval ode to Catholicism: Some looks had double or cape-like sleeves.
Tom Mora, women's designer of J.Crew, took his inspiration from the Weimar era, suggesting its extravagance with lush brocades. 'You don't want to do a little cropped top,' he says. 'You want to do something substantial. It was a decadent era.'
Of course, it wouldn't be fashion if everything were practical, and designers have sprinkled purely frivolous looks in their collections. Fur bags-which began to appear on runways a year ago-have been out in full force from Tory Burch to Derek Lam. Rodarte let the nerdy force be with it, sending gowns down the runway with images of Yoda, R2-D2 and Luke Skywalker printed on the skirts.
It has also been a newsy week. Secondary line Marc by Marc has been a Cinderella stepsister to the Marc Jacobs label in recent years. That era ended on Tuesday afternoon, when Luella Bartley, who has a cult following in Britain, and Kate Hillier debuted their first collection for Marc by Marc. The designers styled basketball shoes and knee socks with exquisitely tailored gray suits, a message that the brand is hyping its youthful image while tailoring clothes for grown-ups. It was odd to see founding designer Marc Jacobs watching from the benches with pal Sofia Coppola.
Diane von Furstenberg celebrated the 40th anniversary of the wrap dress in a show that ended with a gaggle of supermodels dressed in gold surrounding the designer as she was showered in glittering confetti, Studio 54 style.
Donna Karan celebrated her label's 30th anniversary with one of her strongest recent collections. She went back to the roots that made her a working woman's dream-comfortable clothes that would travel from office to evening-body suits, loose trousers and shimmering blouses. Also, Yeohlee launched a promising men's collection.
Sophie Theallet, known for understated fabrics, devoted much of her collection to in-your-face fabrics such as silk jacquards with gold metallic accents. The result: a collection that justifies its prices from across the room. She is expanding her knitwear, and with her work history at Azzedine Alaïa, her label is now a place to look for perfectly shaped sweaters.
A subtler theme this week was clothing stitched from curving or shard-like panels of fabric. The artful seams are part of the look. What's more, every part requires its own pattern piece and extra sewing. Just try copying that, fast fashion.
看着它们就让人感觉温暖。让人不由得希望在接下来的秋季唐娜·凯伦(Donna Karan)的小羊皮蓬松大衣和托里·伯奇(Tory Burch)厚实的毛衣上架之时，天气还能这么寒意袭人。
这一周发布的厚实耐穿的服装看上去永不过时，足以穿上很多年。它们将给一些品牌带来挑战，比如伦敦以应对极端天气的大衣闻名于世的博柏利(Burberry)，还有依靠向阔绰的度假者销售Banana Republic风格超豪华服装而发家的意大利羊绒巨头布鲁内洛·库奇内利(Brunello Cucinelli)。
在这周发布的较抢眼的大衣之一来自拉尔夫·鲁奇(Ralph Rucci)，他在自己的新工作室中举办了一场私密秀。他那超级炫亮夺目的工作室还登上了《建筑文摘》(Architectural Digest)杂志。他的这款大衣饰有巴尔古津(Barguzin，俄罗斯的一个地方)黑貂毛，外层是一层纳帕革，既适合穿着它驾雪橇，也适合穿着它走在纽约第五大道上。
在这一周亮相的舒适的格纹花呢大衣也比比皆是。有些经过了简化、做了加大处理以调和艳丽的外观，比如Delpozo、特蕾西·里斯(Tracy Reese)和Marc by Marc Jacobs就是如此。
蒂姆·科庞斯(Tim Coppens)是推出夹棉大衣和蓬松大衣的众多设计师中的一位。受到远足服装及打猎服装面料的启发，王大仁(Alexander Wang)、塔库恩(Thakoon)和Opening Ceremony都推出了此类让人感觉温暖的款式。科庞斯采用了防撕裂尼龙做口袋，并在一款西服外套的衣领下加入了像格子法兰绒内衬这样的温馨细节。邓志明(Peter Som)与吴季刚(Jason Wu)则在剪裁讲究的大衣中加入了印花布料或装饰。
放松感延展至比前几季更松垮更宽大的主流衣型上，上装与裤装均是如此。凯瑟琳·赫本(Katharine Hepburn)仿佛成为了众多设计师的缪斯女神。裤子设计成了阔腿型，而且往往又长又另类，外套和上衣袖子肥大，背部则设计得曲线动人。汤姆·布朗(Thom Browne)极尽夸张的服装秀并不总是让人能清晰地了解实际的服装会是什么样子，这一次他在其向天主教致意的中世纪风格系列中展现了这种宽松趋势：有些款式采用了双重袖或斗篷式衣袖的设计。
J. Crew女装设计师汤姆·莫拉(Tom Mora)从魏玛时期汲取了灵感，借用华丽繁复的织锦来表达那个时期的奢华。他说：“你不会想设计短款服装，你想设计的是大肆铺张的东西。它是一个奢靡的时代。”
当然，如果一切都变得实用，那就不是时尚了。因此，设计师们在他们的时装系列中点缀了一些纯粹花哨的款型。于一年前开始登上T台的皮草包包在托里·伯奇和林达克(Derek Lam)等品牌中盛大亮相。罗达特(Rodarte)则保留了它的书呆子气质，将印有尤达(Yoda)、R2-D2和天行者卢克(Luke Skywalker)肖像的各式裙装搬上了T台。
这也是充满新闻的一周。作为一个副线品牌，近些年Marc by Marc一直是屈居于Marc Jacobs之下的“灰姑娘”。然而，自从在英国拥有一批狂热粉丝的吕拉·巴特利(Luella Bartley)携手凯特·希利尔(Kate Hillier)为Marc by Marc设计的第一个时装系列发布的那一天起，这段时期就宣告结束了。这二位设计师以篮球鞋和及膝袜搭配了剪裁精致的灰色西装，表明该品牌在为成人定制时装的同时也在大力宣传其青春形象。看到创建该品牌的设计师马克·雅各布斯(Marc Jacobs)与好友索菲娅·科波拉(Sofia Coppola)一同坐在长凳上看秀让人觉得有些奇怪。
黛安·冯芙丝汀宝(Diane von Furstenberg)以一场时装秀庆祝了其经典裹身裙诞生40周年，在这场时装秀的尾声，一群身着金色裙装的超模围着笼罩在金光闪闪的五彩纸屑中的设计师，呈现出一派Studio 54俱乐部的风格。
索菲·西娅莱(Sophie Theallet)以采用淡雅低调面料著称，这一次她在整个系列的多数款型中采用了炫目夺人的面料，比如点缀着金色高亮色的丝绸提花面料。最后打造出来的效果足以证明其价格的合理性。她还拓展了其针织衫系列，凭借她曾在阿瑟丁·阿拉亚(Azzedine Alaia)工作过的履历，她的品牌现在成为了一个寻觅完美款型毛衣之处。