Missoni Resort 2020

In case you haven’t noticed, the fashion industry loves looking back to other fashionable eras for inspiration. The 1970s appears to the era that the fashion industry is currently having a love affair with. And when it comes to resort collections, no fashion period correlates to easy, breezy, fun-loving times than the 1970s. And isn’t that what resort collections are supposed to be about. After all, resort season conjures up images of comfortable, but fashionable clothes.

No other current fashion brand can distill a 70s design aesthetic better than Missoni., particularly an early 70s perspective. Mission has set a standard for their bohemian, crazy quilt-patterned collections. And their 2020 resort collection is no exception.

Inspired by 70s icons Lauren Hutton and Elsa Perretti, this free-spirited 2020 resort collection draws heavily from familiar archival motif that have been reworked to create new patterns. There are reworked zebra motifs, revisited leopard prints, multicolored foliage, and Missoni’s artsy camouflage. This kaleidoscope of reworked motifs is juxtaposed against the brand’s signature bold geometrics. 

This collection is designed for that sophisticated urbanite who effortlessly elegant and primed for adventure. This collection marries and equatorial tropical mood with the essential wardrobe staples of an urban dweller. Jacquard mini dresses are worn also as vests on fluid maxi dresses. Shirts take center stage from the bowling styles shown in a patchwork of different materials to the fitted silhouettes with roomy sleeves and the more classic options punctuated with knitted details. They are paired with high-waisted pants or with the new skirt pants injected with an easy-chic attitude. Micro aviator jackets crafted from sartorial fabrics introduce a mannish touch, while the classic tuxedo comes in a knitted version enriched with metallic accents.

Photos courtesy of C&M Media

And like many brands this season, Missoni has created their version of the mini bags, designed in collaboration with Iacobella Gaetani. Can anyone say, ”Put it in your peace pipe, smoke it on up.”

William S. Gooch

 

 

 

Ozwald Boateng at the Apollo

The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s was one of the most revolutionary and creative eras of black history. Harlem, New York became the pinnacle of black intellectual, artistic and social movements, forever changing black culture and putting the merits of black artists on display. Needless to say, even modern-day black contributions to creative industries owe themselves to the work of those who made the Harlem Renaissance happen from Langston Hughes to Countee Cullen to Zora Neale Hurston.

The influence of this movement is still remembered today on a global scale by black creatives around the world, including fashion designer Ozwald Boateng. Boateng is best known for being the first black designer to ever have his own shop on London’s Savile Row in addition to being a former creative director of menswear for Givenchy. For the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance, the designer decided to not only stage a show at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theatre, but also launch womenswear as well, which took a see-now-buy-now approach.

In April when it was announced that the designer would be doing a show based on AI, everyone assumed that he meant Artificial Intelligence. As the runway show began, it was clear that this was not an homage to the future of fashion and technology, but, rather, an ode to black arts and culture past, present, and future. In this case, AI stood for “Authentic Identity.”

Boateng, who is of Ghanaian heritage, stayed true to his identity by infusing West African design influences, including tribal prints, in his clothes while blending them with Harlem Renaissance influences. Although womenswear is new for Boateng and a big divergence from traditional Savile Row tailoring, his knowledge of textiles, color, and silhouettes were front and center throughout the collection with his cohesive approach to color and the tailoring of the women’s pieces.

Notably, the majority of the models in Boateng’s show were people of color, an approach that has been bandied about in the fashion industry where diversity and inclusion has become hot topics. And true to form, Boateng’s models reflect the sassiness and sexiness of his designs.

Boateng’s show was truly groundbreaking, not only for him as a designer launching womenswear, but also as a moment in history for Black designers, many of whom go unsung or never reach these merits of notoriety. Remember, the Harlem Renaissance is not only noteworthy for great literature and black arts explosion, but also for the great fashion that the era produced.

Images courtesy of vogue.com

Boateng’s Apollo show was a renaissance of sorts for black models, black designers, and the black fashion intelligentsia, calling for a new age of black fashion in the fashion industry (Note Edward Enninful at British Vogue, Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton, and the rise of Pyer Moss, Laquan Smith, and Romeo Hunte, all garnishing an international audience.)The beauty of black culture received the celebration it deserved, and Boateng didn’t disappoint his audience with this once in a lifetime experience. Ozwald Boateng welcome back to New York City!!

—Kristopher Fraser

Naeem Khan Bridal Spring 2020

Naeem Khan has his finger, and a lot more, on the pulse of where modern bridal collections should be. Influenced by an article in The New York Times, as a part of their New York International Bridal Week spring 2020 season pre-coverage, that extolled the need for bridal designers to be more aware of the fact that the modern bridal customer is in the market for something that goes beyond fairytale, princess bridal gowns. Khan took notice of this and adjusted his spring 2020 bridal collection accordingly.

Still, Naeem Khan’s bridal collections have always been far more than conventional princess wedding gowns. Khan’s bridal collections have always played and frolicked on the side of sexiness and romantic abandon, and was never a concoction of whimsical, dreamy princess bride fare.

That said; for spring 2020 Khan did stray away from his penchant for overly embellished gowns, some of which could serve someone well at a discotheque or on a red carpet. There were more traditional bridal silhouettes in his current bridal collection with the embellishments appearing more on the veils than the bridal gowns themselves.

That said; thankfully not every look in this collection was traditional bridal fare. There were adequate amounts of bridal cocktail dresses, low exposing décolletage dresses, bridal gowns with statement sleeves, and one halter lace and sequined embellished jumpsuit that was to die for.

Photos courtesy of UK Maracaibo Photography

With this bridal collection, Naeem Khan did not score any points for innovation and originality. However, when it comes to versatility, Khan, perhaps, outdid his many bridal competitors with his range of looks and bridal silhouettes. Variety is the spice of life.—William S. Gooch

Serge Jevaguine Bridal Spring 2020

Serge Jevaguine has always been inspired by early couturiers and their design aesthetic. As a youth in his native Russia, Jevaguine continued his fascination with great art and famous couturiers of past like Christian Dior, Jeanne Lanvin, Cristobal Balenciaga, Madeleine Vionnet, and others by studying at the Academy of Arts of Moscow.

Not until he moved to Toronto, Canada did Jevaguine get the opportunity to create bridal wear. With his spring 2020 bridal collection, Jevaguine debuts this collection in New York City.

For the spring 2020 bridal collection, Serge Jevaguine was mesmerized by the simple and chic style of French actresses Brigitte Bardot, Michele Mercier, and Juliette Binoche. The collection seeks to capture the elegance of French Glamour featuring shimmering sequin gowns, luxe brocades paired with cascading, tulle overskirts and silk crepes with clean, style lines.

Each design is handcrafted from the best European fabrics and gives close attention to details like bejeweled belts, sheer hemlines and thigh high slits. Every gown is designed to emphasize the soft and feminine nature of each bride.

In this collection, Jevaguine emphasized the old adage, “less is more.”  The less is classic, yet not fussy, bridal silhouettes that have stood the test of time, combined with high quality fabrics. The more comes from the distinction that many of the bridal gowns in this collection are accompanied by attachments that can either accentuate the gown or be taken off.

Photos courtesy of Serge Jevaguine

Case in point, the brand’s Sophia SK bridal gown with the detachable train. Additionally, several of the gowns in the spring 2020 collection come in alternative colors and are appropriate for red garments or special events.What sets this bridal collection apart from other collections of its ilk is the luxury fabric choices and the appeal of the collection for an ever-evolving bridal consumer. Bravo on your New York debut!!

William S. Gooch

Watters Bridal Fall 2019

Watters is always known for pushing the envelope, and this season was no exception. The company debuted all three of their lines including their namesake Watters, Willowby, and Wtoo. Building on their own ahead of the curve DNA, the company had something to offer every type of bride.

Watters Photos courtesy of Coded PR

The namesake Watters line was all about love and lace, with classic romantic details including gorgeous veils with appliqués. During Bridal Week, there is, of course, so much emphasis put on the gowns, often details like the veil are ignored, but Watters didn’t miss a beat. And like many brands this season Watters also included plus-size models, with 67 percent of women in the US being a size 12 and beyond, it is important that they court that customer.Willowby, on the other hand, continues to play the role of the much younger sister to Watters in design aesthetic and demographic. For its spring 2020 collection, a portion of the gowns were a bit outside the traditional realm of bridal in some ways, with sheer embroidered overlays that projected as subtle sensuality and the absence of princess gowns.

Willowby fall 2019 photos courtesy of Coded PR

That said; the Willowby customer is a different kind of bride; one who dances to the beat of her own drum. It isn’t too often that you see an A-line wedding dress with a halter neckline and a key-hole cutout bodice.Wtoo was less cohesive than it was in past seasons, with looks going from traditional princess gowns to crop-top wedding dresses. Nevertheless, the collection still played to the fantasy aspect of the wedding day with whimsical floral details and tiered tulle dresses. Classic details, like lace embroidery, contrasted with the more contemporary details of deep V-necklines. The Wtoo girl isn’t afraid to be a little sexier than your classic bride, and she loves a good revealing neckline.

WToo fall 2019 photos courtesy of Coded PR

Watters, as a bridal brand, is gathering steam and more market dominance in its appeal to a variety of bridal customers. One of the most difficult challenges for a bridal brand is the creation of garments that can have market appeal to wide range of bridal customers. In spite of this challenge, Watters continues to successfully pull this exacting feat off. That in itself continues to be their greatest strength.—Kristopher Fraser

Justin Alexander Signature Bridal Spring 2020

Last season, Justin Alexander’s bridal collection centered around fashion-forward bridal glam. His bride was sophisticated, but willing to take risks. And though there were lots of classic bridal silhouettes in that collection, many of the garments in the collection could work as red-carpet garments or evening wear.

This season has turned out to be very different. Justin Alexander aimed for the more traditional bride for his spring 2020 collection which was inspired by the transformative nature of spring.

Justin Alexander reflected this point of view for spring 2020 in modern, clean styling with a romantic patchwork of florals that extended to a large floral motif. Continuing on his floral theme, Justin Alexander culminated this collection with embroidered florals expressed in appliques and large floral patterns.

And though Alexander aimed for a fresh, youthful appeal in this collection—sometimes he was successful—for the most part this collection would attract a more seasoned and mature bridal audience. And the addition of petal jackets, beaded cap sleeves, and the floral patchwork cape only helped place this collection in the vein of a more mature customer. Perhaps, even the customer getting married for the second time.

Photos courtesy of Atelier PR

Still, Justin Alexander should be given credit for injecting his own particular take on modern bridal wear. Thankfully, his design aesthetic is not staid, always projecting what is new and innovative.

Standouts in this collection include the strapless sequin flower lace gown with skirt detail, petal skirt silk Mikado cocktail dress, satin slim gown with beaded jacket, and floral patchwork V-neck jumpsuit.

—William S. Gooch

Amsale Bridal Spring 2020

Amsale Aberra left behind a legacy of elevating the bridal gowns beyond overly embellished princess gowns. Until Amsale Aberra established her eponymous brand, Amsale, bridal gowns, for the most part, reflected the aesthetic that one would expect when one witnessed a wealthy woman getting married in a big cathedral.

The designer, who passed away in April of 2018, was renowned for her stunning, approachable gowns that were suited for the modern woman. At New York Bridal Fashion Week, the designer’s legacy continued with a collection that was about how the modern bride envisions her very special day.

This season, the brand debuted Nouvelle Amsale, Little White Dress, Amsale, and Amsale x You. These four collections all spoke to different types of Amsale customers, from the younger bride to the more mature bride, and those who wanted something that was customizable. There is power and truth to the variations of the white dress walking down the aisle, something the brand has proven their design team easily recognizes.

Nouvelle Amsale explored femininity with bold necklines and floral details. This line was heavily focused on construction with architectural lines and illusion detailing. The crepe and satin materials were structured in a way fitting for younger brides who want that full-length gown effect, but don’t want a maximalist-type of gown with heavy embroidery and embellishments.

Little White Dress was a true exercise in minimalism. These dresses are for the brides who are not the ball gown types. Silhouettes included trapeze in faille and off-the-shoulder tulle midi-dresses. This collection was proof that not every bridal dress necessarily needs to make a bold statement, and that less can be more.

The mainline Amsale collection was an exploration of classic elegance. Voluminous gowns and lace details spoke to the traditional brides who dream of that perfect princess gown. The statement skirts were anchored by tailored bodices for a sensibly contrasting shape to the statement making garments.

Photos courtesy of Lividini PR

The runway show ended with a series of “real women” debuting the Amsale x You collection, their custom line. The women were a variety of different heights and body shapes, letting brides know that there is something at Amsale that can be designed to fit every woman. The brand’s strength continues to lie in their versatility, because after all, variety is the spice of life.—Kristopher Fraser

BERTA Bridal Spring 2020

For its spring 2020 bridal collection, the brand BERTA was inspired by Milan, one of the fashion capitals of the world. As one of the fashion capitals of the world, Milan, as a city, is known for its picturesque landscapes, strong architecture, and style that is unsurpassed. And as fashion capital, Milan has produced such fashion greats as Armani, Valentino, Cavalli, and Prada.

BERTA has set a standard for its penchant for a modern distillation of bridal couture. This season was no exception. And as has been commented on by many bridal and fashion editors, BERTA employs some of the best models in the industry to showcase their alluring and fashion-forward bridal garments.

That said; for spring 2020 BERTA successfully attempted some different, but key elements to the collection. This collection featured never-before seen fabrics and silhouettes and a re-introduction of silk, as well as a mix of handmade embellishments and embroideries.

Another new attraction to the BERTA for spring 2020 was the addition of long bridal trains. Where in other collections, trains represent sophistication and regal purity. With BERTA, the extravagant trains supplement and add to the sensuality of the garments, infusing a bit of whimsy and fantasy into the collection.

BERTA’s new direction does not supplant the brand’s oeuvre for sensual elegance with a daring fashion-forward sentimentality. And as always, BERTA gives its customers a variety of bridal silhouettes to choose from.

Photos courtesy of BERTA/Dan Lecca

Standout looks include, but are not limited to, the long sleeve fit and flare gown featuring a sparkle bodysuit underneath, long sleeve blazer dress with pants and corset bodice adorned in crystals, sheer floral fabric layer over sequin bodysuit, silk ball gown style strapless dress with feather sequin detail, long sleeve sleek silhouette with beading detail and train, and crystal beaded wrap front dress with sequin detailing along neckline and straps.—William S. Gooch

Reem Acra Bridal Spring 2020

Though it is unfortunate that Reem Acra no longer shows during New York Fashion Week: The Shows (NYFWS)—and she is well missed—it is a comfort to know that Reem Acra presents her bridal collections twice a year in New York City during New York International Bridal Week.

And the brilliance and glorious beauty that Reem Acra once brought to her runway shows during NYFWS is front and center at her bridal shows. Additionally, Reem Acra choses great locations to present her bridal shows, from the New York Public Library to her recent present location of Saint Bartholomew’s Church—a New York City landmark.

This bridal collection was not only beautiful and very well produced, but, perhaps, the bridal runway show of the season. The cavernous Saint Bartholomew’s Church, in its grandeur, served Reem Acra’s bridal collection very well. And where some bridal designers would have played off of the church’s iconic history and somewhat gothic architecture, Reem Acra modernized her production by playing classic Madonna songs—Like A Prayer, Celebrate, Lucky Star, Papa Don’t Preach—throughout the entire show.

The spring 2020 collection began with diminutive flower girls all in a rosy pink tulle. What followed was a bridal collection of the highest order, supplemented by jewel-embellished bridal menswear, made in collaboration with Joseph Abboud. And though the groom’s collection was at times over-embellished and a bit campy, for the setting and direction of the collection, the addition of groom’s garments added the extra special touch that elevated Reem Acra’s spring 2020 collection into bridal stratosphere.

True to form, there were many classic bridal silhouettes in the collection—something that Reem Acra always inserts into her collections. However, this season Reem went against the grain and had something for everyone. There short bridal cocktail dresses—for the bridal rehearsal party—as well as a bridal jumpsuit and white silk hot pants. And there were several nods to Reem Acra’s Middle Eastern heritage with heavily embellished bridal gowns with ornate veils. In fact, the variety of veils used in the collection was one of the highlights of the show.

Images courtesy of Reem Acra

What was most noticeable about Reem Acra’s spring 2020 bridal collection was the joy, splendor, and exuberance of the show. And isn’t that what fashion, particularly a bridal show should be about. Happy times are here again!!—William S. Gooch

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