Reem Acra Bridal Fall 2018

There are many global traditions that extol the importance of having good or saintly spirits and energy forces bless the union of two people. In the Catholic tradition, Saint Joseph and Saint Priscilla are the patron saints of good marriages, as Saint Adelaide is the patron saint of second marriages. In the Hindu religion, the Lord Ganesha, who removes all obstacles, also blesses important religious events. And in Judaism, the archangel Raphael is the protector of marriage.

For her fall 2018 bridal collection, all the spirits and the saints who bless and protect marriage inspired Reem Acra. From that reference point, Reem Acra evolved a bridal collection that evokes feelings and moods of chastity, linear clarity, and otherworldly charm. This was particular true as some of the specter-like models slowly paraded down the runway with faces covered in long veils accompanied by very long bridal trains.This confluence of chastity, clarity and spectral glamour conjured up images of the Wilis from the ballet masterpiece Giselle. (In the ballet Giselle, the Wilis emerge from the graves in white bridal gowns floral headpieces of baby breath with long veils covering their ghostly faces.)Though this was a theatrical presentation of what Reem Acra does best—classic bridal silhouettes seen through a lens of beautiful embellishments, fine fabrics with a nod toward couture and fashion-forward sensibility—the brand’s signature aesthetic was not lost. And as always with Reem Acra, the production was of the highest quality with top models, and top production value.Three things stood out most in this fall 2018 bridal outing; Reem Acra’s continued love affair with quality fabrics and craftsmanship and her understanding that bridal shows should take the consumer and fashion industry professionals to a beautiful, exquisite place or set a mood. However, in this collection, Reem Acra successfully toyed with the idea that a bridal show can be cerebral exercise. Fashion pundits can banter whether the modern bride is stimulated by bridal collections that evoke purity and chastity or whether Reem Acra’s inspiration is lost on modern consumers who only cares about bridal gowns that appeals to their penchant for beauty and youthful whimsy. (Something to debate!!)

                                                     Images courtesy of Atelier PR

Standout looks in this collection include Reem Acra’s Guipure embroidered lace gown, plunging V-neck embroidered lace gown with Gazar skirt, lace embroidered bodice gown with organza skirt, lace embroidered gown with embroidered cape, and gold and silver metallic embroidered lace gown.—William S. Gooch

THEIA Bridal Fall 2018

For the fall 2018 bridal season, THEIA brought sexy back!! All this sexy is set against the backdrop of the modern bride in Florence, Italy. In this evolution of the brand, THEIA embraces the curves of women of all shapes and sizes.

Like many bridal brands for fall/winter collections, the garments are embroidered with strategic glass and crystals that evoke ice cycles and snowy motifs. And unlike some bridal seasons past, THEIA has transitioned the brand to a bridal market that is more retail friendly. Still, those seasons were creative director Don O’Neill drew inspiration from such disparate influences as Irish sea nymphs, Asian opium dens, and David Bowie is much missed.Though O’Neill has transitioned THEIA into a more market friendly bridal brand does not mean that the brand has lost its creative oeuvre. This fall 2018 bridal collection contained illusion bodices with plunging necklines and open backs. There were also whimsical 3-D floral appliques and embroideries combined with soft Chantilly lace bodices and Spanish tulle skirts. And like some other bridal brands this season, O’Neill included quite a few garments that will look great on both curvy and plus-size brides.Understanding that the modern bride is looking for a bit of color, O’Neill injected a hint of color into the collection evidenced in cloud blues and blush pinks which appeared through the fall 2018 collection. And true to its design aesthetic of always adding that unique item in his bridal collection, O’Neill include a satin sexy jumpsuit for that bridal consumer who wants something goes beyond traditional bridal fare.

                                                  Images courtesy of THEIA/JS Group

Standout looks in the collection were the ivory Chantilly cutaway halter mermaid gown with hand-appliqued Chantilly lace flowers, porcelain white crystal and glass “Florentine Trellis” embroidered cap sleeve gown, ivory hand-embroidered Italian glass and crystal beaded bodice over a tiered Spanish tulle skirt, ivory satin kimono-sleeved jumpsuit, and ivory plunge front-corded lace and sequin-embroidered gown with Spanish tulle overlay.—William S. Gooch

Gracy Accad Bridal Fall 2018

It takes a lot of courage to launch a new brand in a depressed retail market. And what’s even more difficult is to debut a collection that stands out from what is already in the market.

Gracy Accad has done all that with her debut fall 2018 bridal collection. “My main inspiration for this collection was Grace Kelly. Not her style alone, but the embodiment of her rare beauty, and the ‘fairytale magic’ that surrounded her,” explained Gracy Accad. “In our fast-paced world, I wanted to find a place for that old Hollywood glamour we rarely see anymore; regality, femininity, and chicness, all coming together to give us a little modern romance.”True to her words, this debut bridal collection was about more than iconic Grace Kelly beauty. This collection was a dissertation on youthful charm, effervescence and nascent insouciance, all seen through the lens of nuptial beauty.

Understanding that young brides want something beyond just a beautiful gown on that very special day, Gracy Accad has incorporated looks and silhouettes one would normally see in a ready-to-wear collection. From her white bridal moto jacket with full skirt to casual, open neck white shirt with floral skirt and ruffled top with statement sleeves paired with shorts, all these looks are designed to appeal to a younger consumer. And the order of her show also reflected her different approach to bridal. “ I want to do something different, something that hadn’t been seen before. We wanted to start with something that is trendy, and something blue,” detailed Accad. “We understood that are show would be early in the morning and that this was our debut collection and we wanted to stand apart.”

Gracy Accad took a huge risk by leading off her fall 2018 bridal collection with garments a bride would were to her bridal dinner reception, a day or two before the bridal ceremony. “The modern bride is not traditional anymore, so I started off my collection with non-traditional garments. If a bride wanted to get married at City Hall some of the first pieces in my collection would be ideal for that,” explained Accad. “ We also wanted to add a little pop of color to the collection, so you have some pastel blues and pinks starting off the collection.”

                                                  Images courtesy of Atelier PR

Standout looks in the collection include ivory silk and wool coat high low with flounced edge and shorts, cream silk organza blouse with dropped balloon sleeves and full floral skirt, andivory silk and wool coat high low with flounced edge and shorts, cream silk organza blouse with dropped balloon sleeves and full floral skirt, and beaded lace .—William S. Gooch





Mark Zunino Bridal Fall 2018

Mark Zunino comes from the world of Hollywood glamour. As the fashion design assistant of Nolan Miller—eventually taking over Nolan Miller’s company and his jewelry collection for QVC, for over three decades Zuninio’s name has been associated with Hollywood red-carpet glamour. So, it is no surprise that Zunino would branch into elegant bridal wear.

“The Mark Zunino bride is forward-thinking and independent. She embodies femininity by being bold and outspoken but combines it with a touch of delicacy,” explains Mark Zunino. “From country to country the message seemed clear. The modern bride dreams for unique fabrications that form well on every silhouette and marries a timeless tradition with progressive sensuality.”For fall 2018, Mark Zunino is inspired by his global travels, bringing all the things that brides want from his many travels and unifying those things into a singular expression of bridal beauty. “This collection is really about global unity. I work with a lot of brides from all over the world and they are always looking for things that they can’t easily find. Because of the power of the internet, every girl knows everything that is going on in fashion and I have found that the common thread of brides from over the world is that they want unique fabrics, form-fitting silhouettes, they want bridal gowns that are a little sexier, and a little bit of tradition. Hopefully, we embodied all of that is this collection.”This fall 2018 collection also stood out for the many unique fabrications used throughout the collection. “From my atelier collection I replicated a very expensive hand-crocheted silk at a less expensive cost. A gown that would normally cost $30,000 because of the fabrication in this fall 2018 collection is now an affordable price point. The price points of the bridal gowns in this collection range from $1600 to $5000.”Like many bridal designers this season, Zunino employs trends from fall 2017 ready-to-wear collection for his bridal looks. Zunino’s fall 2018 bridal collection was an explosion of a wide range of statement sleeves, from elongated, trumpet renaissance sleeves to laced embellished sleeves with cape attachments. There were also some off-the-shoulder looks, as well as a few halter gowns, which seems to be a big bridal trend for fall 2018.

                                                    Images courtesy of Coded PR

In this collection, Zunino also mixed sequins and floral appliques which a carryover from his atelier collection. “When I look all my luxury textiles, Spain is always doing silk floral appliques and embroidery regardless of the season so I carried that aesthetic over to this collection. We are also getting new laser-cut appliques out of Italy that are very polished. I am taking the best from every country and embedded it in this collection.”—William S. Gooch


Zero + Maria Cornejo Spring 2018

You can’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you’ve been. Maria Cornejo of Zero + Maria Cornejo remembered her roots for her spring 2018 collection. The impetus for Cornejo’s burgeoning fashion line was a striped triangle top created in a small studio and store on Mott Street in New York City’s NoLita neighborhood in the summer of 1998. It was this single piece that launched Cornejo’s line, a line that’s still successful.

This season’s collection was a throwback to the first days of Zero + Maria Cornejo, albeit with contemporary twists mixed in. Cornejo and her design team delved through the brand’s archives to create a continued signature vision that could appeal to today’s contemporary woman. Sculptural draped dresses have long been a part of the brand’s DNA, and in this spring 2018 outing Cornejo demonstrated that these draped garments still work for female consumers.The woman of today doesn’t want to be too confined boxed busy of her varied and busy life, and Cornejo’s silhouettes are perfect for that woman who wants to give the illusion she is wearing something somewhat form-fitting, and yet still giving her freedom of movement.

While the designer is also known for minimalism in structure, she doesn’t shy away from bright colors or luxurious materials. The opening look of a pod dress in silk charmeuse was on trend for spring/summer 2018, with pink popping up in multiple collections in all shades from pastel pink to blush pink.As part of this whole “Back to the Future” approach to clothing—not relative to the 1980s cult classic—Cornejo featured new garments that were paired with looks from previous collections. For example,one model walked the runway in Cornejo’s Orion Dress from fall 2017, paired with a new cropped fin pant in bi-color satin.

Images courtesy of PR Consulting

Cornejo demonstrates in this collection that timeless garments can continue to have consumer appeal, and even though some garments go off trend, they will eventually come back into fashion. After all, fashion may have a time limit, but style does not.
Cornejo has always had a singular vision, a vision that she has never compromised as evidenced by the mix of the old and the new. Shapes and silhouettes seen in past collections were transformed in this collection into new incarnations. The essence of her brand’s DNA, as evidenced in this collection, included matte, shine, black, white, feminine, masculine, straight lines, circles, fluid drape, sculptural volume, stripes, ruching, fluo color, color block, and double face textiles.

To sum up the spring 2018 collection, the collection was simply Maria.

—Kristopher Fraser

Raun Larose Men’s Spring 2018

Raun_Larose_spring_2018The Eighties are back and that is most evidenced in the Raun Larose spring 2018 collection. In a season where menswear designers reinvented 90’s hip-hop, reimagined office suiting, and continued to experiment with androgyny, Raun Larose chose to stay with what his brand does best, reposition traditional menswear silhouettes through a lens of modernity and gender neutral sensibility.

Inspired by 80s tech startups—think Apple and Compaq—Raun Larose in this “Systems Down” collection collaborated with Portuguese artist Jose Cigna on the graphics in the collection. Many of the graphics were modeled after old error messages found on 80s IBM computers.

Collages1383Understanding that fashion should be now and next, Larose wove current trends—futuristic metallic, restrained volume, and off-the-shoulder silhouettes—into the landscape of where menswear is heading, androgyny and statement pieces that are not for mass consumption. Though most male consumers are not ready for where Larose is projecting the brand, millenials, if they can get past stagnant wages and there very deep college debt, will stand up and take notice. Remember, this is the generation of legalized marijuana, same gender marriage, and a breakdown of government and societal institutions.

All that said; there was a lot of craftsmanship in this spring 2018 outing. Larose deconstructed typical men’s suiting by adding volume and replacing jacket buttons with a jacket wrap tie. He also did some interesting layering with metallic shorts and layered over and under slacks. Larose incorporated man skirts/culottes that rose high on the hips interestingly paired with oxford and graphic print tops.

Images courtesy of Raun Larose

Images courtesy of Raun Larose

Though there was a strong focus on expanded silhouettes that most male consumers cannot wrap their heads around, there were some separates that have retail viability. And a lot of the outerwear would work in most male consumer’s wardrobes.

In a season were most of the revamped 90s silhouettes seemed dusty and other menswear directions just didn’t register, Raun Larose was one of the few collections that gave hope to a very lackluster season. Vive la difference!!

—William S. Gooch

DIM MAK Collection Men’s Spring 2018

Dim_Mak_Spring_2018At one time, New York City was the American hub of men’s fashion. As one of the major international fashion markets, New York City produced Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Perry Ellis, Billy Reid, Todd Snyder, and John Bartlett, all great American sportswear designers in their own right.

Those days may have past. Los Angeles is fast becoming the hub of American menswear design. Though this still second city of American menswear fashion is not producing sportswear, LA is quickly coming to the fore when it comes to athletic or athleisure wear, as some call it. This growing menswear genre includes skater culture, rock n’ roll points of view, and leisure/Baja-inspired clothes.

Dim_Mak_Spring_20181If you examine the list of designers showing during New York Fashion Week: Men’s spring 2018—Bristol, C2H4 Los Angeles, N-P-Elliot, and several others—a good percentage of the collections are coming out of Los Angeles. Add DIM MAK to the list of LA–based menswear brands.

The brainchild of Grammy-nominated Steve Aoki the DIM MAK Collection launched n 2014. The street wear brand was inspired by skater culture and indie rock sounds. DIM MaAK epitomizes the sound and the mood of Aoki’s music and is worn by those hipsters that are risk-takers.

For its spring 2018 collection, “Paradise Found,” Aoki sought reprieve from all the global turmoil of environmental genocide, income inequality, war, racism and sexism. Aoki found his reprieve, so to speak, in the unity and the commonality that can be found in all people. And this is evidenced in collection that places some focus in garments that can be worn by both genders. In some respect, this is a genderless society.

Images courtesy of Williamson PR

Images courtesy of Williamson PR

Understanding that society is moving beyond gender, Aoki has tapped into a restrained volume aesthetic and very neutral tones that can fit well on anybody. Perhaps, the most interesting element in this collection are the paint-splashed, Pollock-like pants. This aesthetic also popped up in some of tee shirts and jackets.

Though this collection definitely projects toward skateboard culture, there are some good staples that can fit easily in a lot of male consumers’ wardrobe. Projecting into the future, perhaps, Aoki can distinguish his brand from other similar brands by adding more color and some interesting twists.

—William S. Gooch

Parke & Ronen Men’s Spring 2018

Parke_Ronen_Spring_2018Twenty years is a landmark accomplishment in any pursuit. Whether it is a 20-year wedding anniversary or a 20-year relationship or the even more occasion these days, 20 years on the same job, 20 years on the same track is worth noting.

Nowadays, in the fashion industry, for a fashion brand to last twenty is a miracle in itself. And in that respect, Parke & Ronen’s 20-year anniversary is a cause for celebration.

Parke_Ronen_Spring_20181Inspired by John Denver’s 70s hit “Rocky Mountain High,” the Parke & Ronen design team of Parke Lutter and Ronen Jehezkel took a retrospective look back at their collections over the past 20 years. And interestingly, the brand has evolved from mostly a swimwear brand at its inception to include head-to-toe looks.

Collages1361This collection had a definite early 70s, freespirit, commune, hippy reference, evidenced in some of the relaxed camo and cannabis prints, as well as the lambskin vests and jackets. Perhaps, Lutter and Jehezkel are vibbing off the new passed legal marijuana laws in several states. And though the high in the collection was not exactly a “Rocky Mountain High,” it was a current inebriation reference that will appeal to young male consumers.

Collages1363Throughout the brand’s 20 years, Lutter and Jehezkel have stuck to their brand aesthetic—casual American sportswear with a penchant toward youthful athleticism—an aesthetic, if done right, that never goes out of style. And though this 20-year respective was slightly nostalgic, Lutter and Jehezkel did introduce some new looks and continued to expand their brand aesthetic.

Collages1364As always with Parke & Ronen there were lots of swimwear looks in the collection; however, the 50-garment collection did include some interesting camo look as well as some great spring jackets. Also, Parke & Ronene strayed away slightly from the form-fitting athletic looks the brand has become known for. And this redirection is a much need brand evolution.

Images courtesy of Parke & Ronen

Images courtesy of Parke & Ronen

Standout looks in this spring 2018 outing include the brand’s sage camo stretch poplin jacket with pistachio daisy print stretch mesh tank and sage camo skinny cargo short, beige cannabis print stretch cotton twill jean jacket with beige cannabis print stretch cotton twill holler short, grass green Zed knit cotton crewneck with beige stretch cotton skinny cargo short, sky blue double-faced linen storm jacket, red multi-stripe knit cotton mock neck tee with mustard stretch cotton twill trouser, bleach denim button-down shirt with orange/green plaid cotton flannel pleated short, and tan lambskin suede jean jacket.

—William S. Gooch

General Idea Men’s Spring 2018

General_Idea_Spring_2018General Idea’s spring 2018 collection was one of the best collections during New York Fashion Week Men’s (NYFWM). However, that is not saying a lot in a very lackluster menswear season.

Sadly, most of the more mainstream menswear brands, Tommy Hilfiger, John Varvatos, Nautica, and Michael Bastian have exited NYFWM. Even some lesser known, but popular brands—Tim Coppens, Siki Im, Loris Diran, and Timo Weiland—are also no longer showing during NYFWM. That leaves only a handful of brands that have any real market viability in the troubled menswear market. General Idea is one of those brands; and they did deliver, well, kind of.

Collages1339General Idea’s creative director Bumsuk Choi incorporated a lot trends in this spring collection—oversized pants, dangling belts, a 90s hip hop aesthetic, and bold color. There was even a variation of a man skirt—a trend that popped in General Idea’s collection about three years ago, but never gained enough traction in the menswear market. There was also a man’s jumpsuit—another trend from as season or two ago that never got a lot of traction. All these trend were incorporated very well into the collection; perhaps, better than any other collection this season.

This was collection for the young, hip international traveler. This international traveler is perhaps more interested in where he is traveling than how he looks. Many fashion pundits and predictors contend that this is the motivation of millenials. And Bumsuk Choi has reflected that is his collection by paring down his down aesthetic to the bare minimum.

Collages1340That said there were some good combinations in the collection. Choi’s tan beret with paisley shirt and khaki pants was a very good combination, as well as oversized burnt orange shirt with navy vest and pants accessorized with updated love beads.

Still, missing from this spring 2018 collection was so many of the things menswear editors have come to love about General Idea. Known for its great outerwear, Bumsuk Choi this season stayed pretty minimal with the coats and jackets, sticking mainly to simple trenches, a denim jacket, and a hoodie jacket.

Collages1341What did work in this collection was Choi use of bold color. And including purple and purple paisley was a brilliant idea. The bold color used in this collection offset the otherwise pedestrian look of many of the garments.


Images courtesy of Williamson PR

Go back to what has been working for you!! Fashion editors love it, and so does the public!!

—William S. Gooch

Kenneth Ning Men’s Spring 2018

Kenneth_Ning_Spring_2018Every fashion season, fashion journalists and industry professionals anxiously await a designer/brand that stretches the proverbial fashion envelope. Understanding that in the current economic climate—with so many stores and boutiques closing nationwide—expanding design horizons is a huge risk that few design houses are willing to make. Still, there are those designers that throw caution to the wind and follow the beat of their own drum. Fashion industry professionals are grateful for those courageous few.

Collages1353Kenneth Ning is of the courageous set!! For spring 2018 Kenneth Ning looked to reimagine male office attire and the juxtaposition of political hackers and the government. This collection featured reimagined dress shirts, dress slacks, suits and even office casual wear as seen through the lens of an updated, downtown hipster aesthetic and deconstructed tailoring. Ning accomplished this by employing asymmetrical techniques, inserting statement sleeves, and inverting shirts and business jackets upside down and inside out. These reimagined shirts were often paired with the trend of slouchy pants.

Interestingly, Ning would mix and match deconstructed office attire with military fatigues which evoked his political hacker/government juxtaposition. Also evident in this collection was Ning’s take on gender bending apparel. Genderless apparel was a design motif that has popped up in several spring 2018 collections. And while some designer/brands were able to successfully insert this trend, most designers were lost in translation when attempting to employ gender nonspecific aesthetics.

Images courtesy of Kenneth Ning

Images courtesy of Kenneth Ning

Ning’s design aesthetic is not for most male consumers. And though his core audience is niche and mostly confined to coastal, hipster consumers, Ning’s spring 2018 collection is cheeky, playful and full of potential.

—William S. Gooch

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