An Early Spring Fling

9.21.2008

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Rag & Bone: For Fall, Rag & Bone showed at the legendary Cipriani's, which is a huge, baroque one room restaurant complete with gold ornamentation and marble floors. The collection that strutted down the runway then was smart and sophisticated, but with that trademark Rag & Bone edge to it. For their Spring show, designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville decided to take their line to Pier 94 in a space that was far more industrious, and, as expected, the collection followed suit. These two British boys went straight to their roots and presented looks that hearkened back to the birth of Brit punk and mod with a hard-rock '60s and '70s edge. Pants were skin tight, there were lots of leather and exposed zippers, and even when they sent a suit down the runway, it was amped up with a grungy plaid shirt or tie or a pair of suspenders. Though their references were by no means unique, the collection was wearable and cool and will no doubt have fashion savvy New Yorkers lining up outside their brand new Christopher Street store.

Rock & Republic: Whereas Rock & Republic's Fall collection was of a more formal mind set, head designer Michael Ball used Spring as a decidedly more casual platform to show looks that were certainly rock, but with just a mild bit of roll. Jeans were skin tight on the ladies, and, though showing little variation with menswear, the tailoring for denim, blazers and leather was as fitted as ever, and, naturally, expertly executed. Most designers usually look to color for Spring, but R&R kept the palette stark with black, white and little in between (see above). It's hard to argue with their decision, as those two colors pretty much envelope any fashion savvy man's wardrobe, and the outcome of such a strict adhere to dark and light came off as classic but also daring. While we have to admit something a little different would have been refreshing, the collection was commendably simple, with just the right amount of zippers here, or piped detailing there. We've come to expect certain things from Rock & Republic, and we always agree it's better to meet those expectations with ready-to-wear looks than overshoot them with runway experimentation.

Z Zegna: If you typically go to Zegna for classic, impeccable, European fit and quality, then perhaps you rely on Z Zegna as a window into what the label's fantasy world might look like: swapping trousers for thermal leggings; synthetic fabrics; and surges of unexpected patterns that undercut the collection in a welcomed way. Still you shouldn't think of the line as something avant-garde, if only because GIldo Zegna and Alessandro Sartori seem to be taking cues from the grounded athletic menswear market, with items like blazers and hoodies constructed of unnatural materials. The collection gained steam with the display of bold patterns; beyond the surprising plaid element, there were pieces that appeared streaked, cracked -- worn in some way -- which suggested that, despite the artificial durability of some materials, in the end it's all subject to corrosion by time. Additionally, the color palate was beautiful this season with washed pinks, blues and yellows juxtaposing nicely with the masculinity of the collection.

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