Event wear is a staple among New York designers, and while some have gone a little casual in recent seasons to adapt to the new reality of a pandemic, creatives are returning to event wear. occasion and bring their A game. Here, WWD highlights some of the standouts in the category this season.
An industry stalwart, Dennis Basso has been designing his version of the elegant dress for over 40 years. This season, he has gone organic, focusing on summer gardens, such as those found in Newport, Palm Beach or Beverly Hills. Perfect places, given that these are the places his primary client calls home. “I wanted it to feel special,” he said backstage ahead of his anniversary collection. “It was so important to me.”
So he went to the garden, with flowers on a strapless A-line dress that flowed down the catwalk. There was a lot of white and ivory, little cocktail dresses or flowing pants with a feather bolero. They felt renewed and excited. Basso knows his client, young or old, and he leans into an old-school staple, summer fur. “They’re not really jackets,” he said, “more of an accessory.” He styled them throughout the collection, some wrapped around dazzling dresses or thrown casually over the shoulder, adding a kiss of glamor from days gone by. Scott Nelson bags and Gale Grant jewelry were the finishing touches.
Basso is the first to perform in the grand ballroom of the recently renovated Pierre Hotel; it was also the first gay marriage there. It’s the perfect setting for her Ladies Who Lunch patrons, many of whom dotted her front row, including Martha Stewart, Kris Jenner, Star Jones and Candace Bushnell.
Reem Acra offered a romantic color palette of rich yellows, shades of corals, blues and metallics. These are embellished looks meant for weddings, galas and just places to make a statement.
The collection embraced the mermaid pant silhouette in brocades, chiffons and crepes with a touch of embellishment. Oversized capes of different shapes and textures layered over pantsuits, dresses and separates completed the look. Trendy dresses, modern caftans and unique pieces were seen throughout the collection.
Naeem Khan unveiled his “Night Garden” collection under the disco ball at Sony Hall in Midtown Manhattan and, true to form, the clothes shone just as brightly as the Sanjay Kasliwal jewelry they were accessorized with.
Behind the scenes, Khan cited the flower paintings he started working on during lockdown as inspiration – not exactly groundbreaking material, but it was from his perspective: the designer wanted to capture a simple spirit and playful for spring and he did it once a few heavy Embroidered raffia hand openers cleared the track.
From there, the vibe picked up with beaded fringe minis and ’80s-style pouffes awash in watercolor prints. Two jaw-dropping see-through briefs, one long and one short with a cowl neck, stood out for their svelte sex appeal, but the freshest looks of the group were Khan’s formal outfits: wide lace shirts and pants applied, who offered a lot – needed a moment of ease with attitude in the midst of decadence.
Mark Badgley and James Mischka are back. Like the rest of us, the duo have been keeping a low profile for the past few years, but a recent trip to Morocco has reinvigorated them. “We’ve brought back colors, smells and experiences from the Medina and Casbah, polishing them to a cosmopolitan polish,” they said via their collection notes. Embellishment is at the heart of the brand, and spring sees them dive in, partnering with some of Casablanca’s famous ateliers to create embroideries and dresses inspired by tales of the desert and the sea. “Perfect for glamorous evenings in Beverly Hills or London,” they noted.
The seam was cinched at the waist, and a square shoulder with skinny cigarette pants looked particularly strong on a burgundy-hued sequin number. Evening looks used saturated hues of ocean, aloe, melon, mango, pomegranate and lemon, with many levels of ruffles, hints of skin, crafted with the flair of the South African country. North. We played a lot with volumes, in satins, mikados, muslins, organzas and crepes. A bright and upbeat collection from a duo who, like all of us, are just happy to be back in the world.
“I love the bride and the women I’ve had and still get to dress because I’m making my bride debut next month as well, but I’ve always said that I loves the evening. The red carpet has always been one of my biggest sources of inspiration – I grew up in a place where the red carpet wasn’t a thing,” said emerging designer Andrew Kwon, who launched a concise evening wear assortment, its first, at the Baccarat Hotel “Now I can play with even more fabrics, play with more colors and push it up.”
Her third collection, titled “Reverie”, was an ode to her dreams, which went through specialized styles, such as an ombre watercolor two-piece set with 3D floral appliqués, elaborately hand-embroidered sequin skirts, paired to corset bustiers, sparkly bustiers statement dresses, tiered tulle confections and a few alternative nods to the bride.
Paired with the rhythm of techno beats (for the first part of the designer’s parade), Bibhu Mohapatra’s spring lineup was inspired by French surrealist photographer, sculptor and writer Claude Cahun – best known as a writer and self-portraitist, who took on a variety performative characters.
For spring, Mohapatra upped the youth factor of previous seasons, presenting a range of sultry evening wear that challenged normal notions of gender and beauty, while retaining the brand’s DNA.
Paired floral lace dresses (this one in a baby blue) with a white chest harness, sequin dresses with volume, a backless bubble dress (train included) and a deep V pleated dress were a few -some of the young stars line up.
Mohapatra’s iconic silhouettes continue to be seen throughout each season, and this time around the designer has managed to blend his handcrafted details with an extra dose of fluidity.
Entitled “La Trouvaille”, partners Anthony Cucculelli and Anna Rose Shaheen wanted to take guests on a trip through the runway for spring. Texture, embroidery, fringes, their client obviously wants to assert herself when she enters a room. Within the range, there was a black and white palette with pops of green and pink, geometric cutouts and handmade fringing that offered plenty of looks. To enhance the sparkle, the duo styled the looks with jewelry from Fabergé.
Monday night was a double whammy for Pamella Roland. While celebrating her brand’s 20th anniversary in New York, actress Rachel Brosnahan walked the Emmys red carpet wearing one of Roland’s Fall 2022 designs in Los Angeles. The synchronicity seemed kismet – the name Roland was built on the backs of women looking for that Cinderella moment and the dress she put on Brosnahan, as well as the ones she put on the runway, spoke directly to them .
Behind the scenes, the designer had tears in his eyes – after all, being able to prove his longevity in this craft is no small feat. What does she attribute her success to? “We listen to our customer, that’s why we are always here.”
What his client wants is dazzle, and this being an ode to New York, there was plenty of that. Wasp-waisted ball silhouettes with scalloped embroidery reminiscent of Dior’s ‘Venus’ looked most elegant in a procession of draped cape-back chiffon dresses, feather-accented cocktail sets and fishtails curvaceous dripping with glitter. The standouts, however, were the most understated: A white crepe jumpsuit with trailing sleeves and a ballerina tulle lace halter neck (a big trend this season) looked like the right cleanser palette for the next 20.
Chiara Boni The Little Bathrobe
The Italians took over New York this fashion week (just look at the jaw-dropping shows from Fendi and Marni), but Florentine Chiara Boni came first here. She paraded around the United States for a while, delighting her crowd of straight-cut businessmen and politicians with the kind of knee-length shift dresses in sorbet-colored stretch crepe that appeared on the runway tuesday.
Just as Anita Ekberg pointed out in the show’s soundtrack, Boni was feeling “amore, amore, amore” this season, channeling the La Dolce Vita style of the late ’50s and early ’60s. The cut was sharp with tunics and double-breasted blazers worn over slit-hem trousers. Stronger moments came, however, when she broke free from the grip, letting loose with a light-as-air doll dress and one-shoulder kaftan covered in lilac.
The surprise finale was a parade of wedding looks in all sorts of variations (long, short, strapless, A-line, ruffled, draped, etc.) – clearly the designer is making her offering for the bride right from the shows for this market does not start until mid-October.