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Carolina Herrera’s Basket Case

Godfrey Deeny
September 14th, 2009 @ 11:39 AM - New York

If anything summed up the aridity of the current New York fashion season it was probably Monday morning’s Carolina Herrera runway show, a hodgepodge of hackneyed ideas, half baked and yawningly executed.

Inspired by Japanese baskets this collection was as dull as a night class in weaving those products, a curiously uninspired series of rather lumpy looks, outfits that, to use an old fashioned termed, were pretty much all dress makers caper.

Among the weaker items were an absurdly over-wrought ivory raffia looks that flared out like inverted squashed flowers, redwood hued jacquard dresses that bulged out - adding dozens of pounds to several skinny models - and chiffon columns finished off with redundantly bothersome embroidery. Rope weave cotton jumpsuits or straw-like cropped jackets all reminded the audience that this was a collection straining to fit in with its modest source of inspiration.

And just as the bloom has gone off the American economy, so it has disappeared from Herrera’s color palette – faded roses, pale caramels and insipid ambers. Though the designer sent out a cast of top catwalk models, by staging the show under a murky, boudoir light few of the girls had any sense of joie de vivre. Irritatingly bubbly samba samples on the soundtrack only added to the sense of a designer grappling for ideas in a stalled economy.

But, above all, there was sense that this show underlined the formulaic responses of so many designers this week in New York to the long-term recession. Instead of offering customers something bold, new and exciting, designers have retreated into predictable clothing whose main selling point appears to durability rather deftness.

Let’s recall that on her day, Herrera can be one of the classiest designers anywhere on the planet, capable of creating patrician elegance of rare poise and precision. Sadly, not today.

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* Carolina Herrera Launches in L.A.


* Thom Browne Spring 2014

* Delpozo Spring 2014


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