They say that Politics is Hollywood for ugly people. But the DNC was the fashion fest of the week, with several of the big names showing up in designer duds. Let’s look over the best and the…politically questionable.
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner
Michelle O has been a fashion plate on par with Jackie O for the 21st century. But the best part is she does it without only being a fashion plate. She accessorized this Christian Siriano dress with the Best Delivered Speech of the Convention and a thoughtful, serious and above all, intelligent attitude.
If Elie Saab has moved beyond his days of solid jewel tone chiffon and beaded gowns, it feels like Zuhair Murad has stepped into that void. His couture collection could very easily be written off as Red! Blue! Green! Black! Gold! Finale Wedding Dress! Any Questions?
But that would be something of a disservice to the Lebanese designer who may be picking up the slack in the market left behind by Saab, but whose takes on these sorts of dresses at least have a POV, a theme and a fair for color combinations and patterns that Saab did not have during his heyday of solids.
For one, there was the country angle. Not quite the American southwest and not quite the Australian outback, the country flair and cowboy hats were just neutral enough to appeal to both. And that’s savvy marketing, as those who are the most drawn to the safety of these sorts of solid jewel tone gowns that show everything without actually showing anything, and won’t land anyone on the worst dressed list, is the American country music market.
There were plenty of choice in the safety color of black, including a jumpsuit or two, just to fit in with the times. There was also quite a few red ones–nothing is safer on a red carpet than red, as long as it’s a few shades darker than the floor, and these definitely qualified. My personal favorites were when he allowed multicolor to come through, though the few two-toned pieces, most notably a green with blue bead work floor-length number, were quite striking. The only place where the designer lost me was the closing gold section, which felt like one had taken country, the 70s disco scene and the golden globes and attempted to put them in a blender for the “Will it blend” challenge. The whirl of two many concepts crashing into each other was headache inducing, but I could see a Taylor Swift type with no taste thinking them the bee’s knees.
The full collection, with closing tea dipped wedding gown, is below.
Every season there’s at least designer who get their first invite to show as a special guest at Couture Week. This year that group contained Italian designer Francesco Scognamiglio. A Neapolitan designer who has spent his career on the Italian fashion circuit, his ready to wear collections–which he’s been producing under his eponymous line since 2000–are very, very Italian. The bigger the flounce, the brighter the floral prints, the sexier the look, is how that always seems to go. (Unless over course, you’re Dolce or Gabbana, and then it’s all about looking like a walking homage to the Vatican.)
It’s a career high to be asked to show at Couture week, and that leveling up–even if it’s only for the one time–can lead to other opportunities. Note that only days after showing at Couture Week it was announced that Beyoncé would be wearing one of Scognamiglio’s creations at her show in Milan next week.
But as for the show itself, interesting is not the word I would use. There were touches here and there. The veils especially stood out towards the beginning and the end. But other than the use of ostrich feathers and sculptural fabrics–neither of which had much to do with the other, except that one could tell that this is what Scognamiglio considered to be various “over the top” concepts–there wasn’t much to write home about. Not that I’m knocking his collection for only having 19 pieces. Some sneered at that, as if somehow one must put on a show of 90+ pieces, a la Chanel, in order to be considered serious. It was more that it was small time. And this was the big stage. Now was not the time to play it safe. But unfortunately, that’s what Scognamiglio chose to do.
Not that the pieces themselves aren’t pretty. The full collection is below.
There was a time when the words “Elie Saab” were synonymous with collections that were nothing but solid jewel tone floor length gowns, all chiffon and beadwork, and nothing else to say about it. Though he wrestled with prints a few times, the results were such tat he didn’t seem to risk it very often. Though this made him the go to for those looking for safe but stylish options for the red carpet, it didn’t really make his shows very interesting. After all, what can one say when confronted by forty dresses all of which are either one of three shades of primary colors?
But times thankfully change. and though there’s still a baseline of solid jewel tone evening wear floor length gowns to all Saab’s collections, he has learned how to use prints, and appliques other than beads. And now, he’s moving to New York City.
NEW YOWK CITY?!
Yes, New York City. Saab has a Madison Avenue store slated to open in 2017, and clearly the city’s distinctive art deco flavor of architecture has infiltrated his brain and his designs. This mean that even though we might have a gown that is nothing but a blue steel shade of silver, all chiffon and sequined beads, it also had more visual interest than that, having been designed to look like an homage to the city that doesn’t sleep.
Some of the designs were probably far too on the nose to be anything other than a touch embarrassing–such as the blue velvet with the chiffon filled cut outs that was so Empire State Building as to be costume. But then one must remember that cut out velvet and chiffon is also a step in a different direction for Saab, and consider that perhaps the hustle and bustle is aiding him in evolving into someone who can credibly create stunning gowns covered in three-dimensional floral appliques like he’s been an expert this whole time.
The full collection is below.