Womanswear FW 13/14 Part I: 50 Shades of S&M Inspiration, Prints, Pleats and Ponchos

Despite Winter Storm Nemo’s valiant and determined attempts to stop fashion week dead in its stiletto shoes, fashion is carrying on and there are so many shows that I don’t even begin to know where to start. Know what that means? Of course you don’t, because I haven’t told you. It means that I won’t be reviewing every line out there, only the ones that I feel particularly one way or another about. If I don’t mention a line, it’s probably because it is somewhere in the middle of a reaction that isn’t strong. Ain’t nobody got time for making collages of boring shows.

This is entry one of my coverage of womenswear, and just as a forewarning, if you’re not into animals as overpriced clothing, either turn away now or ready your rage machines.



Altuzarra’s collection was met with a slew of mixed opinions. Some cried foul at the stark similarity to Balenciaga pieces from years past, while others gushed and started daydreaming about the moment Carine Roitfeld is spotted in one of the tight, cropped leather jackets. Love and hate aside, all of them rolled their eyes at the crazy similarity this line has to Alexander Wang’s line that showed the same day—the two designers are reportedly very good friends and obvious inspirations to each other, yet it’s clear that the friendship has turned into a clone wars. It’s not cute. Also not cute? Those furry gloves.


Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang is a few weeks from debuting his brand of Balenciaga and everyone is atwitter with what he’ll bring to the table. Really, this collection feels like a precursor as to what’s to come, with hints of Balenciaga trademarks. Wang’s collection was a bevy of leather and fur embellishments, boxy everything, pleats, drop-waists, geometric bags and fabrics that look so 90s that even Clarissa wouldn’t even be able to explain it. Oh, and fur gloves. I guess Wang and Altuzarra are fans of the Second Amendment.



Libertine has me feeling a bit iffy. Some pieces are so beautiful and vivid that it’s like Dorothy leaving the dusty grey and black of the normal Fall/Winter collections and is gazing into Technicolor Oz for the first time. Unfortunately, then you see the horrible, messy styling, the weirdly placed sequins, the tinsel embellishments, and the veil is lifted.


Kate Spade

This collection is like looking into Barbie’s closet.


Rebecca Taylor

With all the belts, buckles and zippers this line has, this collection is a bit edgier than I’m used to seeing Taylor put out. It’s kind of stale, though, and the best part about the collection is the beautiful color palette. At least the mirrored sweatshirt is interesting. It’d be great for all those times you’re trying to get away from a creep in a club—just turn the right way and BAM, BLINDED WITH BOOB MIRRORS. It will offer the perfect getaway.


Prabal Gurung

Sure, this collection is super derivative of other designers (McQueen, Givenchy, Tom Ford, etc), but this collection is an S&M army that went through the printed tapestry section of Costco and I love it. Yeah, yeah, okay, there are missteps. The cut-out sweater is impractical, the floral printed denim peplum suit is a new definition of “too much,” and I’ll never be a fan of Prabal’s gladiator sandals. Whatever! It’s awesome!


Mara Hoffman

The problem with this collection is that when it is shown altogether, it is so overbearing (see Libertine). It kind of detracts from the runway experience, because it’s jumping from one pattern to another, to another, to another, with a very similar color palette every time. It shouldn’t be overwhelming, but it is. I think that’s the point, though. Bright colors are so rare in autumn collections and Hoffman has clearly given the bird to that standard—sometimes it’s good to break the mold and make a statement. If it takes a pink toucan on an Aztec patterned maxi-dress, so be it.


Hervé Léger By Max Azria

Ah, branching out from body-con dresses and it feels so good! The embroidery is feminine and the shapes are so, so fresh. There isn’t much else that I can say, I think it’s a gorgeous collection stitched together with money. The classy kind of money. Leave the brim hats at home, though, ladies. Chances are that you’re not strutting around a frat house in a $2000 dollar sequined dress.


Alexandre Herchcovitch

Peplums were let out of their cage and ran rampant, leaving nothing untouched. With teeth that seemed to hone in on would-be-beautiful pieces, the collection was masticated into crop tops, clashing patterns and half-peplums that would only be acceptable if the wearer had a cancerous growth on the side of their abdomen or a half-pregnant alien stomach.


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