My favorite new designer du jour is Gustavo Arango. His extraordinarily pretty collection consisted of one “wow” number after another: Like a chocolate brown laser-cut velvet ribbon skirt, a hand-beaded metallic mesh blouse, hand-embroidered tulle and lace cocktail dress and glazed fabric that looked as though it had been dipped in gold. It all goes by so fast. Azure sequins, ooh, hand-painted chiffons, elaborate embroidery, jacquards, feathers and fur.I’m impressed by the workmanship and quality that’s to be expected at Oscar de la Renta, and unexpected at fledging designers’ shows.There’s a touch of Mod, and a move back toward sleek and slim looks for the season. But I’m liking the swingy skirts, big coats, metallic fabrics and looser evening dresses.But these are just the American trends; watch this space for reports from the fall shows that continue in Europe later this month.
The Eileen Fisher label has long been sought by older women who strive to look elegantly stylish. Some of San Francisco’s most fashionable attorneys, real estate agents and college professors wear these free-floating, geometric styles in palettes of black and gray. Dame Judi Dench and Whoopi Goldberg have been spotted in Eileen Fisher. But the brand recently has become more than a safe haven for a certain kind of customer. It is also one of the first major design houses to slap an “eco” imprimatur on many of its clothes, indicating they are created and manufactured in a way that protects and enhances the environment.”Spring is our biggest eco collection ever,” says the actual Eileen Fisher. “Seventy percent of our cotton is organic, and 63 percent of our linen is as well. This marks a leap forward for us in our commitment to sustainability.” She started her company with minimal resources 30 years ago and has watched it grow to 1,000 employees.”When I started, I was designing for myself,” she said. “I struggled with shopping. It was complicated, like a hard puzzle, and not simple to put myself together in a way that felt modern, simple and easy. I wanted to create clothes for women that would give them a freedom and a canvas to express themselves and to move through their lives with confidence. We are committed to the same design philosophy today.”
Although Fisher no longer designs the line herself, she oversees the entire operation. “I believe Eileen Fisher women, just like me, don’t want their clothes to speak for them, but rather to be the perfect backdrop to who they are, giving them space to focus on what’s really important.”Fisher’s commitment to the environment has resulted in many spring items coming with a “story,” as the company calls it, contained on its label of how it is ecologically sound. These items are marked with an ampersand to draw customers’ attention to this information.A comfy-looking black jacket for spring is done in a sustainable fiber, 39 percent of which comes from recyclable water bottles. The company is also offering jackets in a light chambray fabricated in organic cotton and hemp that acquires its sustainability cred by requiring no pesticides to produce the plant’s long fibers.An explanation on a pair of blue jeans states that they are made of organic cotton denim that skips the “toxic crops of more conventional cotton” and of dyed yarn “free of hazardous chemicals.” These jeans were made in the USA, resulting in less of a global footprint from shipping.The spring collection features several jeans, an indication of Eileen Fisher’s bid to attract a younger crowd. One style, called the Boyfriend, is wider cut than the standard skinny cut and is designed for the wearer to slouch in them. Cuffs are meant to be rolled up a few times over, adding to a slouchy look.