Wrapped in a scarlet fur jacket, or with a three-tone ankle length skirt under a navy coat, the Diane Von Furstenberg collection was having a fresh injection of color.
Designer Jonathan Saunders, in his second excursion as chief creative officer of the DVF brand, brought his graphic lines and geometric angles to streamlined clothes. Let’s say – without being sexist – that he saw the house from a masculine point of view.
”I’ve been continuing to explore DVF as a brand, always getting excited about the ideas of mixing different fabrics together,” said Saunders. “I look to African and Japanese textiles, but also bold colors, fabrications and embroideries. If you cut them on the bias and make a simple construction they still have that sense of ease and effortlessness.”
As the models walked slowly around the gallery to take a place sitting with others, there was an opportunity to see the clothes in motion, understand how they moved with the body, and see the difference textures.
“What I thought was really interesting, as well, was taking graphic prints which DVF is known for and translating them into knitwear, devore and screen printing – all to make it more textured, and then cutting pieces like this on the bias so the movement can flow,” Saunders said.
Diane Von Furstenberg herself has been keeping a low profile, dropping by towards the end of the presentation and appearing discreetly at the celebration dinner. With several US houses, including Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta, changing designers and moving their shows from uptown to downtown, the DVF shift seems like part of a more general upheaval in the fashion world.
The proof of a successful transmission is in the sales and Saunders is waiting eagerly for the kick-off of his first season at the helm.
”My first collection is just being delivered this week so I’m now seeing the first results of the commercial side of it,” he said.
“And I’m just really excited by the idea.”
A model in mint green – from her silken hair through to the cable knit sweater to the shiny satin skirt and even the shoes – the color sense of designer Sander Lak is as exceptional as how he found himself in the position of heading the Sies Marjan label.
A prince of colorists, Lak spent nearly five years as head of design at Belgian label Dries Van Noten before he took over the studios of artist and fashion design Ralph Rucci and made them his own.
As the models stepped out in colors from deep blue to shocking pink, orange and that mint green, the designer expressed an original style that seemed to soar over time and place. A draped dress slithering over the body’s curves could be an echo from ancient history.
“I grew up in Africa and my mum used to dress us all in blue because we were in the middle of a rainforest,” he explained. “So immediately, as a baby, I had a sense of color being an important contrast with something else. I’ve always been trained that way – so I always see color first before anything else.”
The collection seemed to be about freedom – of color and of the movement of the material – and that produced a rare timelessness.
I cannot resist repeating the designer’s words about the collection – proving him a poet in language as well as clothes: “Scarves and blankets pitch and drop, gather and trail, fold and intertwine… Colors pulse – slate to cobalt, mint to melon, cherry to plum, and Barbie to old rose.”