The best and worst of fashion week

Sarah Rosenberg

Ah, Fashion Week. It’s an affair to be remembered, with fashionable celebrities sitting front row and designs that will either make you gasp in amazement or cover your eyes in a “Is this real life?” moment. For us “ordinary” people, we can only watch from afar, through pictures, magazines or online. Sometimes, it’s hard to resist reaching through that computer screen and greedily swiping every garment. For me, the usual reaction is a desperate longing to win the lottery and purchase designer clothes with the mere swipe of a credit card, but for now, I’ll just wait around until Macy’s produces some quality knockoffs.

For me, it all starts with Jason Wu—he may be an obscure fashion designer to you, as he was to me at first, but he is surely a designer to be remembered. This year, the designer’s collection was accentuated by soft, feminine materials, gold details, appliqués and sheer busts on gowns and tops. Wu wrapped up his show with my favorite number: a satiny strapless gown in a striking red, with gold embellishments on the hem of the bust and around the waistline. There was an equally beautiful black version, with the same gold detail around the waist and satin finish, but with a lace bodice on the top half of the bust.

Christian Siriano, winner of the fourth season of Heidi Klum’s “Project Runway,” played with black, fashion’s most beloved color (or shade, I should say) and modified it in any way possible. The designer veered away from the shade of black only during the last half of the show to present blushing pinks, hunter greens and deep lavenders. Thus, most of the “little black dresses,” overcoats, blazers, gowns, trousers, trench coats and skirts were designed with a twist, where the playfulness was in detail and structure rather than in color. My favorite piece was a long-sleeved mini-dress embellished with sequins, studs and circles on the bodice.

Next, I must give praise to Gwen Stefani, who not only has killer vocal chords, but a killer sense of style. Her line, L.A.M.B., isn’t as clean-cut or formal as the previously mentioned two collections, but she certainly wins points for mixing up prints and getting creative with transforming the menswear and plaid trend. Stefani made vests sleeker, gave oxford button-ups more form, emphasized baggy, pleated trousers, and even paired a gray blazer with awesome leather leggings. When it came to being mad about plaid, red and white sheath dresses, long skirts, and even pants (matched with an extra-long navy blue blazer and black booties) made the school-boy look feminine. For the finishing touch, a proper tie accessorized each menswear outfit. My two favorite looks from Stefani’s line were a leopard-esque white, yellow and black sheath dress paired with sheer tights, and a sheer, ruffled black-and-white-spotted tube top paired with a long, form-fitting black skirt dramatized by a slit up the leg. Kudos, Gwen, kudos.

Lastly, I have to mention the duo that make up Vena Cava, as their line reminded me a little too much of fashion in the ’90s, particularly the sort of clothes worn in Alicia Silverstone’s classic film, “Clueless.” If that movie isn’t the pinnacle of ’90s fashion, then I don’t know what is. The line featured oversized, long-sleeved maxi dresses, polka-dot parachute pants, polka-dot mini-dresses, cropped shirts paired with high-waisted pants (the look that shows just the right amount of midriff), choker necklaces, and striped skirts, both long and short. If you can picture any ’90s teen movie, I’m sure you can imagine the line itself, although I might not be doing it justice. They even accessorized most models with little beret hats that Cher would definitely wear to class if she had the opportunity.

Of course, well-known and well-seasoned designers like Marc Jacobs, Betsey Johnson, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein presented their creations to audiences and coveted fans. But the lesser labels undoubtedly brought their A-game to the fall fashion bash.