Fashion: What item most says "fetish" in a woman's wardrobe? Why, the shoe, of course - preferably a spiked stiletto. So kicking off his show with the sound coming from the speakers of a clack-clack-clack of a pair of pumps on a marble floor, Zac Posen made sure you knew this would be one sexy collection even before the first look came down the runway.
Shoes also created a memorable moment at the close of the show, when seasoned catwalker Karen Elson stumbled and fell while walking in the towering satin platform stilettos -- almost the equivalent of walking en pointe. She was helped up by fellow model Caroline Trentini and Sean Combs, and just shook her head and laughed it off. No matter -- shoes like that look better when worn while lying down.
Closing day seven of New York fashion week on Thursday, Feb. 7, Posen's Fall 2008 tour de force featured sources of fetish and fantasy for both men and women, from schoolgirl uniforms to fairytale ball gowns.
"It's all of a woman's fetishes," said Posen post-show. "That's the direction we're going to keep pushing [the collections]."
"Graphic, iconic outfits" and "Olive Oyl mixed with Helmut Newton" was how Posen described the collection. "She's a girl who can snap at any moment, a girl that men and women go crazy for."
One-piece Russian constructivist suits, trompe l'oeil detailing and dresses for Wednesday Addams and Cinderella alike, depending on whether you take your fairytales more Grimm or Disney, formed the heart of this collection, Posen's take on the darker side of sexuality, sexy done in a David Lynch sort of way.
He opened the show with a couple of sequined, feminine versions of the tuxedo -- a black and white halter version would have been at home in Fosse's version of "Cabaret." Then on to Olive Oyl's sweet ivory blouses with contrasting black lattice stitching.
Posen also took some cues from British punk in the on-point "Prince of Wales" shrunken schoolboy suit and jacket, and Vivienne Westwood would have approved of a steel and plum taffeta ruffle dress, very punk goes to the prom.
With financial backing by Sean Combs, Posen is in the enviable position of not having to make practicality the primary factor in designing his collections. The clothes are wearable, of course, if you're a certain kind of social girl who attends a lot of parties, but wade through some of those "bubblewrap" dresses and you could still imagine one of those lattice blouses in an office, worn with a pair of slick stain pants and shrunken schoolgirl jacket.
It's a "Lipstick Jungle" out there and the "Cashmere Mafia" contingent needs something assertive to wear from day into night, something Posen is clearly keeping in mind. They might try the one-zip suit, which secretly hides its easy-access status thanks to Posen's always clever construction.
"Undone-done feels really good right now," he quipped.
By Renata Espinosa
Courtesy Fashion Wire Daily