Every woman has had a princess moment in her life. But even if most of us have put away our tiaras, we still want to feel like princesses, or even queens, when we get dressed.
At the Akris show, a real life princess was sitting front row. Princess Charlène of Monaco, who has been slipping her elegant athletic frame into a number of Akris ensembles of late, must have felt right at home when the designer Albert Kriemler chose a Formula One theme for his collection.
With the sounds of revving engines and music from the 1968 Steve McQueen film “Bullitt” filling the air, models walked down a racing lane runway in long and lean outfits that skillfully incorporated Grand Prix elements. The clever “green light” shantung parka that opened the show set the tone.
And while it might have been a sporty show, it was a sophisticated one as well. So a creamy white leather outfit just hinted at a racer’s jumpsuit or a nude crochet dress brought to mind the texture of a car tire.
Mr. Kriemler had some fun with his photo prints, including a sheath dress with a block of yellow down one side that, on closer inspection, revealed an image of racing spectators leaning precariously over the edge of the hue. The tire streaks left by a vintage car zipping across a shift dress created an entertaining graphic effect and the repetitive image of a speedometer on a cotton tunic top and matching shorts was another interesting option.
This collection was much more lighthearted than those seen recently from Akris and, by fully embracing the fun of his chosen theme, the designer won the fashion race.
Andrew Gn loves to be inspired by the grand dames of history and, this season, he produced what he thought would be the sartorial consequence if Madame de Pompadour met Madame Butterfly.
While that might sound like the back story for a lavish collection, the designer was surprisingly restrained with his opulent embellishments. Of course there were beaded details at jacket closures and ornate necklines or trims but the collection still looked young and fresh. By using interesting fabrics, like silk damask on a black dress with silver scrolls on its pouf skirt or shimmering gold and purple floral fabric on a series of above-the-knee designs, Mr. Gn was able to create luxurious clothes that didn’t overpower.
The incorporation of kimono sleeves on jackets and flat origami folds on skirts was a nice understated way to include Japonisme into the collection and the long metallic evening gowns with swirling rococo embroidery looked fit for a modern princess.
The princess in Alexis Mabille ’s mind this season is one who likes to mix in a bit of masculinity into her decidedly feminine sensibilities. And his clearest interpretation of this idea is a transformation of the male business shirt.
Mr. Mabille inserted swirls of lace into the sleeves of a striped shirt dress; created a bustier minidress that used the sleeves to form a bow (the designer’s hallmark) at the front; and spliced together sugar-sweet floral print fabric sleeves onto a bodice crafted out of red striped shirting.
The combinations sound complicated but surprisingly they worked well, as did the incorporation of fitted suit vests, scoop-front tailored jackets and airy cotton tops with sleeves that finished in triangle points at the elbow.
But when the designer moved into evening wear, the concept fell apart. A floor-length taffeta shirt dress just looked bulky, and the rivulets of fringe that poured down silver sequin-covered outfits were distracting at best.
After showing such a strong collection during the last couture season, it feels like Mr. Mabille is more comfortable in that domain. And what’s wrong with making dresses for the most important moments of women’s lives?
The designer Jeanne Labib-Lamour, who peeked her head out at the end of the Emanuel Ungaro show to take a quick bow, is living her princess moment.
As the head of the brand’s design team, Ms. Labib-Lamour wiped away the memories of the recent departure of the British designer Giles Deacon and all his many predecessors who have, in quick succession, tried to resuscitate the brand. Well, it looks like it is finally breathing again.
The collection kept the cuts simple and classic: shift dresses, jumpsuits and strapless evening gowns — but it was the lovely use of color and embellishment that gave this show a textural beauty.
By using prints of NASA aerial photographs dipped in shades of turquoise, volcano red or graphic black and white, the designer was able to reference the brand’s colorful heritage without getting bogged down in an overt homage. Even better was the way she built up the organic patterns with embellishment that made the bodice of a short dress look like sedimentary strata, or an evening gown covered in sharp sequins resembling lichen. It was a fine first show and it proved that you don’t need a star designer, or a star, but just a dedicated designer for a brand to make a comeback.
At Costume National , the designer Ennio Capasa is seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. Or at least that was what he told the press backstage. And, yes, the princess-pink color was on full display. But the collection started in an uncharacteristic style for the designer.
The clothing was a bit boxy with stand-away short cap sleeves on the see-through base of a dress that then was sealed to an opaque bodice. Wide double-breasted coats in bubble gum pink and shift dresses in layered color blocks also looked heavy for the hot summer months.
As the show progressed, the designer got his sexy back in the form of pink petal-print outfits outlined in black leather and some white leather bondage tops inspired by the work of the photographer Nobuyoshi Araki. But the sugar-sweet color never really jived with the dark side of Mr. Capasa’s aesthetic and ended up leaving a bitter aftertaste.