Sun Dress | yohana

Carlos Miele Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear

backstage after his show, Carlos Miele shared his vision of paradise, one in which there is "a perpetual sun" (insert global-warming joke here). As it turned out, Miele's utopia was plenty wet, too. A strong aquatic element was present from day to night: One of the caftans that opened the show—it was draped over a sleek white one-piece swimsuit—was printed with giant koi fish. On the finale gown, the fan detailing on the bodice made the model look as if she were emerging from a clamshell, Botticelli-style. Colors were vivid, fabrics slinky. One top looked like a deflated disco ball, almost ready to take a spin. Quieter pieces were scattered throughout, such as a long draped skirt that swooped up the center to reveal a flash of leg. For those who like it hot, there will be plenty here to choose from

Simple Dress From Erin Fetherston | yohana

Erin Fetherston Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear
If Erin Fetherston's third collection for her ERIN line were a film, in an ideal world it would be "like [Franco] Zeffirelli directing A Midsummer Night's Dream that stars Mia Farrow," she explained at her Milk Studios presentation this evening. Fetherston incorporated more daywear and separates this season, whipping up butterfly-print charmeuse shorts that were just as flirty as her signature feminine frocks, and a silk collared blouse with delicate lace overlay. A mod shift dress with a graphic floral print was dubbed the "Mia dress." Fetherston called another one of her favorites the "cha-cha dress, because you just want to do a little dance in it." The cha-cha dress has a tassel and beaded checkerboard pattern, and would look terrific on the designer herself. Fetherston is, after all, her own ideal customer—the Spring lookbook even features a model with a pixie cut that is part Farrow, part Erin.

Daywear | yohana

Reem Acra Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear

"I want to keep a luxurious look in daywear," Reem Acra said backstage before her show. Luxury has never been a problem for this designer, but for the past few seasons she's been experimenting with cool, too, and one gets the sense she's still figuring out how the Reem Acra royal does day. This season, the solution lay partly in leather. Working with the fabric for the first time, Acra described the embellished leather jacket she created as "the link between day and evening." The jacket in question bore little resemblance to its moto or bomber ancestors: collarless, zipper-less, buckle-less, it made up for all the less-es with a dense smattering of colorful crystals. It could work for day, but not the sort of day one spends in an office. Cooler was a leather dress. Long, with a deep V at the neck and nary a winking crystal in sight, it called attention to the model's curves without trying too hard. There were more sequins and an oxidized animal print to be had, but after all the flash, it was that unembellished, well-tailored dress that stuck out.

Brood's Spring collection | yohana

Brood Spring 2012 Ready-to-WearMoody name notwithstanding, Brood's Spring collection is ephemerally light. Designer Serkan Sarier, an alumnus of Giambattista Valli, Carolina Herrera, and the couture atelier of Emanuel Ungaro, refined his sportif take on couture for his third season. The label is still young, but Sarier has stuck to his guns, developing the ideas he established with his debut collection.

His inspirations, on the other hand, have ranged wildly. For Spring, he chose the unlikely icon of John Ninomiya, a man who gave up hot-air ballooning for an even rarer form of flight: aviation by multiple helium-filled Mylar balloons. (On his Web site, Ninomiya encourages other hot-air ballooners to "degondolize," in the richly suggestive idiom of the industry.) His flights inspired the silver Mylar sculpture that decorated the West Chelsea gallery space where Brood is presented.

But it was lightness, not inflated volume, that came through in the clothes, in ombrés meant to suggest the softness of color playing off water. For Spring, Sarier ventured further into separates than ever before, designing trompe l'oeil silk faille jackets and doubled chiffon skirts "to create," he said, "layering without layering." Occasionally, these layers, as in parachute skirts floating over burnout-patterned stockings, felt impractical. But he was on stronger footing with the intricately cut tailored pieces. It's always been a strength of the designer's to point out the overlaps between the couture world in which he trained and the world of sport on which he's now focused. Case in point, the lacing up the sides of a corseted jacket that read as both technical and haute.

Inspirate Fashions To next Year | yohana

A.L.C. Spring 2012 Ready-to-WearAndrea Lieberman flew into New York on a red eye this morning for a few whistle-stop Spring previews, then was off to Paris by 3 p.m. for a fabric trade show—economy class, no less, the better to save up funds to spend on her line. Lieberman herself is quite down-to-earth, but her designs for A.L.C., while still straightforward, are racheting up the flash. A sharp, collarless mint green blazer paired with a crisp button-up and second-skin leather pintuck trousers balances effortless polish with a touch of grit. And an easy shirtdress in "safety orange" washed silk was long and unbuttoned up to the waist with an attached mid-thigh slip, for a flash of leg that was just right. Lieberman is all about those little tweaks that elevate a classic (or not-so-classic) staple. Case in point, the cutout racer-back on a stretchy "baseball jersey" dress or the built-in bras on several crepe jumpsuits, which outnumbered gowns by far in the eveningwear category. Jumpsuit formal has been on the rise of late, and Lieberman succinctly summed up the suits' appeal: "They have the ease of throwing on a dress, which a lot of girls—including myself—don't feel like wearing."

Green Dress From Akris | yohana

Akris Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear

Like Miuccia Prada, Akris' Albert Kriemler got turned on by cars this season. Kriemler specifically referenced John Frankenheimer's 1966 film Grand Prix, set in Monaco and other pit stops from motor racing's golden age. Still, the two collections were as night and day as you'd expect; where Prada was cheeky, Akris was sleek.

Kriemler devoted a large part of the collection to the photoprints that have become a house signature. A shot of the Hotel de l'Hermitage on racing day and another of spectators gathered on top of a large rectangular viewing structure were bold. More clever, if not necessarily more subtle, were the tiny speedometer print and a graphic horizontal stripe made from manipulating the image of a car.

Speed was the organizing metaphor here: Shifts were aerodynamic and A-line, while jackets and pants with racing stripes looked inspired by uniforms. Sport has been a persistent trend this season, and this collection puts Kriemler and co. in the center of it.

Azzaro 2012 | yohana

Azzaro Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear
Azzaro Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear 
Vanessa Seward left Azzaro earlier this year, and the new creative director, Mathilde Castello Branco, doesn't make her debut until next season. A design team was responsible for the collection for Spring, and you could tell. There wasn't much of a unifying theme to string together the jumpsuits, evening gowns, and bathing suits beyond the house's signature crystals. Azzaro isn't a collection that requires deep thinking on anyone's part—it's about party dresses and red-carpet frocks. Still, Seward could be depended on for a bit of humor or wit, and there was always her fab husband Bertrand Burgalat's soundtrack to keep you entertained if the clothes faltered. There was nothing flat-out wrong here today, other than a rhinestone-trimmed minidress dripping in silver paillettes and the matching Deco headpiece it was paired with. But a hint of personality would've been nice.

New fashion to 2012 From Alexis Mabille | yohana

Alexis Mabille Spring 2012 Ready-to-WearThere was something decidedly less precious about Alexis Mabille's girl this season. For one thing, with daisies stuck in each model's hair, she looked like she'd taken a literal roll in the hay before sauntering down the runway; and then there were those slinky, Marant-ish dangly silver earrings giving Mabille's cute some swagger-y cool.

His show notes described a girl who's in touch with her masculine side yet sticks to her womanly ways. That dose of sartorial testosterone seemed to be just the thing to temper Mabille's saccharine leanings. Banker stripes merged surprisingly well with white lace as trim on sweet little shirtdresses, and even better when inset in the sleeves of a crisp button-down. One of Mabille's twists was the shirt formed into a bustier, its sleeves knotted into a bow. One slip and it could have felt gimmicky, but he got it right, particularly on two evening looks near the end of the show. In fact, the best things skewed very XY, like another evening option of an hourglass-shaped waistcoat and sleek, toreador-style pants with the tiniest flourish of a Mabille bow at the calf.

Inspired by the cinematography of the film The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, the show was staged in a picture-perfect greenhouse at the Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil. That gave Mabille full rein with the Laura Ashley florals in the middle of the show, which, when combined with tasseled fringe and lace, recalled a little girl's ticky-tacky bedroom circa 1984. And in that vein, we can excuse it as a passing phase.

Fashion From Anne Valérie Hash | yohana

Anne Valérie Hash Spring 2010 CoutureAs a still up-and-coming French designer struggling to build her ready-to-wear business, Anne Valérie Hash is unpretentious enough to know she hasn't the wherewithal to be a Paris couturier. "I can't do couture like Chanel or Dior. Of course not. But I do want to experiment in a different way," she said. "I had this idea to do something about personal clothing, memory, and identity, so I started writing to people I admire and asking them to send me something of theirs to transform." Her first letter went to Alber Elbaz, who, with instant generosity, sent a pair of his pajamas, and once he'd agreed, it snowballed. She ended up with Tilda Swinton's Vivienne Westwood tee, Jean Paul Gaultier's Breton shirt, Pete Doherty's frogged drummer-boy jacket, a veil from Diane Pernet, a Chanel jacket from Daphne Guinness, and a spencer belonging to Charlotte Rampling.

Hash then had to find a device to make it "look like a collection." Using her skills as a tailor and piles of matte, textured paillettes, she took elements of the original garments, copied the pieces, and reassembled them. Elbaz's pajamas became a trompe l'oeil jumpsuit; Doherty's jacket was turned into lapel linings, while the frogging was reconfigured on a T-shirt; and Pernet's veil was draped on the back of a jacket to create a chiffon hood. Some of the original fragments, like Swinton's T-shirt, became vertical panels sewn into the centers of jackets; Gaultier's stripes, meanwhile, were twisted into the neckline of a sequined all-in-one. As a small, arty event it had charm and sincerity, and it was heartening to see fellow designers and celebrities of other stripes lending a hand to help a relatively young French talent in a city where that doesn't seem to happen enough.

Fashions 2012 From Araks | yohana

Araks Spring 2012 Ready-to-WearAraks Yeramyan didn't know a thing about this week's U.S. Open (Novak who?), but she loves tennis uniforms, and used them as a reference point for her Spring collection. A racket-grid print came on a sheer pantsuit, and a two-tone semi-drop-waist dress with a low back looked like tennis gear from the fifties. Sheer fabrics are always a go-to for Araks, as they highlight her signature feminine lingerie. A stacked-pleat chiffon dress was see-through on one side—"only halfway scandalous," the designer said. Araks also showed a few electric pink fils coupe looks, like an oversize button-down and folded skirt with flaplike slits that aced the ongoing neon trend.

Colection From Anna Sui | yohana

Anna Sui Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear
Anna Sui Spring 2012 Ready-to-WearAnna Sui was glowing before, during, and after her show. Whatever anyone else might think about what she'd done, she'd made one of her own fantasies come true. The spirit of fashion is reinvention, and Sui built her collection around an unsung but powerfully transformative moment in fashion's history: that time in the early seventies when illustrator Antonio Lopez moved from New York to Paris with a coterie of gorgeous young things—Donna Jordan, Jane Forth, a 16-year-old Jerry Hall, baby Grace Jones—whose suitcases of vintage clothing and taste in dance music turned the heads of Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld, among the many Parisians who were seduced by the new arrivals. Their HQ was a nightspot called Club Sept, which impressionable Anna got to visit on her first trip to Paris, and it was the club's atmosphere that she set out to evoke.

From the second Karen Elson hit the catwalk—turbaned torrent of curls, fitted forties-style dress wrapped in a marabou chubby, glittery spectator pumps, lips as lacquered as a Chinese cabinet—we were transported to a playful, optimistic era when the pursuit of pleasure was a career opportunity for girls like Hall, who was discovered dancing at Club Sept with feathers glued to her forehead. In that anything-goes spirit, Sui offered a playsuit with an Art Deco toothbrush print and a cap-sleeve, peplumed, flared-pant outfit in a print that looked like Liberty, but was actually tiny frolicking fairies. In the audience was modeling superagent Marilyn Gauthier, who remembered wearing nothing but lacy lingerie to Club Sept.

Here, the look was duplicated in Sui's black tulle kimono floating over silken tap shorts, as appropriate for a twenty-first-century Black Dahlia as it was for glamorous club kids in Paris 40 years ago. And that's the secret of Sui's success. Yes, the looks ring retro, but they are cut and colored for a modern woman whose yen for the beauty and fantasy of fashion transcends mere trend.

"I'm not trying to fit in with what's going on," Sui said before her show. "I had to do what I wanted." Fact is, she may be ahead of the curve on this one. There are a slew of Antonio books on the horizon. Can a film be far behind? Here, at least, is the wardrobe.

Bebe For 2012 | yohana

Bebe Spring 2012 Ready-to-WearThis womenswear retailer has always catered to a youthful customer—one who likes her party dresses tight, bright, and low-cut—so it was an intriguing choice that Bebe brought in Charles Benton as a design consultant. Benton's background is in luxury, having cut his teeth at Emanuel Ungaro during the Giambattista Valli days, but rather than being asked to tailor his looks to the typical Bebe customer, he was given free rein. "I was surprised myself how much freedom I had," the Rome native admitted backstage.

He opted for a frilly Gibson Girls theme, cast in all white and styled with an Edwardian touch. "But applied with a modern Parisian and NYC twist," Benton added. With ruffles, lace-up corset detailing, and pinafores—sometimes all in one look—it was tough to see the cool Parisian or New Yorker influence at times. It did help that fabrics ran in the high end with lightweight silk and cotton voile, embroidered silk, and stretch linen. And the later looks were stronger, such as a damask jacquard cut into a sporty anorak and a gorgeous closing dress with a pintucked bodice and shorter-in-front, floaty hem.

Overall, the hefty emphasis on sheer white fabrics and the exaggerated tailoring in puff sleeves and corseted waists felt surprisingly fanciful for Bebe. That didn't seem to bother the company's founder, Manny Mashouf, any. "We're going to produce a few of the looks for maybe 40 to 50 doors," he said. "I know it's not our usual thing—it's really for a more sophisticated customer—but the best part of it is, our whole design team has been reinvigorated. They learned how to do something completely different." With all the contemporary lines that show safe designs for New York fashion week, you couldn't help but applaud that out-of-the-box thinking.

Rodarte | yohana

Rodarte Spring 2012 Ready-to-WearThe Internet generation loves a mash-up, and Kate and Laura Mulleavy gave them a doozy for Spring. With Tavi Gevinson, Dakota and Elle Fanning, Saoirse Ronan, Rooney Mara, and Taylor Swift looking on from the front row, the sisters sent out a collection that was one part Sleeping Beauty and another part Vincent van Gogh. They explained that they fell for the greens and purples of the 1959 animated Disney classic, and asked themselves who else uses colors like that. They found their answer in the Dutch postimpressionist painter beloved by millions. It's not their usual esoteric reference point, and it was all the more unexpected for the fact that gift stores do such a bang-up business in Starry Night mouse pads.

Of course, the Mulleavys have flirted with kitsch before—the quinceañera-inspired light-up birthday-candle heels of a couple of years ago come to mind. Here the effect was often hypnotic; it's undeniable that van Gogh's colors are powerful, and not just his purples and greens, but also the blues and yellows of his sunflowers, some of which looked digitized or pixelated in the designers' hands. But there was a frustrating aspect, too. The fifties prom dress silhouettes—nipped at the waist, with all the action at the shoulders and the flaring hems—seem pitched so resolutely in the past. And while you can picture Tavi showing one off on her blog or Elle Fanning wearing another on the red carpet, it's harder to imagine the grown-up woman willing to lay down four figures for one. It's a good thing for the over-21 set that there were color-blocked cable-knit sweaters and pretty jacquard pants

Dress From Rodarte | yohana

Rodarte Fall 2011 Ready-to-WearYou didn't need to know that Kate and Laura Mulleavy had been watching the Terrence Malick movie Days of Heaven to ascertain that the sisters had taken the American Plains as their latest inspiration. The clues weren't exactly hard to follow on today's runway: silk gowns printed with a wheat field at the hem, ankle-grazing prairie coats, leather and ponyskin separates with geometric insets that called to mind quilts. The only items that might have thrown you off the scent were the pair of ruby red party dresses at the end. But as Kate explained afterward, "We couldn't go to Nebraska and Kansas and not do a Wizard of Oz reference."

Malick's film is a fashion favorite, but the Mulleavy sisters made the reference their own via their signature devotion to craft. The quilting on the pinafore tops and apron skirts was appliquéd by hand, and the wool and mohair sweaters likewise never saw the inside of a knitting machine. The question is this: Will these clothes, with their countrified starting points, entrance the label's clientele of urban sophisticates the way previous collections have? Dr. Lisa Airan, after all, walked into the 12 p.m. show in a sheer ivory Rodarte cocktail dress studded with gold crystals. The answer? Yes, with the exception perhaps of the sentimental floral embroideries. For one, the show's longer silhouettes jibed with the current fashion zeitgeist. And for another, the Mulleavys continue to push into categories that they've ignored before. It's hard to recall a single coat from their last several Fall collections; here there were plenty to choose from—and thanks to technically accomplished cutouts at the sides of the torso, they looked quite unique.

Commercial is the wrong word for it, but there's no debating the fact that Kate and Laura are steadily getting savvier about the business end while maintaining their singular vision.

ADAM Lippes | yohana

ADAM Spring 2010 Ready-to-WearNow in his fourth season showing on the runway, Adam Lippes is clear on his "mythical muse," as he puts it: the gyp-setting girl who's equally at home in New York City, Paris, or a tiny hut on the Indian Ocean. For Spring '10 she traveled to Lamu, Kenya (where the designer vacations). Lippes trimmed a miniskirt in raffia and wood beads and worked a mud-cloth embroidery pattern on a laid-back organza tank dress. At the heart of the collection, though, were his city-girl staples: draped twill shorts, sporty rompers, and slouchy tees, all in bright, saturated hues. Clothes women will wear, to be sure—but, unfortunately, modern basics don't make for the most exciting runway show. Lippes might want to flex his creative muscles a bit more with his next effort.

Chado Ralph Rucci Fashion | yohana

Chado Ralph Rucci Spring 2010 Ready-to-WearThere was a flash of cameras in the front row at Chado. When the scrum parted, it wasn't Leighton Meester or some other Gossip Girl the photographers had been shooting, but Martha Stewart. If Ralph Rucci attracts customers of a certain age, it's partly because the clothes he designs, with their intricate handwork—the sheer paneling, the braided insets—are so very costly. But maybe it's time for the celebrity stylists out there to take another look.

Rucci's program notes said he was inspired by Pina Bausch, the choreographer who died in June. While the silk gazar dresses screen-printed with her likeness seemed a shade much, there was an appealing lightness to many other pieces in the collection. A pale gray chiffon softly A-line dress pintucked into delicate narrow columns would make a fine choice for a starlet hoping to land her first grown-up role. And a tank dress embroidered all over with silk tulle paillettes that shaded from white through gray to black would be a kick to wear on the red carpet.

That's not to say there wasn't plenty to please established clients like Stewart or the socialite Deeda Blair, who sat across the runway. A black braided chiffon skirtsuit lightly embellished with ostrich feathers and worn with a sparkling white shell looked smart. A vanilla double-faced wool crepe dress-and-coat set with geometric tulle insets, meanwhile, had Michelle Obama's name written all over it. That, as every designer knows, would be the ultimate celebrity placement.

Ready To Wear Dress From Chado Ralph Rucci | yohana

Chado Ralph Rucci Spring 2011 Ready-to-WearRalph Rucci skipped a proper show this season in favor of one-on-one appointments. That meant there was no Martha Stewart or Whoopi Goldberg to gawk at, but there was something better: the opportunity to examine the couture-quality workmanship that is this designer's calling card. Rucci admitted that despite his wealth of blue-chip clients, the recession has been difficult for his business. For Spring, he's made adjustments, turning out more pieces in less precious fabrications, including an on-trend cotton jumpsuit and an easy cotton and suede sleeveless shift with blousonlike volume on top.

On the other hand, Rucci has also kicked up the exquisite touches. Take a black skirtsuit spliced, in his signature fashion, with tulle. This time around, he's created a three-dimensionality to the insets by adding horsehair to the seams. Sure, it's the kind of subtle detail that only a sophisticated eye would notice and appreciate, but challenging himself is how this workaholic designer gets his kicks. Rucci did it again and again, with a cement gray chiffon frock ripped and re-stitched to evoke tiny bamboo trees, and jewel-tone taffeta braided onto the tulle bodices of other dresses. A long black hammered silk dress topped by a white bugle-beaded sweater was more minimal, meanwhile, but hardly plain. That word doesn't figure in Rucci's vocabulary.

Chado Ralph Rucci | yohana

Chado Ralph Rucci Resort 2011
Chado Ralph Rucci Resort 2011

Ralph Rucci is fond of calling his Resort collection Chado Light. Don't think for an instant, though, that he's skimped on the über-luxe details that he's made his calling card. André Leon Talley may have introduced this designer to the public at large by wearing his made-to-measure capes on America's Next Top Model, but Rucci isn't going mass. Case in point: a ravishing white evening caftan painstakingly embroidered in clear sequins. If there's any difference at all between this season and his runway shows, it's the emphasis on city-chic day and cocktail wear over high-drama evening looks. There was a refreshing lightness to a black silk pantsuit with sculpted sleeves; ditto a fitted lavender slipdress with a waist-defining band of black around the torso. As for after-eight, the chartreuse top and long bronze column skirt combo was a soft, unstructured beauty.

Next From Vena Cava | yohana

Vena Cava Resort 2011Travels and obscure movie references are frequent starting points for Vena Cava's Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock, and their latest effort was no exception. A road trip to Death Valley and the (OK, maybe not quite so obscure, at least in fashion circles) 1970 flick Zabriskie Point influenced the dusty orange and yellow palette of their Resort collection, as well as the sweet Southwestern-style prints. An overall-style silk jumpsuit was a standout, as was a seventies-workwear-inspired chambray vest.

But the duo's real news was the debut of their lower-priced Viva Vena line as a full-fledged collection. What began this spring as a selection of printed eco-friendly tees has expanded to include stretchy tank dresses, mesh T-shirts, and cropped sweatpants with tribal-printed waistbands, all of which retail for under $200. "We priced it so you don't even have to think about it," Buhai explained. What their fans will be contemplating? How to get their hands on it all.

Vena Cava Spring 2012 | yohana

Vena Cava Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear

Mayock wore a black washed-silk dress with a deep-V neckline suspended from a padded rope collar. Buhai chose a longer, slimmer black knit dress with two thick bands of white piping down its front. There are other evening looks in the large collection, the best of which is a long dress in a (subtly tongue-in-cheek) marijuana print, but the focus now is really on easy-to-wear dresses, "the kind of thing a girl can throw on and go," they explained. Buhai and Mayock took the same cool but no-nonsense approach to their debut handbag collection, which is virtually logo- and hardware-free and retails from $275 to $550.

Eight years and 15 collections after graduating from Parsons, the designers explained that they're taking more advice from their team and listening to more feedback from their customers. We think the feedback for Spring will be positive.

New From Vena cava | yohana

Vena Cava Spring 2011 Ready-to-Weart's still early, but we're willing to bet that "classic American sportswear" will be a phrase you'll be hearing almost as often as "How do I get to Lincoln Center?" during this New York fashion week. Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock used it backstage before their show, professing a newfound interest in "practical, matter-of-fact, not too over-styled clothes." That puts their collection of linen shorts suits, ankle-skimming shirtdresses, and "stay-press" flaring trousers squarely at the center of things. These designers have always preferred elegance to edge, but this season, the results looked more effortless, without the superfluous extras that have proven a bit too distracting in the past.

Buhai and Mayock know their way around a halter dress. Taking cues from the eighties Memphis design movement, their new ones skim the body in color-blocked shades of khaki, black, and red, or cool tones of blue. But the one that really grabbed your attention came in solid poppy, with an asymmetric shorter-in-front, longer-in-back hem. It looks like minimalism suits Vena Cava.

Alberta Ferretti Colections | yohana

Alberta Ferretti Spring 2011 Ready-to-WearOnce upon a time, in the Edenic innocence of the pre-digital age, little girls dreamed of being beautiful princesses. Alberta Ferretti got back to the garden with her new collection of floating floral chiffons. It was a departure from the luxe lady look she's been offering for the past few seasons, but "women want to change," Ferretti insisted backstage. "Fantasy is so important."

Here, that fantasy was cast as a vision of fairy-tale femininity. Its key component was a sheer, floor-sweeping dress strewn with flora and paired with flat rope sandals and the occasional wide-brimmed straw hat to underscore the prelapsarian prettiness. Ferretti offered multiple versions: one softly pleated like a Fortuny gown, another in raw-edged tiers with Guinevere sleeves, or tied in back like a frontier woman's Sunday best. The organic, relaxed mood was sustained by the designer's use of lace and crochet, sometimes all at once, like the lace smock with the crochet midriff.

There was a hint of eccentricity in this uncompromising commitment to romance and fantasy. Though Ferretti sought balance in the more "urban" pieces—a white trench, a Bermuda shorts suit, a natural python vest—the scales couldn't help but tip toward those long, diaphanous gowns. And while she was quick to point out that her new designs were about "a normal woman, not a star," it wasn't hard to imagine the fantasy sweeping away Ferretti fans like Sarah Jessica Parker and January Jones.

Alberta Ferretti Ready To Wear | yohana

Alberta Ferretti Fall 2011 Ready-to-WearIt might have been sheer coincidence that the most memorable image of Alberta Ferretti's show today was the pattern that ran down the front of a shift dress and a tunic top. It looked like a crack in the sidewalk. Maybe that was her way of telegraphing the schizoid nature of her new collection. The first part of the show was a roundup of (relatively) practical daywear, the second featured ethereal, floaty, classic Ferretti dresses. The designer is convinced that women have passed beyond the ease of day-to-night dressing. They now want a definitive break point in their day between work and play. Hence, perhaps, the crack.

It wasn't necessarily a formula for coherence, but it did move the Ferretti collection in a new direction. The idea of a clear division was explicit from the outset, with a shift split in two by a spiral motif underneath a coat whose hard-edged graphic was the antithesis of the sheer, nude chiffons that Ferretti paraded last season. Colors were strong: fuchsia, petrol, electric blue. The designer spoke about a new, shorter proportion, but the velvet thigh boots she used throughout the show—never mind the floor-sweeping caftans—meant that there was scarcely a moment where bare flesh was seen. Even though monochrome trouser suits were convincing, you could feel Ferretti wrestling with the challenge of diurnal propriety. She surrendered to her instincts with a patina of sequins and crystals. (Well, we did say the daywear was relatively practical.) Then she heaved herself with a sigh of relief into her signature diaphanousness, with elaborately embellished gowns that gave their wearers pale shelter. Thinking back to that first outfit, it was hard to imagine how a woman's day could begin one way and end somewhere else so radically different, but as an act of faith in human adaptability, Ferretti's show was oddly reassuring.

Alberta Ferretti 2012 | yohana

Alberta Ferretti Resort 2012Designers tackling Resort often look to the more bombastic vacation getaways—Miami, Ibiza, Saint-Tropez—for their inspiration. Alberta Ferretti, in contrast, chose Deauville. The picturesque town in Normandy is well known (among fashion types, at least) as the getaway spot for Coco Chanel, and the name conjures visions of early-century chic. And there was a sweet, somewhat vintage flavor to a few of Ferretti's looks in this collection, though the designer managed to throw in some eminently salable aughties garb, as well as some of her trademark flowing, glamour girl dresses. There was a retro appeal in silk pieces printed with painterly, picture postcard-style illustrations, and color-banded flared skirts and frocks. Scarf-print wide-leg silk trousers should offer another option to the girls chasing the season's pajama-dressing trend (not to mention gelling with the foulard chic surfacing at, of all places, the Spring '12 menswear shows).

Ferretti's look can rocket this way and that from season to season, but longtime label acolytes know they'll always be able to count on her dresses. Here, as always, they came in long, draped, and diaphanous form, for this vacation just as much as for the next, or the next.

Alberta Ferretti | yohana

Alberta Ferretti Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear
Alberta Ferretti Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear
Alberta Ferretti Spring 2012 Ready-to-WearAlberta Ferrettiwouldn't be the first designer to talk about the urban jungle this season. The speed and chaos of contemporary life have infected fashion as much as any other creative medium. Ferretti's reaction was similar to Christopher Bailey's in London the other day: to elevate the artisan over the machine. And she looked to what she called "the poetry and mystery" of the real wild world for help. Using a technique called intaglio, Ferretti duplicated tribal tattoos in chiffon mounted on tulle. She drew on Zulu motifs and colors for dresses composed entirely of countless tiny beads arduously applied by hand (if there's anyone in the world who still cares about heirloom dressing, you could imagine them passing these babies on). And Ferretti went bush with a palm-frond print that was a more obvious concession to the current vogue for the primal graphic. It came wrapped sarong-style or, thanks to the magic of illusion created by tulle, creeping trifidlike up what looked like a model's naked torso.

Truth be told, "Zulu" and "Ferretti" are not words one is likely to see in the same paragraph too often, but the designer managed to manipulate the out-of-Africa vibe in such a way that she successfully extended her own design vocabulary. Someone mentioned White Mischief, the cult chronicle of decadent goings-on among the British expat community in Kenya in the forties: If you closed your eyes a little and held your breath, there was definitely something of that saga's steamy languor in Ferretti's clothes, not to mention Guido Palau's tumbling, tangled tresses, which looked liberated by humid equatorial lust. The intaglio slipdresses, the wrapped and tied fuchsia chiffon outfit, the black chiffon gown with the jet bodice: They were all the stuff of decadent, sophisticated nights under the colonial skies. (Too bad about the shoes—they could have stayed home.) But there's got to be a morning after, so Ferretti offered linen silk trenches (again, the beaded collars showing she's on the same wavelength as Bailey), slinky suits in peachy crepe, and—the exotic-cum-sensible kicker—a khaki camp shirt paired with a brown beaded skirt.

How to Perk Up Tired Skin? | yohana

Woman Washing Face
We already know Jack Frost is wreaking havoc on your skin this time of year, and with the stress of the holidays right around the corner, we bet your poor face is looking worse for the wear. To avoid looking like a dried out leather bag by the end of the season, here are our top tips for getting your glow on courtesy of skincare expert Alicia Robertson.
Sleeping Beauty: We know it's easier said than done, especially if you have little ones in the house, but beauty sleep ain't no lie. The bulk of cell repair and regeneration occurs after you hit the sheets. An easy way to catch more z's is to, "Install roll-down black out shades underneath your curtains. This helps avoid sleep disturbances caused by ambient light," coaches Robertson. It's easy to become sleep deprived over the holidays with late night parties and too much eggnog, so invest in a shade to help you make the most of the time you do spend getting your beauty sleep.
Strike It Rich: The secret weapon of Italian women for gorgeous, glowing skin? None other than Vitamin E oil. "A bottle is just a few dollars at the grocery store, and it will work wonders for your skin," promises Robertson. "Just dab the oil on the dry spots in the evening, and you'll wake up with refreshed skin. Not to mention, it's totally natural!"
Electric Feel: There is a product out there that makes grown women weak in the knees. The consensus is unanimous (including our skincare expert!) and the Clarisonic is the single device that will transform your skin life. While it is an investment, we've tested the less expensive Mia version and it works just as well. If you're looking for instant results, you're only a credit swipe away!

Jessica Biel: The Real Deal Elle | yohana

Jessica Biel wears a molded tankdress
On her status with Justin Timberlake: “A girl doesn’t kiss and tell.”
On dating actors: “I think those are the people you meet and so it just kind of happens. Let me tell you: It never happens on purpose.”
Jessica Biel wears a molded tankdress from Donna Karan New York, a bra from Eres, earrings from Low Luv x Erin Wasson, a pendant necklace and sterling silver rings from Gregg Wolf, a hook necklace from Jelena Behrend, a curb-link necklace from David Yurman, sterling silver bracelets and a textured ring from Chrome Hearts, and a diamond bracelet from Harry Winston.

The Animal: Birds | yohana

GilesDesigners used hummingbirds, swans, and pheasants in their bold creations this season—from abstract, graceful lines to three-dimensional birds perched on the chest and shoulders.\

Rika’s Taking Paris By Storm | yohana

PARIS—“More just a retailer, brands can also be a community,” said Ulrika Lundgren, founder of the Swedish-born but Paris-based label Rika. The statement is certainly true for her brand. Rika’s turned into one of Paris’ best kept secrets, attracting die-hard fans like Carine Roitfeld, Scarlett Johansson, Alexa Chung.
Lundgren’s clothes straddle Scandinavian minimalism and Parisian chic with a rock’n’roll touch—her shot at empowering women—and each piece bears a strong reference whether its rockabilly girls, beatniks, or bikers. The current collection, shown during Paris Fashion Week, features laminated leather dresses, plenty of leopard print, pencil skirts and kitten heels. “This encourages beauty that comes from the inside, it complements true confidence,” said Ulrika. An added bonus? The comfortable but fearless cuts are made by local craftsmen.
“People who wear my clothes are a community of strong girls; inspirational women are very important to me,” Lundgren said while walking us through the collection. That’s probably why she’s adamant about growing the brand’s universe beyond clothing. Lately, Rika’s been into videos, screening them online as a virtual counterpart to the brand’s bi-annual eponymous magazine which, by the way, often features all-star shoots like a Helena Christensen-shot editorial starring Mischa Barton and styled by Irina Lazareanu.
This week, Rika held a party with Maison Michel. Dozens of Rika girls showed up in hats designed by Laetitia Crahay to eat crepes and cotton candy. “Good food and hats, what more can you ask for?” Lundgren said with a smile.

No One Wants to Budge on Fashion Week Dates | yohana

Underneath the gloss of Fashion Month there’s been a sort of international war raging over the dates of the spring 2013 shows (taking place next September, in 2012).  Two years ago, the CFDA, the British Fashion Council, the Chambre Syndicale and the Milan Chamber of Fashion met to establish a list of guidelines regarding the international fashion calendar.  It was decided that New York Fashion Week would always start on the second Thursday of September.  Given the shifting calendar, sometimes that would mean right after Labor Day and some years nearly two weeks after.  Next year, it’d set the shows later than ever, on September 13th, pushing London’s start date to the 21st, Milan’s to the 26th and Paris’ to October 2nd.
But the Milan Chamber of Fashion is fighting the calendar, saying they were under the impression the agreement was only in place for three years, and that they were in fact entitled to earlier show dates.  They wanted to set the Milan collections—including heavy hitters like Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Prada—to September 19th to 25th, directly overlapping with both New York and London.
Last night, the CFDA finally responded to the controversy with a letter to the industry making it clear that the dates are not up for discussion.  “All four fashion capitals have kept to this agreement, to date, and the U.S. will continue to do so for the foreseeable future,” said the letter. “As you may have read, the dates for showing the spring-summer 2013 collections are now being disputed. Milan is claiming that the agreement was for three years only. This is not the case; the agreed-to schedule was always meant to be a long-term/permanent one.”  Another letter’s been sent to the Milan Chamber, this one from Condé Nast International chairman Jonathan Newhouse who says that his international editors from American, French and Italian magazines will skip the Milan shows if they refuse to cooperate with the established schedule.  This morning, the head of the Milan Chamber answered the CFDA’s letter quite simply: “Let the best one win.”

Two Names to Know from Paris | yohana

Now that Paris fashion week has come and gone it’s time to take a closer look at a few of its under-the-radar highlights.  Two brands, Gabrielle Greiss and Maiyet, have the fashion pack particularly excited.
Gabrielle Greiss, formerly creative director at Sonia Rykiel, has started her own label that’s filled with sweet, haphazardly layered dresses that are like t-shirts gone glam.  The combination of her feminine aesthetic and neutral palette will appeal to the Paris-obsessed girl who dreams of both Isabel Marant and Carven.  This collection, her first, is comprised of just twenty dresses.
Also showing for the first time was Maiyet, a label that while designed with fashion domination in mind, is manufactured by specialized artisans in Africa, South America, and Asia—and founded by a human rights lawyer.  Though a design team leads the collections (or collection, at this point) the clothes are produced by an international force of skilled artisans who’ve developed brilliantly embroidered dresses and well-tailored trenches.  Paul van Zyl, the lawyer, co-founded the line with Kirsty Caylor, who developed Gap’s Product (RED) collection before working at Band of Outsiders and the two are hoping to “see a
virtuous circle of prosperity, investment and employment, and a return to the artisanal roots of luxury.”


Make your way past the street style photographers, the greeters handing out the latest copy of WWD, the video of Jessica Stam being photographed by Terry Richardson atop a Mercedes-Benz, and the floor-to-ceiling ads for Maybelline featuring the faces of Charlotte Kemp Muhl and Christy Turlington, and you’ll finally arrive at the main runway. No, this isn’t New York Fashion Week—rather, it’s Tokyo’s new and improved Fashion Week.
The biannual event, which kicked off yesterday, nearly didn’t make it. Just seven months ago Japan Fashion Week’s fall 2011 was canceled.  It was scheduled to start just a few days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the Asian country back in March and aside from the obvious tragedies, and the somber mood that spread across the country, sewing and production plants were drastically affected and it wasn’t quite clear if designers would even be able to make a spring ’12 collection.  Then, in July, IMG took on the fledgling Japan Fashion Week. In addition to the slew of big-name sponsors (besides Maybelline, which signed a three-year sponsorship contract, DSL and ShopStyle are on-board), the event received a new name: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo. Call it a superficial change, but it aligns this Fashion Week with several of the other upper-tier Fashion Weeks, including New York’s and Miami’s.

Politics & Prada | yohana

What do fashion month and the primaries have in common? Other than seeming never-ending, more than you think.
Over the last couple of weeks, there’s been a battle brewing in the fashion world over the international show dates for the spring 2013 season (which takes place in the fall of 2012). Just over two years ago, the leading fashion councils from each of the four fashion capitols—London, New York, Paris and Milan—met to draft a set calendar for the coming years. The first three agree that the calendar was meant to be in place for years to come while Milan claims it was for three years only, and is vowing to move up its show dates to overlap with New York and London’s. If that happens, photographers, editors, models, and buyers would have to choose who they need to see—and who they are willing to miss.
As the fashion world’s major players play a serious game of “me first,” a group of power players in a very different world are playing the same game. If you remember, the 2008 presidential campaign was one of the longest in history. We painstakingly watched the horse race for nearly two years: Obama’s in New Hampshire; Hillary’s in Iowa; Those other guys who didn’t have a chance are in South Carolina.

The Top Trends of Fashion Week | yohana

Tokyo is arguably the capital of trends, and with good reason: If platform Converse sneakers or cotton candy pink crinoline skirts can’t make it here, they can’t make it anywhere. (For the record, they are practically a constant on the back streets of Harajuku right now.) Of course, it’s not just over-the-top street style that sets the pace for local fashion—and when something catches on, it catches on en masse. Which is why the major spring ’12 trends of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo are of note. After all, today’s only-in-Japan knotted dresses may be tomorrow’s Marc Jacobs fall ’12 collection.

Skin | yohana

beauty face with oil dripping
My face is revolting!” I cried out from the examining table the instant David Colbert, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City, stepped inside his treatment room one Monday afternoon back in March.
“I wouldn’t say revolting,” he replied, laughing lightly.
“In revolt!” I declared. “It’s the Arab Spring of my skin.” My complexion—once so clear, calm, and under control—was now in a rage. Thrusting out my chin to give Colbert a better glimpse of the angry redness of my skin, I then directed his attention to my cheeks and forehead, where parched patches of flesh were shriveling up and flaking off, leaving my face raw, sore, and scabby. As if that weren’t battering enough, my nose was besieged by blackheads and whiteheads, while along my jawline an outbreak of fiery pimples was freshly erupting.
I felt frustrated, confused, and a bit embarrassed. Shouldn’t I be well beyond the years of sebaceous-glands-gone-wild—and at the same time, hardly so ancient that my face could be withering and desiccated from early-onset self-mummification?
What made my deterioration even more deplorable: Ever since my midthirties, when my youthful glory succumbed to the ravages of premature aging (frown lines, crow’s-feet, droopy eyelids, and the like) as a consequence of once-latent damage that I incurred in my sun-worshipping youth, I have maintained a compulsive commitment to skin care. From braving the plastic surgeon’s scalpel to lining up for the latest cosmetic dermatology treatment, as well as performing at-home beauty treatments to rival any professional aesthetician’s, and with no amount of pain, bruising, downtime, or dollars ever deterring me, I have been shamelessly willing, even insatiably driven, to do whatever it takes for the upkeep of my face.
“See these brown spots?” I ranted at Colbert, jabbing my finger at my temple. “I never go outside during midday sun. I always slather on titanium-strength sunblock. In the summer, I carry a parasol, no matter how insane it looks. And I use bleaching creams twice a week at minimum. So, why my sudden blight of hyperpigmentation?” I implored, looking the doctor in the eye.
“Um, I really don’t see anything,” he said.
“Look closer!” I demanded.
Pulling up a medical stool and sitting down, he leaned over my face and calmly asked: “What products are you using?”
“What don’t I use?!” I exclaimed.

Flatironed Hair | yohana

After the big hair that dominated most of the ’80s deflated, it was time to go straight. With the introduction of mass-market flatirons, women could achieve sleek strands at home in minutes, and the launch of John Frieda’s Frizz-Ease serum in 1992 ensured humidity-defying silkiness and shine. “We knew it would be big when we developed it,” Frieda says. “But the response was overwhelming. You’d have thought I’d invented penicillin.”

Colorful Smoky Eye | yohana

The modern iteration of the smoky eye is all about a flash of notice-me color. While smudgy black shadow has long been the never-fail shorthand for sultry, nighttime looks, the development of ultrablendable, vibrant pigments has made it easy to experiment with bright, unexpected hues. “With a jewel-tone eye, makeup is jewelry for the face,” says Francelle, who bedazzled model Pamela Bernier’s lids with Nars Night Porter and Star Sailor shadows.

Metallic Makeup | yohana

Chromed finishes may have been over the top and hard-edged in the ’80s, but the advent of microfine shimmer has made the look softer and more universally flattering. “Metallics work on everyone, regardless of age, eye shape, or color,” Francelle says. “It’s a hint of life on the lid.” To keep the shine modern—not robotic—limit reflective shades to eyes and highlighted cheekbones, as Francelle did on model Chrishell Stubbs. “It should look simple and effortless.”

The Stained Lip | yohana

Between the lipstick-crazy ’80s and the lip-gloss-loving 2000s, stained lips rocked the ’90s as a sheer, pretty complement to the prevailing less-is-more natural look. Today’s stains are nondrying and long-lasting, won’t transfer to your teeth, and can tint lips from a barely there pink to a vampy deep plum. “You want no shine,” says Nars national makeup artist Francelle, who used a matte lipstick on model Hyoni Kang. “Color should look stained into the lip, not applied on top.”

Your Beautyful Hair | yohana

When Yves Saint Laurent said, “Fashions fade; style is eternal,” he might not have been talking about beachy waves, but the sentiment holds. Long, windswept strands, which gained steam in the ’90s, are now ubiquitous, from the office to the runway. “Beachy hair should carry over from day to night, so it can’t be such a mess that you can’t wear it to a cocktail party,” says hairstylist Ashley Javier. “Aim for a rougher, edgier version of Veronica Lake curls.”

Hairstyle | yohana

Jennifer Lopez's Soft Top Knot

Jennifer Lopez's Soft Top Knot

QUICKIE TIP Volumize strands with a dose of texturizing dry shampoo before sweeping up into a high bun. Too-silky hair will just fall down.

Christmas dress | yohana

Michelle Monaghan and Pippa Middleton in jewel tonesWhether sapphire, garnet or a Christmas-ready ruby or emerald, it doesn't get much more festive than these rich hues. Take a tip from Michelle Monaghan and Pippa Middleton: you don't need much accessorizing when your dress teams bold colors with detailed embellishments.

Clements Ribeiro Colection | yohana

Clements Ribeiro Spring 2012 Ready-to-WearA Clements Ribeiro show is always a glimpse into the deeply serious yet dreamy and creative minds of Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro. For Spring it was one better: a glimpse into their studio-slash-home. "It's kind of a journey through our house," Clements said backstage. "There's toile de Jouy. We have lots of botanical pressed things, lots of plants, lace curtains."

The close-at-hand inspiration didn't make for an enormous leap, but an evolution of ideas the designers have been pondering over a couple of seasons. That long midi silhouette to the calf became slimmer and primmer, the latter unavoidable when you're dealing with faded-wallpaper florals and lace. But something like a bright intarsia blocked twinset and striped lace pencil skirt was still far from being staid.

The duo seems to be in a happy and confident place. They know their strengths, and they're sticking to them. Topping that list: their techno-romantic digital prints. They figured heavily in the new pull-on-and-go athletic direction here of slim, printed silk pants and shorts with (chic) elastic waistbands and matching racerback tanks and boxy tees. "It's just what I'm in the mood for wearing," said Clements, sporting a version of the look from a recent collaboration with the Museum of Everything. That sort of easy separate is never a bad idea when you're looking to broaden sales. Still, pieces like a top with two florals engineered to look like raglan sleeves didn't seem like a cheap ploy to cash in. The show ended on a high note with a twisty op-art print thrown into the sweet mix: It had shades of Alice in Wonderland. Well, there's one girl who figured out that there's no place like home.

Inspirate from Yves Sains Laurent | yohana

Yves Saint Laurent Spring 2011 Ready-to-WearIt was inevitable that the epic Saint Laurent exhibition, which recently closed after a six-month run in Paris, would make its presence felt in fashion this season. It certainly put the man who holds the reins at the house that Yves built in a reflective mood. In a blazingly focused, tightly edited show, Stefano Pilati revisited the Yves Saint Laurent codes one by one: beginning with a trenchcoat and building—naturally—to Le Smoking, in crepe de soir. In between came bowed blouses, blasts of color, cabans, paysanne ruffles, clouds of marabou, long forties lines, exotica, erotica, and more. It was a comprehensive guided tour of the YSL universe. And the location—a Rothschild hôtel particulier in the eighth—was a simpatico venue, its gilded, frescoed salons instantly creating a more appropriate, intimate mood than the cavernous glory of the Grand Palais, where Pilati had been showing for a while.

Speaking of simpatico, the clothes Pilati offered to an audience that ran the gamut from Janet Jackson to Florence Welch (minus her Machine for a fashion night out) underscored his instinctive connection to the fundamental ethos of the house. You could pose it as a face-off: restraint versus release. The specter of Belle de Jour hovers over such a notion, but here it was as simple as black and white, if you considered the pristine glare of that opening trench versus the inky blackness of the last jumpsuit. But Pilati also proposed a blouse that was proper bordering on prim, bar the fact that it was completely sheer, and a jumpsuit that turned out to be backless. The subtle baring of skin was something of a leitmotif, with the slit skirt or the exposed midriff. It fitted with the tribalism Pilati was talking about afterward: how fashion is a way for women to identify themselves, just as members of a tribe do. He made the connection explicit with a print that was—literally—thumbprints, or a texture that looked a little like scarified skin. The sophisticated, the primitive—again, restraint and release. It added up to a collection that should resonate loud and long for Pilati.

For Men | yohana

Yves Saint Laurent Fall 2011 MenswearDefining the Yves Saint Laurent man: That's the challenge Stefano Pilati said he was meeting with his new collection. This creature is elusive, possibly because Yves Saint Laurent himself gave little direction other than the clothes in his own closet. It's not at all like the prodigious legacy the designer left with his womenswear. But Pilati remains determined to pin down his target. He was feeling a more body-conscious silhouette for Fall. Accordingly, almost everything about the collection, including details like lapels, felt elongated and slenderized. Even a felted blouson was drawn in to the body. The exception was the oversize outerwear, although its volume had the effect of emphasizing the slimness of what lay beneath. So did the very substantial footwear, raised up on ridged, camo-patterned soles.

Pilati also wanted to convey a new sophistication for YSL's menswear. He felt subtlety was key. So shadow plaids barely hinted at pattern in a couple of jackets, and the structured shoulder was achieved without any padding whatsoever. What the lean, boyish silhouette felt like more than anything else was Carnaby Street in the sixties. The high-closing, double-breasted, velvet-collared Edwardian jackets had a strong flavor of the London dandies of the time. But Pilati insisted the influence was closer to home. Rather than anything connected with London, he said he'd been dipping back into Proust, the virtual Bible of all things Saint Laurent.