Spring 2011 quickies: Tadashi Shoji, Kaelen & Yoana Baraschi

Tadashi Shoji
Thank god fashion shows are only 10 minutes long max, because they are intense for everyone involved. I spend them scrutinizing the clothes, taking photos, taking notes, and thinking about the big picture, i.e. what is the point of this show and what does it all mean? (Ok, maybe my thoughts aren't that deep, but I do ponder what I'm going to write about in my review.) Thankfully, with Tadashi Shoji, you don't have to think so much, and I mean that as a total compliment. His dresses are simply beautiful, and, really, that's all there is to it. This season he was inspired by Della Francesca and Botticelli, and the result was a series of icy-cool frocks, some with an obvious draped Grecian look, others that evoked flower petals. There were gowns, sheaths, cocktail dresses, and every last one was stunning. And sometimes stunning is all you need.

During Fashion Week, I always try to make time to see a handful of newer designers, and so I was glad I trekked out to West Chelsea Saturday morning, in spite of a rather pounding post-Fashion's Night Out hangover, to check out Kaelen Farncombe's latest collection. It was inspired by a tornado-chasing trip, which translated into beautifully streaky silk prints in pale shades of gray. It was all very minimalist, but in spite of the rainy theme, nothing felt cold or clinical. In fact, I found myself mentally shopping the collection, from the textured sweaters to the relaxed shorts suits. One of the most promising new designers I've seen, I can't wait to see what inspires Kaelen's next collection.

Yoana Baraschi
For the spring outing of her contemporary line, Yoana Baraschi took the theme of fallen angels and translated it somewhat literally into bird prints and a dress with a tiered feather skirt. Throughout were a series of sweet printed dresses, many with ruffles and fluttery sleeves, and very wearable separates, like a tie-waist ruffled jacket and a nice pair of wide-leg linen trousers. In the contemporary world, which often chases the super-trendy customer, it's always refreshing to see a designer embracing such an overtly feminine aesthetic. I know plenty of women who enjoy dressing this way, and well, they like to shop. Now I know where to send them.

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