NYFW A/W10: Carlos Miele, Donna Karan, Jil Stuart, Tracey Reese

By  February 16, 2010

While the rest of the United States enjoyed a day off to celebrate the day dedicated to the country’s forefathers, the fashion nation, still reeling from the loss of one of its greatest leaders, Alexander McQueen, forged ahead with one of the busiest days of the fashion week schedule.

It kicked off with a Brazilian twist at Carlos Miele, where the designer claimed “geometric abstract art, photomontages and constructivist architectural engineering” as his inspiration. While I’m not entirely sure where the photomontages came in, the mood, with fuschia and purple body con dresses, stunning fox furs slung over casual neutral separates and a shocking royal blue silk gown or two, was more akin to the eclectic, eccentric and sometimes explosive energy surrounding carnivale, which, appropriately, kicked off in Rio on Monday.

Then it was straight back to NYC for the shows of two of the city’s most iconic power women designers: Jill Stuart at the historic New York City Public Library and Donna Karan’s mainline down in Greenwich Village. New Yorker is as New Yorker does and in the case of these two big time players, who remember the city’s recession plight last time around in the 80s, it was time to revisit that aesthetic. To put is simply, black, black and more black.

On Jill’s catwalk there were miniskirts teamed with over-the-knee boots, chunky knit oversized sweaters and scarves so massive they nearly engulfed their models’ heads (harkening back to her first collection in 1995) as well as an assortment of rousched metallic jewel-tone cocktail shifts. Despite the fact that her music cut out for at least 20 seconds mid-show, her loyal band of front row A-listers (90210’s AnnaLynne McCord, Mena Suvari and Gossip Girls Jessica Szohr and Michelle Trachtenbergs) didn’t seem to mind.

Down at Donna, it was time to celebrate her quarter century in the business with an anniversary collection entitled “Forever Black.”

“25 years ago, we started with a city, a bodysuit, a pair of tights and the power of a woman…25 years later, this woman is creative and complex, evolving, inspiring, seducing the world with clothes…as they reflect the power and passion of her city, her soul,” wrote Donna in the show notes.

Indeed, a schmorgasboard of celebrity, from the very young and trendy (Mena Suvari and AnnaLynne McCord fresh from Jill Stuart) to the old classics (Susan Sarandon, Demi Moore and Brooke Shields) turned out to reflect that power and passion with her.

The collection, a sophisticated delight for the ultimate Manhattan woman, featured forward thinking rubberized organza and laser-cut lace, black brocade coats and jackets teamed with black jersey bodysuits. It all topped off with a finale of stunning floor-length evening gowns composed of textured wool and nylon double organza rendered in—guess what—solid black.

Then it was back to the tents for girl time at Tracy Reese. The designer’s usual sweetness was punked up a bit with some black lacquered fabrics and micro-print ultra-minis. Still pretty in pink, frowers Julia Stiles and Kristen Bell smiled and cooed when a peach princess party dress, frill trim aplenty and sparkly jewellery adorned, emerged near the end of the show.

The day wrapped with a menswear collection from American household name Perry Ellis. There is only