New York designers fluctuate between Goth edginess and soft romanticism for fall

“While in Akron we are currently stuck in the winter of 2010, the ever ahead-of-schedule fashion crowd is already preparing for next year’s cold season. This past week in New York, designers introduced their fall 2010/winter 2011 collections to editors, buyers, critics, socialites and celebrities, kick-starting a month of global fashion presentations spanning the four main continental fashion capitals: New York, London, Milan and Paris.”

While in Akron we are currently stuck in the winter of 2010, the ever ahead-of-schedule fashion crowd is already preparing for next year’s cold season. This past week in New York, designers introduced their fall 2010/winter 2011 collections to editors, buyers, critics, socialites and celebrities, kick-starting a month of global fashion presentations spanning the four main continental fashion capitals: New York, London, Milan and Paris.

At the beginning of the week, the sad news of British fashion icon Alexander McQueen’s tragic death hung over the collections like a large rain cloud, putting a damper on the whole week of designer presentations.

Still, some designers were able to bring a bit of excitement to the somber atmosphere, showing collections that ranged between two distinct and different categories: Gothic edginess and soft romanticism.

On the darker side of the spectrum, Joseph Altuzarra, who is quickly ascending the ranks to become one of New York’s top young designers, sent out a collection influenced by Tom Ford era Gucci and Edward Scissorhands.

From the first look-a razor sharp tailored black wool, leather and goat fur jacket worn with a matching black wool pencil skirt and dominatrix knee-high laced boots-it was evident that Mr. Altuzarra was taking a kinky Goth route for fall.

Other standout looks from his collection were a very-Selina Kyle black leather catsuit with suture-like stitching and a group of looks in scarlet red velvet, including an impeccably cut pantsuit and a sparkly floor-length cape that Little Red Riding Hood would go gaga over.

Alexander Wang, New York’s current trendy downtown it boy designer, also presented a slightly sinister Wall Street-inspired collection made up predominately of chalk pin-striped wool suiting and velvets in jet black, midnight blue and raspberry. Also, for an added dash of sultry eroticism, a couple revealing lingerie dresses with lace detailing were incorporated in the line-up.

In strict contrast to Altuzarra and Wang’s hard-edged aesthetic, Marc Jacobs, arguably the current king of fashion, and Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte both took a lighter approach with their collections.

A remix of Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz played during Jacobs’ show, setting the tone for the whimsical, delicate and decidedly feminine clothes that came down the runway.

A sweet Dorothy-like youthfulness was conveyed with A-line skirts in neutral tones, sheer dresses in pastel hues, and low-heeled Mary-Jane shoes worn with socks and a pair of sparkly transparent coats trimmed in Mongolian lamb possessed all of the wonderment of Oz.

At Rodarte, the Mulleavy sisters, who usually focus on macabre themes like Japanese horror films and predatory vultures in their collections, shifted gears this season, instead opting to show supremely romantic florals and wispy white silk gowns that looked like deconstructed wedding dresses. Nicholas Kirkwood, who designs insanely inventive shoes for the label each season, concocted impossibly high platforms with heels neatly constructed to resemble melting wax.

Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez at Proenza Schouler decided to have the best of both worlds for fall in a collection that was one part downtown, one part prep school, which in Gossip Girl addition equals one whole Jenny Humphrey. Models strutted the runway wearing cutesy black toggle coats paired with black and white graffiti skinny jeans, tough-as-nails black leather pleated mini-skirts and adorable boldly print baby-doll dresses. Also eye-catching was a black wool coat with a purple dyed fox collar.