An Approach to Minimalistic Femininity at Spring 2014 Shows

details of designers new spring 2014 collection
From left: Close-up geometric cuts of a Narciso Rodriguez brocade dress; A bronze metallic textured cropped top; A black chiffon with a ruched detailed bodice.

It is no secret that American designers have one of the best luxury sportswear aesthetics women want. Something European designers envy when it comes to loosening naturally in such a manner. Americans love the mix of casualty, semi-formal, and luxury when dressing up, and American designers understand that demand very well; there was such a minimalistic approach designers took this time with sportswear. And even though we tend to focus more on international designers at the end, there were fascinating pieces some designers offered for next season at New York Fashion Week spring 2014 that proved to be on top of the league.

narciso rodriguez spring 2014 dresses

Narciso Rodriguez crowned himself with one of the best shows of the season. Minimalism is hard to master, but not for this incredible designer. There was something so intriguing about what Narciso did with proportion, cuts, and simplicity that put him on a high level of must see designers. He’s been keeping hems just below the knee for the past few seasons, but his new collection was all about bringing hems to the mid-thigh or even higher yet perfectly managing in keeping a refined ladylike balance; no vulgarity. 

He opened the show with a perfectly cut graphic white wool and black leather jacket that looked appealing with his dubbed version of a mini-skirt; they were actually short shorts with a panel at the front. Other skirts – ones cut to form double layers, other etched with different shades of fabric, and two white and black skirts layered over long chiffon fabric – were invigorating. 

What put him on the spotlight of triumph were not only his skirts, but his superb approach to minimalism, which wasn’t so minimalistic after all. The clothes were put together piece by piece in a very intriguing way that looked so effortless. I couldn’t have imagined how long it took to cut small slices of brocades and stitched them all together to look unified, or his detailed fringed embroidered tops which I suppose were more than embroidery as were his technical use of sheer, chiffon, and organza constructed into one slipdress. 

His final dresses were simply terrific. At far or in pictures, they appeared to have been embroidered or laced, but in reality those shiny patches were none the less but silk bonded to these dresses; it made you want to be close and personal to these light beauties.

 I haven’t had the opportunity to meet Mr. Rodriguez in person, but he appears so humble and shy that his simplicity of light spaghetti dresses (no one does it better than him) and super sharp tailoring make a sumptuous minimalism that just clicks for him. His pastel colors – pink, orange, grays, yellow – and black and white were feminine but sexy without overlooking it. It was almost a perfect collection - even shoes and handbags - other designers should start taking note.

reed krakoff spring 2014

Reed Krakoff was also fighting to imbue a minimalistic touch of femininity. It worked in some, like his asymmetrical chiffon dresses with a ruched bodice or nice looking satin sleeveless trench. But it lacked creativity, because even though Mr. Krakoff may be one to love for his sportiness and sharp tailoring (it was present here), there are other labels already producing these type of looks. Mr. Krakoff can become a copycat if he doesn’t awe with his innovation. But again, he left Coach to put more time into his own label, and with all the scandal that had been going on with his departure, I’ll let this one pass. One thing I admired though was his luxurious satin techniques, something the Rodarte sisters should take note; pictures can fool you from the true messy reality. It was also nice to see an intricate mesh appliqué of flowers on a white dress; it earned him some bonus points.

Oscar de la Renta Spring 2014

At Oscar de la Renta there was really not that much to talk about. Mr. de la Renta is a genius who always has something available for every generation of women. From Karlie Kloss’s opening luxurious lady look – double-face sleeveless coat, cardigan, and pencil skirt – to strapless dresses, like a short salmon chiffon detailed dress for those young girls who need a little mix of class and youthfulness. It makes sense for Mr. de la Renta and for me.

Botanical prints were just the perfect brush of femininity, embroidery like a white numbered one above I could see any kind of women in, and lace and crochet numbers were a hit for this icon. He knows what women want and does it in a very American sophisticated manner. It’s impossible to leave an Oscar de al Renta show without feeling cheerful and with great memories of beautiful pastel colors. Just like any other, his new gorgeous embroidered and tulle evening dresses, can leave any women feeling like a princess. A light green puffed up textured dress was one I had some younger girls’ state they’d be dreaming for their Quinceanera. Gorgeous Mr. de la Renta. Just a gorgeous collection.

Proenza Schouler Spring 2014

And while some were producing ladylike and minimalistic clothes, the guys at Proenza Schouler were trying to give it all with their urban luxe. Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough are the designers everyone wants to hang out with. In simpler terms, they know how to make something look cool and effortless. They have a keen eye for superior craftsmanship that always awes. This season they seemed to have taken an approach to minimalistic urban wear, which wasn’t the most aweing thing to see but neither was it horrible. They boys somehow have learned to mix a designer collection with marketing techniques that work well, like in their new collection.

Their wide crepe pants cut well above the ankle were the ones that were noteworthy paired with lustrous metallic cropped tops and straight peplum suede tops. A burgundy red dress with a wrap skirt, along others were pleasing. Their lurex knit evening dresses and metallic pleated skirts were also a show stopper. If this was their approach for still looking effortless, it worked, but I would have loved some more hardcore structures that I’ve been fond of for the past few seasons.

Last but not least, Michael Kors was the one who definitely knew how to balance his marketing side between his new collection. It was ridiculously chic and energetic. This would be the collection women would happily wake up to take their kids to school, go grocery shopping, take a walk along the park, and do so much more feeling feminine and effortless in what they wore. Even the models conveyed a fresh look with those minimum hairstyles.

It was as simple as putting on a slender white trench coat that added so much femininity with that flirty light brown belt, or layering on a light vibrant cardigan over your printed cropped bra top and pencil skirt. Crochet numbers were also beautiful and chic. And silk beaded dresses were perfect for a special meeting or date.

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