Day Seven of NYFW FW 2017 was our evening of couture. With two amazing presentations from two equally talented couture designers, the night was filled with more silent awe and wonderment than any other presentation we had attended so far. It helped a lot that we were clueless as for what to expect other than quality and luxury garments.
Gemy Maalouf’s presentation is akin to those one would see during Paris Fashion week. Fair notice, my photographer was all a fuss about not knowing where to shoot or being able to capture a good picture, but that just showed how much of a visual feast Gemy Maalouf’s presentation was.
The show commenced with a single large base violinist playing decidedly concerto music, not dissimilar to music found before the opening act of a Shakespearean tragedy. A minute or two into the performance model’s entered from two doors at opposite ends of the venue. Typically between four to five gorgeous model’s would enter the space from either door and begin a rhythmic counterclockwise or clockwise motion, the group of two splitting into groups of two or four as model’s walked around guests seated in the center chairs of the venue on either side.
Two things were immediately clear, this was designed to maximize social reach of those in the front row and there were many white or gold iPhones snapping pictures of the fabulous frocks. The second thing was the extremely uneven lighting left dark patches all around the venue ( much to the chagrin of my photographer ), but this made for some really interesting silhouettes of the dresses depending on your perspective of the garment at that time. Without question, the venue was definitely fitting of the presentation, evoking feelings of a luxurious wedding party with the arching ceilings, high glass door frames and dimly lit chandeliers.
As for the actual gowns, the design was immaculate and seemed equally at home on the red carpet or the back of a new bride. Exquisite craftsmanship, incredible detailing and wizardry in patterns were definitely the norm for Gemy Maalouf. Gemy draws her inspiration from the magic of colors and the harmony of textiles to weave collections that tell a story through every, entwining sophistication into the most minute of details to create the nearly bespoke artistry known only to haute couture. While it wasn’t clear if this was the more ready to wear, or rather pret-a-porter, or couture, it nonetheless was one of the more interesting of NYFW.
Photos with asterisk by Jerry Tian Ying Min
Irina Vitjaz was the ready to wear compliment to Gemy Maalouf’s high end couture collection, at least for part of the presentation, and narrowly fifteen minutes later. After racing across town for what seemed to be forever, I was barely able to squeeze in prior to doors for the show. My photographer, not so lucky. However upon entering I could see why. Easily the most packed presentation we’d been to of the entire week, Irina Vitjaz had virtually no space for even those crammed against the walls.
A soft choir instrumental played overture to what could only be Austrian / Russia overlays accompanied models who were slightly more shapely than the norm in cocktail dresses, tube dresses and voluminous gowns with trains down the runway. Asymmetrical necklines, beaded sheer tops, bows, sequins and more were part of Irina’s second presentation in North American, following a widely successful presentation only six months prior. Additionally, Irina was the first designer we’d seen to include so much yellow in her fall collection (we counted four distinct looks) but it meshed surprisingly well with her lilacs, lavenders, blues and scarlet numbers. As the collection went on brighter colors gave way to sparkly hues of bronze, copper and silver gowns of regal elegance in addition to a white bridal gown that would be more at home on the red carpet than anything else.
There were a few especially beautiful pieces I literally wished I could buy off the runway, but I’m confident their price would be higher than I imagine. The designer herself was born in Russia to a family that had a rather notable influence on the country’s history, going back over 400 years to a lineage of servitude to the Russian tsar. It was, in fact, Irina’s grandfather as one of the best tailors of his day that planted the roots that would one day blossom into this amazing collection.
I was mesmerized by a sparkly cerulean blue two piece with a cropped blazer and a deep side split matching skirt. Definitely sure to garner that coveted triple look. Additionally, a velvet gown that depending on the light appeared to be either purple or red with a plunging shoulderless neckline and matching sleeves was to die for.
Hats off to many of the models wearing Irina Vitjaz, as it was evident the complication some of the pieces posed in basic movement, but that didn’t make any part of the collection any less stunning. It serves to add that these models were also the kind you would imagine at a fancy gala or cocktail party, so hats off to the beauty teams.
Sexy, sophisticated and slightly sensuous, Irina Vitjaz is the very essence of a trend towards extremely flattering textures and fabrics for the female form. Her brand’s tagline is pure couture, an aspect that definitely was not lost on her Fall / Winter 2017 collection. Definitely interested to see which celebrities will be wearing Irina in the coming award shows and adding more of her fabulous presentations in the future.
Images of Irina Vitjaz were provided by NYFW.com.