During New York Fashion Week, I always try to catch the shows of the more unknown or obscure designers. Some are ready for prime time and some, unfortunately, are obscure for a very good reason.
I caught Indian designer Sushma Patel’s show. When I looked at her Fashion Week offerings, I thought of “The Arabian Nights.”
All the models wore high, cone-shaped peaked hats. Everything was a costume. The clothes were spangly with neon-bright sequins, cut in such a way you could not possibly wear underwear, and gimmicky (for example, an overtop untying to become an apron).
Her designs looked cheap except for one: a black one-piece with loosely draped pants, spaghetti straps, and a thin line of sequins at the waist.
Clothes by American Adrian Alicea were more of the same—cheap, spangly, and unwearable.
The first look he sent out (a long leopard-print skirt and gold print coat with fur trim) made me hope for something better.
But everything else was fit for a Las Vegas showgirl. He showed lots of gold lamé, very low-cut backs, and tiny tulle skirts that looked as if they should be accessorized with lollipops for Lolita.
Some of his things are so short that they barely cover the crotch. He’s capable of better. He sent out one lovely, long, turtleneck black velvet dress. It was so lovely that I wondered where it came from.
Catalin Botezatu from Romania sent out costumes too. Some were black and Gothic, and some looked as if they wandered off a Cecil B. DeMille film.
They were glitzy and completely over the top. All the costumes had long trains, and some had sheer wraps of chiffon with fur pompoms. They were made so cheaply that as models just walked down the runway, some pompoms fell off.
But I finally found two designers from Nigeria who design for real women.
The first, The House of Jola, is doing some beautiful things. Sweaters and loose pants were fitted at the knee, kind of like bloomers but not overwhelming, and eminently wearable.
There was a loose smock dress that was lovely. I didn’t care for the long shirtwaist dresses. From where I was sitting, they seemed to be made of a cheap satin.
The other Nigerian designer is “Ouch.” What a name, but what beautiful clothes.
He does both men’s and women’s clothes, and there was a man’s blue blazer that I would have loved for myself. He sent out marvelous leggings with loose shirts. I dress like this, and most women do today. His sportswear is superb.
I’ve been following Nedret Taciroglu from Turkey for some time now. Two seasons ago, I loved her collection; last season, I thought it was terrible. This season, I like it again.
I saw many asymmetrical hemlines. A number of one-shoulder short dresses were lovely. She did a very wide, short coat that I loved—but the wide shoulders, not so much.
She showed a sleeveless cream-colored wool jacket that everyone seemed to swoon over. This could be a trend.
Her short cocktail dresses with bubble satin skirts were crowd-pleasers. They were so simple and so chic. She showed some alligator and satin short cocktail dresses. I love alligator in shoes and purses, but in dresses I am not so sure.
The skins were hanging loosely from the satin fabric at the hem and looked unfinished.
Taciroglu showed some geometric tops with seaming over wiring so that the top stood out from the body.
Worse was the geometric seaming and wiring at the hips: Just what every woman wants—bigger hips.
Her long dresses would have been lovely were it not for the long trains.
The only woman I know who wears a train today is Queen Elizabeth, and even she doesn’t wear them as much as she did.
I saw Susi Hammer’s collection from Argentina for the first time. I loved it. What a lovely summer collection.
She showed full skirts with tank tops, and pants with vests and jackets. They were just dressy enough.
I loved her jackets with capris. And the models were barefoot, which I imagine was a lovely change from the “cages” other designers put them in.
Prizy Sebastian from the United States showed lovely, long tiered skirts with lots of wispy fabric. What I did not like was the way the chiffon edges were worked. The edges were cut and shredded and frayed.
The Korea Couture Designer Collective was breathtaking. The clothes were beautiful.
They showed black plaid pants with a fitted white shirt that was so beautiful. The fitted white shirts were shown with a number of pants. A blue print sheath was wonderful. So was a black-and-white strapless number with white feathers.
They showed a number of loose, print short dresses that I also loved. Unfortunately, while the styling was a hit, the quality was disappointing.
Up close, beading at the waist of one dress ended a good quarter-inch above the other side. On another dress, beads were falling off. If they can improve their quality, the Korean fashion industry might be a force to be reckoned with.
Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and president of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity agency in Manhattan. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.