If this past New York Fashion Week is anything to go by, that old adage about not wearing white after Labor Day will be up for dispute next September. Although the spring/summer ’11 collections were marked by an optimistic array of bright colors, it was the unmissable abundance of cool whites that stood out as the minimalist hue to look forward to.
Alexander Wang led the pack with a collection of airy garments that billowed down the runway with a lilting ease. His masterfully simple use of drapery and volume translated into overlapping layers, loose embellishments and the occasional use of effective tiers on busts and shoulders. Models were adorned with shimmery face and body makeup that accentuated the otherwise matte knits, feathery cotton and occasional silk, giving an overall feeling of crisp simplicity.
Preen also gave into the allure of white—albeit with somewhat more variety. Creamy ivories and pale taupes were subtly contrasted against stark, starched hospital hues and sheer fabrics in a surprising range of anti-colors. With its usual dexterity, the label balanced the minimalistic aesthetic with superb tailoring that flirted with inventive techniques such as pleating and layering.
Rad Hourani used white as a source of contrast among his architectural shirts and jackets as well as with geometric paneling, making for a sharp overall effect. Wes Gordon, by comparison, used the contrast effect as a subtle accent to pale shades of yellow, camel and gray.
Thakoon, meanwhile, emphasized the color in a variety of items—from a twill jacket to a shift with chiffon sleeves—and Wayne flirted with its optical illusion potential in a series of asymmetrical shirts and dresses. Derek Lam rounded out the bunch with a few knockout items, such as a double-breasted, belted coat and a slit-sleeved short dress.