Far from orthodox
May 8, 2001
The VH1 show The Big '80s cannily exploited cheap nostalgia for
bubblegum pop, British New Wave and hairspray rockers. For Spring 2001 designers
likewise longed for the decade, with varying degrees of success.
Marc Jacobs celebrated the era that discovered him by presenting a mall
rat's dream of candy-colored extravagance, while Helmut Lang interpreted
bondage chic for a new generation. Downtown designers also continued to
thrive, with As Four, Bruce and Morteza Saifi doing what they do best --
reinventing, questioning, and providing fresh voices from the underground.
It's a lesson Miguel Adrover would do well to learn, as the designer
departed from his brilliant deconstructed fall line to show spring clothes
that could be mistaken for a bridge line. The avant-garde making a deliberate
play for the cheese-and-wine mainstream? So '80s.
Arguably one of the best shows during the week, Morteza Saifi's spring
presentation could only have taken place in New York. The setting for the
limited showing of 13 looks was a Chelsea school auditorium with enormous
windows, through which the Big Apple cityscape served as an impressive background.
The models walked out to the sounds of a live gospel choir, a fitting backbeat
to Saifi's take on interdenominational Sunday dressing.
Though less high-impact than last winter's range, Saifi's suitings were
far from orthodox: the Iran-born designer likes his construction complex
and his silhouette sculptural. We had lots of questions backstage for one
of Hint's favorite downtown designers, but Saifi was in Ghesquiere-monastic
mode and wanted to be alone. Despite the slight, we still have faith. --
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