The seating chart at a Bryant Park show can often look like the United Nations' roll call. There's an international set that grows with each fashion week, and it's not just in the front row. Foreign designers, too, are warming to Gotham. This season, Munich-based Strenesse (once on the Milan schedule) followed Wolfgang Joop's Wunderkind line to the Big Apple.
Gabriele Strehle presented in the tents 37 looks that aimed for a "romantic minimalism," which was achieved in the muted palette (cream, khaki, peach, gold) and fabric choices, particularly lace, organza, and cotton tulle. Filmy dresses with Empire lines had a certain charm. As a whole, though, Strehle overreached with this collection, which was as unfocused as the soundtrack (one minute Antony and the Johnsons, the next Judy Collins). Menswear pieces, such as lamé trousers and pants with decorative wallet chains, were, in short, naff. Proportions were too varied: Trench-style boleros mingled with extra-long suit jackets; crystal and beaded man-style oxfords were overdone; and the almost-neon taffeta flower prints appeared to be grown in a radioactive garden. Strehle hit the mark with a layered skirt with plissé hem and a double-breasted navy organza trenchcoat that was just right for a rainy New York day.