February 09, 2011
Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock know their fashion history. They've been studying up since the early nineties, when they were middle schoolers with subscriptions to Vogue and Sassy. For Fall, they looked back at those years and borrowed heavily from its designer big guns: Giorgio Armani, Donna Karan, and Azzedine Alaïa. They even printed an era-appropriate zine with contributions from their fashionable friends and placed them on front-row seats. "It's the other side of grunge, the elegant early nineties," they said backstage of the clothes. For those of you not so well versed in that part of the decade's styles: It was a time when jackets and coats came with big padded shoulders, pants were full and sat at the natural waist, skirts were ice-skater short or long to the ground, and tops were often sliced off at the midriff or accented by daring cutouts.
As always, Buhai and Mayock showed off their subtle sense for color. A long silk crepe de chine skirt combined warm blocks of rust, navy, and gray to lovely effect. And no one can whip up an interesting neckline like they can. The square neck of a long silk jersey dress looked particularly sexy. But the cutouts proved to be somewhat tricky, and, apologies to Armani et al., but those early-nineties silhouettes don't look all that flattering to contemporary eyes. A fitted and cropped black leather jacket worn with a navy lace sweatshirt and a cropped pant was the show's most convincing look for the way it treaded lightly on the past.