It was Valentine's Day and so perhaps it was appropriate that Sunday was a day of utterly loveable events. The first order of the day was Victoria Beckham's presentation, which was held at a beautiful private residence just off 5th Avenue near Central Park in New York. Considering her extreme fame and the ritzy neighbourhood, one would expect an over-the-top reception that reminds attendees how different Beckham's life is from your average Jane's. But with editors welcomed with refreshments and the calming smell of fresh flowers and candles, we were instead made aware that Beckham is a different figure from the general celebrity designer. Before she presented and talked about the clothes, she went around the salon and personally greeted the 20-plus guests. And as much as fashion folks love to dislike celebrity designers' work, her collection was an unarguable hit.
Beckham opened with a series of wool crepe and jersey dresses, which were not only bold due to their Dick Tracy red colour, but also because of the addition of restrained volume to her signature taut silhouette. This season, she explored the tension between the structure and movement of fabric on the body, resulting in gorgeous wool pencil skirts paired with a drapey lamé top, body-hugging dresses with soft folded panels, a charcoal sweater dress cut on the bias and a gorgeous sapphire floor-length gown that moved mellifluously. She's also added some new materials and techniques to her design repertoire, such as metallic raffia, double-sided jacquard, raw-edge details and hand tacking to create a cloudlike effect on a gazar dress. To anchor the dresses, Beckham collaborated with Brian Atwood for her towering, impossible-to-walk-in heels.
This was Beckham's fourth outing, and every time she has managed to up the ante in a subtle way. Thakoon, however has been erratic for a couple of seasons. Still, his most recent one draws him back into the upper echelon of New York fashion with the best collection so far this season. For the designer, autumn/winter 2010 meant a lot of fur, as sleeves, hood trimmings, or full-on voluminous numbers of which Anna Wintour will surely approve, even if anti-fur fashion-watchers are horrified at the pelts' ongoing revival. Aside from such obviously luxurious materials, Thakoon created texture from cashmere, velvet, chiffon and leather, giving his brand of American sportswear a varnish of incredible richness.
Moncler held what would be the most original and most ambitious presentation of the day, for its new Grenoble line, a more urban collection for the rejuvenated ski-wear brand. Located in the driving ranges of Chelsea Piers, the Franco-Italian company set up massive rows and columns of scaffolding where models stood still to the echoing sounds of opera music and flickering spotlights, wearing the company's winter jackets. It was difficult to see the detail of the clothes, but the scale of the presentation was so impressive that the models looked like toys from afar.