Geoffrey Beene points the way.... Nobody understands better that in a modern world luxury is ease and ease is what's left off not what's added on; everything rides on the fabrics, the cutting, the putting-together... the sophistication of his thinking.
With the New York September fashion shows just having passed by in a blur, it's the conversations I have with friends and editors at the evening parties that always last in my mind—the questions they pose to me, as a fashion historian, like: Who do you think are the designers today that we will remember in the future? How did these collections measure up? What pieces would you invest in as a collector or as a museum? What historical inspirations were particularly prevalent?... When pondering these queries I always turn back to the eras and designers I feel a deep affinity to, and wonder if the same questions were said during their time—were editors of 1977 debating Calvin Klein's likelihood of longevity in the industry, the same way they discuss Alexander Wang?
A host of models including Sara Kapp, Vibeke Knudsen, Jerry Hall, Iman, Chris Royer, Pat Cleveland, Alva Chin, Beverly Johnson, Sunny Redmond, Clotilde and Patti Hansen shot by Oliviero Toscani for Vogue, September 1977.
The half-dozen designers, shown in these pages with clothes from their new collections, stand for more than the mood of the moment—each of them brings to American fashion a total concept of dressing that is so uniquely his (and her) own and puts it across with such head-to-toe flair you don't need a label to identify the look... their style is their signature.
Stephen Burrows: at the top of his form... In a year when other designers are putting their money on a dress, Burrows is already banking it; he's got the dresses (and more!) everyone wants—without conventional closings, seams, hems. Just soft fabrics sliding on a good body. If you've got it, he flaunts it.
Calvin Klein turns a corner... In the mix of texture and color—in the putting-together of pieces as he presented them—he turns the whole world of separates-dressing in a new direction. It's called, simply: dressing.
Ralph Lauren softens the edges.... Without moving from what he does best, he did it better. He re-thought the whole look of classic sportswear—shape, proportion, combinations of textures—and turned it out with more appeal than this kind of dressing has ever had.
Mary McFadden follows her own star... Shapes narrowing, hems rolling under, ends knotting, typing, wrapping, strapping—she comes at everything from such a personal angle, you'd expect her to be a cult heroine. Instead, everyone is getting her message: imagination—informed with taste.
Oscar de la Renta loves all the girls... His days are swell, but his evenings—! There are women who would wear them just to go from one room to the other—even getting into them is like a little extra attention.