13 February 2008

The Coterie: testing the limits of texturing


The unofficial test for whether an item of clothing deserves to make the jump from the store shelf to my closet's shelf is that it has to strike me immediately and it has to strike me hard.

Occasionally, that must-have-it jolt comes in the form of a vibrant color or dramatic silhouette, other times I find it in the form of a unique sleeve, but most often, what most consistently draws me in and won't let me go is when I come across a skirt, blouse, jacket or dress whose showpiece nature is defined by its well-executed texturing.

Unlike a color or a cut, texturing, when done well and done tastefully, can make the difference between a dress that, at first blush, looks ho-hum and status-quo but upon closer inspection reveals the kind of detailing that makes its wearer feel as if she's walking around in a one-of-a-kind.

A textured shoulder will be the detail that separates your simple black sheath from the sea of other simple black sheaths in your office; a Winter coat that incorporates one type of texturing along the hem and another down the back is what will earn you -not the many J. Crew peacoaters- all those on-the-street "Oh my God, your coat is so cute!" compliments; a textured neckline is the distinguishing feature that makes the Stella & Jamie LLJ pictured above miles more memorable than its boring, boxy Wilson's counterpart.

I love texturing. Always have. But what I saw on Monday in nearly every designer's Fall/Winter '08 collection challenged my longstanding allegiance toward all cuts simple and sophisticated.

For what I saw was not just a textured back or a textured hem but rather a textured back and a textured hem and a textured neck, and across the bodice, a multitude of pleats, drapes, overlays, pintucks and dramatic interruptions of each of these with other pleats, drapes, overlays and pintucks.

During my run last night, I spent the entire hour -and thus missed the first half of "The Biggest Loser," despite its being directly in front of my face- dismissing ideas of what to call this particular trend.

Ultimately, I just went for the obvious -- texture upon texture (upon texture).

Enjoy.

Roping, ruching, and rolling at the neck
Jill Stuart

Cashmere blouson sleeves meet a series of grosgrain and satin overlays on the left,
silk crepe swathed in pleated mesh, cinched by canvas and leather on the right
Mint by Jodi Arnold

Lurex shoulders and dramatic jersey draping drawn in by a bow-shaped cummerbund
Julie Haus
Mesh-winged matte silk pleats buoyed by darted taffeta and bifurcated by velvet.
I want. I reeeeally want.
Bensoni

A veritable buffet of texturing, from tight blocks of ruching at the neck and hem, to a sprawling effect across the shoulders, to thin, longitudinal pleats on the bodice, to simple draping down the skirt
IĆ³dice
This dress was on the short list for favorite item of the entire show, an honor earned more for its back than its front -- simply stunning.

Black mesh collides with ivory quilting collides with neon leather -- an '80s explosion!
Single Dress

28 comments:

laura said...

Amazing, amazing, AMAZING until that complete mess at the very bottom. To be fair, I did like that once upon a time...Nancy Kerrigan, 1992 Olympics, Albertville, France.

Johanna said...

Just to be clear, I don't necessarily see myself walking around in any of those Single Dress dresses, I just thought the row of them made for a striking picture and helped me make my point!

dc journo said...

oooh! I love the Jill Stuart! is it a top of a dress or a just a top? The Iodice dress is work of art, but I think you'd probably need height to pull it off. at five foot two, I'll let someone else try...

Anonymous said...

Love Christopher Deane - you find them locally at Wink and Urban Chic

Ballerina K said...

is this event for retail buyers or are you able to purchase items for yourself? :)

Anonymous said...

I love Urban Chic but Wink has such a tiny selection (and such unfriendly saleswomen) that I never bother going in. With Cusp's huge inventory across the street, I never even think about Wink anymore. Has it improved since last year?

The Haus dress is so pretty!

lori said...

Between that strapless dress from yesterday and this black one, I think Iodice might be my new favorite line. Their pieces are really beautiful and striking.

kathleen said...

it could just be me, but I'm sick of the fashion spreads. can't we get back to you ripping apart DC women you see on the street? those were your best posts!

longtime fan said...

while I actually really like these reports from the "front lines" I somewhat agree with Kathleen. you've gone soft on us, J!

tooserious said...

I'll third that motion, kathleen and longtime fan, though I'm also enjoying these Coterie posts and realize J. can't make any more DC critiques until she's back in DC.

blackpencilskirt said...

I find the Christopher Deane to be wholly unflattering on the model. Perhaps someone with a larger bust and more defined waist will make it look better? I can't tell.

And although I do *love* these fashion posts, I am looking forward to your return to DC to give us some classic, in-your-face cristicism of the very *pedestrian* style DC women tend to emulate.

Catherine said...

I, too, love the Iodice dress. Please bring some back to DC to distribute!

I tried "NOEXCUSE" at Active Endeavors and it said, "Invalid Coupon Code: Out of Date"! Has anyone else encountered this?

Johanna said...

Catherine-

try it in all lower case -- I've e-mailed AE to ask them what's up. They told me as of Tuesday is should be up and running, so...once they get back to me I'll give you an update.

Sorry!

J

Johanna said...

Catherine-

Just spoke to AE, and they said to make sure you type 'noexcuse' in all lower-case.

My bad.

thanks for bringing this to my attention!

J

Dee said...

I love the Christopher Deane dress, but agree it might look less schoolgirl on someone with a larger chest and some hips...

I love (and kinda miss) the DC posts also, but c'mon people...its not like she's going to be at Coterie every week. Enjoy the fashion posts while they last!

bff in chicago said...

I'll take one of the Stella and Jamie LLJ and one of the Iodice black dress, please. You're laughing at the irony that the last picture (of the dress I know you hate) is your best, right?

kerrie said...

I can't believe that no commenters have noted the lack of bra in that first pic.

keep it up said...

while I miss the snarky street critiques as much as the next fan, I think it's important that you do things like this. no one else in the District is (at least not that I know of) and I for one appreciate being able to see peeks of the next season without having to go someplace impersonal like style.com.

dc stylist said...

the construction on the Iodice dress is brilliant

etcetera said...

that iodice dress has me coming around to the large, exposed zipper look.

Kristen said...

It's true, your blog makes my day!

Pinkie said...

Iodice has done it again for me..gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

As much as I'm impressed with how much you're able to post each day and hold down a job, I just want to let you know I miss your pace of posting 2-3 posts a day. Are we upping the running, is that it?

Marissa said...

I just hope to God this texture trend doesn't get misinterpreted by DC as Dockers with pleats and L.L. Bean fleece-lined jeans...

Loving the Christopher Deane, btw.

Anonymous said...

speaking of texturing, plus johanna's ex-favorite style inspiration: http://www.people.com/people/katie_holmes/photos/0,,20005730_20407771,00.html

Anonymous said...

Your blog is great! Can't wait to add it to my daily blogroll.

Iodice - wow.

heather said...

more snark! more snark!

cali finale said...

those last dresses look much too promish for me. The detailing on the Stuart dress/top is gorgeous.

keep writing whatever it is you want to write. I like the variety and it's fun to see you write so passionately about what you saw.