fashion-features
fashion-features

All Shook Up - Chaiken, Heatherette, Thakoon, Barbara Tfank, Costello Tagliapietra, Charles Nolan, Gustavo Arango, Keanan Duffty

Gotham had it all this week, as designers walked to the beat of their own drums.

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Barbara Tfank: It wasn't until the next-to-last look at Barbara Tfank's small, genteel show in the Hotel Carlyle bar that you realized your mind-set had temporarily shifted. The above-the-knee chiffon baby doll certainly seemed like an interloping younger sister to the looks that preceded it, all of which lulled you gently and completely into their world of soigné Fifties propriety. There is nothing remotely hip or trendy about Tfank's nipped-waist dresses, matching coat-and-skirt ensembles and prim suits, and that's just fine — but there's also nothing cloying or costume-y. It's easy to see why this designer's old-school wares are a staple of socialites. After all, they know that beautifully made clothes, like diamonds, are forever.

Costello Tagliapietra: Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra's fall collection had the crucial three S's that have become their mainstay — slim, sexy and sophisticated — and that, in itself, was a testament to their confidence. With zero adornment but for a few luxurious CT for Saga Furs, they let the clothes and their impeccable tailoring do the talking. The designers stuck to their choice fabric for fall, wool jersey, in a palette of browns, cool blues and greens that complemented the mostly mock or cowl necklines, bare backs and knee-skimming skirts. What was new this time around were the cool velvet shawl-collar coats and the pleated straight-leg trousers. Add a gown or two and the hard-to-please modern woman's got herself a wardrobe.

Charles Nolan: Charles Nolan has a strong track record for designing beautifully made clothes with an elegant sensibility that's as youthful as it is sophisticated. While he's always shown his well-edited collections informally in his boutique, this season Nolan decided on the tents. Not a wise move, for he tried too hard to do too much and it resulted in an all-over-the-place lineup that lacked his usual refinement, quality and clean styling. Some of that old Nolan chic was there, though, evident in a little Shetland suit, the silver-buttoned navy reefer or the white double-faced cashmere biker over a black jersey funnel neck and wool organdy skirt. And when Nolan added his kitten-heeled riding-style boots or slingbacks with leggings, even his most ladylike suits looked adorable. But he needs to regroup, recapture that Nolan charm and remember that bigger is not necessarily better.

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