Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fashion Week: Tadashi Shoji Looks To The Past


Perhaps Project Runway has spoiled certain aspects of fashion for your faithful correspondent, or perhaps it’s the need for designers to cut back in this uncertain economy. Not only that, an extensive knowledge of fashion history is not always a good thing to have inside the tents.

If I had to pick the single most uninspired show I have attended this week, regrettably it would have to be Tadashi Shoji.

As his dresses swept by, I found myself thinking, “Oh, a lovely draped black 40s evening gown…a ho-hum beaded beige 1960s A-line mini…another ho-hum beige mini, but with rope trim all over it…” and so forth.

Tadashi Shoji has been making draped and swirled dresses longer than most fashion bloggers have been alive, it’s “what he does” as one indignant young woman informed me when we discussed the show afterwards.

However, another problem your faithful correspondent had with Mr. Shoji’s collection was the often poor construction. This is not something I have not encountered on the runway before.

Several hems of the shorter dresses puckered and bubbled as the models walked; each dress had a shiny bobbing back zipper tap that caught the overhead lights as much as any of the intricate beadwork.

One dress made of alternating thin strips of solid and sheer fabric was stiff and moved poorly. It makes a smashing photograph, but in action, it stuck out awkwardly from the model’s hips as she walked.

This long dress looked like bits of bubble gum wrapper had gotten caught in the skirt.

To be fair, many of the dresses were quite appealing and the color palette was pleasing to the eye, mostly beige and sand with soft greens, blues and reds. One green dress was beautifully woven, exactly like the gold dress Gordana sent down the runway in last week’s Project Runway.

Good thing Heidi Klum was not in attendance, or there would have been a chance that Mr. Shoji would have been auf’ed.

All photos Getty Images

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