Christian Siriano and Naeem Khan know what women like. While many designers at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York showed bland shades for spring, these two went in the opposite direction, with colorful, floral collections inspired by the vitality of life south of the border.
Siriano, arguably the most successful Project Runway winner ever, based his collection on a vacation he took to Isla Mujeres. The Mexico resort town's brightly colored houses and images of the bustling marketplace were reflected in a series of nifty basket-weave skirts, jackets and dresses, as well as daywear in bright yellow, melon and pink floral shades.
Many designers showed bland shades for spring, but these two went in the opposite direction, with colorful collections inspired by life south of the border.
A number of feathery outfits that looked like carwash flappers were a real miss, but Siriano redeemed himself with a series of gowns adorned with floral appliques and flounce overlays. Siriano excels at eye-catching eveningwear — he won raves for outfitting Mad Men's Christina Hendricks in a form-fitting black gown at the Emmys — and his ethereal spring looks heralded the bloomin' season.
Khan, a Texas favorite who also excels in dramatic, figure-enhancing eveningwear, kept up the winning streak with a collection based on the "romance and vibrant colors embedded in the Latin culture," as he explained in his program notes. He featured his models in Frida Kahlo braids, but the slinky evening gowns had more of a Sofia Vergara vibe.
Many of the most dramatic looks featured embroidered lace roses over nude mesh fabric to create a dazzling sense of illusion. Floral peasant blouses and heavily embroidered kaftans were riffs on themes in previous Khan collections, while gowns in multicolored, hand-painted abstract prints and colorful beaded cropped T-shirts and mini-dresses seemed fresh and new.
Khan closed the show with a delicate wedding gown embroidered with roses, heralding his newest venture. He launches his bridal collection next month, and it looks like a winner.