TRINA TURK MERCEDES-BENZ PRESENTS DESIGNER By Alexander Patino
L.A-based designer Trina Turk had her MBFW debut at Cabaña Grande where she unveiled her Mexican world-class resort inspired swim and spa collection “Acapulco Gold”. The collection was a rich display of bold and bright colors, filled with hypnotic prints, and exotic touches throughout – but it wasn’t a total foray into a Mexican world-class resort – there was a bit of Morocco and Oz thrown into the mix as well. This show was also Turk’s unveiling of her Menswear swim and spa line “Mr. Turk”, although – as has proven to be the case at this particular MBFW – the men got shafted this go around as well. In her “Mr. Turk” line Trina Turk made abundant use of her signature prints, which bombed terribly on both the men’s shorts and the epically silly use of Gilligan hats. The khaki pieces looked wonderful on the ladies, but on the men, you’d want to just rip that khaki-textured cotton shirt right off the model, and not just because we want to see his abs – but because he’d be better off without the garment, period. All that aside, Turk scored big on the ladies front. Her floral prints had a rich artisanal feel and her embellishments, like the gold spangles on a short black top, were exciting and youthful. Turk gets a bit too close to Ralph Lauren territory with her gold lame’, but it wasn’t a complete distraction. Where Turk really knocked it out of the park was with her enormous, oversized hats. One look – an asymmetrical gold lame’ one-sleeve top set against a pair of turquoise bikini bottoms looked stellar with the “Glinda the Good Witch goes to the beach” hat. Turk really served up a smorgasbord of treats and everyone ate it up.
Poko Pano creator and founder Paola Robba had a very direct and clear statement to make with her latest swimwear collection “Amo o Brasil” and boy was it clear. Robba’s love of the people, flora and fauna, smells and tastes of Brazil were all addressed in her eclectic and slightly provocative showcase. Not only was this one of the most cohesive collections all week, but it was also one of the most varied. One-piece suits, tri and bandeau tops, tangas, banded bottoms, linen skirts, flowing vests – with all this Robba obviously has a lot to offer, but it never feels excessive – it only feels integral. Hands down the cutest bikini offered throughout all of MBFW Swim belongs to Robba herself, an adorable two-piece decorated with pastel countryside homes. Another bonafide showstopper was the black one-piece adorned with a sequin toucan bird. Another gem was a sheer taupe one-piece suit embroidered with what looks like two Brazilians ready to break out into a fun and boisterous samba. Robba is a woman of vision and we should be grateful that her efforts go to swimwear – because if this MBFW has taught us anything – it’s that no one cares to wow us with swimwear anymore. Not Robba. She’s still fighting the good fight.
One can’t help but feel a bit ambivalent about the presentation of True Religion’s Swimwear Collection Spring 2011. For all the things it got right, it was still its very own concept of “American vintage” that came off as just too overly referential – not letting the show take off the way it could’ve. Rock & Roll metal, hippy tie-dye, animal print (mixed media animal print too), and a little Las Vegas fringe. America was being represented from all sides and at all different kinds of speeds. The only accessories that worked were the necklaces. The Panama hats, those oversized fringe bags, the head-scarves – the world can live without them. The collection lacked focus, not necessarily ambition. It certainly was not without its definite merits. The inspired color-blocking (denim blue with adobe, hunter green with sage) came off as rich, tasteful and fun to wear. The fabric wash detail, like in a rich clay tone top and in a fine flannel gray two- piece) gave the collection a firm, yet modern grip on vintage appeal. The men, on the other hand, have been seriously mistreated throughout Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim 2011. Uninspired board-short after even duller and even more insulting board-short. Men have really gotten the short end of the design stick this season, so True Religion is not alone in that neglect, but it’s not guiltless either.
It’s no secret that Ed Hardy is an acquired taste. In most cases, arrangements involving the words “Ed Hardy” and “Mercedes Benz Fashion Week” will result in a proverbial ERROR sign. Well, lucky for Christian Audigier that Mercedes Benz holds it’s Swimwear Fashion Week in sunny Miami, Florida – a city that has fully and wholeheartedly embraced the line as a sort of geographic uniform. Fan or not – everyone knows the Ed Hardy pin-up tattoo leitmotif. Well – it hasn’t changed – not one tiny bit. And, you might ask, what does it bring to swimwear? How does it help? How does it enhance beachwear style? The answer is – it doesn’t. Christian Audigier must be a thoroughly complacent man who struck upon gold many years ago and decided his formula would never need to change. It’s the same old tired tiger, that poor bored skeleton, that same inflamed blue heart. Not only is there no actual drive to put a brand new spin on swimwear – the same overly strained graphics are pasted all over those sad, sad husky board-shorts and those sleep inducing two-piece bikinis. To isolate a certain piece and to pick it apart for its shortcomings would be an act of futility. Those in attendance at the Raleigh Hotel, I’m sure, came to see some “designs” and that’s not what they got. So, since we can’t talk about design, let’s talk about style. That hair. That makeup. Who styled this show!? Christian Audigier is a man that is bolted to the past apparently. We were all fans of Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, but that was A LONG TIME AGO. Give it up. The rest of the world has moved on and so should Christian Audigier. Long curly locks and gelled, frosted bangs, set against dark smoky eyes and scarlet lips? What an unequivocal mess. Jasmine Sanders, Chris Brown’s new girlfriend and model –an unquestionably beautiful girl – looked…let’s just say it wasn’t good. And to end the show in a knock-off of last season’s Prada crystal dress? For shame! Swimwear is all about catching some rays, enjoying the water and having some major fun – but at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week – is there not some natural imperative, as a designer, to really prove oneself? To show that innovation in swimwear is possible? Not for Mr. Audigier. He’s probably quite pleased with himself.