Diva’s Choice: The Neon Coat

Shamask Coat, $1495

On the runway, on the street, and in my closet, fall is my favorite fashion season. Why? Coats. I love coats so much it’s a little bit weird. I fall in love with coats the way some women fall in love with wedding dresses. That instant connection and immediate knowledge that, somehow, this piece of fabric is destined for you. (For those of you who wonder, my fall coat is a knee-length wool jacket that poofs out a bit into a bubble hem. It has oversized pockets and it closes with buttons and a tie, and it’s grey plaid with pink and blue accents, and it’s the best thing I own.)

But Shamask has taken the desirable fall coat and turned it into a spring essential. Now, it’s still made of wool and cashmere, so I suppose it can only be worn in springtime by really fashionable Eskimos, but just that pop! of a neon green is enough to make a brisk fall day feel like spring. The Bergdorf website calls the color “pistachio,” but I’m sorry, that is much brighter than pistachio. It’s almost as bright as my college roommate Roxie’s infamously fabulous highlighter sweater! (I feel a thousand years old, referring to someone as “my college roommate,” knowing that it’s in the past tense.) Anyway, her sweater and this coat are living proof that you can take a classic garment in a day-glo color and rock it in every season. (Though, for 1500 bucks, you better damn well live somewhere cold enough to get year-round use out of that coat!)

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A Little More Couture

Let’s talk about Georges.

Unfinished, but Fabulous

Georges Hobeika Fall 2010 Couture

Easily the most likeable, the most wearable, and therefore the most boring piece in Georges Hobeika’s fascinating and often inspiring haute couture collection. Not that this would qualify as boring under normal circumstances; it’s still high fashion and gorgeous, but it’s certainly nothing new. The tissue-paper draped blouse has been done in countless ways (but I give Hobeika credit for making it more beautiful than most). And the skirt is gorgeous and gives off a fabulous Middle Eastern feel (Hobeika is, after all, Lebanese). But take a look at the next few photos and you’ll see how much more he is capable of.

Georges Hobeika Fall 2010 Couture

I want to punch that model in the face for walking with such an unattractive hunch – you’re a fucking runway model, for God’s sake, it’s your JOB to stand up straight, keep your shoulders back, and live on a diet of cigarettes and cocaine. But that ruffled sunflower piece is simply majestic. I just wish the dress either ended there, because it feels like Hobeika was so caught up in the impeccable creation of the top half of the garment that he simply gave up on the bottom. The skirt just sort of hangs there lifelessly, making an otherwise complex and beautiful gown look sloppy and unfinished. Unfortunately, this was a mistake he repeated.

Georges Hobeika Fall 2010 Couture

Same exact concept, same exact mistake. Another beautiful incarnation of a unique design element, but the look is nearly ruined by the wrinkled mess south of her hips. I hate the way it drapes around the front of her legs like sweatpants, and the train seems like an afterthought. But I do applaud the red lips and nails; they certainly pop against that soft silver.

Georges Hobeika Fall 2010 Couture

This is what I love to see on the runway (though I think the front of the skirt isn’t laying as well as it could). I love this sort of gown because it still feels wearable – it feels like a real cocktail dress, not some cracked-out avant-garde version of what might once have been considered clothing. But it’s so obviously new and fresh, the beading is gorgeous, the colors are fabulous, and those shoes are to die for.

Georges Hobeika Fall 2010 Couture

Couture in a nutshell, this is by far my favorite piece in the collection. The bottom feels like strawberry shortcake, or an artist’s studio in the Village; the shape of the skirt feels like Victorian England; and the ruffles are astounding in shape and volume. As close to perfect as couture gets.

Stunning but Derivative

George Chakra Fall 2010 Couture

Like everything else in George Chakra’s collection, this dress is impeccably made, red-carpet ready, stunning to look at, and a total has-been. This dress has been seen on Hollywood’s most glamorous as long as Hollywood has existed. We all know that this is a recipe that works – but without a modern twist (and the gloves are not enough), this is just old news.

George Chakra Fall 2010 Couture

I understand that fashion is, by its very nature, derivative. Designers are inspired by what came before them. The fashion of the 30s becomes the fashion of the 50s becomes the fashion of the 80s, trends repeat, old tricks are revived and reused. But I think viewers of haute couture collections should still be allowed to expect some originality, some innovation. I know I’m being unreasonably hard on Chakra; all designers have pieces whose influences are easily recognizable. In every collection I’ve posted about on this blog, there’s been looks inspired by, or nearly copied from, other designers. But I’m giving Chakra such a hard time because 1) there are just so many copycat dresses and 2) this is Paris haute couture, and dammit, we deserve better.

George Chakra Fall 2010 Couture

Didn’t we see that giant collar on basically every episode of the 4th season of Project Runway? I’m pretty sure that collar is the go-to piece for every designer trying to be couture or avant-garde. And that’s acceptable when you’re in a design competition reality show, but not so much in an haute couture collection in Paris. (But, I concede, I absolutely love those colors together.)

George Chakra Fall 2010 Couture

One of the more original looks of the collection, though between the white and champagne frilliness, the red bow, and the blue shoes, I can’t see anyone wearing this outside the holiday season. You can still sense a sort of Marchesa-meets-McQueen feel to it, but it seems more original and inspired than the others. But that may be because this model is basically wearing a crinoline taco.

Stay tuned for tonight’s Diva’s Choice! Another piece of utter delicious fashion is on its way.

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