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Emerson Spring 2012 Runway Show — The Lightness of Being

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One of the “brands to watch” making their debut during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City is Boston-based clothing label Emerson, the brainchild of Jackie Fraser-Swan. For Spring 2012, Fraser-Swan crafted a collection inspired by lightness and darkness, replete with shadowy gray silks and jerseys; sheer black lace and lightweight silks allowing slithers of light to penetrate otherwise obscure surfaces; caged overlays; static-like black-and-white patterns; midnight blues recalling star-less nights; silver strap details adding a futuristic touch to black fabrics; and mysterious white-on-black tie-dye denim tailored into sharp dresses, dressy shorts, and even a crisp vest with black lambskin along the edges and collar adding a biker-y feel.

Aside from the color palette — which consisted mainly of white, black, and shades of gray ranging from ash to dove, charcoal, slate, and silver — the Emerson Spring 2012 collection toyed with notions of lightness and darkness via contrasting textures (airy silks and chiffons versus heavier leathers and exotic skins) and silhouettes (some more structured, as with a boxy, black-and-silver, metallic print, three-button blazer with a plunging neckline and a checkered print adorning the rolled-up cuffs, or with a voluminous greige bubble skirt; and others more fluid, as with a hip-hugging, sleeveless, color-blocked dress with a black mesh bodice and a light grayish blue skirt with an asymmetrical hemline). The battle between lightness and darkness, then, was also a conflict between hard and soft, geometric vis-a-vis abstract, clear versus obscure, and rebellious as opposed to orderly.

Some of the standout pieces included a midnight blue, see-through, long-sleeved lace top with a black leather bandeau strip covering the bust line (as shown last above) and a futuristic, sleeveless, slim-fitting, cropped black jersey top with a turtleneck-like collar and criss-crossing silver strips along the top’s front panel, which was paired with an expertly cut pair of wide-leg herringbone trousers with two triangular flaps dangling from the waistline to create a tuxedo tail effect. The prints used were also quite charming — particularly the ink blot-like, black-and-white block print seen in such pieces as a fluid, sleeveless blouse with a retro button-back closure in a ribbon-like shape (as seen above, immediately after the show video). From a design perspective, the most groundbreaking element was perhaps the fascinating cage overlays integrated into such pieces as the strapless black jersey dress that closed the show (pictured after the jump), which featured a glistening silver outer frame that resembled the overlapping metal bars along the lower half of a vintage dress form.

Personally, I was most enamored with the long-sleeved lace-and-leather top, which managed to capture both the Versailles glamour of fine lace and the biker, rock-and-roll edginess of black leather.

The entire collection was pretty and wearable, reminiscent of some of Rebecca Taylor’s work. Check out more photos from the show below and don’t miss the video of the models’ final walk included at top!

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