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Eternal Sunshine And Aquatic Lust At Carlos Miele Spring 2012 Runway Show

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Like Oscar de la Renta and Narciso Rodriguez, Brazilian fashion designer Carlos Miele understands the feminine mystique, how to create magic through the artful manipulation of fabric, how to celebrate the female form via body conscious silhouettes, how to make every woman feel like the star of her very own fashion fairy tale. Miele’s extensive knowledge of architecture informs all his designs — even when crafting the most fluid gown in the slinkiest fabric, he emphasizes form via clean lines and adds internal structure through a bevy of techniques ranging from bias cuts to pleating, braiding, draping, ruching, piping, shirring, and cross-stitching. When you gaze upon his concoctions, you can’t help but marvel at the intricacy of the detailing, and yet the garments never feel constrictive or rigid. Each piece has an effortless grace to it, even though the most extensive work went into its creation. But perhaps what makes Miele most distinct from his fellow clothiers is the extent to which he draws from his heritage when designing his pieces. Vibrant color and luminosity abound in Miele’s work, and there tends to be a festive exuberance to his collections befitting of the Caribbean. More importantly, Miele has a knack for infusing a breezy sexiness into his pieces — whether through one-shoulder cuts, sky-high slits, plunging necklines, or peek-a-boo slits and slashes. It’s perhaps a sensibility he can attribute to his rearing in Río de Janeiro, where the hot climate necessitates the exposure of sun-kissed skin, as opposed to in the United States, where any flash of flesh tends to be labeled obscene or scandalous.

His Spring 2012 collection, showcased on Monday, September 12th at Lincoln Center, showcased all of Mielie’s aforementioned strengths. Simply put: it was the type of show that left you wanting to bow down before such a genial artist.

Dubbed “Immaculate Landscape,” the collection was inspired by Miele’s notion of paradise. In his utopian vision, the sun is perpetually out, hence the flashes of tangerine, coral, sunset orange, and persimmon, not to mention the glittery gold details peppered throughout the collection. And, of course, Miele’s Eden involves an expansive ocean, a notion conveyed via aquatic shades of blue and green ranging from aqua to turquoise, azure, pale teal, seafoam green, Amazonite, and sapphire.

The collection’s aquatic overtones were visible in more than the color palette. As soon as the show opened, a tropical vibe was established, as four models donning flowing printed caftans over simple white swimsuits (as shown above at top) stormed the stage en masse, the catfans’ sheer fabric billowing behind them and swaying in the wind, grazing the floor, and creating a trail behind the models that conjured up images lof manta ray wings and jellyfish tentacles.

And that was Miele’s way of allowing us to dip our toes in the water before truly taking a dive through an oceanic wonderland.

A one-shoulder, floor-length silk gown in a watercolor-like lime and aqua print (pictured third from top) created the illusion of cascading water along the front of the ruched dress, which clung to the model’s body and then flared ever so slightly at the bottom, as if the water had made a splash and dispersed upon hitting the ground. Similarly, a wrap-over, short-sleeved, floor-length dress with a deep V neckline, glimmering gold belted waist, cut-outs along the top of the shoulder blades, and a sky-high slit (pictured above, last) invoked bodies of water via the fabric’s natural sheen, the movement of the open skirt, and the fortuny pleats all along the fabric, which created a rivulet-like effect.

But the most stunning moment arrived when the final look was unveiled (shown second from top): a strapless, floor-length, seafoam-colored gown with fan detailing along the bodice revealing a deeper, luminous teal color along the edges of the fabric folds. The origami-like folds along the bustline immediately brought to mind Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” painting, with Venus emerging from the depths of the ocean and arriving at shore on a seashell.

Given some historians’ belief that, in Boticelli’s work, Venus represents Eve before the fall or, at the very least, the arrival of woman in a paradise realm, then the motif seems all the more appropriate to punctuate Miele’s own vision of Eden.

For a deeper exploration of this glorious Water World, check out more images after the jump. Plunge right in and don’t forget the video of the finale walk posted above!


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