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Reem Acra Fall 2012 Collection — Born To Shine

Power and feminity were the overriding themes at the Reem Acra Fall 2012 show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. Admittedly, such vague themes proved a bit confounding to those seeking a solid visual reference to anchor the collection – after all, these abstract concepts could reference anything from bondage-inspired motifs to Queen Elizabeth-inspired fare. In the end, however, once the complete collection had been assayed, viewers were satisfied with the usage of these descriptors, admitting that they did explain how the pieces worked in unison.

Initially, the feminine power sentiment was conveyed via body-conscious leather pieces in rich, vampy colors like hunter green and bordeaux. The first look, a hunter green leather dress (pictured last above) with trapunto stitching along the waistline to cinch the silhouette and long sleeves that scrunched up ever so slightly at the elbows, commanded attention in a steely, controlled, perhaps even domineering manner. While all-leather looks can read rather rock-n-roll, Accra made them appear polished and distinguished thanks to her impeccable tailoring. A bordeaux red leather jacket with a funnel collar paired with a matching leather pencil skirt, for example, seemed as refined as any Coco Chanel tweed skirt suit but decidedly more modern. Similarly, a black leather jacket incorporated oversize lapels with trapunto stitching details and a peplum waistline with stitching to create the illusion of pleats (as shown above, sixth from top, with an intricately embroidered black skirt).

Once the initial quarter of the shows had concluded, the leather soon dispersed into the background, leading the way for classic motifs associated with wealthier classes (among them herringbone and plaid), along with refined textiles like Chantilly lace, a favorite of Marie Antoinette’s, and bouclé yarn pieces worthy of British nobles. To maintain the glamor factor, however, Acra infused some razzle-dazzle to these pieces, incorporating golden threads to add a metallic sheen to a herringbone sheath dress or pairing an exquisite, Versailles-flavored Chantilly lace blouse with silk chiffon leggings embroidered with black sequins and beads (as shown above).

The show truly picked up steam, however, when the evening looks began to trickle down the runway. Accra is clearly most comfortable in the red carpet space as gown after gown conjured up images of esteemed actresses posing in front of eager shutterbugs at the Academy Awards. Some were slinky and provocative, as with an ebony silk crepe dress with cut-outs arranged in a fluid and undulating manner (as shown third from top), slanting diagonally from the shoulder to the rib cage and then again sloping down toward the lower waist on the opposite side of the torso. Others channeled Art Deco glamour with silver beading embroidered in geometric shapes or near sheer fabrics embroidered with gold and silver beads, crystals, and sequins creating mosaic-like patterns (as with the café mocha long-sleeved gown shown second from top). Others still shot for the stars with ebony silk crepe fabrics adorned with shimmering embroidery arranged in star burst patterns to create the semblance of firework explosions. The stunning finale look, for instance, was a one-shoulder, floor-length silk crepe gown with an asymmetrical neckline, sections divided into diamond shapes and adorned with supernova-like explosions of golden embroidery, and a tiered, ethereal, fluid skirt featuring panels of tulle.

We were particularly fond of the hunter green leather dress, the two ultra sexy gowns with the peek-a-boo cut-outs, the Art Deco-inspired beaded dresses in café mocha and creme caramel, and the stunning star burst gowns. Whether heading for her private jet, consorting with her society friends, or attending a grand ball, the woman who inspired this Reem Acra collection was alluring and confident, personifying the power of the feminine mystique.

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