ASIAN BIG BROTHERS
The feminine repertoire that is Peter Som's calling card was on full alert this season - and with a kick. "I really wanted to convey the strength and energy of downtown in the prints, the tweeds, all the things that I love," the designer said. Meanwhile, at Imitation of Christ it was part fashion show, part wedding: The lineup of romantic, vintage-inspired dresses culminated with Lydia Hearst as an avant-garde bride, reciting vows and saying "I do" to a male model in front of a "priest." Derek Lam showed the second collection of his 10 Crosby diffusion line Five seasons into his Richard Chai Love line, Chai has turned to streetwear.
BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM
Victoria Beckham has always been her own sounding board; as such, a personal pragmatism underscores her work. Now mom to daughter Harper as well as three boys, she's "excited to wear clothes again." But that doesn't mean she's into fashion confinement. Meanwhile, after decamping to Paris for two seasons, Zac Posen returned to his hometown of New York with a key lesson: "It's all about pretty." At Helmut Lang, the central themes were draping and color contrasts, and at Monique Lhuillier, spring marked a streamlined and decidedly sporty new look for the label.
LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY
Diane von Furstenberg titled her spring collection "Beginnings", which she found particularly appropriate on the anniversary of 9/11. "It's about light and what light can do and how light changes everything," she said backstage. The engaging show Tommy Hilfiger presented felt perfect for the moment, yet stood out on the strength of the designer's approach to patterns. An eager crowd clamored to get past the velvet ropes in hopes of seeing Gwen Stefani's latest L.A.M.B. collection. And citing hockey as one of his inspirations, Joseph Altuzarra powerfully evolved his utilitarian, '90s themes with a more sportif theme.
STARRY, STARRY NIGHT: RODARTE SPRING 2012
The new collection from Rodarte's Kate and Laura Mulleavy bore evidence of a desire to be more commercial while protecting the artistry at the core of their work. If the designers felt the strain of compromise, it resulted in a beautiful thing. Meanwhile, in what world could maharajas successfully mingle with cowboys? As it turns out, it's Thakoon Panichgul's spring runway, where the two disparate worlds collided in a magical way.
JOY RIDE: OSCAR DE LA RENTA SPRING 2012
Never a champion of restraint, for spring Oscar de la Renta offered a joy fest that was as beautiful and exuberant as it was diverse. If you love flourishes - ruffles, oversize bows and plenty of peplums - Mark Badgley and James Mischka are your go-to guys for spring. Carolina Herrera looked to the Bauhaus for inspiration, while Narciso Rodriguez turned to the artist Kim Joon.