I continue to be impressed by Victoria Beckham's dress collection, which is always so elegantly restrained and perfectly polished. (There is something to be said for zeroing in on one thing and doing it to the fullest.)
For several seasons now, much of what she has designed has been body-skimming, if not downright body-hugging. But Beckham loosened things up for spring, even using her own body to perfect the drape of a violet-colored parachute silk dress with a knotted detail.
As a red carpet regular, naturally Beckham has a flair for the dramatic. And indeed, a watery purple stripe jacquard bell-shaped dress would make quite an entrance, especially worn with a pair of cat-eye sunglasses from Beckham's eyewear collection.
But there was nothing too glitzy or obvious here. A stiff white "pigment print" organdy dress with a flared skirt was wonderfully simple. "The print was inspired by light sculpture," Beckham explained. "And we worked hard at maintaining the feather weight."
Not that everything was easy, breezy. A "Cadillac pink" shift dress that hit below the knee, with an asymmetrical neckline and exposed back zipper, was divinely fitted, sucking everything in with an interior corset.
She also used the runway to introduce her new line of handbags, including the covetable "Victoria," a boxy style with flaps that fold over each other at the top. It will be interesting to see if she gives up her Birkins for Beckhams.
Inspired by a trip to the Serengeti, she began with a strong case for barely-there dressing. White trousers and a sheer coat with the ease of sleepwear; a sheer gold-dot pajama-top-turned-jacket with the lace hem of a slipdress peeking out; and creamy white silk pajama pants worn with a gold embroidered kimono jacket were all perfect for a romp in the safari tent.
But quickly, almost too quickly, her heroine had returned to the city -- in a 1930s-looking peach dress with an asymmetrical scalloped hem, and a body-skimming peach pencil skirt, embroidered green velvet cutaway jacket and saffron blouse. (An unexpected color combo that was terrific.)
As day moved into night, the clothes took an even more ornamental turn, including a slinky gold satin dress with red embroidery down the sides, a degrade sequin sheath in sunset colors and a firecracker red embroidered floor length gown.
In the end, what started out as a beautiful story was hard to follow. A lot of lovely pieces, yes, but as a collection, they needed more to stitch them together.
He channeled a recent experience seeing the documentary "Hubble" at L.A.'s California Science Center, into the hand-dyed textiles for which he is known, creating nebulous patterns in colors of the deep, dark universe.
At times, Obando has suffered from tunnel vision. But this was a well-rounded collection, including slim sheaths, flirty fit-and-flare dresses, floor-sweeping gowns, sleek pants and fitted peplum jackets.
And there were details aplenty, from fraying cutouts edged in black Swarovski crystals, to contouring laces and exposed zippers.
Los Angeles shoe designer George Esquivel added to the fine show, creating uneven stacked heels that brought to mind the building blocks of the universe.
-- Booth Moore
Top photo: A dress from the Victoria Beckham spring-summer 2011 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.
Middle photos: Looks from the L'Wren Scott spring-summer 2011 runway collectioni show during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Courtesy of L'Wren Scott.
Bottom photo: A look from the Juan Carlos Obando spring - summer 2011 line. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson & Peter Stigter / For The Times