NEW YORK — Christian Siriano and Naeem Khan know what women like. While many designers at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week showed bland shades for spring, these two went in an opposite direction, with colorful, floral collections based on the vitality of life south of the border that are sure to be crowd pleasers.
Siriano, arguably the most successful Project Runway winner ever, based his collection on a vacation he took to Isla Mujeres. The Mexico resort town's brightly-colored houses and images of the bustling marketplace are reflected in a series of nifty basket-weave skirts, jackets and dresses and daywear in bright yellow, melon and pink floral shades.
While many designers showed bland shades, these two went in an opposite direction, with colorful collections based on the vitality of life south of the border.
A number of feathery outfits that look like carwash flappers are a real miss, but Siriano redeems himself with a series of gowns adored with floral appliques and flounce overlays. Siriano excels at eye-catching evening wear — he won raves for outfitting Mad Men's Christina Hendricks in a form-fitting black gown at the Emmys — and his ethereal spring looks herald the bloomin' season.
Khan, a Texas favorite who also excels in dramatic, figure-enhancing evening wear, kept up the winning streak with a collection based on the "romance and vibrant colors embedded in the Latin culture," as he explained in his program notes. He featured his models in Frida Kahlo braids but the slinky evening gowns had more of a Sofia Vergara vibe.
Many of the most dramatic looks featured embroidered lace roses over nude mesh fabric to create a dazzling sense of illusion. Floral peasant blouses and heavily embroidered kaftans were riffs on themes in previous Khan collections, while gowns in multi-colored hand-painted abstract prints and colorful beaded cropped T-shirts and mini-dresses seemed fresh and new.
Khan closed the show with a delicate wedding gown embroidered with roses, heralding his newest venture. He launches his bridal collection next month and it looks like a winner.