New Preppy Meets Punk Designer at Fashion Week

Hello-Hello everyone and Happy Almost-end-of-the-week! The Princess is particularly excited at the prospect of week’s end, for she is off to The Big Lake with TSU (The Spousal Unit, aka The Princess Consort) for a brief vacation.
One of the more exciting attractions of Fashion Week for TP is that every so often a new designer comes along. They may not be “new” to the fashion industry, merely new in our little solar system. One such designer is Christian Francis Roth, returning to the industry after an absence going back to 1995 when he shut down his eponymous clothing line.
Last week Mr. Roth debuted a collection many referred to as demonstrating a ‘Preppy vs. Punk’ or ‘Preppy Meets Punk’ aesthetic.
The line was named the “Gangs of New York” by Mr. Roth; TP is quite intrigued with the launch whatever the name!  With bright colors, swingy skirts and other attributes of the prep-school look, this one is fun and funky.  Evidently we’re not alone in this assessment. From the Wall Street Journal’s Heard on the Runway blog:
“It’s happy clothing – it’s fun,” said Roopal Patel, senior fashion director for women’s wear at Bergdorf Goodman, who felt shoppers would likely be attracted to the preppy, striped shirt dresses that looked as if they were made of ripped up button-down shirts haphazardly stitched together.”
The designer cites the Gossip Girl television show as a source of inspiration for the line.  Perhaps Mr. Roth’s time designing for Tommy Bahama contributed to a number of pieces on the runway in what TP calls the Roth nautical look. We dedicate the top photo to our own Miss Nautical by Nature. (Psst, Kate – remember, this isn’t out until Spring 2009.)
The Journal blog reports price points for the line will run from $350 – $525 for dresses, with jackets retailing for about $425 – $675. The runway show featured those ‘gangs’ of girls showcasing different looks from the collection.
One can see the ‘bad girl’ references in the collection, the untied black bow at the neck, the racier hem length and a neckline lower than what any ‘nice young lady’ would be wearing. (This is what the Queen Mother would call a “plunging neckline” were TP to attempt leaving the ancestral home in anything remotely resembling the dress shown lower right.)
Of course, black simply isn’t done during one’s younger years, it’s just not acceptable until a young lady reaches a certain age.  In our day, that time was not until after one’s coming out, at the *very* earliest.
And despite our love of black, our favorite pieces in the line remain the delightful variations on what any Upper East Side teen might be wearing.
But this doesn’t rule out our appreciation of the designer’s whimsical variations on the preppy nautical style.

In describing the show, WWD wrote:
“Inspired by New York City cliques, Christian Francis Roth played with the idea of neighborhood gangs with his contemporary label Francis by Christian Francis Roth, resulting in cute prep-school patchwork plaids in dresses and blazers, broken-up rugbies made into dresses and “Acoste” polos featuring an alligator eating the Ralph Lauren polo player.”
Of course our illness (the worst case of LogoPhobia in recorded history) prompts our love for that dress, seen above, but we also like it because we think it is done without rancor or ill will, merely a wink and a grin.
Another reason we are drawn to the designer? Because his models aren’t all emaciated, scrawny young women. None of these beautiful young ladies are anywhere near plump, but they are not the painfully thin and drawn lovelies generally seen on the runway.
Below, a shot of the designer in 1990…
Kyle Ericksen

Photo: Kyle Ericksen

and last week at the conclusion of his show.
There is good news this week for Mr. Roth, as reported in an update to the WSJ blog:
“On Monday, Stephanie Solomon, women’s fashion director for Bloomingdale’s, said she planned to carry Mr. Roth’s collection in the spring.”
Oh, one more Roth-related headline, this one also from WWD (Women’s Wear Daily):

New York Day Two: Preppy and Peppy

The headline is from April, 1994; the copy in that story reads in part: ” On Thursday, the runways came alive with hip preppies at Christian Francis Roth…”. This is where one makes the comment about the leopard and its spots.  How very fun.

In fact, we are so fond of this collection we are awarding it (gasp!) the Princess’s Official Seal of Prepalaciousness!

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10 Comments

Filed under It's Just Not Done, Logos, Prepalicious, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Preppy People

10 responses to “New Preppy Meets Punk Designer at Fashion Week

  1. I enjoyed seeing Christian Francis Roth’s collection. It is hard to think ahead to spring though. I am still working on my fall wardrobe!

    I hope you have a nice weekend at the lake!

  2. Oh, this earns my seal of approval as well! I like my prep with a spoonful of snark, so this is particularly Up Our Alley. I nearly fell out of my chair with delight at the LogoPhobia dress! I will also actively look for that blazer in the top photo and the red and blue polo dress when the Spring 09 lines come out.

  3. You know, I have to say: Muffy approves! I really like these fashions!

  4. Love it! Especially the LogoPhobia. Too cute. Have a great weekend!
    ~Belle

  5. Yay! I hadn’t seen this yet, and I love every bit. Am so happy he’s back! Great post, and thanks for the pictures. Enjoy your wonderful weekend!

  6. I’m so glad you liked the line! Christian is a great friend of mine and I did the jewelry for the show — you can see my broken tennis racquet necklace on the model wearing the red dress.

  7. Oh my gosh–I have something from Hanna Andersson that is just like the blue and red polo dress; need to get that back out 🙂

    Love the color. Spring is gonna be fun!

  8. So many of the dresses are so pretty!

    Have a great break!

  9. Love it all! That first blazer reminds of the one Blair wore on Gossip Girl 🙂

  10. When I saw the first photos I immediately thought of Gossip Girl…so he obviously translated his inspiration well.

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