1890 or 1990? Suzanne Rae's Dark Gibson Girl: New York Fashion Week Autumn 2011


The Suzanne Rae show at Lincoln Center on Sunday afternoon opened with an absolutely delectable short film by Alexandra Roxo in which sloe-eyed models played cards by candlelight, sipped whiskey, and slouched fabulously in the designer’s Autumn 2011 collection (think silks and lace), falling asleep ever-so-prettily. (After a night of cards and booze I’m usually a bit more unkempt, but we all DO love a fabulous fantasy, don’t we?).
[UPDATE: See video at the bottom of the post!]

Waking to a winter-swept Atlantic shore bright with sun, they then had ample reason to don the wool gabardines and boucles, hemp and deadstock fabrics that Rae contrasts with the softer ‘interior’ fabrics from the previous scene to wander the snow-dappled beach. Then the models came out, and those of us in attendance took a closer look.

Love the contrast here between the silk and the edging; see full dress below.

Overall, it was a strong collection, with consistent direction and smart use of fabrics and draping/layering, which is my favorite part of winter dressing. Suzanne Rae Palaez lives and works from Brooklyn, and the ‘urban town’ aspect of the borough has seeped into her designs, any of which would be at home on the streets of NYC.

Together, these pieces work so beautifully, but in real life, the jacket would be more suited to skinny jeans and the fabulous harem pants to a turtleneck methinks.

This black and cream outer layer was the strongest piece of Rae’s collection, allowed to stand on its own with just a simple updo and leggings on the model; this cape was also featured in the movie and by the end I had some serious poncho lust!

This vest reads as fur, but its actually layers of lace….divinely feminine…

Half-gloves! So romantic….

The chocolate silk tank is perfect, and I like the contrast with the wool skirt paperbagged at the model’s hips. The top is so luscious it needs something offhand to play against.

A bit androgynous for my taste, but worn completely differently I could see myself in this lovely tank, perhaps paired with flared denim shorts, an army jacket, and some rough & tumble boots.

If this doesn’t capture innocence and lust in one perfectly contrasted look, I’m not sure what does. The silkiness of the top was even more buttery in person. Accessorizing with the cross-strap bag elevated this ensemble from interesting to just fantastic.

Where would one wear this piece? I have no idea….but the draping above the waist is divine!

I’m just a sucker for high-waisted pants and braces (suspenders…), what can I say?

Alice in Wonderland goes to prison?

A menswear-inspired cape. If I ever get an office job again, this would be perfect for early morning coffee runs!


Check out more shots from the show on Treehugger

All photos by Starre Vartan.

DRIFT from Alexandra Roxo on Vimeo.

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.