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Talk about pared down! The King of ‘pared down’, Naricso Rodriguez began and ended his urbane fall 2006 collection for both men and women with knee length dresses in the graphic color combination (and one that’s always a favorite of the architectural designer) of black and white. There were no long gowns (though Narciso had some ideas for what to wear when festive attire is called for- that would be one of his many short chemise or shift dresses covered with glass or silver beads, or large paillettes), and only two pants were shown- both pairs were black and lean and paired with simple and sculptural black jackets. The first look out- which set the pace for what would follow, was a decidedly ‘mod’ looking slightly above the knee length black and white dress worn underneath a slightly longer black, a line, sculpted coat, accessorized with tall graphic black and white boots (which had the trompe l‘oeil effect of being a black shoe and white knee high). The finale was an empire waist knee length white curved hem satin slip dress whose bodice was covered in black beads which formed a geometric flower design. Narciso even took his bow in all black with white sneakers.

From beginning to end, there was emphasis on bold, linear, graphic black and white (the combination achieved through, for example, a black top and white bottom (or visa versa), OR the graphic combination of the two colors through color splicing, blocking, seaming, piping, or insets, which was far more interesting and more exemplary of the designer’s dressmaking skills. When unrelieved black was shown (as it was in many of the looks), white ankle strap open toed high heeled pumps, black and white high heeled spectators, black and white boots, or black and white handbags, helped achieve the desired graphic effect. While Narciso cited “Dance” as his inspiration, the only hint of this could be found in the few dresses that had full ‘ballet’ skirts (balloon hemmed or slightly flared, but done always with control), or in the addition of a pale pink that could best be described as ‘ballet pink. But of course, the idea of ‘dance’ certainly does conjure up the notion of ‘self disciplined’ and ‘rigorous’- and those words could easily be used to describe both Narciso Rodriguez and the collection.




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