"Spring Awakening" or "New Kid on the Block" could each be an appropriate name for the Spring-Summer 2011 show Renuar presented last week. The venue, a South Tel Aviv contemporary gallery called Design Space refined the message with its exposed white walls. The walls said it. Brand undergoing renovations.
In the year and half since its Fall-Winter 2009/10 show to the present one, the brand's managers decided on a much more up-to-date and fresh direction, named new marketing directors and created a new look for its stores. The presenters Sari Givati and Shai Kahane was replaced by Or Grossman and Oz Zahavi. The logo was updated slightly for coming campaign of billboards and TV ads.
The winter collection, shown in 2009, was a somewhat awful but ambitious effort at creating a wintry atmosphere at Hangar 11 in the Port of Tel Aviv on a pleasant September evening. Snowflakes covered the foyer floor, and steamy soups were served. Artificial rain fell from elevated irrigation tubes into elongated pools along the runway, which, in the effort, saw perspiration dripping like water. A video screened on a far wall signaled what was next. Its green rays suggested a monitor checking that Renuar's heart was still beating in a show that put the brand into deep hibernation.
The memory of that fiasco is still fresh, so the start of the current spring show did not look particularly promising. There was repetitive and rather empty words from marketing director Michel Tamir with the brand's slogan, "Right here, right now.
Enter Or Grossman in a light flowery dress (warm tones of beige, brown and light blue ) looking not as good as in the catalog photos. Yes, Grossman is very photogenic - that's her strength. On the runway, she looked a bit lost. As for partner Zahavi, anyone captivated by the young actor's masculinity on the small screen surely enjoyed the overdose of him in the show.
The light spring clothes worn by the female models provided a fresher and more optimistic breeze for the rest of the show. Airy tank tops were worn above flared skirts in pale tones of light blue, pink, clay or gray, and partially transparent blouses (stickers used to hide nipples drew too much attention ) were tucked into really short, tight pants or into long pants that flared at the bottom. The clothes echoed 1970s romanticism in a sophisticated and much more indirect way than the Boho-chic of the long, flower-print chiffon dresses. The thin synthetic fabrics, though pleasant, had a chilling sharpness. Some had a flash like silk, most contained combinations of polyester that made one wonder about their comfort in Israel's humid and moist summer. There was a fluttering touch, too, in the men's line, though its fabric combinations seemed more natural. Men, as you know, are less willing to compromise on comfort.
Comfortable-looking, carrot-shaped slacks, in white or pale tones or olive khaki, were a hit. They were worn with woven leather belts and colorful sailor-style ropes, and went with soft, loose-fitting T-shirts, in smoky shades of light blue, olive or beige. Some of them had wide, deep necklines, and some a lone pocket on the chest. Gray, tailored suits (jackets and knee-length slacks ) were made specifically for hot summer days. The slacks were folded to an exaggerated extent and came with knee-high black tights. Overused, maybe, but a declaration of moving to a new and more daring aesthetic path. Flip-flops remained a blind spot.
Shorts with the cuffs lifted on both sides and held by buttons and straps on the side of the thigh were perhaps a nice design idea, but the implementation gave us fabric edges that created a distorted and unflattering shadow. Later came epaulets on a striped, button-down shirt. They didn't add much. Ditto for the superfluous faded print on the back. In contrast, the simple look of the long cotton shirt in an intense blue tone, with a white ribbon flashing from beneath the row of buttons, had impressive signs of precision and cleanness. When it is worn with short gray pants and a woven canvas bag, it said the show's designer had a clearly formulated direction.Urban bride and groom
Toward the end of the show, the presenters came in looking like an urban bride and groom - she in a white mini-dress with odd designs on the shoulders, and he in a gray jacket with a loose T-shirt and a dotted cloth scarf. They were not daring, and the show dragged on.
Instead of presenting the impressive progress the brand's managers have made and leaving the audience yearning for more, after the quite a few designs seen up to this point, there came a series of really colorful clothes but not enough energy to really enliven the show. T-shirts in bold colors came in turquoise, orange or coral, alongside dresses in pale shades of light blue and pink but shown with red or green high-heels and the loud combinations positioned the look far from lofty minimalism. The look lacked discretion and consideration of colors, and seemed to detract from the good taste up until then.
Some of the later looks appeared put together at the last minute, rawly exposing their debt to the runways in the fashion capitals: a peach-colored, button-down shirt, slacks in a smoky nude shade and lemongrass-colored shoes saluted the wonderful colorfulness of Dries Van Noten. A caramel-colored jacket over a satin, cream-colored tank top and wide brown pants were Chloe. And the flared orange dress was reminiscent of unforgettable Lanvin. However, Renuar's spring collection signaled a major step forward toward becoming a suitable alternative to the local fashion labels, with the power to undermine the hegemony of Castro.
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