Greetings from Verdopolis: FutureFashion Reviewed

Greetings from Verdopolis! The expo kicked off last night with FutureFashion, an eco-fashion show, with garments made from recycled poly, bamboo textiles, hemp silk, and Ingeo—and the list goes on and on. And just who stitched these natural and eviro-friendly fabrics together? None other than Derek Lam, Daryl K, Tara Subkoff, Poroenza Shouler,Yeolee Teng, Zac Posen, and Oscar de la Renta, to name a few.

There was buzz amongst purists amounting to why the big names—few of whom are pursuing anything related to eco-design at their tents down the street at Bryant park—were asked to contribute, while designers who exclusively design eco-friendly wardrobes were stuck watching from the sidelines, ...

All images courtesy of Remy C. but it's probably safe to assume to that the bigger houses here were meant to draw attention. Truth be told, the big names may have participated, but the better parties must have been under Fashion Week's bigger tents, because there wasn't much of an A-list in the house, the Steelcase premises at 4 Columbus Circle.

Still, it was a fabulous time, though we're completely befuddled by one item in the program's "Fabric Descriptions," which lists fur as an eco-amenity. Yes, brushtail, according to Verdopolis, is the only green fur, "collected from a species that was artificially introduced in New Zealand to create a fur trade in the 1800's." Because they destroy natural vegetation and the local ecosystem, the explanation goes on, "a number of environmental organizations support the use of brushtail." (We've never heard of such a thing of either, but we guess if some enviros are making a case for nuclear power, then some could make the case for using fur from minks and bunnies who, at their rate of reproduction, could be considered a renewable resource, right? Just playing devil's advocate here.)

Anyway, on to the catwalk, which featured leggy young things in surprisingly conservative, yet often beautiful, creations. The prevalent use of beige and cream and pouffy shapes led one to believe that these designers were using the term organic quite literally—everything was soft and shapely and swooshing, with very little sass involved, with the exception of a number by Heatherette, which employed a recycled polyester bustier with sweetheart neckline, attached to a pink-and-yellow circus-like Ingeo Taffeta skirt. Many of the fashions, such as Proenza Shouler's organic cotton twill skirt and shirt were very wearable, though several of the garments looked unfinished, with rough-cut edges and no hems. It was hard to tell whether these were left this way for lack of care, or whether the whole eco thing spelled hippie for designers used to another realm. Bohemian chic ruled part of the day, as if all enviros are more hippie than hip and afraid of color at that. That was surprising, though perhaps it shouldn't have been.

Real highlights included Rebecca Taylor's pink honeycomb bamboo dress (at top) with organic cotton, hemp-silk and cellulose ruffles—an elegant affair with perfectly swooshing lines that was both refined and girlie in a soft pink; it certainly stood out from the crowd. The final piece to be shown was Oscar de la Renta's dreamy cream hemp-silk gown with an Ingeo overlay, a sprightly piece that, though featuring the aforementioned unfinished hems, still worked well.

Overall, the effort put in was an interesting attempt at bringing new fabrics and fibers to a crowd who knows their stuff. The good news is that they were all able to artfully create clothing that was runway—and store shelf—worthy, but the ultimate test will lie in how these textiles were received in the hands of the masters in terms of usability and hand, if they were easy to work with, and if buyers will approve. ::Verdopolis [by MO]

All images courtesy of Remy C.

An Ingeo and recycled polyester affair by Heatherette.

A bamboo bodysuit with organic wool sweater by VPL.

A wrap dress by Diane von Furstenberg made of organic wool.

Imitation of Christ's organic wool dress.

Habitual's organic cotton shirt and denim jeans, in one of the few outfits that said rocker-chic.

A recycled polyester capelet and organic wool dress by Zero.