Thursday, May 1, 2008

Spring is Blooming with Fresh Offerings

Patricia Field for Barbie Luxe

Steve Madden

Spring is Blooming with Fresh Offerings

By Laura Medina

May 1, 2008

Two of the most influential lifestyle designers, Steve Madden and Patricia Field, are growing into fertile grounds in women's contemporary sportswear.

The king of reasonably-priced and fashionable shoes for everyone, Steve Madden unveiled his new active/street wear to accompany his "soft fusion" sneakers. A man with the fashion-forward eye, Steve is observant enough to notice that women are wearing gym clothes in daily life, from the gym to street to the shop. As the man of the people-or the everyday woman, he did what anyone with common sense would do-give what the customer wants-stylish hoodies and windbreakers to go along with his shoes. A futuristic collection of activewear in glacial white that is comparable to Adidas by Stella McCartney. Steve has this knack to predict what his customers want before they even know it. If they want fashionable sneakers to carry them through the day, then they might need a sporty outfit to match the shoes, an instant wardrobe for the health-conscious but fashionable woman.

This is Steve's general pick for an emerging trend, "Soft Fusion," where lifestyle and multiple purpose converge. Where the sneaker loses it's atheletic rough edges and where the dress shoe toughens up. Put together, you get a "Soft Fusion"shoe, a hybrid of a sneaker that is dressy enough for most places yet is durable enough for a jog. A shoe version of a Prius where the wearer gains enough mileage out of her shoes.

No less jaunty is Patricia Field's deliciously girly collection for Barbie Luxe. She joined a select group of designers, Anna Sui and Diane von Furstenberg, who collaborated with Mattel in designing a special edition of adult women clothing who are still influenced by Barbie. Basically, it is, "What would Barbie wear if she's a contemporary woman of today?" That's the goal of Barbie Luxe, women who want to dress like their childhood idol. Using early Barbie silhouette and Barbie Pink as parameters, each designer did her own distinctive spin on the ultimate fashion plate. Barbare Millicent Roberts as a carefree hippie by Anna Sui. A charging career woman swathed in von Furstenberg's iconic wrap dress in Barbie Pink wood grain print. Patricia dressed her as if she a SoHo inhabitant, skipping around the city in very wearable high rise jeans with suspenders and a white muscle tee with Barbie silhouette in pink.

As a woman known for putting Sarah Jessica Parker in far-out ensembles, her take on Barbie is surprisingly approachable that any woman would never look out of place wearing the collection. Since Barbie is the model, there are some cute but chic garments, such as the leopard-print trench coat. The collection is reasonably priced as it is reasonably designed. Now, a grown woman can play with her Barbie without being childish.

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