Cecilia Cholst for Farah Angsana

Would You Rock This? and Exude Magazine partnered this season to bring you coverage of the 2012 Fall/Winter Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.  Members of the WYRT Fashion Drawing Session attended fashion shows at Lincoln Center and other locations throughout NYC to draw inspiration from some of the top and most anticipated collections being presented. Illustrators captured their own photo references to create 3 fashion illustrations inspired by the designer.

Illustrations and summary by Cecilia Cholst.

Jet-setting socialites rejoice: Farah Angsana presented her Fall 2012 collection of eveningwear today and there is plenty to choose from, whether the customer is a debutante or a doyenne.

According to the designer’s website, Angsana was born in Indonesia, raised in LA, and was educated in London. She specializes in rainbow-hued confections encrusted with embroidery, sequins, and crystals, elegantly ruched or pleated to create lovely, if not exactly unexpected, dresses and gowns. This season, she aimed at several different markets. Mostly she presented her customary youthful, va-va-voom numbers for a younger crowd but included several sophisticated looks for a more conscientious customer.

Angsana dedicated her collection to the woman who finds herself in a new city every week. That could explain why the collection lacked focus. The show opened with a stunner: a black silk gazar asymmetrical puff gown whose strapless bodice was studded with crystals in an Art Deco pattern. The rest of the looks did not entirely live up to this restrained drama: pieces ranged from flesh-baring and barely-there to dowdy. Many dresses had crystal embellishments, but the rainbow collection of colors—red, ivory, black, peacock blue, violet, a few floral prints—had no unifying element. A few looks had an abstract stripe pattern; in its first appearance on a sleeveless taupe mermaid gown, the stripes, picked out in sequins on tulle, looked like abstracted ferns and gave what could have been an unremarkable gown plenty of gravitas. But when this motif reappeared at the end of the collection in black and blue on an unfortunate corset dress with matching bolero; a mini; a floor-length long-sleeved gown; and a caftan, it looked like tiger stripes and, even worse, cheap. In fact, Angsana might want to consider pulling away from the razzle-dazzle: the strongest pieces were minimalist, including several excellently tailored separates in black wool crepe and black and gold tweed, and two stunning V-neck pieces, one an ivory peplum dress whose perfectly precise darts were far sexier than any revealed flesh and a long, deep red, slinky number with a slit up to here. Other standout pieces included a tangerine column dress with a crystal belt and cap sleeves (surely a future best-seller) and a graceful black column gown with black sequins picked out on the sleeves.

The collection’s aim is best summed up by the finale dress, which left audible gasps and cheers in its wake: a see-through tulle number described in the show notes as a “Shanghai blue dragon scale embellished tulle gown” presented without a slip. The sex factor was high, the craftsmanship was breathtaking, and this reviewer thinks it owes more than a little bit to Dior’s famous 1949 Junon gown. What keeps Angsana’s work interesting is that tension between elegance and sex (after all, what other show could have both the Real Housewives of New Jersey and socialites in attendance?) but she is going to have to focus her work and choose her clientele: rich party girls or their older sisters and mothers.

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