story by Lisa Radano
photos by udor and Charles Beckwith
I asked Reem Acra, known for her florally feminine bridal and evening wear, if I was correct in sensing a new forceful if not downright aggressive energy in her crimson splashed black collection for Fall 2013. “Well yes!” she answered readily, “I am a strong woman, and I believe it’s time again for women to be stronger! These are clothes that will protect, give armor to the wearer so they can be fierce!” From bride to fierce – indeed any busy, multi-mani-pedi-tasking woman will tell you, it’s all fun and games until someone gets married…
For this ardent season, Ms. Acra cited as her inspiration, the photography of Daido Moriyama, known for his gritty black and white “how the other half lives in Japan” shots. His nude in fishnet abstracts found their way directly into Acra’s designs for both day and night. Daywear started and stayed dark with black pants and shifts in wool, suede and leather, detailed with twists, gathers and all manner of clever deconstruction. A gold on black optical print and a silk charmeuse fishnet print turned up briefly on dresses and blouses, but mostly the designer kept things black. Even a red cheongsam was only half that, black leather finishing up the back. To keep warm there were black and red goat hair capes and ponchos and a nifty diamond tweed kimono coat with leather strap detail, over a Prince of Wales wool skirt.
Evening was mostly long and lean, and nearly as monochromatic, shined up with jet bugle beads, pewter beads and the designer’s beloved embroidery flowers in red and black. In keeping with her inspiration, there were several cocktail and evening columns with strategic and daring cutouts pave d in black fish netting. Same netting was also used as an overlay, casting a depth and texture over full skirts. The last two passages brought all her influences together – illusion fishnet bodices with embroidery flowers growing up the sides in tendrils and exploding into asymmetric, side swiped, crazy full ball gown skirting covered in net overlay. One in red and of course the other in black.
Robert Herrick, the 17th Century English poet wrote:
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.
So you see ladies, even flowers have a vital and fierce message to impart – put yourself out there, exposed but girded, and live!