Friday, February 25, 2011

Althea Harper - Fall 2011 Collection

I have to thank @ashliecormier for sending me pictures from the show and pictures from the Lookbook for Althea Harper's Fall Collection. She has been working as assistant to Althea Harper, and is an aspiring designer in her own right. It's well worth reading her blog: Peace, Love, Happiness and Fashion.

Althea Harper Fall 2011 Presentation
I desperately tried to rearrange my business trip in order to attend this presentation. However, two weeks ago I sat at my computer at 7 pm plugged in waiting for the reveal of Althea Harper's Fall 2011 collection. I sat and waited... and waited... and waited. I have to admit that trying to watch this presentation via the live feed was so frustrating! The feed kept going in and out, none of us on the feed knew when things were going to begin, and once the models we revealed, we couldn't really aim the camera where we wanted to go. In the end we got a glimpse, but no real good looks. At least from what I saw. I got so frustrated with how things were moving on my slow wireless connection in my house I eventually gave up and went to my workout. I eventually came back, but I think I missed most of the meat (if I could have watched it at all.

But from what I saw, I was absolutely captivated!

As you know from reading my other posts on this collection, Althea Harper's inspiration was old Hollywood horror movies and their Damsels in Distress, particularly focusing on their strength and beauty. I think she succeeded in creating some incredibly interesting pieces.

Thanks to Ashlie, let me show you the pieces that caught my eye. I don't know the names, but I have pictures!

The Browning Jacket - (The Killer Blazer)

Hands down my favorite piece of this collection is this blazer. If I only get one thing from this collection it will be this piece. It stood out over the Live Feed and I was so excited to see it once I actually had "real pictures" to look at. Althea Harper told me on that phone call I had with her back in January that there was going to be an awesome blazer. She was really telling the truth! I love the three-quarter sleeves, the way that it closes, the shaping of the panels. Now, on the model it's paired with a pair of hot pants. I can't rock those, but I will find a way to use this piece in my wardrobe. Look at the way it follows the body. Assuming it hits all the right places, I can't imagine it not being flattering. It will be mine! (and yeah, I want the boots too).

The Neve Dress - (I referred to it as the "Swamp Thing" Dress)

I'm a huge fan of the muted grey-purple palette, so when I saw this piece in the Live Feed it stood out to me. Until I knew it's name (Neve), it was "The Swamp Thing" dress to me simply because I get this mossy grimy feel from the detail on the hips. I really mean no disrespect. I just have no other way of referring to it right now. It's interesting, and I'm not sure I like it. But I love the neckline. I could do without the shoulder detail (which I could not see on the Live Feed). That reminds me a little too much of the movie "Usherette" uniforms of old. It's a little too much costume for me, but truly I could go either way. Too bad I probably won't ever get a chance to see it in person. I also can't help but look at it and think of my friend/reader sorchabeanrmt. She could rock the hips on this sucker!

The Delphine Dress - (I called it "Sister to the Swamp Thing" Dress)

This grew on me after the Live Feed. During the reveal they placed it next to the previous (Neve) dress. I thought they were the same, but in different colors. That just goes to show how details don't show up on a Live Stream at my house! I love the way this looks in the photographs I received from Ashlie so much more. This has a similar neckline and similar hip detail to it's sister but it's hardly the same. Maybe it's the way the hips are done here. The look almost functional. Maybe they are pockets? Either way, it comes across as a little more wearable to me, regardless of the low neckline. That's what awesome Killer Blazers for right? Too bad it isn't the purple-gray.

The Lucio Dress

Totally the same color palette as my Anthropologie Dress I'm giving to the PUSH Charity Auction. Except this is far more elegant and more grown up. When I saw this I knew my sadness over giving away my Anthropologie dress needed to end. What I particularly love about this dress is the understated sexiness of the slit in this dress. It's like tulip petals! So cute! And it hits right at the knee too! Yeah, I dig it!

The Tandy Top and Voodoo Pant - (Sheer Black Shirt And Kick-Ass Leggings)

Doesn't the model look like she wants to kick your ass in this outfit? Yeah, she's totally ass-kicking! I can't picture wearing these leggings in real life, but that's just me. Maybe there's an alternate universe where I am that daring (I can't even find pair of Jeggings that fit me due to my sorely lacking inseam). But for those of you who are funky legging lovers with long legs, here's something for you! I love how the mesh is just slashed out in places that are almost (but not quite) scandalous. I hope Althea Harper includes inseam measurements on these... and hopefully there's a 30 inch option. Maybe by fall I'll be in "ass-kicking" shape enough to wear this.

The Starrlette Dress - (I think of it as "Lorenzo Grows Up")

When I saw this dress I instantly thought of my newly acquired Lorenzo dress. There's the same sort of color work on the side paneling vs. the main body. There's the one shoulder thing (though this one is far more elegant and intricate), and there's the body hugging curves. I bet it's comfortable too. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.

The Funky Prints

I'm not going to talk about these pieces individually, but I just wanted to mention that while I tended to love the pieces with solid colors from this collection, Althea Harper still has a way of making prints look interesting. I'm not sure what inspired these prints, but I'll bet it's another cool idea (though how can you beat Sound Waves, I just don't know). These prints look sci-fi, moth/alien like to me and that makes them very interesting.

I have to say, I'm still not digging the pants over all. I do think Althea Harper's stregth is in dresses and how she plays with panels. Most of the pants in this collection are either leggings (like the slashed) or loose in a "I'm not a cargo pant" kinda way where I'm worried it would just look sloppy on someone like me.

There are a few other looks, but they didn't stand out to me as much. Plus it gives you something else to look forward to once the images are up on Althea Harper's site. I am SO HAPPY that the look book pictures were taken with a background that makes the pieces stand out (unlike the Fatalistic Futurism images) and are polished (unlike many of the Sittella images). To me, the loyal internet shopper, a good picture can sell me the garment.

Final Thoughts
Overall I think the pieces of this collection go very well together. Compared to other collections I've seen from Althea Harper, I really can see the connection to her chosen theme, and how these separates could be mixed and matched to any buyers delight. There's not a single piece here that couldn't be worn with that Killer Blazer. Likewise, the shirts could be added wardrobe additions, matched with pants or jeans. Like Harmonics, this feels very "wardrobe building" to me, very easy to wear, and special.

There was one dress in the collection that didn't seem to fit, though... this, to me, feels like it belonged more with Harmonics Spring 2011 than this collection.

Althea herself wore this at the show for the Live Feed, I believe. It was gorgeous on her. Of course, when is she not fantastic?

Images courtesy of Ashlie Comier of Althea Harper LLC.

02/26/2011 - Edited to include the names of my favorite pieces.