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Fashion Week: Vena Cava, Cushnie et Ochs, and Rag & Bone Hope You’re in Good Shape

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Attending the spring collections is always like a good, stern reminder not to go overboard on the holiday cookies. It’s virtually impossible not to see a collection without some bare stomachs or bare breasts or bare backsides, and we got to see all three at Vena Cava, Cushnie et Ochs, and Rag & Bone, respectively.

Vena Cava, designed by Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock, was the most demure of the lot (thank you, ladies). On Thursday at Milk Studios, they sent their models down the runway in more than a few ankle-length dresses and skirts (which looked so exciting and fresh after so many seasons of minis) and high-waisted pants. So, yes, your belly button is protected, but that patch of your abdomen right above it was on full display thanks to pieces such as a cropped off-the-shoulder jersey and a cream double-wrapped leather bustier. Though, if you want to say to hell with the gym, the duo created the perfect piece for you: overalls. (And, believe us, there were more than a few heads emphatically nodding “yes” to this look.) The program said the clothes were designed in L.A., and it was clear that the New York designers were taking inspiration from the sunny, laid-back state with sexy plunging necklines, fun geometric prints, and pops of sunset-red on lips, headbands, skirts, and dresses. It’s too early to call this our favorite collection, but it certainly will be up there.

On the breast-baring front, Cushnie et Ochs, the line by Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs, didn’t leave much to the imagination. Their show at the Eyebeam Gallery featured more see-through blouses (in floral chiffon and white gingham) than we could count. These kinds of runway looks always make us wonder if there is actually a courageous class of women somewhere who never wear tank tops under such shirts–but we’ve yet to meet them. Overall, it was a strong, sophisticated show of clean, minimalist looks, asymmetrical hemlines, and artistic, sculptured dresses with names such as “dripping dress” and “falling tear drop dress.” And if you like fancy shorts, there were plenty to choose from in leather, chiffon, and twisted floral duchess satin.

On Friday, Rag & Bone was the show that made us most want to hire a personal trainer–immediately. At the space at 15 Little West 12th Street, models walked through the aisles, past Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington, in wide-strap harness bras (a collaboration with Jean Yu), see-through macramé mini skirts, and sheer skirts, dresses, and tops (some paired with what appeared to be transparent bras!). After David Neville and Marcus Wainwright’s fall collection of so many perfect, wearable pieces, the designers have now gone in almost the opposite direction, pushing the envelope with a show that was as inspiring (sure, go ahead, wear two dresses at once!) as it was head-scratching (what exactly were those funny little shorts under so many of the looks?). Maybe the most exciting piece of the lot was the white “mission pack,” a very cool-looking, military-inspired large backpack. Our sagging right shoulder really, really wants that.

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