Everything was coming up roses, tulips, marigolds, and irises at Reem Acra’s Spring 2008 collection. Painting a picture of a garden tea party one by one, the 40 ensembles literally seemed to spring up like blooms from a fresh cut arrangement. I suddenly found myself craving petit fours, scones, and delicate cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. The use of bright hues, especially the juxtaposition of bold colors was a very strong trend on the runways this season and no where was this more romantically evidenced than Ms. Acra’s elegant presentation. With not a single pair of trousers in sight, Barbra Streisand’s timeless ballad ushered out the feminine collection.
Light the corners of my mind
Misty watercolor memories
Of the way we were
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were
Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me – Would we? Could we?
According to her biography, Reem Acra studied design in both Paris and New York at the Esmod Ecole de Mode of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology, respectively, where she acquired several prestigious awards. After her studies and practical design experience, she returned to New York where her atelier quickly gained international recognition. Her collections are carried in more than 100 of the most exclusive retailers in the world including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue as well as her flagship Manhattan boutique.
Reem Acra has become one of the leading names in the luxury bridal and eveningwear market. Celebrities as well as brides turn to her for that special moment, be it a walk down the aisle or the red carpet. Last year Ms. Acra expanded her glamorous repertoire by introducing daywear pieces into her collection. Known for her attention to detail, signature beaded embroideries, and unique fabric combinations, the designer makes every woman a celebrity in her own right!
With an insatiable desire for luxurious fabrics, deep texture, rich color and anything made by hand, Reem Acra’s exquisite gowns exude her own innate sense of style and love of fashion. Ms. Acra’s gowns are a direct reflection of her design philosophy that poetically combines her appreciation for the traditional and classic with the modern fashion needs of today’s stylish woman. The designer’s gowns particularly appeal to women of individual style who are looking for glamour and sophistication on the most important day of their life. Technical acumen, tremendous creativity, and attention to detail are the overriding principles that Reem Acra combines when approaching her design.
“This season explores the theory of rejuvenation, keeping the looks fresh and ethereal with a modern touch. The common thread through the collection is the emphasis on the waist and the refined look of luxury. I am peeling back the surface of my designs and revealing what lies beneath,” said Reem Acra.
My favorite looks from the fashionable festoon were: the beautiful bouquet jacquard blouse atop a gingham skirt with mega-dot underlayer; a regal dress in poppy with a pleated bodice; the whimsical whipped taffeta dress with charmeuse three-dimensional bias handwork in noir; a dramatic plisse collar and skirt in noir; the stunning titanium disc skirt and strapless bow pocket jacket in iris; an exquisitely embroidered halter Volant dress in orchid; the glamorous twisted chiffon gown in pearl with a necklace sleeve; and the decadent dew-drop gown in orchid.
The elements of rebirth and renewal are prevalent themes for spring. After hibernating and hiding from the winter’s frigid temperatures and grey skies, we’re yearning for warmth and sunshine—it’s only human nature. What makes this collection stand apart is the modern design approach, paying homage to the ladylike dressing of the 50’s, but nuanced by bold color combinations and shape-enhancing design details. This season Ms. Acra’s focal point was literally a woman’s core center, her waist. She shaped and accentuated the midsection with colorful belts, tucks, and gathers. The added volume of puff shoulders, bell sleeves, ruffles, underskirts or vented and inverted pleats all worked in this play on proportions.
The sumptuous fabrics employed also helped convey a heightened sense of ease and luxury from confetti lace, jacquard, and organza to charmeuse, taffeta, and chiffon. The handwork for which Ms. Acra is celebrated only further enhanced the silhouette and movement of her garments with lovely design details such as laser-cutting, three-dimension appliqués, and flocked discs. Even the color names chosen—orchid, garden, bouquet, poppy, and fern—were borrowed from nature. The use of flowers in prints is an effective allegorical representation for many of life’s cycles: a budding romance; the change in seasons signaling life, death, and regeneration; or a new opportunity for prosperity. It’s collections like this that make me countdown the days to spring even though we’ve barely entered the new fall season; because just as the flowers will bloom again after a long, cold, harsh winter—so too will our imaginations, inspirations, and yearning for something light, soft, and pretty in a new wardrobe. Lucky for us, Reem Acra has designed a bevy of beautiful dresses that will have you feeling like the belle of the ball come next spring!
Images provided courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Newsgroup.