It’s the little things that grab your attention at a Narciso Rodriguez show. A diagonal seam. A sliver of skin. The lack of a lapel.
Each had their place in his spring collection, which he showed Tuesday night at an event space in Manhattan’s far West Side. The seaming popped up on sleek crepe dresses, where a few vertical seams were offset by one headed diagonally. Sometimes, the seam extended over the shoulder, leading to a trail of fabric in back. It made the models look taller (if that’s possible). As a somewhat diminutive fellow himself, Rodriguez must have a few tricks like that up his sleeve to help elongate the body (or create the illusion of that).
His crepe midriffs were not excessively high -- just an inch or two above silk skirts, allowing for a narrow band of skin to be seen. Showing less often has more impact than showing more (hello, earth to Miley Cyrus), and Rodriguez has long known the high-voltage appeal of offering mere slits and slivers of skin.
As for lapels, they were AWOL, along with buttons -- his jackets were sleek, minimal, with covered plackets where the buttons would be. One standout: a white wool / silk jacket with black laminated inset. A pair of fringe dresses were also restrained. Other designers have gone the fringe route, but more typically -- long trails of it, straight from a Texas rodeo. Rodriguez offered up shorter lengths of the fringe, wandering rivulets that shimmy -- very subtly -- as you walk. Ditto the fringe on his uber-sexy T-strap stilettos.
Finally, a series of dresses at the end, with miniskirts and sheer overlays, were held aloft by tiny but tempting spaghetti straps. A floral pattern was bonded onto the silk overlay and they floated down the runway in graceful procession. They were, like the collection on the whole, pared down, feminine -- and a little unexpected.