Marriam Mossalli, [email protected]
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2010-10-20 21:21

Tam’s collection was a departure from previous seasons, which are usually saturated in her famous prints and concocted in rich colors and contoured silhouettes. It is those attributes — Asian prints, robust color choices, clean shapes and mastery of beading — that she has become renowned for and which have garnered her much critical success, even earning her a nod from the CFDA in the 1990s with a nomination for the Perry Ellis Award for womenswear.
However, this season, Tam showed how dynamic a designer she truly is by going past all that color and tailoring to reveal her softer side. Her structured sheath dresses were replaced with loose, layered minidresses and her vivid colors came second to the neutral hues of ivory and tan.
Her muse, the world traveler, could easily been seen with each look walking nonchalantly down the runway. Self-aware and confident, the woman is an adventurer even in terms of her wardrobe — pairing a Maio-inspired jacket with an indigo draped sarong skirt and desert macramé sandals.
Tam’s color choices were this spring’s trendy buffs, with different shades of ivory and injections of rich blues in lapis, midnight and indigo. The prints that were present resembled Moroccan Zellige — terra cotta tile work covered with enamel in the form of chips set into plaster — in deep shades of blue and red.
Known for intricate embellishments and dark, luxe colors, Tam’s Spring 2011 dresses were decorated with her classic and delicate detailing. Yet, this time, translated in lace, patchwork and embroidery, a collection presented Tam’s evolution of her beloved prints, which were manifested as the materials itself — from cotton lace patchwork and eyelet to crochet knits and macramé.
Her concoctions were layered looks of lace upon lace, or simple asymmetrical dresses with Arabesque shaped cutouts as the only trace of embellishment. Even her flowing maxi dresses were paired with flat macramé sandals that made each ensemble look so effortless chic.
Tam presented a number of separates that stole the show. The collection was wearable and contained more than a few must-haves, from the ivory lace Yatak jacket with grosgrain ties and the “Nasir Mosque” print silk peasant blouse, to the midnight blue Jain temple crochet cardigan and ivory eyelet capris.
Also, on every girl’s list are the accessories that came down the runway. Tam’s hobo bags in Afgani inspired prints are perfect for summer — and for carrying around your bikini. The ribbon belts are subtly ethnic with their colorful tassels and provide the perfect complement to a simple tank-and-harem paint ensemble. Probably the most sought after accessory, the flat knotted sandals that appeared in an assortment of color combinations on the runway, are already being hailed as a coveted summer must-have!
There were also some misses, but very few. Her deconstructed cheongsam seemed forced and a little too flea market. There was also a nomad stripe jacket with Buddha plates that appeared too referential. Her macramé beaded denim dress had fashion editors debating after the show, but not this one: The look was very Laura Ingalls from “My Little Prairie” meets denim devotee, Rachel Bilson.
But, all in all, the collection contained a relaxed ambiance that is both comfy and in style — just perfect causal women like Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz. As short minidresses made their turn at the end of the runway, they revealed flirty open backs. Their fluttery sleeves were ultra feminine, as were the waves of silk from flowing maxi dresses that undulated down the catwalk.
Cropped pants of patterned silk and layers of denim and lace revealed a global shopper. Her Jumlo print dress was purchased while helping flood victims in Pakistan and her denim Khalat robe was a gift given to her in Iran while she did some humanitarian work. Tam’s crochet work inspired by Asian temple facades and Middle Eastern frescoes gave this Spring/Summer collection an ethnic narrative that a complete contrast to the one told within Tam’s usual cocktail frocks. These wearable pieces were made for the woman on the go who wants to wear her cultured experience on her sleeve — in the form of garnet smoked maxi dress!
Tam’s hippie bohemian fashion pleasantly shocked most in attendance, including front row celebrities, Denise Richards, Serena Williams and Kendra Wilkinson (from “Girls Next Door”). But, it would seem that Tam had one of her other loyal clients, Alanis Morissette, in mind when she was designing, as the line had an embedded boho-hippie spirit that came out through its deep earth tones and multi-cultural inspiration.
It is also important to note that while almost all designers there use runway show press releases to introduce and explain their concept, Tam used hers to dedicate her show to the people of the Silk Road.
“The summer of 2010 experienced devastating floods across Asia, in both China and most recently, Pakistan, each leaving millions of people homeless. I urge everyone to visit these sites to learn about how you can help,” read the release, which closed with Tam’s affectionate sign-off, “Many Thanks, Double Happiness.”

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