>> Serkan Sarier's off-the-schedule debut last season brought out a VIP-heavy crowd and earned him pickup at Barneys — "they have an exclusive at the moment," the designer said on Monday at Nicholas Robinson Gallery in Chelsea, where an equally heavy-hitting crowd gathered to view his followup collection.
In the gallery's dark basement space, populated by a small grove of birch trunks shipped in from Upstate New York just for the occasion, Sarier previewed his jewel-toned Fall 2011 lineup of sportif couture cocktail dresses and outerwear. "I'm very inspired by couture and athletic wear — I was trying to pair something that in concept seems so opposite, but once you start working with elements, seem like they really belong together," Sarier, who previously spent time in the Paris ateliers of Emanuel Ungaro, Giambattista Valli, and Olivier Theyskens, explained. "So this season I was looking at a lot of elements from extreme sports like mountain climbing, rock climbing, parachute jumping . . . and borrowing elements [from those] and trying to merge them with elements [and] volumes that we are more familiar with [in] couture. For instance, if you look at this jacket (shown, left), it has the silhouette kind of remniscent of '50s volume, but all the volume has a reason to be there — it's all pockets and zippers [and] they have a function, they are not just decoration. I think today, whatever we add on a garment has to have a purpose to be there."</p>