Friday, February 20, 2009

FASHION WEEK DIARY…Half Way There and Still Strong

Feb 17: The day got off to a wonderful start since I went to one of my favorite events – the semi-annual Sears and Kmart fashion preview, held in the Bryant Park Hotel. I can see your eyebrows raising, but don't sneer, this retailer does a terrific job of bringing AFFORDABLE fashions to the outside world. I'm one of their biggest fans and believe me, I know my stuff! Personally I'd go for the cute, can't tell the price of it, black pea jacket that the mannequin wore over a cute print pleated skirt from the Apostrophe line, the Paul Franck dorm pjs, or one of Jacqueline Smith's simple tweed pencil skirt. The accessories too have a more upscale look, especially the chain necklaces and the faux snake hobo bag. Only a fashion snob would dismiss the collections.

It's only Tuesday and I'm already pooped. Thank God for Joanna Mastroianni. Her presentation held in her showroom was genius. Not only were the clothes gorgeous, I was able to get up close and personal to really see them. There were just 26 pieces but every one was a winner. Talk about couture workmanship and elegant styling. One caveat – everything was designed for evening and I personally don't have much call for Mastroianni's breathtaking embroidered pagoda gown or the lovely white organza and black lace blouse over black pleated wool trousers. I would however find the occasion to wear her magenta cocktail dress even if I had to toss a cardigan over it to go grocery shopping. Definitely one of the highlights of the week so far.

Even in the Produce Section C&C Wants You To Look Good
(of course there are far better places to wear this dress)!

Switching gears, my colleague and I trudged over to the Hammerstein Ballroom (a huge space, that was filled to capacity) to see the G-Star Raw show. Last season's show was a blast so my anticipation was great.

The crowd was filled with gorgeous Aryan blondes (the line's out of Germany) of both genders. The runway show lived up to expectations, as the clothes were very, high tech with a post modern vibe and most important of all, very wearable. All done in various shades of grey, I'd spend money on any one of the great coats, jackets and yes, the boots. The same goes for the men's wear too. I would however skip the pants with low droopy crotch. Suffice it to say, they just didn't work. After the models finished the show didn't end there. Very sexy actor, Benecio Del Toro, came out and read a piece from some - unknown to me- author. Cool!

Feb. 18: Only a masochist or dedicated fashion maven would have set foot outdoors in the pouring rain/snow showers and gusty wind. And that would be me. I narrowed it down to two shows (and mucho refueling stops at the McCafe), 1909 Victorinox and Anna Sui. The former, maker of the original Swiss Army knife, celebrated its 125th anniversary with an inaugural showing of its new, higher-end men's collection held at the New York Public Library's Celeste Bartos room.

For me, the collection combined the best of geek chic with vintage references. If I were a youngish guy I'd buy the not so basic car-coat length caped trench coat in waxed cotton the updated varsity jacket or one of the puffy parkas in a rich brown. Also saw my first celeb of the day, Marc Jacobs sitting in the first row, naturally.

Made my tired, rain soaked bod hold out for the 7:00 pm Anna Sui happening in the big tent and boy was it worth it. Only she could pull of such as hodge podge of references – from Art Nouveau, to Edwardian carnival/circus(?) and make it work in a madcap way. As always, the place was packed with trendsetters, hip celebrities, friends and Asian fashion groupies, plus the usual contingent of editors, photogs and press. While there was definitely something for everyone in the 50 piece lineup, I loved the opening segment in black and cream/ivory accessorized perfectly with the most wickedly gorgeous feather trimmed hats by James Coviello. I also zeroed in on her romantic golden madallion border print blouse and skirt over black leggings and a dashing Bordeaux velveteen sweeping long coat atop a buttercup tulip and plaid Ikat print crepe de Chine blouse and dress in coral.

Face it, Sui's clothes aren't for shrinking violet types, not with her mixed up colors and patterns and use of accessories. This was one of her best collections in a long time.

Feb. 19: Another early start. Today I hit the ground running. First stop, the Royalton Hotel where EBay was holding court in the penthouse. After scarfing down two cups of coffee and delicious croissants, I took a stroll around the space which was filled with display mannequins dressed in vintage designer apparel available on EBay through some of their most reliable collectors. The prices listed on every garment tag were extremely affordable considering the big names such as Geoffrey Beene, Yves St Laurent ( I wanted the '70s era vibrant silk print separates), an early Bill Blass for Maurice Rentner structured wool coat, a lovely, (also from the 60s') pale blue/gold brocade cocktail dress and a bone ostrich handbag by Lucille de Paris.

Ebay - The Lanvin Dress. Shop Victoriously and Beautifully

On to the tents and the Brian Reyes show. On a whole I enjoyed the collection. It was saleable, feminine and featured some great takes on the car coat, flattering pants that weren't skin tight and a lovely marbled print. My picks include the latter pattern in a draped gown, a chic, quilted box pleat car coat over a double fold flap dress and a pale gold hammered silk gathered dress.

One of the shows that I always look forward to is Ports 1961. While creative director, Tia Cibani always manages to pull something wonderful out of her hat, for me, this was her best effort ever.

Loosely inspired by India's Mughal Dynasty (anything Indian is hot right now), the show was in my opinion, her best yet! Accompanied by the beat of the Indian Brass Band the models paraded out in a symphony of muted colors and layers in clothes that were as saleable as they were approachable. The over the top styling was eschewed in favor of letting the garments speak for themselves. And speak to me they did. I WANT the gorgeous full skirted moonstone color boucle coat, the coat dress in amber and the chic Gota embellished wool coat over a lame brocade skirt. A collection to die for! On another note, go check out Ports 1961's brand new store on 9th avenue in the Meatpacking District.

No Slumdogs Here...
Tia Cibani
and Ports 1961 Will Have You Looking Like a Million

The beat finally ended with my last show of the fall season. Yeah, I know it's only Thursday, but I'm pooped (and besides I didn't get an invite to the Chado Ralph Rucci show on Friday afternoon.

That said, the collections ended on an upbeat note with the showing of Leifsdottir's event held in the company's showroom. I don't know what I expected but what I got was wonderful. Lovely Medieval inspired collection presented in an informal tableau setting where a couple of models sat around informally as if we the guests weren't even there.

Perfectly charming, the onyx embroidered vintage wool cardigan, white silk/cotton tee and berry color cavalry twill skinny pants. On top of everything, there was a table groaning under the weight of some fabulous desserts that were almost –I said almost – too pretty to eat.

Flutes of champagne, soft lighting, polite photographers and friendly pr staff, all added to the pleasure.

That's it for my fashion week diary, fall 09 as I bid adieu to the chaos at the start of every show, the fashion victims that tottered and often fell on their ridiculous stiletto platform shoes, the wonderful free moccachinos, celebrity spotting, the hard working PR folks, plus the ageless Stan Herman and cool as a cuke Fern Mallis who manages to be everywhere at once!

Talk to you soon, xx C&C.

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Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row