Friday, October 16, 2009

Fashion Follies: Spring 2010

By now you’ve probably checked out all the websites and newspapers, so you have a pretty good handle on what’s happening for spring. Instead I’ll give you a blow by blow account of my travels during New York’s fashion week both at the tents and off site. And believe me, it’s all work and (very little) play…plus I do it in heels!

Sept. 8: Day one got off to a smooth start with Norman Ambrose’s show at the posh St. Regis Hotel. The ladylike collection definitely falls into the demi-couture range and was inspired by Grace Kelly. While I loved the beautifully made evening dresses (that I’d never have an occasion to wear) I absolutely fell in love with his navy/white chevron striped cotton jersey so called “beach dress.” Perfect for those of you who own your island. My beach attire never looked this chic! When you win the lottery check out his collection at Neiman Marcus.

Most Beaches Can't Handle This Dress!

Wear with caution lest you confuse the natives.

Sept. 9: Spent the day gearing up for the main events by weeding out my most fashion-forward duds and resting my feet. It’s not easy being a fashionista.

Sept, 10: Started off at the Scandinavia House where the press were treated to a buffet lunch and a cute collection from Stem Designs. This was part of a Breakout Designer Series. The models mostly paraded out in a variety of swimwear – loved the bikinis – and my personal fave, a white silk organza blazer with glass buttons that was worn over a lilac and gray bikini top.

Keeping With The Zeitgeist - The Best Cover-Ups Are Transparent

Afterwards, I trekked over to the Bryant Park tents. First and foremost I needed to check out the sponsors booths and was thrilled to find MC Café back again for spring. Personally. I could live on their hot and iced mochas and boy did they keep me going all week. I also took note of Maybelline’s booth where the new lipsticks were being handed out. Love those perks.

This was a good day as I got to see one of my favorite designer shows, Ports 1961. This was one hot ticket as every seat was filled and it was standing room only for the unlucky few who didn’t rate a seat. Except for the red eye shadow and crazy, impossible to walk in platforms, I loved it all. The standout for me had to be sculptural, pale “oasis” taffeta warp print coat and the chic “nest” (sort of a cocoa color) duchess draped sheath. Looking back, this had to be one of Tia Cibani’s best and accessible collections.

Busy, busy, busy. I headed over to the Bryant Park Hotel HauteLook, an invitation only media lounge where editors could chill out, get manicures, massages (boy did I take advantage of that) and nosh while checking out the various brands showcased there. I got a fantastic touch-up courtesy of Rock & Republic’s fabulous cosmetics. Buy the brand at Sephora. I especially loved the perfumes from Comptoir Sud Pacific but there was lots more to see. The featured lines can be ordered through

Looking Good Is Important, Smelling Good Is Critical!

I ended my day with a showing by a trio of designers, Nicholas K. Whitney Eve and Mara Hoffman at the Promenade tent. Of the three I’d opt for Mara Hoffman’s flowing coral silk chiffon bias gown and her white graph silk chiffon cross back number if I had a social life. Also nice, Whitney’s young and flirty blue sparkle halter dress or the (very ‘50s) black lace, full skirted party dress with cap sleeves, belted in black satin.

Outside the tents was the usual freak show. My pick for the day was the naked, (except for a nude thong) girl covered allover in back body paint chatting away in Bryant Park.

Sept. 11: Only got invites to two shows. My first stop was the Monarchy Collection held in the main tent. Again, the place was mobbed but fortified with my daily mocha, I took in the scene both on and off the runway. One of the funniest was the camera hog wearing a giant black bow – think Minnie Mouse stuffed in a giant gold chain embellished puffy coat. Another fashion victim sprouted a spray of pheasant feathers sticking out of a pink cotton scarf twisted into a turban thingy. As for the collection itself, I’d love to own the muted teal blue butter soft suede, draped cropped jacket (very Rick Owens) and a lovely tan metallic coated linen trench coat.

Moseyed over to Leifsdottir’s showroom. I absolutely fell in love with the presentation last season and this one didn’t disappoint either. It felt like being in a tropical garden with potted palms, caged birds, patio furniture and a fountain. Tables were laden with all sorts of desserts and nuts and champagne was offered to the milling crowds. Check out the cute collection sold at Anthropologie. In the meantime I’ll dream about owning the hot pink print silk ruched top worn with cuffed white shorts or the green/white print on black ground sundress, or maybe the beige suede puff sleeved short jacket.

Sept.12: This hard working editor actually got up early on a Saturday just to make it in time for the Lacoste runway shoe at the ungodly hour of 10:00A.M. Guess what? It was definitely worth it as the show was terrific. The sportswear was very chic and very French with lots of crisp whites and a terrific finale that featured a lineup of guys and gals dressed in bright yellow complete with matching sunglasses that stole the show. My feeling is this – if you’re going to spend the bucks, invest in Lacoste’s timeless classics. In time they’ll pay for themselves in terms of looks and value for money.

Had time to kill between shows so I ambled back to the HauteLook suite for some lunch and some much needed rest. Then it was back to the tents to see the graduate student designs from the School of Fashion at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Out of the six featured designers I was most impressed with Brittney Major’s cute plaid taffeta separates and dresses and Richelle Valenzuela’s intricately cut organza pieces. Both of these girls should have a bright future so keep your eyes out for their names.

I ended the day with former Project Runway winner, Christian Siriano’s show at the promenade tent. Boy, I never expected to see such chaos as it seemed as if everybody wanted in on this. Who knew he was such a hot ticket? Fortunately I had a pretty good seat (not the back row for a change) which helped my mood. So here’s what I think. Siriano’s got talent to spare but still has a ways to go. What stood out for me were his blush colored silk chiffon and charmeuse separates and a gorgeous metallic linen trench coat worn over a charmeuse sleeveless pleated neck blouse and wide leg khaki trousers.

Sept. 13: Guess what! I took the day off and went to see The September Issue movie which was a treat. If you haven’t already seen it, go for a behind the scene look at the workings of Vogue magazine.

Sept. 14: Started the day with a peek at the Expose Spring Collections that were being showcased in The Daily Suite lounge at the AKA Hotel. I moseyed across the street to the Adrienne Vittadini collection at the International Center of Photography. Looking back for my money this was one of the week’s best and most wearable (not to mention affordable) collections. I loved everything, especially the soft khaki silk and knit tunnel belted “safari” dress and the confetti paillette sweater over a cheery garden floral inverted pleat skirt, but if I had the bucks I’d by the whole line.

Next it was on to Tracy Reese’s highly anticipated showing in the (smaller ) Salon tent. Again there was pandemonium among the press and onlookers hoping to get at least standing room. I liked her cute orange belted trench style dress and the slip dress with colorful sequin flowers on a black ground.

Now You Understand Why There Was Pandemonium!

Afterwards I prowled around the booths and lo and behold, I found a mob at the Sharpie booth where we were offered fun tees designed by Betsy Johnson, bangle bracelets and sunglasses. The hook? Everyone got to pick up as many colorful Sharpie pens that we were supposed to use to decorate our loot.

Back to Bryant Park Hotel’s HauteLook suite for a gander at the Victoria’s Secret display and generous goody bag. I even finished up with a massage and manicure compliments of the HauteLook suite. Sometimes life is good!

The day ended on a high note with Douglas Hannant’s cocktail party/collection at the Plaza Hotel. Talk about elegant! Champagne in hand I took note of the gorgeous evening gowns placed on mannequins set atop high white platforms. The late day collection is definitely geared to those who make the society pages but if I could own just one number I’d die happy in Hannant’s pink/peach ombre voile strapless gown.

Attention Social Page Editors:

Anyone Wearing This Gown Should Be Automatically Published Due To Her Good Taste!

Sept. 15: Hangover free, I began my day at the civilized hour of 11:00 AM at the Brian Reyes show in the Promenade tent. Again, fortified with my ubiquitous McCafe mocha, I was inclined to look favorably on his collection. On the whole I found it to be pretty, young ( hate that word) and saleable. Best looks included a stone color cotton “Japanese” car coat, cute aqua shagreen printed wrap shorts (shorts are very in for spring) shown with a bleeding heart print ruffled cami and a sexy black jersey strapless gown.

After a reviving lunch and massage it was on to Max Azria’s runway show in the large tent. I could have done with all the deconstructed looks but I did like a white crepe dress with deep cowl back, the delicate, dove crepe beaded dress and his gorgeous nude silk beaded frock with its extremely low back – very sexy!

Sept. 16: Made the trip down to Bryant Park at the crack of 10:00 AM only to be turned away from the Michael Kors presentation. This was definitely one of the hottest tickets as the tent was jammed with press, ladies who lunch and assorted hangers-on. Just to give you an example, I spotted a skinny guy (?) wearing mid heeled pumps and a fur stole over his suit. Sometimes it’s worth it just to see the freak show. That was that, so I killed time until the Nanette Lepore show. Here too I spotted another fashion victim, this time wearing black sequin leggings, and an YSL tee shirt under a blk/white houndstooth jacket and ridiculous ruffled platform shoes. All this at 11:00 in the morning, mind you. As for the show itself, there was lots of color, beading and prints. And like almost everyone else, a surfeit of dresses, jackets, knits and shorts. Personally, I’d buy the cute “twig” cargo shorts, the easy to wear racer back “twilight” color knit dress and Lepore’s pretty “firefly” beaded top.

I ended my day at Anna Sui who showed in the main tent. This is one show I always look forward to, not only to see what her imagination has come up with, but for the celebrity packed crowds. The theme for spring was the circus, but filtered through Anna’s prolific and unique imagination. All the top models were booked and let me tell you, what a difference it makes. These girls know how to project a designer’s vision. When it comes to mixing patterns and textures, no one does it better than Anna. For example, her black/ivory jigsaw and quatrefoil metallic jacquard (what a mouthful) jacket and skirt, topping a purple clover foulard print metallic plaid blouse, was the height of trendy chic. Another winner was a tan multicolored plaid jacket and skirt paired with a pretty persimmon sunflower foulard metallic, clipped dot chiffon blouse.

Anna Sui's Line Is Three Rings of Metallic Success

Sept. 17: I swung by the Stephen Burrows intimate presentation held in his showroom. The collection emphasized streamlined late day wear and was attended by some of the industry’s big name editors and stylists. For me the standout was a slinky long white jersey gown with insets of blue sequins that served to emphasize the languid lines. It was modeled by Anna Cleveland, daughter of famed ‘70s model, Pat who was one of Stephen’s muses.

Afterwards, it was on to Naeem Khan’s showroom. Oh, my god! Was it glorious. The collection’s focus was strictly after dark (and you’d need a small fortune to afford anything), with red carpet worthy clothes embellished with crystals, paillettes, jewels and magnificent embroidery. The models wearing their hair in stylized poufs, stood two deep and stock still looking like the most gorgeous living dolls. I’d be hard pressed to name a favorite but one of the loveliest had to be the lilac chiffon halter gown embellished with sterling silver floral paillettes – very ‘30s Jean Harlow. In the next room that was overflowing with flowers that covered one whole wall, were some magnificent jewels by Ranjana Khan. I loved the crystal necklaces pinned to photos of famed 19th century beauties. All I could do was ooh and aah, the pieces were so opulent. Between the two collections and the champagne, I was one happy – if envious – camper.

I ended fashion week with a final stop at the tents and one last iced mocha. Chocheng’s collection was aimed at the over 30 crowd with late day clothes in a black/ivory palette with a touch of turquoise at the end. While the tailoring was superb and the details romantic, the show left me wanting more, especially after Naeem Khan ‘s great collection. For my money, the best look was the black silk satin trench coat. It was an updated version of a beloved classic and worth the designer price tag.

So there you have it, a weeks worth of shows filled with (some) crap and (some) couture, both on and off the runways. If you have any comments or thought about the spring fashions, feel free to comment.

Until next time, C&C.

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Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row