Thursday, February 10, 2005

Olympus Fashion Week: Day Six

Michael Kors never disappoints with his upbeat, exuberant men’s and women’s collections, traditionally shown at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, and this time was no exception. (Click here to see entire collection on NY Metro) His ‘All American’ tribute (no, not red, white, and blue but rather, red, white, and black) had nary an ethnic undertone in sight, and while it may not have reinvented the wheel (whatever that is, anyway) was filled with wearable and for the most part, flattering classics that are far from dull. It already seems that the New York Collections can be described as East meets West. And I’m not referring to the East Coast but instead, Eastern Europe. And speaking about a class act the show even began "gulp" on time (almost exactly 10:30 which by fashion standards means, ‘on time’).

One of the fun parts of the shows is seeing how the audience dresses for the occasion. And as if to pay homage to Michael, Helen Lee Shifter chose the designer’s eye-catching (and unusual) short mink jacket from this past spring, done in ombre stripes of blue, which she paired with crisp jeans. It was precisely what Michael’s aesthetic is all about; the idea of relaxed luxe. By the way, as I was leaving the venue, I saw none other than Andre Leon Talley sitting NOT front row center, but back row, aisle. I know he has gone on record saying he prefers not to be in the front row sometimes since it calms him, but this gives new meaning to ‘Far from the maddening crowd.’ Anyway, I asked if he had a good view, and he laughed, “I had a fine view”.

The designing sister act of Kathryn and Lindy Jones (the duo behind Palmer Jones), who were recently awarded Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award in the category of Women’s Apparel, showed a perfectly nice collection of Cinderella (their muse) inspired couture like tailored pieces and eveningwear (many boasting hints of that ‘Russian Roulette’ which seems to be taking over 7th avenue), at the Cellar Bar of the Bryant Park Hotel. It was such a nice change of pace from the Tents, so civilized, yet so convenient, I was surprised that others had not shown there.

Alice Roi took us to the Quaker Meeting house in Gramercy Park. I had forgotten how beautiful and quaint this area is. Her collection was short and sweet that also introduced a brand new fur licensing partnership. Together with Tendler Furs, she conceived of a small group of young and sporty pieces (ranging from vests to skullcaps) that were perfectly in sync with her eclectic, preppy, borrowed from the boys, schoolgirl vision.

Marc Bouwer, known for his sexy Red Carpet creations, took us all to the spanking new Cipriani 23rd street for his collection of signature Hollywood style eveningwear (with a decidedly Bob Mackie kind of feeling) and faux furs (made by Tissavel USA). Some were pretty convincing, I must say. What was strange however, was that furrier Dennis Basso was front row center (air kissing Lizzie Grubman, etc.) so one would have naturally assumed that Marc was going to use the real stuff. Of course, Dennis does a line of faux furs for QVC, so I guess he wanted to check out the competition. Though the event was made to feel like a cocktail party (drinks were served) unfortunately, many (or most) of those high profile ‘dream’ names that were affixed to front row seats, did not show up. (I’m sure it was because of the time and location).

And then there was Anna Sui, always a crowd pleaser, who delighted everybody with her colorful trademark ‘more is more’, pile it on, fun, and energetic clothes and accessories. This time, she tread on familiar territory, part boho, part homage to Coco (but in a very youthful, irreverent, almost campy way). Big (and I mean big) fur hats from Adrienne Landau, knits from James Coviello, Erickson Beamon’s chunky chain necklaces, earrings, and cocktail rings, all added up to a happy interval. The polar opposite of, say, Narciso’s streamlined aesthetic. Speaking of which, remember yesterday, when I said that after Narciso’s show I had the urge to take off all my jewelry? Well, after Anna’s show, I quickly changed my mind!

- by Marilyn Kirschner

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