Well, barring a jolt of java, I certainly could have used some of Kenneth Cole’s signature comic antics and satirical political commentary early Friday morning to get me going. But for the first time in many seasons, Kenneth was a no show – and the honors this time went to John Bartlett at 9 am). Not that it was a gloomy and rainy morning (as it traditionally has been on kick off day). Far from it. The first day of Olympus Fashion Week for spring 2007 was met with positively summer like weather…warm and sunny. And it was warm and sultry inside the tents as well, which is a departure (it usually feels more like winter since the air conditioning normally goes at full blast). Well, I suppose this makes it all the more fitting to view the parade of warm weather clothes, barely there evening gowns, and skimpy swimsuits that will inevitably parade down the runway in the days to come.
Speaking of which, there were plenty of sexy swimsuits (maillots, bikinis, 1-piece bandeaus) at Gottex (what else would you expect?), which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season (though interestingly, my favorite group was the graphic black and white swimsuits shown with covered up ‘trench coats’ in contrasting patterns). And there were certainly plenty of both (swimsuits and evening gowns) at Marc Bouwer, where many evening gowns seemed like elongated versions of swimsuits and many of his decidedly glamorous swimsuits featured details normally found in evening gowns. Although, there were no sexy bathing suits or drop dead Hollywood type evening gowns at Verrier, where relative newcomer Ashelgh Verrier, always influenced by early American sportswear, continued with her highly detailed, young couture- like approach, and illustrated her formidable dressmaking skills, and signature mixes (day and evening, fabrics, textures). The effect was unforced, sweet, young, and modern all at the same time.
But still, Friday has always been all about the guys, and this time was no exception. In addition to the lineup of menswear designers which included John Bartlett, Perry Ellis, and Duckie Brown (who primarily focused on updated preppy/classic with a twist/techno/utilitarian looks in pleasing neutrals not to mention lots of lots of great knitwear), Friday was also about another guy: Nicolas Guesquiere, the man of the hour, who is credited with bringing Balenciaga back to life and who was the guest of honor at a cocktail party given by Barneys New York last night.
Also last evening was the opening night reception for Love & War: The Weaponized Woman at The Museum of FIT. It was curated and hosted by Valerie Steele, who was appropriately attired for the evening. The exhibition was – as promised – both visually stunning and intellectually daring in its unprecedented look at the influence of armor and underwear on contemporary fashion. There was a good size crowd in attendance considering so many other events were going on at the same time, with early visits by Hamish Bowles of Vogue and the ever present Bill Cunningham of The New York Times.
By the way, among the very useful little ‘gifts’ I received at the shows (things that are always welcome and always come in handy) were the sugar free mini Altoids (we always need those, don’t we?), Aveda all sensitive cleanser, and Boscia fresh blotting linens (to keep the shine off your face so you’re ready for your ‘close-up’) given out at Marc Bouwer, and the Redken anti frizz shampoo and conditioner given out at Gottex (because I have curly hair!) In the category of “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”…..I would have preferred the Hue footless tights with control top (which were dispensed outside on 6th avenue) in black rather than purple
-Marilyn Kirschner with additional reporting by Ernest Schmatolla