Fall Preview:

We’re ensconced in the dog days of August, the Republicans are coming, and Labor Day is just around the corner. In short, it’s the perfect time for most die- hard city dwellers to head out of town and enjoy the last few weeks of summer. So, why was Michael Kors’s 20th floor west 42nd street showroom crawling with hundreds of fashion insiders? It was the setting for the CFDA’s Annual New Members Reception, that’s why. And thanks to the relatively new schedule, putting New York Fashion Week first (ahead of Paris and Milan, and falling right after Labor Day), designers have basically been ‘robbed’ of their once carefree summers, as they are now forced with the task of putting the finishing touches on their upcoming spring collections.

New members pose for group shot with Stan Herman and Michael Kors

And boy, what a mixed bag this event was. Not only was it a mix of boldfaced names- well established designers from the ‘old’ guard (Michael Kors, Koos Van Den Akker, Gloria Sachs, Carolina Herrera, Rebecca Moses, Marc Bouwer, Steven Stolman) sipping champagne along side the young stars (Peter Som, Zac Posen, Behnaz Sarafpour), but unsurprisingly, the fashion statements were highly schizophrenic and varied as well. While some looked as though they came straight from the beach, decked out casually in madras shirts, Bermudas, tank tops, t shirts, and flip flops, others seemed intent on displaying their fall finery.

‘In Style’s’ Cindy Weber Cleary, for example, wore a chicly tailored brocade coat thrown over her shoulders, Candy Pratts Price selected a simple little black dress trimmed with tiny crystals, and many others opted for statement making accessories (fall is ‘all about’ pins, bold rings, sparkle, and shine). Retailer Amy Chan (her eclectic shop is located at 247 Mulberry Street), always wears eye catching ‘jewels’ – like the fabulous over the top ring and necklace she chose for last evening, and Sylvia Heisel opted for a glorious pile – on of slightly ethnic vintage silver bracelets to complement her classically simple olive green satin shirt and shantung pants. Even Fern Mallis made a fashion statement, donning a chic black cast instead of the traditional white version, on the lower part of her leg. When I inquired if it would come off in time for Fashion Week, she said, unfortunately not – it needs to remain on for about 4 weeks. (No, she didn’t injure herself while performing gymnastics at the Olympics in Athens).

Speaking of our own ‘Olympics’- upcoming Fashion Week- and the color black, the always- chic Carolina Herrera told me that for her ‘globally’ inspired spring show, one color we will NOT be seeing is black (“Color, color, color, no black” is how she phrased it). She also told me that there would be plenty of “special prints”. What else can we expect to see from September 8th through the 15th? Couturier Maggie Norris, who worked for Ralph Lauren for 15 years and now sells exclusively to Bergdorf Goodman, noted interesting mixes (she loves the idea of riding jackets worn with ball skirts and evening gowns); Behnaz Sarafpour, clad in pink and white sleeveless gingham shirt from her past spring collection, whose show will be held at Tiffany’s on Sunday morning (‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, indeed), admitted she “loves doing sportswear” but is also feeling strongly for “a mix of things”; Jill Stuart, dressed in a formfitting white lace dress paired with sexy black open toed high heels, described her collection as “pretty and girlie: pin-up sexy”.

But while Peter Som described his overall mood as “easy and relaxed”, Neimans’ Joan Kaner was feeling anything but relaxed and casual. She feels spring will be an “evolution” of what we are now seeing for fall, and is anticipating “feminine” clothing saturated in color. As she said, “women are having fun with dressing up”.

Oh, and for the record, Michael’s new digs may well be sprawling, but I found them to be somewhat sterile, office-like, and lacking in personality.

-Posted by Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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