Yesterday, Monday, April 15, may have been “Tax Day”, but there was nothing taxing about the way I spent a good part of the afternoon. I attended The Fashion Group International’s Noon time presentation of the fall/winter 2013 runway shows highlighting the “Best of the Best” from New York, London, Milan, and Paris.
|Alyssa Manning (Instyle) & Evie Evangelou (President and Global Chair of Fashion 4 Development)|
Held at the Time Life Building, the audio/visual presentation was edited and narrated superbly by FGI’s Fashion Director Marylou Luther. And it was a sold out event, according to Margaret Hayes who made her welcoming remarks, during which time she announced that the FGI launched a new partnership at this year’s Fall/Winter Ready-to-Wear Trend Presentation, with “Fashion 4 Development”, a private sector global platform whose mission is to harness the power of the fashion and beauty industries and implement sustainable strategies for worldwide economic growth.
|Designs by Ardistia Dwiarsi|
The joint initiative, “created to celebrate and advance the globalization of fashion and its positive impact around the world”, kicked off with a celebration of Indonesian textiles and design at a VIP reception after the noon panel discussion.The invitation-only reception featured live models and mannequins showcasing the country’s woven cloth textiles, and the work of Indonesian designers Auguste Soesastro and Ardistia Dwiasri, who were both in attendance.
|Ana Maria Pimentel, Fashion Director, Women’s Accessories, Neiman Marcus & Colleen Sherin , Fashion Director of Saks Fifth Avenue|
To sum up the themes that were singled out by Marylou Luther as key to the season: “Man/ Woman Dualities” and the new gender bending; “The New Generosity”; “The New Modesty”; a color palette which is strong on black, white, black & white and shades of gray; the trans-formative magic of fabric thanks to fabric manipulation by designers; “Fashion Gets Religious” (“Ecclesiastica is in the air”- ‘think’ papal conclaves); “Plaid, Checks & Prints” (this includes everything from grunge inspired plaids and tartans, to florals, nature inspired prints, dizzying digitalized prints, art inspired prints, brain scans, cockroaches, beetles, and butterflies; “Fur-Fer-All” (yup, furs were indeed, all over the runways, shown in every incarnation); Leather: it was truly all about leather for fall: python, cowhide, sheepskin, pigskin, lamb, pony, lizard, tooled leather, eyelet-ed leather, embossed leather, quilted leather, distressed leather, ostrich and alligator (both fake and real).
|Nicole Fischelis (Group VP, Fashion Director and Global Forecasting of Macys) & Bryanboy (Fashion Blogger)|
In the accessory arena: “his” shoes for her; pointy toe pumps, second skin boots, rocker boots, and the color white, which looks fresh for fall (forget about the idea that you can’t wear white after Labor Day). As for bags, look for double duty versions, fur bags, carpet bags, camo bags, backpacks that go uptown, and bags that match the outfit. The belt is accessory that “makes everything look new”, caps “cap it off”, the cloche has never looked better; the hot jewels of the season are ear wraps and message necklaces (epitomized by Lanvin’s statement necklaces that spell out words like “Love”, “You”, “Cool”, “Help”, and “Happy”). As far as Ms. Luther is concerned, the best accessory of the season is the “return of the smile”, as seen on the happy faced models at Betsey Johnson and Diane Von Furstenberg.
|Diane von Furstenberg & Amy Synnott D’Annibale of InStyle|
Speaking of which, DVF was the special guest moderator at the Noon time presentation and when she was introduced by Margaret Hayes, she immediately complimented Marylou Luther on the great job she did, saying “Marylou is the REAL star”. Members of the panel included Bryanboy, Fashion Blogger; Nicole Fischelis, Group Vice President, Fashion Director and Global Forecasting, Macy’s; Ana Maria Pimentel, Fashion Director, Women’s Accessories, Neiman Marcus; Colleen Sherin, Fashion Director, Saks Fifth Avenue; Amy Synnott D’Annibale, Beauty Director, InStyle. Diane kicked things off noting that “anything goes” and “just about anything is allowed”, but there is always a thread. She asked panelists, “What is fashion?”:
Nicole: “It can be an emotion. It’s our role to analyze what we see on the runway”.
Bryanboy: “It has to be relevant for a woman’s lifestyle, and it must be practical and comfortable.”
Amy Synnott: “The wear-ability factor is key for us. It means different things to different people. But the Internet has democratized fashion. Everything is available in an instant. Everyone is a stylist now”.
Colleen Sherin: “It’s all about comfort and relevance, but as for purchases, there needs to be that emotional response, and the WOW factor has to be there as well”.
Diane asked for the panelists to ask questions. Colleen Sherin wasted no time: “What did everyone think about the controversial fall 2013 collection of Saint Laurent (designed by Hedi Slimane)?
DVF: “I knew Saint Laurent (who was the first to bring street to fashion), and I know Hedi and while I was in Paris to see his first collection, I did not see the last one in person (I saw it on-line). It made me laugh because it was modern and provocative. Exactly what Saint Laurent stood for”.
Nicole: “The first show was an homage and the second…well, I was kind of annoyed when I first saw it but when I looked at it again, I thought that it was really in sync with Saint Laurent’s design philosophy. All the codes of the house were there (the chubby, the black leather, the printed dresses, the pea coat, etc.), but it was modernized. It was new, fresh, contemporary. It had a new attitude with the old DNA.”
Bryanboy: “It was relevant and provocative but the spirit of the house was still there.”
Ana Maria Pimentel: “I agree with all of you. It was cool and grungey. I had mixed emotions during the show but when I went back and saw the clothes in person, all the codes of the house were there.”
Then someone asked what everyone thought of the Celine and Geoffrey Beene jacket debate (Geoffrey Beene showed a jacket with the sleeves folded across, back in 2003, and Phoebe Philo showed almost the exact same piece on Celine’s fall 2013 runway show. Was it a case of ‘copycat’?)
Ana Maria Pimentel: “Fashion is so cyclical that past designs always influence others. There is so much of that. It is not new.”
DVF: “Designers all go vintage shopping now. Everything is common property and everything is instantly available. Everybody is a thief.”
Bryanboy: “It’s similar but different enough…it’s not a complete knockoff”.
At one point, Diane remarked: “The fashion shows are made for one thing and one thing only: A good picture”. But she asked, “do you all believe fashion shows being produced basically to sell handbags?”
Ana Maria Pimentel: “There were the It bags of the 90’s, but that has changed. It’s not as much about here today and gone tomorrow, but more about having a core collection that doesn’t change each season. She cited Fendi’s Toujour Baga and Celine’s iconic designs as good examples. “Functionality in bags is essential”.
Ana went on to say that she was excited about boots for fall as swell as oxfords and the menswear influence. This prompted DVF to remark that “the shoe decides what you wear. It’s not an accessory but a decider”.DVF then invited attendees to ask the panelists questions. Someone asked her if she designs differently for different markets around the world. Her response: “A woman is a woman everywhere. Fashion is so global. A best seller is a best seller everywhere. And something that is not a best seller is NOT a best seller everywhere.”
Then someone asked about John Galliano’s controversial presence during New York Fashion Week.
DVF: “John is an enormous talent. I was at his first fashion show. It was beautiful, poetic, extraordinary. He is an artist. Very fragile. He was bullied and laughed at as a young boy and then he became a big star, and he didn’t handle it very well (like many others). John didn’t mean what he said. As the daughter of someone who went to a death camp (her mother survived Auschwitz), I can attest to the fact that he is not an anti Semite. He is sincere and truly upset about what happened.”