First Edition of Puerto Rico Fashion Trends … “Bryant Park” In The Tropics

The premiere edition of Puerto Rico Fashion Trends debuted on April 29th at the Parque Tercer Milenio, well known as one of San Juan’s most luxurious beach areas. The late day into evening event, which was held in a large white tent (seating capacity 300) that totally replicated the look, aura and attitude of NYC’s Bryant Park extravaganza, took off with an abundance of sizzling hot, high designer style, shown on the floor-level runway by five local designers (well-known and up-and-coming). A host of big-name, international sponsors (think Wella, Sebastian/Trucco, Sprint, Sears, Neutrogena, Carefree, Sony and the like) along with local newspapers and fashion magazines lent their support, not to mention lots of products in the bargain. The varied, jam-packed goody bags at each show more than proved that point.

Overall, the event drew the requisite crush of fashion cognescenti, (over 1500 persons attended) including local/international editors, buyers, socialites and celebs. Former Pro football player, Dion Sanders, not only walked for one designer, but attended several of the shows and then joined the chi-chi crowd at the exclusive, all-night-long after-party, held at the Caribe Hilton Hotel.

Singularly concepted, created and promoted by Cristina Caraballo, the 29 year old managing director of ProActive Group, Inc., and a woman now regarded by many as the Fern Mallis of Latin America, Puerto Rico Fashion Trends was specifically designed to further promote each designer’s image locally and then build upon that in terms of an international presence. Case In Point: The Fall/Winter 2004 collections showcased a well-balanced and well-edited array of casual, sportive and haute glam looks (mostly all eminently desireable and wearable) for both women and men. Adding another layer to all of this and rivaling a lot of what we look for during the NY shows, were the models, styling (clothing and accessories), hair, make-up and music, which were first rate across the board.

DESIGNER HIGHLIGHTS … Twenty-two year-old Chrisnelia Guzman’s classically elegant homage to l950’s Paris, especially the tight jackets, pencil skirts and flowing pants that brought us back to Coco Chanel in her heyday.

Pipo Pere’s “Black Fall/White Winter” pieces in monochrome tones touched with gray, golden and red. An outrageous blending of clothing and accessories in microfibers, mesh, lace, satin, crepe, stretch gab and tulle. Best part here is that it’s not just for the girls.

Lilliam Landrón Collection (click on image to enlarge)

Lilliam Landron’s “Eden” collection gave a new slant to cocktail and gala party pieces in chiffon and silk … Miriam Budet’s ultra-colored “Feminine Essence” pieces were sexy and fresh in jersey, silk, crepe and mesh, touched with accents of needlework/embroidery in suede. Super purses, too.

“Tree Of Life” from Lisa Thon showed evening gowns, cocktail dresses and easy separates for women and men. Here, charmeuse, silk, satin, chiffon and laces appear in colors that go from intense blue, green and amber through to classic wine and chocolate.

The look that stole the show (see photo above) … Thon’s bold and beautiful, crystal-encrusted finale gown that swept across the runway and placed a nice ending to the entire event.

The next edition of Puerto Rico Fashion Trends is slated to run in San Juan on October 22nd 2004. For more information contact: Cristina Caraballo, FDC Inc, 787-671-4247 or on the web

– reported by Adrienne Weinfeld-Berg, contributing editor

Brooching’ the Issue of Fall Accessories

Well, Narciso (as in Rodriguez) may believe that “Less is More” (and he does have a point I might add), but it’s not the ONLY fashion philosophy out there and judging from the Neiman Marcus Accessories Fall Preview I attended today, at the Chambers Hotel, this retailer certainly believes that “More is More”.

One look at the jam packed, colorful, highly visual display, set up as always in a chic suite at the hotel (thanks to the efforts of Neiman’s Ken Downing, Vice President of Public Relations, Marc Lundeen, and Kareen Mallet – Senior Fashion Editors), it was obvious that the theme was all about “Brooches and Furs” and the thread throughout was that “everything has a three dimensional treatment” according to Marc.

And indeed it did, resulting in a dizzying, dazzling, almost over the top effect where everything seemed highly tactile and ornamental. The wonderful pins (see photo above), which were set up throughout, were displayed in a large variety of materials, stones, shapes, and sizes, many designed by Stephen Dweck and Jose Barrera.

Furs, a major story, were shown in unusual colors (like chartreuse), and in sporty youthful shapes that have nothing to do with your mother’s fur (we’re talking collars, caplets, ponchos, sweaters, little vintage inspired jackets). And the love affair with leopard and zebra shows no signs of abating based on what was on view.

As for color? Well, there was very little black (no surprise there) but there was a lot of green (every shade including teal), ‘the color purple’ (again- everything from pale lilac to saturated lavender), and pink and red- in combination.

Bags continue to be a major category, and while there wasn’t one specific theme or trend which linked the fab bags together, it was all about variety (from teeny tiny jewel like versions which are akin to necklaces, to elongated satchels) AND decoration (beads, sequins, buckles). You name it, they showed it!

What else? Watches and rings keep getting bigger and bolder, and boots are definitely made for walking — as these wonderful, practical, pancake flat versions will attest. Good news for those who like to hoof it around town and still look chic as heck!

– 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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