New York Fashion Week Notes

With the arrival of New York Fashion Week, it may appear that everything is happening here, on the East Coast, but there were some moments when it was all about the ‘West’. A few nights ago, Hedi Slimane staged his Fall 2016 Menswear collection on the West Coast before a star studded crowd (the setting was the Palladium Concert Hall in Los Angeles to be exact). He included Part 1 of his women’s line (Part 2 will be shown in Paris). The strong showing was an homage to the 50th anniversary of Yves Saint Laurent’s Rive Gauche collection. It featured belted waists and midi lengths (I was glad to see the little girl minis had finally disappeared).


Then there was Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 3 fashion show and album (‘The Life of Pablo’) debut. The bona fide ‘happening’ (and brilliant marketing ploy) which took place before a crowd of about 18,000 (mainly fans) at Madison Square Garden yesterday was undeniably a first, and had all the publicity and fanfare one would expect whenever the names West and Kardashian are involved.

Yeezy Ochre shearling jacket

Once again, the collection for men and women had a cool, hip, streetwise edge, and undeniably, there were some great pieces. Specifically, the artful graphic body hugging knitwear (a nod to Pablo Picasso?), the oversized outerwear, and the high collared, cropped sculptural, shearling jacket (which might come in handy in the next few icy cold days). My favorite was the one in ochre, shown over a matching bodysuit.

But the great thing about fashion is that there’s not just one way to view it; there are many options, and different, often conflicting ideas and voices. The bottom line is that one does not negate the other. On Wednesday evening, two legendary Upper East Side institutions served as fitting, proper, and wonderfully civilized venues for fashion presentations. I guess you could say that they were the polar opposites of, say, Yeezy.

Josie Natori
(Photo: Marilyn Kirschner)

Doubles, the venerable private club located downstairs in the Sherry Netherland Hotel, is the bastion of the Old Guard; a place where trends don’t matter and traditions still carry weight. Designer Josie Natori, who has been a member for 40 years, since its inception in 1976, decided it was the perfect place to show her Fall 2016 collection. This is hard to argue with given that the 22 piece lineup, played out primarily in black with touches of marigold, cobalt, and sandstone (and shown installation style on models), is unapologetically elegant, dressed up, and evening oriented (regardless of the fact that Ms. Natori is intent on “blurring the lines between day and eveningwear”).

Guests including Linda Fargo, Bobbi Queen, Etta Froio, Margaret Hayes, Alina Cho, and Nicole Fishelis had a chance to take in the 5 distinctive tableaus that were set up in the atmospheric rooms, while enjoying a glass of Prosecco and an hors d’oeuvres or two. By the way, when I asked Ms. Fishelis, Macy’s Group Vice President/Fashion Director Global Forecasting, what she is most looking forward to seeing in the next week, she said that in addition to the new young stars (such as Joseph Altuzarra and Prabal Gurung), it would have to be “the Big 4” (American legends): Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren, each of whom are featured prominently in Macy’s stores nationwide and perform exceptionally well.

Josie Natori
(Photo: Marilyn Kirschner)

The bustier tunics, ankle pants, trousers, halter column gowns, fit and flare cocktail dresses, boleros with matching obi’s, and belted toppers came by way of crepe, duchess satin, Chantilly lace, jersey, and jacquard (in a few instances, the fabric was made to resemble crocodile). When I asked the diminutive designer, (who was dressed in her signature black accessorized with a statement making necklace made of over scaled beads), what her favorite piece or pieces were, she answered: “Anything that is embellished.

Josie Natori silver jewel embellished bolero
and matching belt
(Photo: Marilyn Kirschner)

And then she singled out the black crepe halter column gown with gold scenery embellishment, the black crepe v-neck column gown with with gold scenery embellished black obi belt, the black crepe cap sleeve v neck gown with silver jewel embellishment, and especially, the black pony jersey bolero and duchess satin obi belt with silver jewel embellishment, worn with the duchess satin trouser pant.

Elizabeth Kennedy Fall 2016 Presentation

A little later on that evening, Elizabeth Kennedy showed her lineup of beautiful hand crafted custom couture dresses and gowns at the Grill Room at the Four Seasons Restaurant, Julian Niccolin’s beloved culinary landmark that is moving from its current location to a yet unknown spot in July (I myself welcome any reason to go there). The Parsons Graduate has honed her impressive skills at Donna Karan, J. Mendel, Max Mara, and at the age of 22, was named head of design at Isaac Mizrahi. She launched her namesake line (which is made in New York’s garment center and sold exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman), in 2014.

Elizabeth Kennedy Fall 2016

Among those who attended the presentation: Ken Downing, Fern Mallis, Cameron Silver, Amanda Ross, Alexis Bryan Morgan. Looking at the divinely sculptural, form fitting dresses and gowns, priced from $2950 to $30,000, it was easy to see why she has attracted a fan base that includes high profile fashion lovers such as Sharon Osborne and Mariah Carey (indeed, many of the form fitting gowns had Mariah’s name written all over them).

– 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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