New York Fashion Week: Day 3

All in all, Sunday was an upbeat kind of day, beginning with Lela Rose’s youthful and sweet early morning presentation, which was built around the idea of controlled volume, touches of homespun and the folkloric, plays on proportion, dressmaker details, muted earth tones, short dresses (including pinafores) and short shorts which echoed the mood and tone elsewhere over the weekend. What other trends have crystallized over the weekend? Stripes, sheer, layering, balloon and bubble hems, balloon and lantern sleeves (there seems to be a continued fascination with sleeves which has continued from fall), tucking, ruching, pleats (box pleats and sunburst pleats) standout coats (including new takes on the trench- as if there could possibly be any other versions designers have not yet tried).

Brian Reyes and Sari Gueron, two of the 10 “emerging talents” being sponsored by UPS, showed at the UPS Hub at the Tents yesterday. The 25 year old Reyes has always been admittedly inspired by his world travels and strives to experiment with interesting fabrics and mixes. Among the beautifully designed pieces were his abbreviated dresses (a slate woven chenille strapless lanterns dress, a black and white striped tank dress, a black taffeta moiré short sleeved obi, and a black strapless box pleat radzmire). Sari, who is after a look that is cool, low-keyed and underdone concentrated on shorts looks and dresses featuring box pleats, pintucks, or quilted yokes (though her use of crystal flower corsages reminded me a bit of Doo Ri last season).

Tracy Reese is obviously in a Latin mood these days. The popular designer’s collection was upbeat, sexy, spirited and had the effect of taking a quick vacation to a warm Caribbean Island – without having to actually go anywhere. Citing the tango as inspiration, the models walked the runway to the beat of tango music and she even had a couple doing a very energetic tango on the runway at the end of the show. Maybe Tracy is taking tango lessons herself. The run of show was even divided into three passages: Tango, Samba, Barrio and within each group, there were appealing neutral and spice toned ‘frocks’, shifts, blousons, shirtdresses, Bermudas, shorts, and coats (including a fabulous trench with tucked sleeves and a rose ruched coat with kimono sleeves).

Want to know what Diane Von Furstenberg is up to these days? The designer and new President of the CFDA is obviously busy because the spring collection (which was unsurprisingly quite the scene with hubby Barry Diller greeting and schmoozing with the guests, and all the chairs at the Tent venue slip covered in yellow, green, and red just for the occasion) was a little bit of this and a little bit of that and was sort of all over the place (florals, graphics, geometrics, solids, little black dresses, leggings, tunics, crochet knit ensembles, printed trench coats, chain mail sweatshirts, coatdresses, etc.) The show was dubbed “All about Eve” and the program featured an image of the designing woman looking gorgeous and young, taken by Francesco Scavullo in 1970.

Bryan Bradley’s Tuleh collection was another fast paced romp featuring 33 outfits which came out at breakneck speed. Styled by his former partner Josh Patner, the show was called, “American Spectators”. But while Bryan used the word “American”, in an effort to describe the well designed collection based primarily on the notion of sophisticated sportswear, and the timeless appeal of the always chic and elegant black and white, (and spectator pumps), I couldn’t help but surmise that Yves St. Laurent in the 70’s must have also been a reference point. And one printed silk cocktail dress, with a surrealistic red hand recalled Elsa Schiaparelli. Bryan is obviously in love with 3-D texture (to wit: the all over ‘fish scaled’ cocktail dress and the two frothy black and white confections in chiffon – one black, one white – with short ruched skirts).

By the way, looking at the audience was almost more fun than looking at the runway today and proof of how schizophrenic fashion has increasingly become. There was Andre Leon Talley in a white crocodile trench coat (which he never took off, even while seated); Lauren Ezersky (in a nod to neo grunge?), looking very casual, comfortable, and ready for work in her faded denim mechanic suit (or at least it appeared to be), brown heavy ankle boots, and a brown bandana tied around her forehead; and Vogue’s Meredith Melling Burke, wearing an almost blindingly shiny silver sequined top layered over a white tee, wide gray cuffed menswear pants, and thick platform wedge sandals. I guess she didn’t get the memo about NOT wearing ‘night for day’ (though wearing ‘day for night’ is perfectly ‘acceptable’) according to Glamour Magazine’s editor-in-chief Cindi Leive. Ms. Leive just wrote “Glamour’s Big Book of Dos and Don’ts: Fashion Help for Every Woman” and when she was asked to apply it to dressing for Fashion Week, she was quick to say, “No sequins for day”! Now, I’m not one to pay much attention or adhere to someone else’s notion of ‘do’s and don’ts’ but in this case, I’d have to say I agree.

Speaking of which – one of the biggest don’ts is baring legs that have no business being bared. One of the best ‘new’ (actually old) trends is the idea of layering tights and skinny pants or jeans beneath baby dolls, mini skirts, and abbreviated shifts. I cannot understand why so many women (of all ages) insist on baring legs (legs that quite often would be better off hidden or camouflaged), particularly since we are at a time when there are so many creative, practical, and inexpensive options to cover up for modesty, warmth, or just the fun fashion of it. And while it is technically still summer…it’s hardly the time of the year when hoofing around town in minis and flip flops (unless you’re just going to the grocery store or to get a newspaper) is considered appropriate attire.

And without a doubt, one woman who not only ‘gets’ fashion but understands the idea of what is “appropriate” is Joan Kaner, who I had the pleasure of seeing last evening prior to the Tuleh show. The former fashion director of Neiman Marcus now divides her time between New York and Sarasota, and is attending some shows this week (including Bill Blass, Yeohlee, and Ralph Rucci). Looking relaxed and chic as usual, she admitted that while she is still very interested in fashion and wants to know what is going on and what’s new, she is happily retired and loves her leisurely life. I am sure she is not in the least bit unhappy that she does not have to worry about covering each and every show this week and next month in Europe. And as one of fashion’s loudest voices about the need to modify the schedule, she observed that New York Fashion Week is as packed as usual (if not more so). She is one class act!

-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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