New York Fashion Week Notes #2

Yeohlee-Hee Ho A Fashion House Goes Country

Fall/Winter 2013 Yeohlee Teng
Blood orange wool coat vest with white silk crepe shirt
(All photos: Lieba Nesis)
Yeohlee’s Fall 2013 show was held at 28 West 38th Street at a former ribbon store.  The mood was extremely intimate with models making changes at Manny’s Milinery Supply Center next door.  The show’s motto was freedom of expression and freedom of spirit with an emphasis on environmental responsibility and zero waste.  Award winning designer Yeohlee Teng was born in Malaysia and has worked primarily in New York where her design house was established in 1981.  Yeohlee believes that clothing should serve a function and gives careful thought to the use of each fabric and how to shape, cut, color and finish a garment.
Linden wool mohair piston jumper with iris collared blouse

She was a winner of the National Design Award in 2004 and she has been featured in solo shows at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.  The insiders of the fashion world revere Yeohlee for her meticulous attention to design and shape and her work is part of the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  However, her commitment to supporting the garment industry and towards using local suppliers makes her an extremely unique figure in the fashion world in that she sacrifices bottom line profits in order to further her ideals.  Her free spirited socially conscious attitude was reflected in the simplicity of her show’s presentation and in the design of the actual garments.

Green jacket with purple pants
Yeohlee’s use of color, especially blood orange was exquisite.  The show opened with a brick red Kimono coat against a black denim jumper to riveting effect.  Yeohlee reintroduced the Jerkin, a closely fitted man’s jacket without sleeves, in hard brick red and then in a navy and grey double faced mohair.  There was a profusion of color throughout the show highlighting deep greens, purples and blood orange against a simple design and cut allowing the audience to observe the texture and composition of the garment without dizzying the observer with excessive effects.  There was a peplum jacket executed in ash and, my favorite, a green linden wool mohair piston jumper with peplum like bulges on the bottom of the garment exuding comfort and high fashion simultaneously, a difficult feat to achieve. There was no jewelry, flashy shoes, crazy hairstyles or prominent makeup (aside from red lipstick); the show was a paradigm of simplicity.  Nonetheless, the movement and flow of the garments, and the comfort the models exuded wearing them, gave the clothing an understated sexiness born partially of utility.  Yeohlee’s use of high end techy twentieth century fabrics in wool, cotton and nylon actually enhanced the overall vintage effect of the collection.  The show’s dominant theme of country comfortable living was further accentuated by the accompanying three piece, square dance, music band.

 Ash peplum jacket with crescent pant
  After centuries of discomfort endured by women in the name of beauty, with contraptions such as corsets and too tight skinny jeans, Yeohlee’s pared down designs were a relief from the excesses of modern day fashion.  The shoes were black, the models were unadorned and the room was sparse the antithesis of every other show occurring during fashion week where splashy effects are thrown your way at every confusing turn. Yeohlee’s models, casually and humbly, walked down the runway often with their hands in their pockets without strutting or pouting angrily at the audience. When I asked Yeohlee what the theme of her show was she said, “freedom of movement, clothes should be comfortable and easy and within that framework conservation and reuse.  I try to make the smallest carbon footprint I can.”  This type of ecoconscious design sensitive to the comfort of a woman is laudatory, unique and frankly-revolutionary.
– Lieba Nesis


Runway Ready

Photo: Rhonda Erb

When Project Runway taped the finale of its 11th season in the Theatre at Lincoln Center on Friday, judges Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Zac Posen, and guest judge Michael Kors, strolled the runway to open the show.  Shortly thereafter, Klum revealed that for the first time she is rooting for one particular designer to win the competition.  This time around, more than the usual handful of collections were shown on the runway.  Since the series is only a few episodes into its “Teams Edition” season on the Lifetime Network, the collections were shown anonymously so as not to reveal too much to the viewers. This meant that none of the actual finalists could deliver their personal message when their collection was shown. At the end of the show, all 16 contestants came out to take a bow and pose at the end of the runway for a group photo.

Media Center

Photo:  Getty

The Samsung Galaxy Press Lounge, in the Event Lobby at Lincoln Center has become the hub for editors, bloggers, and photographers alike.  It offers spacious workstations, Wi-Fi, charging stations, and a place to relax in comfort between shows.  You can even try out some of the latest Samsung devices, like the Galaxy Note II, while sipping a drink at the bar upstairs.

Maritime Style

Photo: Great Press

To celebrate 30 years of creating fashions in the nautical tradition, Nautica introduced its Men’s Fall 2013 Black Sail Collection with a runway show at the Lincoln Center tents on Friday.  The pieces consisted of outerwear and separates, inspired by the expeditions of the Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton.  Celebrity guests, the Winklevoss Twins and actor Peter Facinelli, did some social networking from their seats in the front row.

Creative Greetings

Photo: Rhonda Erb

All week long, visitors to the Fashion Week tents can select a card from Papyrus and have it posted, free of charge.  On Saturday and Sunday, Papyrus artist, Bella Pilar, made a personal appearance at the Papyrus display to sign the custom design card that she created especially for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.  Pilar is no stranger to the fashion world.  She attended LaGuardia High School and FIT and, before pursuing her artistic passion, she worked as a makeup artist.  It appears that she has come full circle, since in her past life she occasionally did makeup for the designers at Fashion Week.

Into the Forest

Photo: Rhonda Erb

To introduce its Autumn Winter 2013/14 collection, Moncler Grenoble created a living forest in the dome of the Gotham Hall building.  On Saturday night, 370 male and female models lined the circular walls, standing on five rows of steps, rising 10 metres high.  All of the garments worn by the models were in varying shades of green, to evoke the image of trees on an Alpine peak.  Guests entered the room through a long black hallway, to find themselves in the center of the human forest.  The loud music and ever-changing lighting made for a unique visual and auditory experience.

The Right Amount of Beauty and Beast

Custo Barcelona designer, Custo Dalmau, has never been one to design subdued attire.  He is known for his eclectic mixtures of fabrics, textures, and prints.  With his Autumn/Winter 2013 collection that pairs a feminine, ethnic, ornamental “Beauty” with a harsh, Nordic, wintry “Beast”, Dalmau seems to have found a sweet spot for his designs.  His runway looks ranged from short, sexy dresses to heavy, woolen coats and wraps.  The styles seemed to blend seamlessly in a room filled with snow weary spectators clad in everything from spiked heels to moon boots.

Wild About Rebecca

Photo: Reuters

Nashville band, Wild Cub, provided the live music for designer Rebecca Minkoff’s Fall 2013 runway show. Their up tempo songs were well suited to Minkoff’s thoroughly modern presentation (tweets filled the backdrop before the start of the show).  She was inspired by a futuristic vision, incorporating tech fabrics and sexy, menswear inspired looks to create a collection that was at once edgy and utterly feminine.

Let It Snow

Photo: Rhonda Erb

The Blizzard Nemo dropped a foot of snow on New York City last weekend.  Fashionistas made the best of it by building fashionable snowmen outside the tents at Lincoln Center.

– Rhonda Erb

Rhonda Erb

Rhonda Erb writes about fashion, travel and lifestyle from a New Yorker’s perspective in Better Bets. A self-confessed Instagram addict, her work has also appeared in such publications as Runway Magazine. Follow her at: Instagram: @betterbets Twitter: @betterbetsny tumblr:

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