New York Fashion Week Wrap Up

On and Off the Runway


Photo: Isabelle Erb
There were flowers everywhere when Designer, Monsieur Christian Lacroix’s  “Happy Casual” Spring/Summer 2015 collection for Desigual was presented at the Theatre at Lincoln Center. The looks were inspired by nature’s flora and fauna, and the lively group of models, including, Brazilian supermodel Adrianna Lima, were clad in brightly hued clothing covered with daisies in bloom, desert roses, tropical hibiscus and Mexican dahlias. A good time was had by all in attendance, including Sin City 2 star Rosario Dawson and Orange is the New Black’s Laura Gomez.

Project Runway

Photo: Isabelle Erb

Tim Gunn bravely faced the ice bucket challenge at the hands of Heidi Klum at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week during the taping of the finale of Project Runway’s 13th season.  The show’s finalists presented their lines for Klum and fellow judges Nina Garcia and Zac Posen as well as guest judge, Shameless star Emmy Rossum.

Malan Breton

Photo: Isabelle Erb

Guests at Taiwanese born designer, Malan Breton’s Spring 2015 fashion show at The Salon at Lincoln Center were taken on “A Journey to Taiwan: the Heart of Asia.” What just may have been the most elaborate show of the season opened with a performance by four traditional Taiwanese dancers. They were immediately followed by musicians who took their places at instruments positioned down the center of the runway. Finally the models emerged, revealing Breton’s collection of men’s and women’s wear, a tribute to the designer’s native country, combining his signature fabrics with fabrics indigenous to Taiwan.

Trina Turk

Photo: Isabelle Erb

At the Lincoln Center presentation of Trina Turk’s Pop Art Flower Mart collection for Spring 2015, the mood of the models was as upbeat as the clothes that they were wearing, as girls in colorful rompers, jumpsuits and dresses (long and short) posed playfully with guys in equally vibrant board shorts and shirts. Turk was inspired by the abundance of geometric prints and florals spotted on a stroll through downtown LA.

Carmen Marc Valvo

Photo: Isabelle Erb

To celebrate his 25th year in business, Carmen Marc Valvo’s collection of women’s wear was as elegant and polished as one might expect, highlighted by flowing gowns of silk organza. However, this season Valvo allowed his “ladies” to invite their “special beaus “ to debut his first menswear collection. Not surprisingly, the designer’s male models wore looks that were as strikingly elegant as their female counterparts

The Art Hearts Fashion Show

Photo: Isabelle Erb

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week closed with a charitable fashion show in support of Aids research.  Over a thousand guests filled the Theatre at Lincoln Center for The Art Hearts Fashion Show to see the collections of eight designers, including Michael Costello’s exotic MT Costello line, which featured a dramatic runway presentation.

Diana Vreeland Parfums Collection

Alexander Vreeland, grandson of the legendary fashion icon Diana Vreeland, describes his grandmother as living in a “scented world.” She included fragrance in every aspect of her life, even pumping it through the air vents of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when she was the special consultant there. How fitting that he would pay tribute to her legacy with the creation of this collection of parfums, which made its debut at Bergdorf Goodman during Fashion Week. Each scent is as distinctive as Ms. Vreeland herself, with names to match: Perfectly Marvelous, Simply Divine, Absolutely Vital, Extravagance Russe, and Outrageously Vibrant; allowing the wearer to channel the essence of Ms. Vreeland’s unique style.

– Rhonda Erb

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Fashion Week Kool-Aid

Maybe I’m not as young as I was six months ago (LOL) but I need to take a breather from the fast-paced life of fashion in the big city. I honestly don’t have any idea how fashion editors go on to London, Paris, Milan, rehab…oh wait, that’s not an “official” part of the fashion circuit…Here’s a rundown of some of the more notable things I observed, experienced, heard about, slept through, maybe even tasted, plus some “food for thought” from in and around the circus which is NYFW.

First of all, “Fashion Week” is different from all other 50 weeks (it’s twice a year) on the calendar because instead of seeking info on fashion, as is my M.O. all the other days of the year, I find myself actually trying to screen out some of the “noise.” Living and breathing fashion virtually around the clock, while great for a day or so, eventually becomes like subsisting on junk food and candy for every meal. Too much is wonderful, until it’s not…if you know what I mean and binge watching fashion shows can leave you feeling every bit as sick as indulging in your favorite edible “guilty pleasure.”

Of the approximately 20 shows that I viewed, I came up with this puzzler: What really constitutes a good fashion show? Is it the clothing; the entertainment value/showmanship; the music; the energy; the celeb factor in the audience; the advance hype; the fact that it started more or less on time? What about the novelty of not doing a traditional show at all but instead showing a one-act play (Opening Ceremony, however they had me at the chocolate walls last Fashion Week) or a water spectacle in Central Park (Polo Ralph Lauren) or some sort of interactive audio visual event I’m still not clear on what that was at Gareth Pugh)? I did not attend any of the non-traditional shows (my invite got lost in the spam filter, wink wink) but judging from the reviews, I would say that the more traditional runway shows seem to be the best for actually seeing the clothing, however maybe not for the buzz and the “hip” factor.

Despite that caveat, I had an amazing time this past week and it is difficult to hit just a few of the highlights but I’ll try. From a limited pool of shows I attended I’d like to present the “First Annual Fashion Kool-Aid Awards” to the following:

“Best” In Show— Carolina Herrera. This show had “everything” to quote SNL’s Stefon. High-end exclusive designer, visually interesting set design (the large green obelisks on the runway reminded me of Christmas trees and I thought perhaps the models would come out and decorate them as they walked by) , exquisitely made clothing with a well thought out concept, top editors/ retailers/ important fashion people in attendance, decent non-blaring, non-snooze inducing music (although now I can’t remember it), coolness, if a bit “old guard” factor, plus I scored a seat in the fifth row and got excellent photos. Like I said, all around “best.”The New York Times was also impressed on the effort. Read more here:

Runner Up — Angel Sanchez . Not sure why exactly but I just liked the show… the clothes and the vibe were gelling. For some reason, I like the designer. “An-hel” looks like a “hella” nice guy and I own one of his dresses.

Show To Attend If You’re Planning To Be On A Yacht In St. Tropez— Georgine. Lots of uber-fancy swim wear and luxe cover-ups including fur. What the well dressed “rich bitch” in Ibiza would wear. This show led me to the observation that models are thin but not necessarily toned and some have less than perfect derrieres. A guy next to me coined this phrase: “Under-butt is the new side boob” which made it hilarious. There’s hope for us “regular” women yet!

Most Subversive— Skingraft. They make amazing leather clothing which I had to have after their last showing at FW. Interesting crowd that one might not normally see at a fashion show (More likely at a bowling alley to quote “Arthur”). Whoopi Goldberg and an entourage of Jerzey Dean, Stacy London (formerly of “What Not To Wear”) 2 Chainz Skrillex, and Ally Hilfiger (does her father know the company she keeps? LOL) were in attendance. This was the place to see multiple tatoos/piercings if you don’t want to go to a biker bar. I also spied the “Best Sweatshirt” on an attendee at that show. The wearer sported a pink neon V. Stiviano type visor and across his chest his shirt read “Go F#@*K Your Selfie.” He sat near the Whoopi crowd so I believe they were acquainted. Oops, wait! It was Perez Hilton! Should have figured.

Best 25th Anniversary Shows–Badgley Mischka had silver balloons drop out of the ceiling and Naomi Campbell who was their first runway model ever appeared with a cake, while Zang Toi had a cake spontaneously presented to him by pit photographer Richard Renda making for a particularly awkward moment.

Best Music— Zang Toi’s theme of The American Dream (he came to this country from Malaysia) made for some great toe-tapping, head bobbing rythyms including Lenny Kravitz’ “American Woman” and Neil Diamond’s “Coming to America.” This show also wins the coveted “Most Real Housewives” award.

Show That I Was Most Excited For— Project Runway, of course. It’s Season 13’s finale which won’t be aired on TV for several more episodes so it was cool to see the remaining designers, although not the final designers. They send decoys down the runway so as not to give away who’s actually in the show’s finale before the episode where they select the finalists airs. I liked Korina Emmerich’s collection (she’s from Brooklyn and is the manager at Roundabout designer consignment clothing) but naturally, I would because it was all done in colorful leather. One poor model inadvertently held up the entire works as one designer (Alexander) saddled her with a skirt so narrow that she could only take baby steps; everyone else left her in the dust and she was the last one out there for an eternity it seemed. Surprise twist to the show: Tim Gunn took Heidi Klum’s ALS ice bucket challenge on stage after the show and I feel sorry for him and his suit! He was a good sport; Heidi threw enough ice and ice water on him to fill a bathtub! Hope PR buys him a new suit…

Weirdest and Most NSFW Show— Dorin Negrau. You’ve maybe heard of  vampire facials from Kimmy K. but who knew there were vampire fashion shows! This one was inspired by Dracula according to hits Romanian born creator. It’s also the only show that I saw that featured completely bare breasts with some kind of a corset/belt underboob thing going on.  It started with the most ungodly music, like a funeral dirge but with an ear-splitting bass beat…one guy in the audience joked that he had the tune on his iPod. Then the model came out with a string web over her face and either she or the sound track howled! The models were made up to look like the Day of The Dead with crosshatched red lip liner instead of lipstick, the clothes (or should I say costumes) were bizarre, styled bizarrely and the show went on forever! I dare you to watch the whole thing…

Best Show That Included A Sighting of Karlito–Taoray Wang  A designer I wasn’t familiar with but actually really liked her “Black Swan” theme and her clothing.  The best part was spotting stylist and reality TV star Gregg Asher (one-half of the styling partnership of Tayler and Gregg) on Lifetime’s “Million Dollar Shopper.” BTW, Gregg is the better dressed half of the duo, usually in heels and a skirt along with a full beard while Tayler is a woman. He was actually dressed down at the show in pearl encrusted pants. Unbelievably, I had read something before FW had even started about seeing “Karlito” (the Fendi Bag-Bug of Karl Lagerfeld’s likeness) at the shows. I felt like I had won a scavenger hunt upon spying the furry bag attachment, only to see who it’s owner was. I just had to ask him if the show was ever coming back (it’s been off the air for about a year now). “It is, in February,” was Gregg’s less than chatty answer. If you’re a fan of the show where personal shoppers are pitted against each other as they vie to please their picky and rich clients, now you know.To see more of Gregg’s closet click here

Best Show By A Law School— Ok, technically it’s the only show by a law school but The Fashion Law Institute held a show at Fordham Law (where they’re based) that deserves a mention. Designer Carrie Hammer, an alumna of the Fashion Law Bootcamp program at FLI along with Professor/Founder of FLI Susan Scafidi presented a runway show which, rather than featuring fashion models, instead featured “role models.” These included fashion lawyer, journalist and former fashion model Uduak Oduak, Transgender model and Gender Proud founder Geena Rocero, Change the Ratio Co-Founder Rachel Sklar, Race car driver and TechDrive founder Collete Davis, Intuit brand and innovation leader Karen DeFrias and Quadruple amputee Karen Crespo. See the show here:

Best Fashion Week Parties — You’d have to ask someone who can stay up that late! Briefly visited Paper Magazine’s 30th Anniversary Party but since I am neither a club kid, a tranny nor a drag queen (also wasn’t prepared for Halloween), I felt a little out of place and didn’t stay long.    

Best Food in the Tent— The cornbread that comes with the chili.  The chili itself was alright but the cornbread was TDF.

Lastly I attended a panel discussion of industry professionals sponsored by DHL, the official logistics partner of MBFW. The panel included designer Nichole Miller, Jarrad Clark, VP and Global Creative Director at IMG, Karsten Aufgebauer, GM at DHL Express U.S., Gary Wassner, co_CEO of Hilldun, the factoring firm for the fashion industry as well as DHL Exported Program Award winners Nicholas and Christopher Kunz, husband and wife (Nicholas is a woman) designing team of the Nicholas K label. The panel was moderated by Teri Agins, columnist at the Wall Street Journal and author of two books on the fashion industry, the second of which is due out next month entitled “Hijacking the Runway.” Suffice it to say, the winning of this award serves to make Nicholas K a global brand, with DHL handling all the logistics for two seasons.

“Digital media can foist you into being a global brand” said Gary Wassner. Nicholas K had a bad experience with another logistics company, previously which made them enter the contest. “Your brand is only as good as its partners, and not every partner is great for your brand” said Christopher Kunz. “We almost lost $25,000 in expensive skins but ended up just getting charged for double shipment there and back and considered ourselves lucky.” he said. With DHL on board they now plan to expand their business to Milan. It was pointed out that fashion is one of the most sustainable industries in the world as every day everyone gets dressed.

And with that thought in mind, I’m gonna go put on my sweats, curl up on the couch with the pile of newspapers that I had no time to read and try to find out what I missed in the world this week.

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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