Olympus Fashion Week: New York Collections for Fall/Winter 2005..Countdown to 7

Day 1:

Is it me, or does Kenneth Cole’s Friday morning show (traditionally the first of the week), just seem to coincide with inclement weather of some sort (rain storms, snow storms, etc.)? Though I was admittedly on the grumpy side yesterday morning, having to appear at a 9 a.m. fashion show (along with the added ‘joy’ of nasty weather), my mood was quickly elevated as soon as Kenneth’s pre-show film that was witty, entertaining, funny, and socially charged was broadcast on the wide screen. In fact, this was one of his funniest to date, and the audience reacted accordingly. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the clothes (men’s and women’s), wonderfully androgynous for the most part, were pretty darn good. No frills, no tricks, just good clothes. Concentrating on what he does best (updated classics with a 70’s feeling, done in a palette of black, charcoal, vicuna, ivory, teal, brown, and cranberry) the surprise was a lineup of graceful and elegant long jersey dresses. Oh, and of course, it didn’t hurt that Kenneth added entertaining icon Harry Belafonte – the truly ageless, epitome of cool, and still fabulous looking to the roster of models. He came out at the end in a sleek black two button suit.

Next up John Barlett’s informal installation of slim, classic, and elegant pieces, sponsored by Swarovski (John used Swarovksi crystals to subtly and artfully add some shine and sparkle to ties and lapels of jackets). John seems to favor gray these days — half the lineup was done in shades of gray — sometimes mixed with black and white. The other half was rendered in lighter neutral tones of camel, vicuna, brick, and russet. Almost everything was shown with a motorcycle boot even including the sleek ‘tuxedo’ suits.

‘Knit one, purl two’…Over to the elegant Bar Association of New York, to view Pierrot’s always stellar knits. The nice surprise was the coordinating knitted ensembles. Not only were the wonderful jackets, cardigans, pullovers, capes (both mini and elongated) knitted (primarily in autumnal shades), but in many cases, they were shown with matching bags (clutches and handbags), head-warmers, leg-warmers, gloves, hats, and muffs. Even the models’ hair was ‘knitted’ into very long braids cascading down their backs. And best of all, we were treated to “On-the-Go” knit and crochet totes, provided by the legendary Lion Brand Yarn Company. Now, we can all be our very own Pierrots.

Then it was back to the tents for The Red Dress Collection, promoting ‘The Heart Truth’ (awareness of women and heart disease, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the N.I.H.) Hardly surprising, the audience seemed to be awash in red. First Lady Laura Bush was reportedly attending, and did in fact show up (wearing a deep red pants outfit), accompanied by Oscar de la Renta, just as the lights dimmed. The 26 dresses by designers such as Oscar, Carolina Herrera, Zac Posen, Calvin Klein, Badgley Mischka, Betsey Johnson, Catherine Malandrino, etc., were modeled by bold faced names of all shapes, sizes, and ages. Models included Paula Abdul, Venus Williams, Debi Mazar, Candace Bushnell, Sarah Ferguson, Sheryl Crow, Carmen Dell’Orefice, and Phylicia Rashad.

No question that Richard Tyler is back in true form (literally). His adept hand at precision tailoring was very much apparent in the 46 piece Couture Collection for men and women, which was shown at the Tents. Quite frankly, though there were some long organza and jersey gowns, they were overshadowed by the day clothes: some marvelous suits, amazing jackets, great outerwear, including a group of uniforms he is doing for Delta Airlines. Gift bags provided by Delta included chic and elegant headrests, traveling essentials, AND a receipt for some Delta Airlines sky miles.

Oh, by the way, my vote for ‘The most improved feature of the Tents’: the latrines. Kohler, one of the sponsors of Fashion week, has changed the face of, well, the bathroom scene. Gone are the distasteful, unisex Port-O-Sans. In their place is a room, decorated with fresh flowers, boasting six men’s and women’s rooms (each with three stalls). Inside the spotless brown and white rooms, a long mirror lets you check yourself out before taking your seat, and Kohler’s architecturally attractive white oval shaped potties are accented with handsome sturdy white towels monogrammed with the Kohler insignia. A vast (and much needed) improvement over the facilities of the past. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the coffee servers…Lotus makes a weak and uninspired cup of Joe (though it’s free). I miss Dunkin’ Donuts. A far better and more satisfying drink is Scharffen Berger’s rich and very chocolately hot chocolate (they will be at the tents on Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

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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