‘Project’ing the Future

So well respected and beloved by the fashion community was Alexander McQueen (and deservedly so), it took two editors (Cathy Horyn and Eric Wilson) to write his obit for The New York Times. But it was the cover of Friday’s WWD, featuring a photo of the late designer at the opening of his first boutique in London in 1999, with the words, “A True Master”, that said it all. And the 8 pages inside, commemorating his life, were beautifully done and spoke volumes. Included were comments and quotes from some of the world’s most influential fashion figures. Among them: “It’s a loss for the fashion industry. His story was one of success and talent, but that may not be enough to keep you alive”, Karl Lagerfeld; He had that ability to not only create beyond the limits, but also keep it accessible. He was able to do both, to dream the creative dream and deliver a product that you could embrace, and that is very unique, Donna Karan; “In a world where every man and his dog is a designer, Alexander McQueen was the real deal”, Philip Treacy.

Yes, it’s true that fashion designers are seemingly a dime a dozen, and few will ever be able to claim the talent, genius, and success that McQueen had in spades. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a whole new hopeful generation holding onto their dreams. Ten young designers, contestants on Project Runway, Jay Nicolas Sario, Janeane Marie Ceccanti, Jonathan Peters, Anthony Williams, Jesse LeNoir, Seth Aaron Henderson, Emilio Sosa, Mila Hermanovski, Ben Chmura and Amy Sarab, were given an opportunity to strut some of their stuff before the fashion cognoscenti at Friday morning’s Project Runway show held at the Tent in Bryant Park. (Meanwhile, so much for short shows; this one seemed to go on and on and on, but remember, there were 10 finalists involved).

Before the show began, judges Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, and Michael Kors (along with Guest Judge Faith Hill) took to the stage. Heidi, looking amazing in a short ‘bondage’ dress just a little while after the birth of her new baby (don’t you hate her?) served as mistress of ceremonies and told assembled crowd that this has been an “amazing” season in terms of talent, adding, “This will be a surprise. We don’t know which the three finalists are”. While Jay Nicolas Sario (who pronounced “I found who I am as a fashion designer”) seems to have the edge right now, there were several who stood out from the crowd. I was impressed by Jonathan Peters (his collection, called ‘Aviary’ is a “study in volume and a study in sexy and birds that fly”), Jessie LeNoir (who was inspired by “crime novels and film noir”), Seth Aaron Henderson, who cited “Russian military” as his inspiration), Mila Hermanovski (inspired by “shadows”) and Amy Sarab (whose focus is on “digital photography” and “pleating”).

It ‘Pays’ to be Christian

Christian Siriano showed a crowd pleasing grown up fall 2010 collection, rendered in a dark sophisticated color palette (mainly black and navy enlivened with shots of plum and fuchsia) which was inspired by the “1960’s European women – particularly Parisian women – who got dressed every day.” From the killer peplum jackets (like the black leather zip front that opened the show, shown with a narrow knee length skirt and another in embossed crocodile paired with a bow blouse and trousers), to the cocktail dresses and gowns (metallic wool, metallic chiffon, satin faced organza, two tone layered silk chiffon). In addition to the unapologetically lady like handbags, the most important accessories were the shoes, “small works of art” inspired by French antique furniture from the 18th and 19th century. And they were designed by Christian for Payless.

Doo Ri gets ‘stoned’

When Doo Ri Chung, who showed at Eyebeam Gallery, didn’t drape (blazers, halter tops, printed shifts, suede jersey dresses, etc.), she pleated. And it seems she ‘got stoned’ this season. By that I mean that she embellished everything from leggings, mini tank dresses, and furs, with oversized crystals, and sequins. Sometimes they appeared in tonal shades of black or blue, or in some instances, they were multi-colored and highly contrasting. There was a subtle military theme owing to the reliance on a color palette of navy, lapis, graphite (punched with geranium and red), the use of skinny ‘military’ pants with buckles and snaps down the side, and the trench details, not surprising since in addition to draping, the award winning designer has become known for her trench coats (there was a good looking navy stretch trench shirt dress with draped hem and a lapis trench with pleats).

What’s the ‘use’?

By the way, speaking of military, I must say I happen to adore all the great looking, streetwise, functional/utilitarian/military pieces available out there. They are not only really cool looking but are especially practical for fast paced urban living what with all the pockets, etc. that almost negate the need to carry a bag (well almost- ‘think’ Bonnie Cashin). That said, on Thursday, I was wearing an outfit that had 10 working pockets: four on my parka, four on my shirt jacket and two on my pants. Yet, I managed to lose my house keys! So much for a ‘pocket of miracles’.

-Marilyn Kirschner

Everybody Dance! Carlos Miele’s Fall/Winter Carnival

Carlos Miele provided the perfect antidote to the snowy weather that has plagued Mercedes Benz Fashion Week this season. His Fall/Winter 2010 Fashion Show, which was held in the Promenade at Bryant Park on Monday morning, had a carnival like atmosphere that was due in part to the lively music of Max de Castro. Models strutted to the upbeat soundtrack while A-listers, including French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld, photographer Nigel Barker, and model Maggie Rizer, looked on.

The Brazilian designer, whose celebrity clients include Beyonce and Eva Longoria Parker, sent one colorful look after another down the runway, beginning with a clingy, fuchsia, red and violet mini-dress worn by French beauty Constance Jablonski. This was followed by several form-fitting looks, both long and short, in vivid, graphic prints. Also in the mix were a selection of neutral colored fur jackets and capelets and an occasional pair of high-waisted pants or slim, denim jeans.

Some of the more striking pieces of Miele’s collection were an electric blue cocktail mini with black trim and an equally vibrant, blue, one shoulder gown. There was also an assortment of intricately embellished black dresses, including a particularly eye catching one with black sequins.

In spite of the attention grabbing looks that Carlos Miele created for this line, his models wore makeup that was subdued and understated. Makeup artist Gato of Maybelline Spain gave their faces a natural looking golden glow that complemented Miele’s lively clothes.

-Rhonda Erb

The Daily Bet

Angel From Thierry Mugler

A heavenly fragrance makes the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for that special person in your life. For her: Angel, the classic sensual scent from Thierry Mugler, available in a translucent glass star. For him: Thierry Mugler’s woody A*Men fragrance, packaged in a masculine metal flask.

Angel Eau de Parfum, .8 fl. Oz., $75.00, A*Men, 3.4 fl. Oz., $107.00
Available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s

-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: betterbetsny.tumblr.com

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