Fashion Notes: What’s a nice Jewish girl like me, doing in a place like this?

As everyone knows, Thursday, September 09, 2010, the first day of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, coincided with the first official day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. (FYI, it is actually 5771 on the Jewish calendar and I’ve been covering the fashion scene for so many years, it sometimes feels like I’ve been doing it that long! Oy Vey!)

I had to chuckle when I read an article in The New York Post, (“It’s the season for back-to-shul fashion”), which talked about an upper West Side synagogue, conveniently located across from Lincoln Center, which was holding special Rosh Hashanah services for fashionistas attending shows at Lincoln Center. Rabbi Yehuda Lipskier said they wanted to provide a home for Jewish fashion world insiders who will be traveling from all over the world, and would even include “special prayers” for “famous Jewish designers” such as Diane von Furstenberg and Zac Posen to help keep them from putting out any designs that look as if they’re from the 5760’s”.

Lincoln Center has served as the most perfect, wonderfully dramatic venue for a host of memorable galas and opening nights (The Metropolitan Opera, the New York Ballet, etc.), and coincidentally in recent years, it’s become the venue of choice for the American Fashion Awards and the attending red carpets have no doubt seen (and will continue to do so) their share of notable fashion statements (from fabulous cocktail dresses and chic pantsuits to grand ball gowns). Among those designers whose chic ensembles routinely strut down the red carpet AND presented their spring collections at Lincoln Center during MBFW are Carolina Herrera, Narciso Rodriguez, Monique L’huillier, Naeem Khan, Vera Wang, Isaac Mizrahi, Zang Toi, Christian Cota, Zac Posen, Michael Kors, and J. Mendel (who designed costumes for this past season’s ballet).

In many cases, the designer, not just his/her creation, has made an appearance on the red carpet (let’s not forget that many fashion designers are well known patrons of the arts and their houses routinely underwrite high profile galas). Zac Posen, or should I say, Zac ‘Poseur’ has practically gotten this down to a science – he not only adores the limelight and comes dressed to the nines, but has his party face down pat and always chooses the most fabulous gown and model as his date..

In any case, the symbolism of Lincoln Center (an iconic cultural landmark which is home to the to the performing arts), now serving as the new venue for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, is not lost on me or many others since this has been a non stop topic of discussion in the months and days leading up to Fashion Week. Quite frankly, it would seem to be a match made in heaven – a perfect fit, and one can only hope it will inspire, if not ‘up’ the ‘glam’ quotient for all involved. Speaking of which, having Karl Lagerfeld come to New York during this time, to celebrate his newly renovated and enlarged Soho store on Thursday night, with a jam packed cocktail party attended by a group that seemingly included all of New York, (and the world), from Sarah Jessica Parker to Lynn Wyatt, and to receive his Couture Council Fashion Visionary Award at Alice Tully Hall today, doesn’t hurt. By the way, I thought I’d mention that the cocktail party was so classy (would you expect anything less?), that upon leaving, each guest was handed a black Chanel shopping bag with a beautiful large silk patterned Chanel scarf inside a box.

One can argue that fashion (in its highest forms) can be considered as an ‘art’ form, and it can certainly be called ‘performance art’ where runway shows are concerned. As I have previously pointed out, all the world is TRULY a stage where fashion is concerned: there’s a whole lot of drama, role playing, acting out, and theatrics involved, and there have been runway shows which have almost reached the level of a Broadway production.

While so many have likened the first day of Fashion Week to the first day of school, I would say that on Thursday, it was so disorienting at first, it felt more like Freshman Orientation. My first impression upon getting off the subway and walking across the expansive Lincoln Center courtyard (with all the various banners displaying a variety of the performing arts), was that it certainly looked and felt different than Bryant Park. After years at Bryant Park, there was a welcome familiarity: I knew exactly where everything I needed was. Yesterday, I had to start all over in order to find the best and most convenient places to get my lunch, my coffee, a computer, and a great place to rest in between shows, etc.

On the plus side, the main lobby is certainly spacious and more inviting; with an attractive courtyard that has tables and chairs, visible through large windows. And there are real bathrooms (not just glorified port-o-sans). But the Starbucks Café, alas, serves only frappaccino (no regular coffee or espresso and quite frankly, once inside the venues (The Stage, The Studio, The Box), it really felt no different than being back in Bryant Park, though the cushions which served as seats at The Stage, were very comfortable.

My schedule on Thursday was in fact, a light one with just a handful of shows, all of which were held at Lincoln Center; and I suppose one can say they were each inspired by art in one form or another. Richard Chai Love, inspired by Martha Graham, was filled with ingenious uses of transparency (including the use of a nude legging/pant hybrid) and layering (both of which are inherent in dance), and it was all about ‘movement’. Ruffian by Brian Wolk & Claude Morais called their show, ‘Frontline’ and it had an elegant, ladylike military feel thanks to the employment of structure and tailoring. wide legged trouser suits, high wasted draped skirts, and draped dresses, not to mention a color palette based on royal blue, white, gold, and khaki (plus leopard and tribal prints); the duo was admittedly inspired by the ‘art’ of diplomacy (specifically, those ‘heroic’ women on the ‘Frontline’). Christian Siriano’s aesthetic has always been about ‘glamour’ and his pretty, soft ruffled and flounced blouses, fitted, gathered, and draped cocktail dresses, and graceful, elegant flowing gowns, if not sometimes over the top, were all about the ‘art’ of dressing up. Even his cognac leathers, safari jackets, and trench coats were infused with a high dose of ‘feminine’ and were anything but ordinary.

-Marilyn Kirschner

One Night Only at Bloomingdale’s

Take a step back in time on Fashion’s Night Out as HBO and Bloomingdale’s team up to celebrate the September 19th premiere of HBO’s new series, “Boardwalk Empire.” Prohibition era Atlantic City serves as the primary backdrop for this period production, which takes place during the 1920’s. For one night only, Bloomingdale’s will offer a special collection of men’s accessories including cuff links, tie bars, and tie clips by David Donahue, priced at $19.20. These items are exclusively available at Bloomingdale’s NYC flagship store and only on Fashion’s Night Out, so be sure to stop by or you will miss the authentic 115 foot boardwalk at the entrance on Third Avenue.

Bloomingdale’s Men’s Store, 59th Street, New York City

Samsung 23” Widescreen LCD Monitor

This monitor is an attractive addition to any desktop. Enjoy movies, games, or any type of multimedia in style with this glossy black finished unit, that features 70,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio for sharp vivid color and full HD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. MagicAngle Technology allows you to view the screen from any direction, even lying down, without losing picture clarity.

Samsung B2330H 23” Widescreen Monitor

-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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