This past week has been recovery from the second busiest week of the year: February Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. This season the crazy was turned up a few notches as Fashion Week said farewell to Bryant Park. As most of you know, this September Fashion Week will move to Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center. Besides the nostalgia behind Bryant Park, fashion week guests will have adjustments to make as the uptown venue will pose as a travel challenge; many designers show in SoHo or Chelsea not to mention plenty of non-Mercedes Benz sponsored shows that many industry insiders try to take in throughout the week.
Anyone who has ever attended Fashion Week knows it is a series of hyper events, none of which start on time or are in consecutive locations: Bryant Park Tents at 10:00, The Altman Building at 11:00, a quick bite to eat before jetting back to Bryant Park for a show at the Promenade at 1:00 (Of course that show runs late and you miss your 2:00 show in the Salon!). Despite popular belief, you cannot do it all unless you have Anna Wintour’s driver since she seems to make it to every consecutive fashion event in Manhattan.
My week involved 14 different shows and one presentation across five days. I arrived in New York after the Blizzard of 2010 (sarcasm). Much of the fashion community was still stuck elsewhere due to travel delays from the storm. On our cab ride to the day’s first show (Duckie Brown) we received some terrible news which shocked the world: Alexander McQueen had committed suicide. Needless to say, the fashion community was devastated. The day’s events continued as planned and I waited for someone to acknowledge the event in a major way. I was left waiting until Ports 1961 at 3pm before someone held a moment of silence. The highlights of the week included but were not limited to:
Ports 1961 was packed and an episode of The City was being filmed; after a polite conversation with Whitney Port, I was asked to return to my seat so filming could continue. Ports has always been a reliable show to attend as designer Tia Cibani never fails to disappoint with textured, unfussy clothing. Though a challenge to wear for the average woman, Ports 1961 offers great sweaters and coats for a New Englander inspired by Nicole Richie. Odd shapes in basic prints and colors make wearing something as simple as a wrap or coat fashion forward. An editorial favorite, Elle Magazine’s crew were seated front row including Joe Zee, Anne Slowey, and The City’s Olivia Palermo. The show started and models appeared through a cloud of smoke like metal fabricators off the conveyer belt. The highlights included copper metallic fabric and chunky knit sweaters accessorized by leather Amelia Earhart caps.
FASHION RELIEF HAITI 2010
Naomi Campbell hosted the Fashion for Relief Haiti 2010 show which proved to be one of the most dramatic, fun and celebrity filled events of the week. Models, celebrities, royalty, and designers alike gathered together to support the devastated island. Styled by Rachel Zoe, the evening included many looks from Alexander McQueen in a tribute. A model clad in a gold bodysuit was mistakenly taken for Lady Gaga instead of Socialite Daphne Guinness, an Irish artist and heiress of the Guinness family. Looking more like Amy Winehouse then Lady Gaga, Daphne struggled back up the runway and the room took a deep breath as she neared the end of the runway looking like she would collapse; she placed her hand on the wall to brace herself as she rounded the corner to return backstage. The real drama of the night came from hot-right-now model/singer Agyness Deyn who was walking her first show of the week. Agyness took a spill in her sky high platforms not once but twice before taking her shoes off to walk back up the runway. Being a good sport, she joked and strutted her flat feet back up as the crowd applauded in support—after all we were there for charity! Celebrity models included Chris Brown, Olivia Palermo, Kate Moss, Kelly Osbourne, Gerri Halliwell, Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karen, Estelle, and Helena Christensen. Front row, designer Anna Sui thought the show was “”…amazing — just amazing. It’s just so sad.” Backstage Victoria Beckham showed her support in a CFDA Haitian Relief T-shirt and told journalists “both me and David have been involved — we’ve donated clothes and all sorts of things to the show in London, so we just want to do as much as we can.”
EDITION BY GEORGES CHAKRA
One of my more anticipated shows, Edition by Georges Chakra offered gown after gown which sashayed down the runway as if models were floating above their 6 inch heels. The delicately gothic dresses were so lovely and tasteful they needed little accentuation. Similarly, models wore little to no accessories and simple makeup only adding drama with a blood red pout. Simple updos made sure to not detract from the construction of the gowns and showcased each design the best way possible. Featuring black, rouge, cutouts, and yards of Chantilly lace, each of the 42 looks were commercial to wear to your next gala or red carpet event but jaw dropping enough to steal the spotlight. It comes as no surprise that Carrie Underwood was noted wearing an Editions by Georges Chakra gown from the Spring 2010 line at this year’s Grammys. Celebrity sightings included Alex McCord and Simon Van Kempen; having known Alex from a previous event, we chit-chatted about which shows we would be taking in and how we eagerly anticipated Geroges Chakra’s collection after his show in September. After previewing the Fall collection, I have little doubt in my mind that Edition by Georges Charka will be at the top of every celebrity stylist’s mind for the next red carpet event.
It’s Valentine’s Day evening 9pm and guests piled into the last show of the evening; there was no shortage of Greek buyers as I understood little from the front row. The lights go down, and the music begins: we are immediately rerouted to the red light district as moans play from the speakers and the name Vassilios Kostetsos is displayed on a glowing red lit backdrop. The sexual collection titled “Eros Anikate Mahan” means something about sensual love being invincible in battle (I may be a Greek fashionista, but my translation is a bit rusty). Each look mirrored this mantra as models walked the runway in leather, snake print, booty shorts, and delicate-yet-dominating red dresses. More dramatic and avant-garde than previous shows, Vassilios delivered a blood pumping and heart racing show. Including both men’s and women’s fashion, male models accentuated the looks with bronze warrior face paint. My favorite men’s look included a red leather biker jacket featuring chain shoulder detail over a simple deep V cupid print T-shirt. In the women’s court, I loved a red body hugging dress which featured feminine draping and rosette poof sleeves. After the show it was complete pandemonium; rigorous applause and raving reviews sent guests fleeing backstage and I quickly ducked out for my Valentine’s Day dinner once I regained my ability to breathe.