When he's not busy designing custom-made shoes, LA-based cobbler George Esquivel devotes his time to making a difference in the lives of homeless kids with the charity, We've Got Your Back, which provides meals to kids in need.
The transition of seasons can be a lot of fun, style-wise (all those lightweight layering options!). But it can also present fashion dilemmas, especially in the footwear department: too cold for summer sandals, too warm for boots. What's a girl to do? Enter the Earthies Tortola. Built on a supportive, ergonomically-designed flatform with reinforced arch support, a padded heel cup and shock-absorbing footbed that provides both height and comfort, the Tortola's strappy, buckled Grecian-inspired upper (which comes in brown, black or red leather) is both classic and cool—and it's a bit more closed than the average summer sandal, making it an ideal early fall option. I got a pair just before Labor Day and wore them throughout New York Fashion Week, garnering a great many compliments and (a Fashion Week first) no blisters or barking dogs. Huzzah!
graphic design by K Sarna
Now that the weather in the Northeast is finally cooling down (a little bit, anyway), I can partake in one of my favorite hobbies: layering. And my favorite base piece for layering is a good pair of jeans. Boyfriend jeans, to be precise. Being neither tall nor skinny, but somewhere in the middle, I find rolled-cuff boyfriend jeans to be a forgiving, flattering cut—and I like any pants that let me showcase a cute shoe or bootie. So I was delighted to make the acquaintance of the MiH Phoebe jean, which boasts a slouchy, mid-rise cut and—the pièce de résistance—a tall, frayed-edged cuff, which feels much newer to me than the tightly rolled cuff of seasons past. I'll be rocking these bad boys with layered tanks, stripey sweaters and lace-up oxfords or chunky platforms.
graphic design by K Sarna
It's the last day of the spring shows and, being the practical-minded gal that I am, I opt to skip Ralph Lauren to stay home and work, as Calvin Klein isn't till 3pm, which would leave me with four hours to kill between shows. Nuts to that. The RL folks are kind enough to send over images of the Spanish-influenced collection afterwards, which is pretty if a tad literal, what with all the gilded toreador jackets, serapes and flirty flamenco skirts.
Calvin Klein, on the other hand, faces defiantly forward with designer Francisco Costa looking to images of urban feminine beauty. Placing the emphasis firmly on the bust and waist, the designer fashions black mesh crepe, basket weave silk gazar and moiré into extremely modern, extremely figure-flattering dresses, and utilizes ivory technical viscose to create a series of structured-yet-sensual suits and coats, all of which pay homage to a woman's natural curves. (Perhaps bodacious CK spokesmodel Lara Stone is having an effect on Francisco's work?) Whatever his muse, front row guests Emma Stone, Diane Kruger and Amy Adams clearly like what they see, as do I.
Then it's a quick subway ride uptown to Slow and Steady Wins the Race, which is presenting its conceptual accessories collection via an installation at the Museum of Art and Design in Columbus Circle. Along with updates of their classic BagShoe collection (featuring backpack webbing/buckled sandals and net mesh platforms), the prefers-to-be-anonymous designer offers several cool new clear kicks (I especially like a slingback with a Perspex wedge carved to resemble a cut-glass goblet, and a series of black-and-white striped flatforms). And the red-and-ivory canvas Boat Tote Wedge instantly tops my list of spring must-haves.
JF & Son is showing alongside SSWTR (as part of their ongoing design residency at the Museum of Art and Design), and I'm loving the delicate new prints and the holographic metallic details that add a bit of edge to their otherwise spare silhouettes.
On my way out of the museum, I stumble upon the Loot: MAD About Jewelry show on the second floor and am truly delighted to discover a wealth of heretofore unknown European designers (including Cinnamon Lee, Katherine Richmond and Jeremy May of Little Fly) whose work is pretty damn amazing. More on which later.
Closing out New York Fashion Week is Cynthia Rowley, who presents her spring 2013 collection in a former office building (and soon-to-be hotel) in the Financial District, where Proenza Schouler showed their collection last night. I take the C downtown and, after a few wrong turns, manage to find my way to the Beekman Street venue, which is spectacular in its decrepitude (think: crumbling concrete, flaking paint and decaying glamour, all backlit with colorful jelled spotlights and an artfully composed video installation). Cynthia tells me that upon discovering the space last January, she'd immediately imagined a party amid all the decay, complete with girls in burnished sequined shorts, magnified paisley dresses, camo brocade bombers and rusted confetti tops, with real confetti swirling down from the ninth floor, where a look book shoot is happening in real time, and is being livestreamed above the deteriorating arches on the ground floor. Other inventive sartorial touches include the gold flask bracelets, studded stingray sandals and oversized baller caps perched high on the heads of adorable frizzy-haired models. I run into the designer's kids on the top floor, and her daughter Kit and I have a quick convo about sharks in Montauk (long story) before I head back down to say my farewells.
It's a fittingly fun, New York-centric ending to a week that included some 59 shows and events. And with that, my Fashion Week is a wrap. See you next season!
If Wednesday is about anything, it's about celebrities. Beginning with Paris Hilton and ending with Kim and Kanye, I have an Us Weekly kind of day from start to finish.
Celebfest 2012 kicks off at Jeremy Scott's show at Milk Studio, with the Misshapes, Tyra Banks, Swizz Beatz (with his son, Egypt), Paris Hilton and Olympians Ryan Lochte and Canon Dwyer facing off across the runway from Olivier Zahm, Cory Kennedy and Sky Ferreira. On the runway, Jeremy serves up an homage to Gianni-era Versace (heavy on the snakeskin, gold chains and swirly metallic animal prints), alongside burkas, dresses festooned with jangly gold gun charms and lots of sports-inspired jerseys and baseball caps (sequined, of course), for an Arab Spring-meets-Milano-meets-athletics mash-up that's about as far from last season's Bart Simpson/AOL collection as you can get. Amid the more OTT offerings are plenty of wearable pieces, including some sexy print pencil skirts and a terrific black silk zip front shirt jack. And the soundtrack features Missy Elliott's Get Ur Freak On, which makes me indescribably happy—there's nothing like hearing a song you used to love in an unexpected context. It makes me want to Spotify Missy's old catalogue ASAP (which I do as soon as I hit the street). But first, I follow Paris, Swizz and Ryan backstage to congratulate the always-charming Mr. Scott. When I tell him how much I loved hearing Missy he says with a laugh, "I know, right? I emailed her last night to tell her I was using her song in the show and she said, 'That's great; send me some clothes!'" While waiting for the elevator with the backstage crew and Jeremy's publicist Kelly Cutrone, the People's Rev doyenne bellows, "Thanks to all you guys who did hair and makeup. You did a great job. You can leave here with your head held high." "Wow, an acknowledgment," deadpans one of the makeup artists. "We like that."
I grab a quick bite at my favorite sushi joint in the West Village then head over to Charles Street, where Haus Alkire duo Julie Haus and Jason Alkire are hosting an intimate presentation in a friend's townhouse—and where I run into Kate Lanphear and my old friend Scarlett Baily, who works for the company producing the event. Julie's busy talking to a WWD reporter, so Jason walks me through the print-tastic collection, which features foliage graphics based on photos he took on a long-ago trip to Hawaii during which the couple got lost in the jungle after dark—all worn, fittingly, by a gaggle of girls standing in the lush green backyard garden. An evocative sailboat print is from another trip, while a spare black and white hand sketch comes from an island of imaginary creatures the two dreamed up after another getaway. Laser cut and perforated leather details offer a touch of structured sportiness that offsets the softness of the print pieces and cozy double-faced knits. I fall hard for a pale green cotton/silk vest with forest green punched leather shoulder panels whose off-center front zip opens to reveal an overexposed bamboo forest print lining, which is known only to the wearer. In fact, all of the pieces here are as perfectly finished on the inside as they are on the outside, and this painstaking attention to detail is one of the many reasons Haus Alkire is quickly becoming a fashion world fave.
Then it's over to Industria for the Gant by Michael Bastian presentation, which is inspired by the Galapagos and showcased on groups of models standing on raised neon platforms festooned with Blue-Footed Boobies, rope, netting and other island accoutrements. The high-spirited young models clown around while clad in over-dyed seersucker blazers, camo cargos, olive-and-turquoise technical parkas and chunky Inca cardigans (on the guys) and a lace-front khaki shirtdress, fleece wrap cardigan, hooded mesh popover, madras bikinis and leaf print jeans (on the girls). It's all very high-energy fun, and the clothes are likely to fly off the shelves come spring.
I take the subway (actually, two subways) up to the Marchesa show in Grand Central Station, where design duo Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman take us on a journey that begins in Bollywood, India (via lavish embroidery, fringe and classic sari details) and ends in Hollywood, California (the red carpet being the final destination for most of these creations). Their front row is also a paparazzo's wet dream, featuring Kim and Kanye, Kelly Osbourne, Stacy Keibler and plenty of others who don't have a "k" in their name—Michelle Trachtenberg, Tyra Banks, Olivia Palermo, Rachel Roy—with Carolyn Murphy, Jessica Stam, Hilary Rhoda, Cara Delevigne, Jourdan Dunn and Isabeli Fontana on the catwalk. Backstage, I introduce myself to my Montauk neighbor Carolyn Murphy, watch as Kelly Osbourne interviews Kim Kardashian for E!'s Fashion Police, tell Stacy Keibler how well her pink Marchesa dress suits her (it's true!) and literally bump into Kanye West, who agrees to pose for a photo while standing so close I can smell his breath (it's minty fresh, in case you were wondering). "No more photos of Mr. West," intones a refrigerator-sized bodyguard a few minutes later as I try to nab a shot of the couple of the moment. "I'm actually trying to get a shot of Kim," I lie. "Yeah, but he's in the shot, too," says Sub-Zero, cockblocking my camera with his big, stupid back. "You are not the boss of me!" I want to shout but don't, as he looks like he might actually hurt me if I disobey him. So I wait a few minutes until the Kimye crush moves forward en masse, at which point I get a shot of the smiling couple as they leave Vanderbilt Hall.
Three minutes later, I'm crammed on the Shuttle heading back to Lincoln Center for the Anna Sui show (oh, the glamour!) with a crew of dressers who are also headed uptown to work the Vivienne Tam show. There's a rainbow reflected on the sidewalk outside the tents, which is an ironic counterpart to Sui's show, which might very well be subtitled Anarchy in the LC. In keeping with today's celeb theme, I spy Alexa Chung, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Tennessee Thomas, Todd Oldham and Bruce Weber seated across the aisle, while vintage Blondie, Patti Smith, Television, Richard Hell & the Voidoids and Ramones tunes boom from the speakers. On the backdrop: images of Sid and Nancy, Johnny Rotten and other Seventies punk rock icons. The collection itself is replete with leopard print bikinis, ombré rompers, bird print kimonos, Fifties-style party dresses, studded motorcycle jackets, tattered tights, exposed zippers, silver studs, fishnets, dog collars and other New Wave style signifiers, all filtered through the lens of French interior designer Madeline Castaigne and worn by America's Real Top Models (Karlie Kloss, Joan Smalls, Liu Wen, Jamie Bochert and Lindsey Wixson). All the girls sport bright blue or pink wigs by Garren, and some wear adorable cat's ear chapeaux made in collaboration with James Coviello.
My final stop of the evening is the Clover Canyon presentation at The Box, which finds designer Rozae Nichols channeling her On the Road wanderlust into "Pedal to the Metal" highway print dresses, wheel print shirts, dashboard print jackets and roadside quilted suiting. Elsewhere, "How High" cannabis leaves climb across a pencil skirt and rhinestone bra, while an "Endless Summer" surfer print takes an office worthy blouse and skirt back to the beach. But my favorite look is an elaborately embroidered shirt and pants ensemble that recalls a modernized Nudie suit, worn by a female Elvis lookalike who brandishes the King's pompadour—and his insouciant, too-cool-for-school 'tude. Departing showgoers are handed a small Clover Canyon look book filled with detailed closeups of the spring 2013 graphics, which I spend the next few days flipping through, mesmerized by the trippy kaleidoscopic imagery. Who needs cannabis when you've got Rozae Nichols as your guide? Not I.
It feels a little bit weird—and sad—to be heading out to the shows on the anniversary of 9/11 but life, as they say, must go on.
On my way into the tents, I run into photographer Cass Bird, whose work I am a huge fan of. I stop to introduce myself (we're Facebook friends but have never met in person) and to congratulate her on her recent Jay-Z cover for the T Men's Fall Style mag. She recognizes my name and, after responding to my query about how she's doing with a moaned "I'm so tired!" we launch into a long, freewheeling chat about all the events we've been to and our mutual Fashion Week sleep deprivation. "I need nine—or 12—hours a night," she says with a laugh. I tell her I'm a nine-hour-a-night gal myself but have been operating on four hours a night for the past five days. "Fuck off!" she says, the way someone else would say "Shut. Up." No, really. It's true. "Fuck off!" she cries again in horror, her eyes widening like dinner plates. After a little more pity party commiseration, I realize I'm going to be late for my first show and run inside.
And thank Jehovah I did, because Brandon Sun's presentation is, in a word, simply stunning. And yes, I realize that's two words, but he earned them, dammit! Inspired by a Daisetz Suzuki poem about Zen and Japanese culture (with the words "vague, indefinable, obscure, deep, genuine and substance" bandied about), this translates into louche drape front trousers, Japanese sakae lace and tulle t-shirts, geometric cherry blossom cashmere cardigans and judicious touches of fur, as seen on a charcoal tweed/techno raffia sheath with an arctic marble fox back panel that makes the wearer look equal parts savage and soigné. Neat trick, that!
I usually worship at the altar of Vera Wang, but this season I find the collection to be pretty if a bit underwhelming, full of Indian-inspired looks that are far from slavish in their interpretation yet somehow fail to excite, though the colors are sumptuous and the embroidery winningly understated. And this collection cements the Bermuda-cum-bike shorts trend (done here in azure and chatreuse damask, navy lace jacquard and cypress green guipure), that is shaping up to be big for spring. The rest of the audience, which includes Anna Wintour, Stacy Keibler and Chinese actress Yao Chen, seems to like the collection well enough, which bodes well for its commercial potential. (Actually, I think that's what leaves me feelng meh about this outing: I prefer risk-taking, avant-garde Vera, not aim-for-the-bleachers Vera.)
John Bartlett, showing in Rachel Roy's usual slot at the New York Public Library space at Lincoln Center, also looked abroad for inspiration, finding it on a recent trip to Greece, where he proposed to his longtime partner, John Esty (Mazel tov, boys!). "It started with 'what am I going to wear to my wedding?'" he tells me with a laugh backstage pre-show, where hunky male models mill about in linen shorts suits, cabana shirts, chambray tunics, "om" printed pieces and linen ticking striped djellabas. "From Mykonos to Mumbai!" the designer crows of his peripatetic muse, adding, when I comment on the preponderance of caftans, "a caftan is forever!" Indeed. I could easily see athletes like Ramses Barden of the New York Giants and J.R. Smith of the Knicks (both of whom grace JB's front row) tossing on one of these bad boys post-game.
Then it's on to Rachel Roy's presentation, which is being held in her showroom near Times Square. "I just wanted to have a presentation for buyers and editors this season," she says of the change of venue (and absence of the usual celebrity scrimmage one finds at Lincoln Center events). "This is much simpler, isn't it?" It is—and this editor, for one, loves the intimate venue as it makes it much easier to see the clothes, which are gaw-juss, full of unexpected prints (abstract skull and birds, anyone?), elegantly cut trousers, sweet eyelet shorts, and eye-poppingly bright dresses and suits. Here's hoping other designers follow her lead and opt for more low-key outings next season.
From here, it's on to the Perry Ellis by Duckie Brown debut down in the Meatpacking District. Though celebrities are scant, it seems as though every menswear editor and buyer in the biz is on hand to witness the birth of what should prove to be a very fruitful partnership. I don't have a seat near the runway—though I'm able to make out lots of beige suiting, windowpane plaids, drop crotch pants, canvas work jackets and ivory felt baseball bowlers—so I run backstage afterward to get a better look at (and better photos of) the clothes before the models change. I manage to corral a cute quartet in front of a brick wall while they're waiting for the freight elevator to whisk them to the second floor staging area and am just about to press the shutter on my camera when the casting director appears and orders them into the elevator, tout de suite. I ask her to wait just two seconds so I can get my shot but she refuses and shoves them into the waiting lift. Aaarggh. I run to the back of the cavernous space and take the stairs to the second floor two at a time, but all the lads are down to their skivvies by the time I get there, save for one young man who's standing in front of the mirror in his pink PE by DB suit, trying in vain to get the back of his black plug earring (which he'd been asked to remove for the show) screwed back on. I offer to help, as I also have multiple ear piercings and am no stranger to recalcitrant posts and he rewards me by posing for several pics (thanks, cutie!).
I am still aggravated by my missed photo op when I run into Duckie co-designer Daniel Silver on my way out, who asks, "Did you likey?" "I did," I reply. "But I would have liked a touch more Duckie." He shoots me a look and says, "Well, this is Duckie Brown for Perry Ellis not Perry Ellis for Duckie Brown," sounding slightly affronted (as he should, my response was not very thoughtful, which sometimes happens when I'm running on empty and frustrated by, say, unhelpful casting directors). "I did notice the slight dropped crotch," I say (those being a DB signature). "…And the touch of gold and the plaids and the dramatic hats…" he adds helpfully (the unspoken "you moron" implied in his scolding tone). Point taken. Duly chastised (and feeling like an ass, as I love the DB boys and thought while watching the show that it felt like a solid commercial outing that would probably do very well in store), I head back out to Fourteenth Street. (And, in an All's Well That Ends Well prologue, the Perry Ellis publicist later sent over some terrific shots, which you can see above. Thanks for that—and apologies, Daniel!)
Realizing there's no way I'm going to make it back to Lincoln Center in time for the Osklen show, I email the publicist to let her know I'll be a no-show then head home—at 3:23 (!)—with visions of getting caught up on work—and a good night's sleep—dancing in my head. I'm supposed to go back out for the Betsey Johnson 70th anniversary retrospective at 9 tonight (with a performance by Cyndi Lauper, no less) but once I settle in on my couch and start working, I know there's no way in hell I'm going anywhere (though, again, the publicist later sends over some great shots, which you can see here). Usually, this girl just wants to have fun (get it?), but Fashion Week fatigue has begun to set in, big-time. Ah well, tomorrow is another day.
The bad news: once again, I have to skip some a.m. shows on to meet deadlines (sorry, Joy Cioci, Wes Gordon and Christine Alcalay). The good news: I still make it to seven shows, and Monday's weather is truly spectacular—mid-70's, low humidity with blue sunny skies—which makes running around town so much more enjoyable.
My day starts at the High Line Stages with Marimekko, a brand I am officially obsessed with. This outing only fuels my ardor, as Noora Niinikoski (head of fashion design for the Finnish printmaker) focuses on the colors of spring, which she splashes with controlled abandon on easy shift dresses, boxy tops, fluid jumpsuits and cropped trousers. Elongated black and white ovals look like juicy raindrops, bold cabana stripes are used both vertically and horizontally (often in the same garment), flowers bloom both delicate and brash, polka dots appear in abundance and color blocking turns up in myriad forms, all of it fun and fresh-looking. There's also some very savvy casting in the form of newer faces (such as Sessilee Lopez) alongside industry icons Carol Alt, Pat Cleveland and Carmen Dell'Orefice, all of whom look terrific (and age-appropriate) in the clothes, which handily illustrates Marimekko's something-for-everyone appeal. No wonder all the models are smiling as they bop down the runway. The adorable Marimekko for Converse sneakers further the argument that this is a truly ageless brand—and being told we can take the Marimekko-covered seat cushions lining the benches at show's end is just icing on the happy-making cake. As many guests opt not to take their cushion (fools!), I help myself to four mismatched prints, which will be given pride of place in the kitchen of my family's summer home alongside our floral Marimekko tablecloth.
I go backstage to introduce myself to Noora (who I've interviewed via email but never met in person), and run into my photographer friend Kristiina Wilson, who is shooting behind-the-scenes images for the company. We kibbitz for few minutes and then I take a leisurely 12-block stroll up to the Donna Karan show in Chelsea, savoring the sunshine and the lovely breeze that wafts up Tentth Avenue. It's the kind of day that makes you happy to be alive and happy to be in New York. Donna is the type of designer who also makes me happy to be in New York—and proud to be a New Yorker—and this season finds her in an unusually tranquil mood. Citing dappled sunlight, beach elements and the volume of clouds as her inspiration, the show opens with a series of spare dresses whose fitted bodices relax into shell shaped skirts that undulate around the wearers' legs with each step. The silhouette remains basically the same throughout, though the materials grow ever more luxe (pongee silk, handkerchief linen, glazed suede, shredded raffia, sculpted organza) and the execution more complex (spiral collages, eyelash embroidery, mother of pearl embroidery, handwoven ribbons) with a finale of silk chiffon sequined evening gowns in misty shades of sunset rose, sea blue and platinum. On hand to witness this paean to the natural world are Nina Garcia, Anna Wintour, Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons (who are seated together across the aisle from me), Bianca Jagger, Bernadette Peters, Rachael Taylor, and DKNY campaign star Ashley Greene. After she does her lap around the runway, Donna makes her way backstage—or tries to, anyway, but is prevented from doing so by the crush of people making for the door. So she stands near the photo pit and greets friends and well-wishers as they leave. "I"m here anyway, I may as well stay," she says with a grin.
Outside, I meet up with my friend Amina, who has offered me a ride in her Bentley Mulsanne. Yes, you read that right. I'm going to riding in a Bentley. Awwww, yeaahhh. The car has been loaned to a different magazine editor each day of NYFW to help boost the brand's profile in fashion circles. Amina, the executive editor of Elle.com, is one of those chosen for this honor, which I'm honored she's sharing with me. We slide into the back seat alongside Elle.com photographer, Kelly, who takes photos of Amina pretending to use the built-in keyboard-equipped iPad—which slides out from the seat back in front of her at the touch of a button—while the driver, Tony (who's a total charmer) regales us with facts about the $300,000 vehicle. Such as, it's the only one of its kind in the US, features leather seats made from 14 free-range cows (so their hides don't get scratched on wire fences while grazing) and comes equipped with the "executive package." There's another iPad behind the driver's seat, which is where I'm sitting (I try it, it's awesome) and there's a dock and USB charging ports hidden in the armrest behind Kelly, who sits between Amina and I. Dang, son. That is one impressive automobile. Feeling like the swanky bitch I know I am (inside, anyway), I head into the 3.1 Phillip Lim show. Oddly, the paparazzi do not seem to know who I am despite my having stepped from the back of a quarter million dollar car and ignore me, as always. Oh, well.
In Lim's front row: True swanky bitches Mandy Moore and Dree Hemingway (though I'd venture to guess that neither of them just alighted from a Bentley—ha!). On the runway: an ambitious collection based on the notion of "Cut-Up" (borrowed from the literary technique popularized by the Dadaists and William S. Burroughs). This results in a sartorial mash-up of recognizable wardrobe items—the utility vest, overalls, bralet top, pajama bottoms, apron dress and I Heart NY tourist tee—given a fresh new spin. Set to the tune of Neil Young's Hey, Hey, My My (Into the Black), Lim updates the classic motorcycle jacket in pony corded silk or raspberry nubuck leather with unexpected—and unexpectedly sexy—back zips, while a faded botanical print renders a classic flight suit more femme fatale than Top Gun. A series of shredded denim pieces makes the case that maybe, just maybe, we are overdue for a Nineties do-over. Likewise, his twisted take on Seventies punk and early-Nineties grunge also makes me look at those overplayed eras with a renewed appreciation (as Neil sings, "There's more to the picture/Than meets the eye.") Two-tone booties and a pointy-toed wrestling boot/creeper hybrid complete the looks, and there are enough cool carryalls to keep Lim's growing cadre of handbag collectors happy. Fashion's original grunge collection may have gotten Marc Jacobs fired from Perry Ellis back in 1992, but twenty years on, it's a good bet that Lim's thoughtfully proposed, same-but-different sartorial scrapbook (which he tells me was a year in the making) will win the designer legions of new fans.
Then it's back down to Chelsea Piers (which, along with Lincoln Center and Milk, has become my home away from home this week) for the Karen Walker show. Dubbed Fantastique Magnifique and envisioned as a paean to 1950s optimism and all things celestial, the New Zealand designer offers up her trademark whimsical prints. Tthis time around, she lassoes the moon and stars—the entire galaxy, in fact—and splashes them across sweet georgette dresses and crepe de Chine blouses, offset by copper foil toppers, blue and white polka dot suits, sky blue organza cocktail frocks and flirty denim pieces. As always, Walker offers some kick ass accessories, most notably the two-tone loafers, filigree clutch and oversized sunnies. And while the models' tall straw hats and cheekbone-grazing bangs make for a dramatic runway statement, they should probably come with a "don't try this at home" warning sticker.
My iPhone battery is nearly dead (again), so I swing by the Apple store near Lincoln Center to buy a Mophie Juice Pack Reserve, a small rechargeable battery pack I saw Amina using while we were en route to the Phillip LIm show and which I've realized I cannot make it through Fashion Week without. (Seriously, Apple? Improve your damn battery life.)
Over at Avery Fisher Hall, Chris Benz is up to his old tricks for spring with the pile-it-on, youthful bag lady aesthetic that has become his stock in trade. This season, the purposefully clashing offerings include a lurex striped slip dress over a gold poplin skirt over skinny yellow jeans (part of the just-launched CB Denim collection), the whole of it topped by a black and pink floral blazer. Then there's the sheer lurex striped t-shirt over a bright yellow and orange floral dress worn with yellow denim flares, Alejandro Ingelmo for CB floral platform shoes and a red and white book bag that's part of Chris's new collaboration with the Cambridge Satchel Company. There are plenty of looks that don't involve five separate pieces, including some lovely full skirt and oversized top ensembles (one of which boasts an adorable fried egg appliqué). But for the most part, the designer never met a layer he didn't like, which makes his models look just this side of cray cray. I don't actually think that's a bad thing—there's something very charming about CB's Little Edie leanings—but it's definitely not for everyone.
The same can be said of Thom Browne, an undeniably talented designer who loves him some spectacle and some OTT clothes. Today, he mounts an Oskar Schlemmer/Bauhaus-inspired production complete with silver-domed spaceman, extraterrestrial ballerinas and bubble-headed models sporting the designer's awkwardly proportioned suiting, which is quite sculptural and colorful this season, complete with stiff tulip skirts, bright plaids and candy colored prepster prints (think: cartoony whales and delicate seahorses). The models slowly perambulate around the perimeter of the Edna Barnes Salomon Room in the New York Public Library before taking their place atop individual Lazy Susan hypno-discs, at which point one of the spacemen steps forward to twirl them till they face the audience. It's all very Plan 9 From Outer Space-meets-Bride of Frankenstein, and while I have no idea how to fully interpret Thom's unique brand of spring 2013 kookiness, I absolutely love it and can't wait till he tires of the fashion game and takes his rightful place on the Great White Way (though the freedom of Off-Off-Broadway is probably more in keeping with this former actor's left-of-center tendencies). Think of the costumes, people!
Like Benz and Browne, Libertine designer Johnson Hartig is also known for a specific aesthetic but in his case, it's all about reworking vintage with a defiantly irreverent twist. "It started with the Viennese work state, then I got really into Bloomsbury then I was feeling Austrian rugs and then it went back to Bloomsbury," said Johnson while male and female models wearing his vintage 2.0 creations mugged for the cameras in front of a colorful collage at Pier 57 off of the West Side Highway. For the girls, this translates into highly romantic—and highly embellished—garden party dresses (made even more fanciful by Rainbow Brite Bird-of-paradise hairpieces), plaid duster coats and paint-splashed socks, arm warmers, slip skirts and pants, the latter of which also turns up on a few of the men's pieces. The guy's collection is heavy on printed manifestos (including a "Don't Mitt Where You Sleep" t-shirt, which I need to own immediately), a graphic dot print that nods to Marimekko and an abstract face graphic, which appears, most arrestingly, on the crotch of a black short's suit (oh, be-have!). Between the clothes and the casting (Johnson likes to use highly spirited young models), this is one of the most lively, upbeat presentations I've attended thus far. But then, that's always the case with a Libertine joint.
I can only hope that tomorrow will be as much fun as today!