After sleeping till 9am (!) and writing yesterday's coverage, I help Mr. TFI plan his upcoming snowboard trip then watch the DKNY livestream from the comfort of my living room. The connection keeps dropping, which is frustrating, but I spy lots of floor-sweeping dresses and tops with trains, cozy charcoal knits, leopard print sweater dresses and color block motocross pieces, all of which have a slight Nineties vibe. Also channeling the Nineties: the finale's Frank Sinatra/ Notorious B.I.G. remix of Juicy/New York, New York.
My first in-person event of the day, Cynthia Rowley, doesn't start 'til 6pm, which gives me plenty of time to recover from yesterday's tummy trouble. Combining her fall 2013 presentation with the opening of her new Upper East Side boutique-cum-candy store/art gallery, Cynthia is hosting a party at the four-story townhouse on East 78th off Madison. It's a lovely building set back from the street that guests enter by walking up an alleyway decorated for the occasion with a fanciful arbor and flower installation by Raul Avila, the man behind the Met Costume Institute Gala decor. Models in the fall 2013 collection pose in a French Door'ed antechamber off the ground floor wearing styles with a "mysterious and curious feeling." Styled by Vanessa Traina with a nod to Helmut Newton, this translates into mother-of-print print skirts and popovers with a luscious holographic effect, an elegant quilted cocoon coat and a soignée indigo fur jacket. Much of the volume is reigned in with real mother-of-pearl belts and many looks are worn with sheer tights studded with giant cabochons, which resemble luxe dot candies. Meanwhile, the designer is holding court on the second floor, a whimsical wonderland devoted to her latest venture, CuRious candy and CR-branded party supplies (sparklers, piñatas, paper plates, wrapping paper, ribbon and the like). "We just signed the lease on December 28th," she says of the townhouse (which also includes the Half Gallery and Exhibition A spaces upstairs). Wow, that was quick. "I don't fuck around," she replies with a laugh. Eddie Roche from The Daily asks if she's worried about getting cavities. "No, but I was just thinking this afternoon that I should have invited my dentist!" With that, Cynthia's youngest daughter, Gigi, helps me fill up a goodie bag with malted milk balls, sour peaches, Twizzlers and gummy bears and I head back out into the night.
Fifteen minutes later, I'm seated in the front row at Zac Posen's show at the Plaza. I chat with Moda Operandi's Taylor Tomasi Hill then run around the upper level of the stately Terrace Room taking pictures of all the Posen-clad PYTs (Leigh Lezark, Katharine McPhee, Harley Viera Newton, Amanda de Cadenet Taylor, Michelle Violy Harper and a very pregnant Molly Sims). I bump into Sarah Sophie Flicker and Tennessee Thomas and mention how much I liked the "You Don't Own Me" women's rights PSA they did with Tavi Gevinson and Miranda July pre-election. "We just did another one about fracking, it's out in five days," says Sarah Sophie, proudly adding that 10 million more women then men voted in the recent election. "Well, we had to," I say. "We sure did!" she replies. On the runway, Posen showcases other strong women—including HIlary Rhoda, Coco Rocha, Lindsey Wixson, Catherine McNeil and a lusciously curvy Crystal Renn—in evening looks that range from red carpet-worthy mauve satin/chiffon and bordeaux draped velvet gowns to a structured camel wool coat with floral embroidered pants and a stunning rust duchess satin peplum top with a bordeaux tweed pencil skirt.
From here, I hoof it over to Lincoln Center for Ralph Rucci's latest tour-de-force, featuring 65 beautifully crafted looks in shades of citrus, violet, beige, black and white, including a mouth-watering passage of mink and feather coats in nude, shocking pink, chrome yellow and optic white worn by seven models who walk the runway en masse. Other standout looks (among the thoroughly standout collection) include a black leather wrap skirt with a painterly print silk top, a black leather embroidered dress with sheer insert encircling the waist, and a black crepe pant suit with skin-baring mesh-and-leather center panels that trace the contours of the wearer's torso in a way that manages to be simultaneously daring and decorous. (Neat trick, that!) I also love an OTT faux fur coat that looks like otherworldly tinsel and an embossed leather pants and jacket ensemble worn with a knee-length lace tunic. Post-show, I congratulate Ralph and ask why he's dropped "Chado" from the name of his label. He explains that was done as the brand expanded into the Asian market, so as "not to polarize" anyone. "It was my idea, not our new CEOs," he adds with a grin. "Plus, do you know how many people in this country are confused by the name? I can't tell you how many times I've been in Neiman's and heard a client ask, 'Is Chado here yet?' So it was time."
Jackie Fraser-Swan is showing her fall 2013 Emerson collection next door in The Studio, and on my way through the Lincoln Center lobby I'm offered yet another free electronic cigarette (the season's newest swag trend, of which I heartily disapprove). Thankfully, there's no smoking—mechanical or otherwise—at the Emerson show. What we do get is a collection inspired by her idea of a beautiful, post-apocalyptic world. "It's a new vision," she tells me backstage, where the girls are dressed and lined up in first looks while waiting for the Boston-based designer's mother and four children to arrive from Penn Station (their flight from Beantown was cancelled and their subsequent Amtrack trip delayed multiple times earlier in the day, so they're literally arriving with seconds to spare). The towhead children arrive around 9:40pm to rapturous applause from the crowd (who've been clued in to the situation by People's Rev PR doyenne Kelly Cutrone) and out come the models in all their sophisticated punk finery while a Ramones/Billy Idol/Siouxsie Sioux remix blasts from the speakers. I'm loving the muddy yellow-and-grey chiffon plaids (which nod to the designer's Scottish heritage), including a black lambskin dress with a pleated plaid swag at the hip. Even models' manicures are plaid! The purple metallic tinsel knits are cool, too, as is the show jewelry, designed by my pal Anna Sheffield, who just happens to be sitting across the runway.