Is it? Can it be? New York Fashion Week is here again already? Yup, it's time for the fall 2013 shows, and I'll be bringing you the latest news from all your favorite designers.
Wednesday (actually the unofficial start to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which launches at Lincoln Center tomorrow and runs through Valentine's Day), began with a stop at my local nail salon for a quick polish change so I know I'm putting my (ahem) best fingers forward.
Two subways and one rousing Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy guitar solo later (thank you, Union Square busker!), I find myself braving an arctic wind whipping off the Hudson on my way to the M.Patmos presentation at Pier 59. Not even my trusty cashmere coat (Tia Cibani-era Ports 1961, if you care) can cut the chill. Thankfully, designer Marcia Patmos is serving up some toasty fashion in the way of army green sweaters with delicate silk shoulder panels and bronze knit bodices, double faced olive bombers, luxe turtleneck dickies and cropped pants offset with a judicious serving of sequins, ikat and reversible camo print jacquard, offering the wearer two looks for the price of one. "It's menswear with masculine/feminine military details," Marcia says while showing me the collection. I am especially enamored of the trompe-l'oeil knits and reversible shearling pieces, including one yummy navy and brown patchwork coat that is destined to live in my closet. "They're smart for travel," says the newlywed designer of of her twofer pieces. "Super functional and multi-purpose." Equally smart: her scarves, hats and fingerless gloves, which were knit using zero waste techniques. And then there's her shoe collaboration with Manolo Blahnik, which resulted in a Sixties-inspired skimmer and an elegant pump, both of which have neon-lined ankle straps and sexy, lace-print insoles. Best of all, much of the collection is made locally, at a factory in New Jersey. It's all quite beautiful and gives a whole new meaning to the term "eco chic." After making post-NYFW lunch plans and saying hi to her husband, Richard (the two got married last fall on my own wedding anniversary, coincidentally), I head back outside to brave the wind.
Next stop, Old Homestead, where I indulge in a strip steak with a side of roast garlic (heaven!) and watch Lizzy Caplan in Viva Vena's hilarious fashion film spoof.
Then it's on to the 6 to head uptown for the Lisa Perry presentation, dubbed "maZes, twiSts & dOodLes" (whimsical capitalization hers), which is taking place at the designer's shiny white Madison Avenue boutique. Here, young girls in backcombed ponytails and Gucci Westman makeup sport LP's "it's a mod, mod, mod, mod world" dresses, replete with colorful graphic stripes, checks and circles on forgiving A-line silhouettes. Outside, a pair of pint-sized fashionistas are mimicking the moves of the model in Perry's store window, much to the amusement of passersby.
I take the train back down to Union Square for the debut of Whitney Pozgay's fall WHIT collection at the W Hotel's Great Room. Taking a young Marianne Faithfull as her muse, Whitney jettisoned the colorful, beachy vibe of her spring outing in favor of muted metallic coats, pretty paisley print dresses, wool bouclé suiting and leather jumpers in rich shades of ruby, forest green and deep blue. It's a more sophisticated outing than her last collection, an effect that's heightened by the lovely calf-hair accessories designed in collaboration with her artist friend, Jemme Aldridge, and by the elegant styling of Doria Santlofer (who happens to be a former colleague and good friend of yours truly). I bump into my pal Daniel Vosovic (he and Whitney are CFDA Incubator studio mates) on my way out and get the scoop on his fall presentation, slated to take place in March.
Then it's back uptown: same train (the 6), different stop (51st Street) to check out the Veronica Beard presentation at Bill's off of Madison Avenue. Upon entering the brownstone restaurant, the hoi polloi (that would be me) are invited to have a drink at the bar while the muckety mucks (that would be Vogue's Hamish Bowles) are whisked up the narrow staircase for a private viewing. Never one for following the rules (do you know who I am?!) I escort myself upstairs and see that in addition to Hamish, Vogue's Meredith Melling Burke and Jessica Sailer are also in attendance, as are Ken Downing and Aerin Lauder. The 16-look collection—inspired by the pioneering spirit that defines the Veronica Beard brand—features a wealth of rugged-meets-refined pieces, from a bandana print gypsy gown and faded wool field jacket beneath a patchwork raccoon vest to token-print silk twill pants worn with a matching tee and a red and black wool melange dickey (hmm, is this an early fall trend?) topped by a brick herringbone jacket with waxed canvas patches and a furry coonskin cap. The overall effect is elegant and posh with just the right amount of edge (which is to say, a whisper). After greeting one of the two blond Veronicas behind the label (I'm not sure which one, to be honest), I hightail it downstairs and back out into the night, where I call it a night.
On my way home, I see the newest MTA subway poster, "Grand Central Catwalk" by artist Marcos Chin, which depicts the architectural wonders of Grand Central Station—including the famous clock and sweeping staircase—cleverly re-imagined as articles of clothing. It's a lovely and fitting way to kick off a week devoted to NYC fashion.
photos © Lauren David Peden/The Fashion Informer 2013