I start my day by voting in the Mayoral Primary (cause I'm civic-minded like that) then hop a train (well, two trains) to the West Village presentation of LaQuan Smith. I'm heartened to see the big turnout for this emerging designer, whose work has been worn by the likes of Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Ciara and others of that ilk. For his spring 2014 outing, dubbed "Dark Summer," LaQuan focused on what he calls "transitional casual wear" for those on the go, inspired by his own summer travels. "This is an ode to the girl that lives on a plane during the summer, the girl that is running to make her flight and then rushing to dinner, the girl that only packs two pairs of shoes for a week on vacation," the designer said in his program notes. So that would explain the sportswear/eveningwear mash-up, which featured models in schmancy sweats (think: metallic trimmed scuba shorts, reflective stripe terry crop tops) alongside plunging v'ed plastic lace dresses, a flounced hem canvas sheath and cutout metallic denim dresses that were decorous in the front and cut so low in track that they showcased the dimples on the models' bums. There's a bit of a disconnect between the activewear and the va-va-voom cocktail fare, but I give him points for trying.
Outside, I notice a crowd gathered to watch another crowd on the corner of Washington and Horatio. Turns out they're shooting an episode of Law & Order: SVU, and curious tourists have stopped to watch the crew in action. I didn't even know that show was still on the air. (Oh, the joys of not having television.)
It this is Tuesday, it must be the Highline room at The Standard. And so it is, in honor of Nellie Partow's presentation. It's a beautiful collection, full of sharply tailored daywear alongside softly sensual After Dark attire. "It's all about the silhouettes," Nellie, a former designer at John Varvatos and Calvin Klein, tells me. "I've always been into menswear and really wanted to play with the juxtaposition between menswear and softer pieces." Which she did via textiles like nickel foil jacquard and fine silk crepe. Nellie is also a fan of minimalism, as can be seen in the spare-yet-flattering cuts—especially evident in a nude off-the-shoulder dress and black sheath with shoulder cutouts. "I wanted to focus on a woman's character and her disposition this season," she added. Bravo! And did you know that the diminutive designer is also a competitive boxing champ and NY Daily News Golden Gloves title holder? It's true. So clearly she knows a little sumthin' sumthin' about the often conflicting elements that make up a woman's character and disposition.
My next stop is a few floors higher at The Standard (suite 1210, to be exact), where my friend Sinje Lesemann in showing her Koza collection of travel bags and accessories by appointment only. I'm very familiar with the brand—I've covered Koza many times since it launched in 2010 and am the proud owner of an early-edition Rajani tote—and am excited to see the latest evolution. In addition to introducing fun new fabrics (I especially love a blue and peach fern print and the cornflower tiger silk), the jungle-inspired collection includes a new, smaller hobo bag, two cork-bottomed totes, a twisted clutch that can be hooked onto your belt loop for hands-free sightseeing and a super-chic "lunchbag" that does double duty as a day-to-night clutch. And in keeping with the line's style-meets-substance ethos, Koza's beach clutch has a removable plastic pouch for storing your wet bathing suit at day's end. Smart! On the urban front, Sinje has introduced a range of new leather- and nubuck-trimmed bags, including a double-flap backpack designed to hold your yoga mat or umbrella (along with the rest of your everyday essentials), a two-tone tote that reverses from leather to fabric, and an iPad case with cool cork trim. A luxe diaper bag is also on offer (complete with removable plastic lining and coordinating changing pad), as is a chichi leather handle that can be clipped onto your shopping bags—or your favorite Baggu—to allow them to be carried over the shoulder in style. Sinje's girlfriend, Prim, stops by just as I'm leaving with her friend, Bridget Russo, in tow. I happen to know Bridget pretty well—we met years ago when she was the publicist at Edun—but we haven't seen each other in eons. It's an impromptu fashion reunion, and one of the things I like best about covering the shows.
I'm slated to hit the Newbark and Heidi Gardner presentations next, but they're 10 blocks away, I'm melting and my dogs are barking. While I'm sitting outside the hotel Tweeting and debating whether to nip into the Biergarten or just head home (it's crazy hot and a cold brewski sounds great right about now), I watch as a sloppy drunk tourist accosts the guy next to me, who is chatting obliviously on his cell phone until the drunkard practically sits on his lap. He swats the guy away and then it's my turn. He plops down beside me on the small yellow metal bench (where there's only room for one). "Can I ask you shhumpthing?" he slurs before grabbing my arm in a most unpleasant fashion. "No," I reply. "And why are you touching me? Get your hand off my arm." He looks hurt and perplexed—why wouldn't I want his meaty paw on my person?—but leans in to continue the conversation. Time to go!
As I cross Ninth Avenue at Fourteenth Street, I see a pair of girls holding enormous balloons that say "Shut Up & Shoot." Turns out they're shilling theQ, the world's first social media camera, which uploads your images to the interwebs automatically. Because God forbid you should have an experience and not document and share it immediately. I walk on into the night, feeling old and missing the days when social meant just that, and when friends were people you'd actually met and liked (as opposed to "liked.") Sigh.
photos by Lauren David Peden/The Fashion Informer 2013