Fridays are usually a cause for celebration (TGIF and all that). But during New York Fashion Week, Friday just means you've hit day three in a jam-packed nine-day show schedule. Which is not cause for tears, mind you (oh, poor me, I have to sit through another day of inspiring fashion shows. boo fucking hoo) but no one who covers NYFW is in chillaxing weekend mode when Friday rolls around.
That said, my day gets off to a glorious start at the show of one of my favorite designers, Tess Giberson. I'm running late so decide to splurge on a cab and—after sitting through several traffic jams and banging a uey on 23rd to avoid another (which means we have to backtrack several blocks in the wrong direction before heading back to the West Side)—I find myself at Chelsea Piers, on time but $35 bucks lighter (ouch!). Tess has titled her spring outing "Remix," in which she aims to rework silhouettes, prints and wardrobe staples to create a new perspective on familiar pieces. To this end, she reimagines preppy classics—madras plaids, tennis skirts, collegiate sportswear—by giving them a downtown cool-girl spin. The plaid, for instance, is derived from a watercolor by the designer's artist husband, Jon Widman, and applied to silk chiffon dresses and intarsia knits, while the tennis dress is fashioned from white cotton ponte with sheer eyelet panels in a curved-hem shape. Elsewhere, classic suiting elements are repurposed in unusual ways, with blazer lapels appearing not on jackets but down the leg of pants, while trousers morph into dresses and jumpsuits. Tess also remixes her signature crochet pieces in innovative, new ways—as homespun sleeves on a graphic striped tunic, say—and puts a chic, urbane spin on classic athletic wear, crafting track pants from silk with organza side stripes and using perforated leather on elastic waist jogging shorts. The shoes—black and white criss-cross leather sandals with built-in spats and a high, chunky heel—are another fresh take on an old favorite. Post-show, I spy countless guests taking selfless in front of the crocheted backdrop, which was created for the occasion by set designer Andrew Coslow.
At the Duckie Brown show over at Industria, I'm seated next to my friend, Lauren Ezersky, who is looking resplendent, as always, in black Alaia pedal pushers and a pile of silver goth jewelry (with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes). The DB boys (Steven Cox and Daniel Silver) make music of their own with a collection that veers from the monastic (white denim work coats, pleated back polos and tuxedo t-shirts, buttoned to the neck) to the not so (basketball skirts, halter tops, a scallop edged jacket, drop crotch gym shorts). There's a cool passage of variegated striped pieces, and I especially like a navy lace mackintosh and a khaki lace work jacket worn with jute trousers and a printed burlap apron that reminds me (in the best way possible) of the potato sack dresses Lucy and Ethel wore on I Love Lucy. Duu-ckie, you got some 'splaining to do! Backstage, Daniel tells me that the jute apron was, in fact, inspired by the book Farm by Jackie Nickerson, which documents the lives of workers on African plantations. "They use coffee sacks as garments," he says while air kissing well-wishers. As for the other borrowed-from-the-girls looks? "The skirts are just basketball shorts opened up—and the halter is a sweatshirt without the sleeves." Clever, that. Outside, Florsheim (for whom Duckie designed all the patent oxfords worn in the show) has set up a Coolhaus ice cream sandwich truck (yum!), which show goers immediately queue up for, Fashion Week diets be damned.
I have lunch at Pastis, after which I drop my compact in the communal sink outside the bathroom, shattering plastic and powder all over the floor. D'oh! Thankfully, there's a Sephora on my way to the next venue, so I pop in to buy a replacement. The salesman—a very friendly, knowledgable guy named Kevin—insists of redoing all of my makeup to better demonstrate the virtues of Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder, which he promises will not settle into my nooks and crannies. I'm not a big powder person (I use it sparingly, on an as-need basis, to minimize shine) so by the time he finishes layering it on—a process that takes a full five minutes, versus my usual 15-second application—I feel like I'm wearing a second face on my face. The results look good but feel weird and constricting, like wearing a mask. Nonetheless, I leave with the powder, a Clinique Chubby Stick and a tube of Lancome Definicils Masacara (sucker, thy name is Lauren). I run into Duckie Brown publicist Deborah Hughes on Fourteenth Street and ask her whether it looks like I'm wearing an extra face on my face. "No, you look fine—great!—and it's sunny out here," she says. Ok, whew.
I think Deb's being honest (not just kind) but I'm not entirely reassured, so I ask Rachel Felder, who's seated in front of me at Sally LaPointe, the same question. "It looks fine to me but the light in here's not that great," she replies, gesturing to the dimly lit red and back stage set. "But who cares? It's so hot out you'll sweat it off before the day's over anyway." Good point. "I don't know about you, but I'm ready for them to get this party started," she adds with a glance at her watch. "I was hoping to have a Jeffrey moment before Cushnie." (She's referring, of course, to the designer emporium Jeffrey, which is right next door to the Highline Stages on Fourteenth Street.) Sally, who has been getting some great press as of late, unveils a collection inspired by deli flowers. Worn by models with long, center-parted Morticia Addams wigs, the collection features a techno jersey tuxedo dress and lambskin vest in past-its-prime rosebud pink, jackets and sheaths with tulip-inspired draping, petal bustier tops that float seductively around the wearer's torso and a pearlized patent leather vest, the color and texture of which recall both a bouquet of pink roses and the cellophane it came wrapped in. Wisely, the designer doesn't hammer her point home too literally, presenting plenty of other options—a black double-face jumpsuit, long ecru jacket with matching trousers—that nod to her tough luxe leanings while letting the accessories (pointy leather "long stemmed" collars, belts with petal-like waist folds) reflect her seasonal muse. She interjects a burst of color and shine with a passage of canary Lurex pieces before finishing with a series of lovely flower print cellophane organza dresses that feel beautifully melancholy, like a half-forgotten dream or a wistful memory that's just out of reach.
A publicist greets me at the backstage entrance and leads me through the cavernous backstage area, up several flights of stairs and down a long, twisting hallway where the designer awaits. Halfway there, I realize from his deferential demeanor and nervous chatter that he's mistaken me for someone else (read: someone higher up the fashion food chain). I don't bother to correct his assumption since I need to get my interview and hightail it over to the next show. "I wanted to capture an enticing sadness," Sally tells me while models pose for look book photos on the white seamless backdrop that's been set up nearby. "It's a little bit softer and more organic feeling, but it's still my DNA." I ask her about the reaction she's been getting to the terrific New York Times' profile that ran earlier in the week. "It's been amazing to see people connect to [my work] and understand it," she says with a smile. Also amazing is the fact that she included so many women of color in her lineup. This should be a non-issue in this day and age (hel-lo, it's 2013!) but sad to say, that is not the case, as model-turned-activist Bethann Hardison demonstrated in her recent attack on racism in the fashion industry. On my way to Milk Studios, I notice that Jeffrey is closed for Rosh Hashanah, so Rachel wouldn't have been able to have her Jeffrey moment even if she'd had the time (cue sad face).
At Cushnie et Ochs, the front row is full of It boys (Nigel Barker, J. Alexander, Jay Manuel) and It girls (Ashley Madekwe, Harley Viera Newton, Chelsea Leyland). I ride up in the elevator with Carly Cushnie's parents (she co-helms the line with Michelle Ochs). "The show is going to be great!" enthuses the PR who's escorting them. And indeed it is. Megamodel Karlie Kloss leads the parade in a white asymmetrical bandage dress with ruched elastic straps to the sound of Kelis crooning "C'mere copycat, you my puppet. You know I love it." This is followed by sliced white maillots and a neoprene body con dress with sheer organza cutouts covering the model's breasts. A grey buckled sheath and strappy nurse's dress follow, leading some in the audience (ok, me) to revisit their let's-play-doctor fantasies (oh, please, judgypants, like you don't have them, too). A pair of scribble print dresses looks like something a deranged child might have drawn, while a suite of super sexy black dresses with razor cut outs and restraints hew to the duo's more familiar kitten-with-a-whip proclivities. They soften up for evening with a trio of purple silk dresses, the last of which is worn by a nearly unrecognizable Chanel Iman, who's traded in her usual sunny smile for a sultry glower. "We were inspired by straightjackets," Carly tells me backstage after greeting Pamela Love, who designed the show's silver neck brace chokers. Are she and her partner feeling particularly unhinged these days? "Yeah,' she replies with a sly smile. "That's why there are all those straps and crazy scribble prints." I bump into Karlie Kloss on my way out and ask if I can take her picture. "Sure," she replies. "Just let me put my shirt on." Oh, fine, be that way. Carly and Michelle would not approve. PG-13 photo op completed, I walk ten blocks up Tenth Avenue to my next show. On the way, a photo in a gallery window catches my eye so I pop in to check it out. The sales guy and I start chatting about art and fashion and it turns out he's the ex-husband of one of my longtime fashion friends (they split up years ago, before she and I met). NYC is a very small town if you live here long enough—and I always love these Six Degrees of Fashion Week connections.
The VPL by Victoria Bartlett presentation is being held in the gymnasium of Avenues: The World School in Chelsea, a fancy schmancy private school for the offspring of Manhattan's international monied class (at least judging by the lobby and modern, incredibly well-appointed restroom, which has more than one mom in attendance exclaiming "this is the nicest school bathroom I've ever seen!" with obvious awe). Upstairs, in the equally impressive sun-filled gym, beneath signage with such inspirational phrases as "the only difference between a good shot and a bad shot is if it goes in or not" and "you miss 100 percent of the shotes you never take," Bartlett debuts her spring 2014 collection. Called "Onward," it pays homage to her label's origin as a fashion/activewear brand. To better demonstrate the sports cred of her garments' no-rub bonded seaming and seaweed-infused fabrics (which release vitamins A and E, providing a dose of skincare while you get your sweat on), Bartlett's models are put through their paces using resistance bands in routines designed by Bari Studio founder Alexandra Bonetti Perez. The tank tops, exercise bras, two-tone leggings and oversized shorts are sleek, colorful and more than a little sexy, especially when worn with elastic leg straps, which give the looks a Helmut Newton-does-SoulCycle feel. Sunglasses, neon headphones, open-toed sneaker sandals and rolled headbands of the Olivia Newton-John/Let's Get Physical variety complete the sporty chic picture. (And may I suggest you click the link just for a laugh even if you aren't an ONJ fan. Oh, the Eighties….)
A few blocks further up Tenth Ave, Novis designer Jordana Warmflash (yes, that's her real name) found inspiration in mid-century modern architecture and furniture design. This translates into a striking geometric map print that's used on t-shirts, pants, jackets and a vest dress. A larger, similarly themed geometric print appears on intarsia knit column dresses, and many of the silhouettes are long and lean, with lots of interesting textural layering and color combos. The designer's deft way with color is especially winning in a pink and yellow map tee atop a green skirt with a black and white grid under layer and checkerboard hem (which sounds like visual overload but serves to heighten one's senses rather than offend them). Likewise, a black and white drop shoulder sweater is paired, to great effect, with mint green map print pants. The result serves to amp up the volume on each piece, rendering the sum far greater than its parts. The contrasting Walter Steiger shoes only enhance the sharp, spirited interplay between Warmflash's playfully contradictory pieces.
Since I have a late start tomorrow, I finish my day by watching Nicole Holofcener's movie, Please Give, with Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Sarah Steele (Eli Gold's daughter on The Good Wife) and a tanorexic Amanda Peet. It's both poignant and laugh out loud funny (Old Ladies Say the Darnest Things!). If you're into smart movies about realistic human interactions, I recommend it highly. It's the perfect antidote to all things fash-un!
photos by Lauren David Peden, The Fashion Informer, 2013
My day begins with the Tanya Taylor show down at Industria Studios in the West Village. While waiting for the proceedings to get underway, I spy the Anndra Neen girls across the aisle (looking super glam, as always) and have a lovely chat with jewelry designer Anna Sheffield, whom I haven't seen in quite some time. Taylor was inspired by colors and the work of Caro Niederer, a contemporary Swiss artist who specializes in rich, color-saturated paintings based on situations from her personal life and environment. That would explain the seating assignment card and run-of-show notes, which boast bright splashes of color I first mistook for lipstick swipes. The show opens with a series of bold skirts, suits and dresses with graphic black and white stripes bisected by riotous rainbow lines. Next up is a suite of "rainbow scroll" dresses, which feature swirly patches of color on ladylike chiffon worn with pointy-vamped stilettos with color-blocked heels. The color is tempered by a pair of white-piped denim skirt-and-top ensembles that give the eye a chance to rest. Then it's back to mirror embellished strapless cocktail dresses, floral mesh jackets and coats, blossom-splashed gingham and a series of hand-painted floral pieces that recall a garden in full bloom. The models wear neon crystal jewelry and headbands by Shourouk (who owes a debt of gratitude to Tom Binns) and wing-back mules by Paul Andrew. It may sound like overkill on paper, but in person it was lyrical, transporting and heart-stoppingly beautiful. Wisely, the models' hair is slicked off their faces and they appear to be totally bare-faced, with nary a trace of mascara or lipstick, placing the emphasis squarely where it belongs: on the clothes.
I walk up Washington to the Titania Inglis presentation at Made at the Standard and detour through the High Line park since I have a few minutes to spare, stopping to take a few shots of the gently swaying grasses (planted by Piet Oudolf, my favorite garden designer) and the DVF domed skylight in the distance. I overshoot the Standard by a block so circle back via Fourteenth Street, and when I round the corner in front of the DVF store, I spy the woman herself talking to the guy behind the counter. After a brief hello, I'm in the High Line room at the hotel, where Trent Reznor's singing about how he wants to fuck me like an animal. (Not tonight, honey.) The rmatte black runway is topped with a silver cage-like structure that reminds me of a kid's jungle gym but is, according to the show notes, inspired by the work of Buckminster Fuller, father of the geodesic dome, and Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, whose work employs light, water and air temperature (among other elemental ephemera). The resulting collection features a storm-grey mini with decorative leg braces and clay-colored sheaths topped by metal cage overlays. The most winning looks are those—like a simple grey halter dress with a triangular metal clasp and a slinky white gown with delicate waxed cotton cording criss-crossing the cutaway back—that wear their muse lightly. And as always, this eco-chic designer used natural dyes and veg-tanned leather throughout.
I kill some time answering emails in the Standard lobby, then head over to Milk Studios for the Costello Tagliapietra show. I pop backstage to see the boys (Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra) pre-show, where I find them chatting with their longtime friend Debi Mazar, who has her daughter, Giuliana, in tow. She agrees to pose for a picture as long as I take another using her camera ("the one we took before didn't come out"). Mission accomplished. As for the collection, says Robert, "We wanted to broaden the spectrum. Our friends always want what we make for ourselves, so we took the Costello girl on vacation. It's easy, light and approachable. So a touch of us with an inherent femininity." All I know is, I'm loving the muddy plaid prints that are hanging nearby and can't wait to see them on the runway.
I head back to my seat and notice Marie Claire Accessories Director Kyle Anderson directly across the aisle. I've never met him but am a huge fan of his work (seriously, don't be put off by his OTT personal style; the guy is a genius at uber-inventive, out-of-the-box accessory stills and if you think I'm exaggerating, check them out for yourself ). "Tell my boss!" he cracks when I tell him he's the only reason I buy the magazine. "They think my ideas are too out-there!" Au contraire, mon frere. [Note to Anne Fulenwider: Whatever you're paying him, it isn't enough.] Once I'm back in my seat, Robert Verdi swings by to say hi and give me a little present: a black box festooned with a Louis Vuitton-like RV logo ("It's tongue-in-chic," he quips. "In honor of my fifteenth anniversary in the fashion industry.") Inside: a handmade beaded bracelet spelling out "Front Row," a sweatshirt with his cartoon image on it and a postcard depicting him alongside Anna Wintour, André Leon Talley, RuPaul and Andy Warhol at runway show (Andy Warhol? Robert. Honey. You aren't that old!).
But back to Costello and their fabulous clothes. Which really are fabulous, from the blurred plaid blouses and knits to the persimmon pantsuit with bright yellow blouse to the navy tuxedo pants with a red stripe running down the inside of the leg. I love many of the looks here, most especially a navy dress topped by a long, belted sleeveless cardigan (modeled after the ones the designers wear most days) and a blue "pieced" dress with seams that curve around the body like a hug (a very, very sensuous hug). And I love, love, love the Costello-does-Birkenstock sandals and cross-body messenger bag, both of which I plan to incorporate into my own wardrobe next summer. On my way out, I bump into Vogue's Meredith Melling Burke and fashion consultant Roopal Patel. "Oh, I like your little bag!" cooes MMB, pointing to my RV logo'ed box. Back off, bitch, this swag is mine!
After a late afternoon lunch (arugula and prosciuotto pizza, if you must know), it's up to Lincoln Center for my final show of the day. I still haven't picked up my official Fashion Week press credentials but figure I'll have time after the show so head in to the tents, where I'm immediately reminded how much I dislike this venue and all that it represents. Why? Because unlike Bryant Park (or even more than Bryant Park, I should say) it feels like a sterile, commercially driven convention hall. Between the space itself (which is ugly and artlessly designed with icky fluorescent lighting), the off-message sponsors littering the lobby (Sweet"N Low? Reel Code Media? DHL?) and the people littering the lobby (fashion hangers-on who seem more interested in taking selfies than seeing the shows), it all feels very tacky and bottom-of-the-barrel. And while I'm well aware that fashion is a business (one that generates billions of dollars annually), there's a crass commercialization to the tents that feels at odds with the creativity and blood, sweat and tears that go into producing a collection—even if said collection is ultimately destined to be sold and marketed to throngs of insatiable consumers. That's all fine—and necessary—but it should come later, after the clothes have been shown and sold to buyers, not before. In fact, I'm not sure why designers still choose to show here, aside from the economic benefits (the tents are far cheaper than an off-site venue, where the designer also has to pay for lighting, seats, security, et al.). Still, the venue kind of encapsulates the basest parts of the business and feels very much like a dinosaur well past its prime. But I digress…
I'm here to see Marissa Webb, and the J.Crew alum does not disappoint. Before the show, I watch as a cute, young illustrator named Danielle Meder sketches a woman in the front row (who turns out to be Cory Kennedy). As for the collection, it's inspired by the designer's own personal style—and hers is a style worth coveting. She opens with a high waisted blush pink silk skirt with matching shell (so pretty!), which is quickly followed by an austerely cut red crepe dress, moto jacket, tie-neck blouse, deep-v tunic and full skirt mini before segueing to a borrowed-from-the-boys-but-better olive (excuse me, fatigue) green shirt jacket with black leather pockets. It's tossed casually over a floral ruffle dress and accessorized with black cutout booties and a faceted onyx pendant. The perfect sexy-tomboy mix, in other words, which is Webb's preferred oeuvre. Other standout looks include a white silk-tie blouse over a black floral silk minidress, and an electric blue petal shirt atop black leather shorts with colorful racing stripes zooming down the sides. It's Webb's own wardrobe writ large—and it's exceedingly cool and exceedingly sexy (in a smart, sophisticated, not slutty way).
I'm hoping to end my day by picking up my press credentials (which make it easier to get backstage and which I registered—and paid for—weeks ago). Alas, the press office is set to close in 15 minutes and a burly security guard informs me that no one is allowed to get on the line past where he's standing (that would be me and a few other unlucky journalists) and no amount of wheedling will sway him from his appointed task. He tells us to come back at 7am the next morning. As if. I have seven shows on Friday, none of them in the tents, and the next time I'll be at Lincoln Center is for an evening show and the office will be closed. He is unmoved.
I'm supremely pissed and feeling sorry for myself when I pass a young woman sitting on the sidewalk a block or two from the tents, surrounded by a suitcase and backpack, begging for change. She's holding a hand-written sign that reads "A little kindness goes a long way." I mentally congratulate her for this lovely sentiment, then realize I should practice what she's preaching. I double back to give her a few bucks and ask, "How did you wind up here?" (meaning out on the street, begging for money). She acknowledges the cash I hand her with a nod and half-smile. "I took a bus from where I'm from," she replies. "No, I mean how did you wind up living on the street?" I inquire. Something about this girl—she looks so young and so alone, surrounded by all her wordily possessions and her DIY cardboard sign—has gotten under my skin. "Family troubles," she says with a resigned sigh and a look that speaks volumes. "Welcome to the club," I say, which turns her half-smile into a full on grin.
I walk to the subway wondering about this girl's story and the circumstances that led her to find herself, not yet old enough to drink or vote, sitting on a sidewalk near Columbus Circle. And having just come from the vulgar display of commercial excess that is the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tents, I find myself wondering about the fashion world's priorities—as well as my own.
photos by Lauren David Peden/The Fashion Informer, 2013
Labor Day weekend is still receding the rearview mirror—and summer along with it (*sigh*)—but it's time to ditch the paddleboard, stash the rash guard and pull out ye old Moleskine and ballpoint and head back to school. And work. Which, in my case, means New York Fashion Week.
The spring 2014 shows are kicking off a day early (Wednesday is now—egads!—part of the official fashion calendar), so I bid adieu to the beach and hit the ground running, the memory of a summer spent in flip-flops growing dimmer as I try on each NYFW look (something I do before each season so I don't have to think about what to wear once the week gets crazed). Armed with a fresh mani/pedi, I head into the fashion fray.
Thankfully, my first day is a light one (only four shows) and begins at the home of my old friends Phoebe and Annette Stephens, the designing sibs behind the jewelry line Anndra Neen. "We wanted to bring people into our working environment," says Annette, who's wearing a graphic black-and-white top with silky trousers, of inviting editors and buyers to view the collection in their art-filled living room just east of Manhattan's Grammercy Park neighborhood, where their latest pieces are surrounded by paintings and sculpture by their grandmother, father and Maxwell Gordon, their father's creative mentor. "It was inspired by the movie Baraka," adds Phoebe, who's a vision in fuchsia. "Baraka means 'blessing' in Arabic." The duo was also inspired by recent vacations in St. Barths (Annette) and Mexico (Phoebe). "It's textures from around the world," says Annette. "So we think of it as a global collection." Indeed, the webby brass cuffs and flat hammered chokers have a distinctly organic vibe, while other more streamlined pieces (such as pair of sleek brass and silver collars) feel more urbane and future-forward. Throughout, there are reworkings of Anndra Neen signatures—from an updated version of their iconic caged clutch to a 3D triangular breastplate worn by a regal-looking model—and they've introduced a chic cross-body caged cell phone bag for spring. Phoebe mentions that their four-year anniversary is fast approaching and confides that they still get a thrill out of seeing someone wearing their jewelry. "it never gets old," she says with a dreamy smile. "Seeing someone in one of your pieces it's like hearing your song on the radio."
On my way back to the subway I bump into my pal Doria Santlofer, who styled the Whit presentation earlier this morning. After a quick sidewalk catch-up, it's straight up the East Side to Lisa Perry's in-store presentation on Madison Avenue. The invitation posed the question "tennis, anyone?" and I'm assuming the collection will follow suit. I greet InStyle EIC Ariel Foxman on my way in, who just saw the first viewing. "You'll love it!" he enthuses. "It's really fun." I settle in on a white wooden bench just in time to see the first models stride out onto the green felt court…I mean runway, in pairs or quartets (nodding, I assume, to a singles or doubles match), wearing their all-white ensembles while Dionne Warwick's Do You Know The Way to San Jose? and a moody remix of Walk on By play in the background. As for the clothes, Ariel was right: I do love them. They're both cute and incredibly refined, whether it's an asymmetrical crepe mini-max dress, an iridescent Watteau-back cocktail frock, a sporty cable knit sheath or shorts worn with a matching crop top. Many of the looks feature round cutouts or circular pockets, and all are worn with high, sporty ponytails, white terry wristbands and strappy, sky-high sandals or canvas slip on sneakers. There's even a tennis bride, resplendent in her white backless halter gown. The final score? Lisa Perry: Game. Set. Match.
The Ivana Helsinki show is taking place at Pier 59 in Chelsea, and I arrive at the second floor venue to find a crazy-long line snaking past the glass doors, around the corner and all the way down the hall. But what do you expect when the invite promises "music by Shirley Manson" (yes, Shirley Manson, the frontwoman of Garbage). I cut the line (shhh, don't tell!) and make my way to my front row seat. Designer Paola Ivana Suhonen was inspired by The Bridges of Madison County, a 1995 chestnut starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep as star-crossed lovers in 1960s Iowa. The show opens with a moody short film, directed by the designer, featuring a Helsinki-clad model, suitcase in hand, cavorting in color-saturated meadows and revisiting the bridges for which the movie and collection are named. Ah, yes, the collection. It's a sweetly nostalgic, highly naif paean to quaint midwestern style, replete with prim lace and button-back floral dresses, fringed suede minis, polka dot swing coats and a sundress embellished with raffia-like wooden beads. Butterflies come in many forms—on silver necklaces, as an embroidered motif, as 3D rubber appliqués taking wing on a vest and as an original print (dubbed "Iowafly") in cheerful shades of turquoise and orange. There's even a macramé butterfly perched atop one girl's head. Most of the looks are worn with coordinating gloves, kerchiefs, she's-come-undone braids or ginormous straw sun hats—and a few models sport hand-painted seamed "stockings" on their otherwise bare legs. And though Shirley Manson does not appear on the soundtrack (which features vintage Neil Young, Simon & Garfunkel and Bill Withers tunes), she has collaborated on a duck-illustrated tank top worn with faded high-waist denim flares. While I find a few of the butterfly pieces and ruffled pinafores a bit heavy-handed, overall this is a sweet, highly personal outing that puts me in a really good mood, despite the Shirley Manson no-show. It's only when I get home, hours later, that I realize she produced the music for the short film (which is mentioned nowhere in the program notes and flashed so quickly on the screen that I—and many others in the audience, judging from the grumbling I heard on the way out—missed it entirely. Thank God for Youtube.
The Veronica Beard presentation is over at the Bleecker Street Arts Club, a third floor walk-up in the West Village. Outside, it's still 2013. But upstairs, it's 1983 all over again. Models with long, slicked-back hair stand on bright, graffiti covered cubes decked out in leopard print suits, denim leather jumpsuits, neon floral sweatshirts, multi-zip dresses and clear, python embossed trench coats accessorized with Jennifer Fisher spike earrings and a playfully surly 'tude. It's as if VB designers Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard took this past spring's Met Museum "Punk" moment, evolved it a few years to the early Eighties (when their new wave girls ditched CBGBs in favor of the Mudd Club and Pyramid) then dragged the whole shebang into the here-and-now and gave it a modern uptown do-over. For despite its retro inspiration, this collection feels very fresh and of the moment.
The same, alas, cannot be said of my retro self. So while I'm supposed to end the first day of Fashion Week at the celebratory launch party for the new accessories e-com site Editorialist (which just published my fall features on Tom Binns and Jessica Alba), my dogs are barking and I'm too tired to socialize, so I hightail it past the Big Gay Ice Cream store and call it a day.
photos by Lauren David Peden/The Fashion Informer 2013
Since I always see some amazing (and ludicrous) shoes during NYFW—both on the runway and off—I've decided to start posting a Daily Shoe photo highlighting the best (or most ridiculous) shoe of the day for the duration of Fashion Week.
Here's a little tableau I shot at today's Lisa Perry tennis-inspired presentation, with a leopard platform-clad mom and her daughters, both in Superga canvas sneakers (a favorite of the Olsen twins, in case you didn't know).
Welcome back! I hope you've missed me as much as I've missed you. As promised, I'm back in The Fashion Informer saddle to cover the New York Fashion Week spring 2014 shows, which kick off tomorrow and run for nine fun-filled days. (Why they still call it a "week," I do not know.)
As always, I'll be bringing you front row coverage, backstage access and behind-the-scenes scoop on fashion's biggest scene.
In the meantime, here's a little profile of yours truly that recently ran in White + Warren's Inspired column.
See you at the shows - and be sure and follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute NYFW coverage!