Another day another fashion show (or eight). Join me, won't you?
Saturday gets off to a slow start with Rachel Zoe's late afternoon show at The Empire Hotel. The vintage rock soundtrack (David Essex, the Stones) kills, but the collection—full of vintage RZ haute hippie signifiers (think: fit-n-flare jeans, fur chubbies, slinky caftans, fur hats, shorts suits)—is competent if underwhelming. There are also far too many references to the work of other designers (I spy with my little eye looks that recall Halston, YSL, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio di Sant A'ngelo, Gucci-era Tom Ford…the list goes on). The errrm…sartorial tributes notwithstanding, Zoe definitely has a good eye and this collection will undoubtedly resonate with her SoCal celebrity pals—and those who want to channel them the way she channels her predecessors.
Then it's over to Alexander Wang, where two girls in cartoon Anna Wintour masks hand out an illustrated broadsheet called Humor/Chic/Art. Inside, the real Anna Wintour is gamely posing for photos with a steady stream of giddy fashion fans, including a trio of giggly pre-teen girls. Take that, haters! Wang's show also begins with vintage tunes—in this case, Dre and Snoop ("One, two, three and to the four…")—but his staggered mirror backdrop and collection look to the future rather than the past. This designer loves him some high-tech fabrics and craftsmanship (peroxide lacquered merino wool and ion laminated trompe-l'oeil, anyone?), and he fashions them into pieces that feel both fresh and familiar. Witness a boxy crewneck with a finish that looks like cracked paint, sleek leather puffers, tulle dresses with "trapped thread embroidery" (aka, long swinging fringe), or a smocked leather tank that manages to look both innocent and…not. Yes, there are a few pieces here that recall Prada (knee-high wader boots) and Balenciaga (the aforementioned crackled crew), but I give Wang points for trying. And he also gets may-juh points for his finale, which features supes Gisele, Shalom, Karolina, Erin and Liya stomping around the mirrored set to the sound of wildly pounding drums. Be still my beating heart.
Next stop: Sally LaPointe's show in Chelsea. This talented newcomer draws a decidedly more artsy, left-of-center crowd than Zoe or Wang—calling all Club Kids!—but then, she is Lady Gaga's favorite designer du jour. Once the dry ice clears and the models hit the runway in her metamorphasis-inspired collection, it's clear from the curvilinear suiting, lace minis and chiffon-swagged trousers that this is a woman who knows how to showcase the female form in a way that's sensual without being saccharine. And LaPointe's richly-hued prints are astonishingly beautiful. She is, as they say, one to watch.
I've been watching Erin Fetherston for quite some time now, and she seems to get better and better each season, honing her uber-feminine aesthetic in pieces designed to appeal to a wider range of dress-loving women. At her Milk Studios presentation, there are holographic metallic minis, drapey goddess gowns, sweetly sprigged day dresses—and a hooded anorak (hey, even girlie-girls need to stay warm when the temperature drops!). I also love the live harp player and the gold tree stumps with neon ground effects, which make an elegant resting place for Erin's elegant creations.
Fashion Week newbie Dean Quinn is showing upstairs at Milk, and the advance hype turns out to be spot-on, judging from his cool collection of sharply cut, graphic dresses and gowns in shocking shades of fuchsia and red offset by grounding blue and beige, some finished with zippered carwash hems. I pop into Otswald Helgason's terrific folkloric-cool presentation for 3.5 seconds and run into the always-gorgeous Sarah Sophie Flicker on my way out. I ask her how long it takes to do her makeup. "Sadly, not long," she replies with a sigh. "This is all I know how to do. This is all I got."
What goes better with thigh-baring dresses than sky high heels, you say? Nothing, I answer. Which is how I come to find myself across the hall at Alejandro Ingelmo's presentation, which features some of the cobbler's signature shapes (including his now-famous lotus-petal pump) alongside some new additions (hel-lo, fur trimmed booties and croc heeled platforms!). But I really flip for the men's kicks, which include a pair of patent-trimmed hightops, velvet reptile print skate shoes, metal-trimmed street sneaks and fur collared ankle boots for the boys. And why not?
My last stop of the night is down the hall at Phoebe and Annette Stephens' Anndra Neen presentation, which is displayed amid clever paper installations by artists Matthew Sporzynski and Lisa Chamberlin, who fashioned trees and bushes from perforated packing material and designed conch shells, lunar landscapes and little hanging men from that most humble of materials, elevating paper to exhaled heights the way the Stephens' sisters elevate silver (as in their sweet sterling bowtie necklaces, quilted silver cuffs and sexy zig zag choker). And their silver cross clutch is definitely not your mother's minaudiere. Yes, please!
And with that, I bid you adieu until tomorrow.