Here is what the
Mercedes Benz General Motors Olympus Fashion Week tents looked like at 9AM Friday morning, the last time it would be so quiet and peaceful. The Shophound hasn't really done fashion week in a few seasons, and it has only become bigger, with an unfortunate amount of double booked shows. The first few days are kind of a warm-up. The big guns don't come out until Monday. Part of the fun is just being there. Anyone who thinks the New York Collections are a parade of extras from 'The Devil Wears Prada' would be sadly disappointed. Sure there are some chic people around, but the real pros are dressed to slog through nine or ten shows a day, with style, of course, but it is hardly a fashion spread come to life, and there's a healthy helping of eccentrics to keep things interesting. This morning we were treated to beignets courtesy of 'wichcraft. Gotta love the perks.
But first, the shows, after the jump.
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9 AM The Atelier • JOHN BARTLETT
We've been John Bartlett fans since his first collection in the early 90's. If only we still had those gabardine 5-pocket pants. He's been through his ups and downs, but this show should solidify his strong and steady comeback course. This time he is inspired by preppy classics, but as always, gives them his own sexy twist. A vintage athletic tee was reconcieved in a fine-gauge knit, for example. But while he has had his kinky runway moments in the past, this time the oomph is in the shaping in a jacket, or the slightly shorter and slimmer shorts Tyson opened the show in. Tyson always gets put in shorts because he has the best legs, and Bartlett's models always look like real grown-ups, but better. No scrawny teenagers over here. The clothes here were easy for any regular guy to understand. Colors were all neutral grays and khakis with a dash of yellow, orange, or a subtle faded floral pattern. This show also heralds the return of Top-Siders. A strong showing from an underrated designer on the comeback trail.
Music: Ironic grungy rock version of Madonna's 'Into The Groove'
Swag: No gift bag in standing room!
The beignets are still there. The memory of Bartlett's shirtless hunks are discouraging us..... but they're so yummy. And free. One more...
10 AM The Promenade • PERRY ELLIS
"Are you here for Perry Ellis? Come on in!" The fine folks at Perry Ellis may have been a bit over-ambitious in booking one of the larger venues for their show, but that's OK. We love a gracious host with a room to fill. Menswear Creative Director John Crocco sent out a collection a bit more sophisticated than what can usually be found at Macy's. In fact, we're not sure how much of this department store stalwart's runway show will actually make it to the selling floor, but what we saw was another take on classics with subtle details, again in washed out neutrals. Same models, same colors, new hairdos. Tyson in shorter shorts. Band collar tuxedo shirts are back. So are espadrilles with crushed backs. We can't tell if the pants are looser or if the models' legs are just skinny.
Music: Grungy rock. Guy's music.
Swag: The "Homage" T-shirt in the show's final look.
The beignets are gone thank Heaven. Now everyone is carrying lime green shoulder totes, They came from the WE: Women's Entertainment sponsor booth, and they're all out of them now. Relax, Greedy. There will be more tomorrow.
11 AM The Tent • BCBG MAX AZRIA
Perhaps an announcement could have been made before the show. "Today's BCBG collection has been brought to you by The House of Chloé." Having said that, we must keep in mind that BCBG is a very commercial contemporary resource, not someone we look to for directional innovation, and inspiration from Chloé = lots of pretty clothes that customers will snap up like hotcakes. It's the volume here that evokes the Parisian house. Lots of layers and full, babydoll silhouettes in ice cream shades with eyelet detailing and lace trims went down the runway. No chunky shoes this season, just linen lace-up boots and mary jane flats. The oversized shapes kept the collection from looking too saccharine, and Azria's unfailing commercial instinct made an immediate hit.
Overheard: About the collection, "Literally, I'm shaped like a potato. See, all round here. I'm so psyched!"
Music: Rock & Roll
Swag: See John Bartlett
12 Noon The UPS Hub • TONI MATICEVSKI
Toni Maticevski is an Australian Designer making his New York debut. Another undersubscribed show, with a "come on in and fill the seats" welcome. It's too bad people are so quick to skip a newcomer, because Maticevski is worth keeping an eye on. His draped silk dresses had a graceful flow, and balanced volume with lightness. A gown of shreddded bias silk strips was a standout. Each look was accessorized with pearl jewelry, as South Sea Pearls was one of the sponsors, and paired with chunky platform shoes trimmed with fur. As if chunky feet are not enough, they have to be hairy, too. Well, every newcomer has his missteps.
Music: Eclectic. Lauryn Hill, Rufus Wainwright
Swag: Redken hairspray, a cord necklace with a pearl, that someone snatched away from my seat. Classy.
Here was when hunky UPS deliverymen passed out brownies in the lobby. Seriously.
1 PM The Atelier • MARC BOUWER
1:35, still no show and it's hot. Anna Wintour would have walked out by now, but she's not here. 1:40, show begins. Finally color! Marc Bouwer is known for his high-glam eveningwear and he did not disappoint this season. This time he mixed in equally glamorous swimwear with a Norma Kamali, uh..."inspiration". His show came in three acts. The first started with black and white graphic prints. The second, with snake and leopard prints in glossy fabrics. The third with blown up florals in intense jewel tones. Bouwer can go overboard with the glamor draping, but his best looks are the cleanest ones. A coral pink gown covered in sequins and another in shirred black pailletted jersey were knockouts. Bouwer's gowns are made for women with a shape proved by the few models who actually had breasts. We were told Larry King was to be at the show, as if that's some sort of draw. We did spot Ivana Trump, and indie film queen Illeana Douglas in an orange jersey Bouwer dress. We knew it was borrowed because she had her own jeans in a bag.
Music: Pumping House
Swag: None we saw
2 PM The Promenade CIA.MAR´ITIMA
Much was made of supermodel Karolina Kurkova's appearance in Brazilian designer Benny Rosset's New York debut. And appear she did in the Cia.Marítima swimwear show accompanied by a team of shapely sunkissed Brazilian models. The clothes? Tiny. Who cares? The Shophound defies anyone of any persuasion not to be entertained by a parade like this. Many will be comforted to know that even hot swimsuit models have cellulite. Unfortunately gift bags were only placed in the first two rows. We were assigned to the sixth, so we moved. We're not stupid.
Music: Brazilian pop
Swag: The Best! Gold & Black special edition Havaianas flip flops. Redken hair conditioner and an actual 2-piece bikini bathing suit, size Medium. Brazilian Medium.
3 PM The Tent • GOTTEX
This was where our camera batteries ran out. Another swimwear show, but so different. Gottex celebrated their 50th anniversary with a show in the big tent. The label may be known as a more conservative brand compared to the Brazilians, but Designer Gideon Oberson takes more of a couture approach, and the results in this whopping 71 piece show were often stunning. While the stylist occasionally went overboard with theatrical hats, The suits in the show were impressively designed, with delicate embroidery, intricate sheer insets, and a group of gold lace suits fit for the ultimate Bond Girl. The finale, a bride in a white crystal beaded one-piece. Once again, curvy models who walked like a dream, especially voluptuous glamazon Valentina, plus-size by any other show's standards, here, a pin-up glamor-girl.
Music: Eclectic, Latin House, Madonna's "I Love New York", Opera.
Swag: Redken Shampoo, An Assouline book on Gottex, Fashion Mist with Yuzu Fruit by Befine food skin care. We're a little afraid of that one.
6 PM The Atelier • DUCKIE BROWN
"I think we can find room for you" Thank you Duckie Brown PR person who kindly whisked us in before the standing crowd descended. We were excited to see a show from this up and coming design team. Their witty previous collections suggested an entertaining moment, but leave it to a young collection to throw an experimental curve. This show was split into two parts. First was "Higher Duckie", a group of black, gray and white layered tailored pieces, then "Duckie Brown", sportier knits and khakis. The silhouette was loose and oversized. The pants were huge, and layers of long T-shirts and tanks over long baggy dark shorts evoked...we can barely think about it..Kevin Federline?! Sweet Heaven, we hope this is just a coincidence! The ramifications are inconceiveable. The models were young young young, and skinny.
Music: Hip Hop
Swag: Biotherm shaving cream, American Crew Tea Tree Body Wash, shampoo, conditioner, pomade and defining paste.
The UPS men are back. So are the Brownies. We have sampled some Brawls Guaranex High Caffeine Guarana Soda. We may be needing this in the coming week.
7 PM The Promenade • NICOLE MILLER
Another commercial powerhouse. Nicole Miller focused on an 80's silhouette of blouson top and short, narrow skirts with some poufy empire dresses that should not be attempted by amateurs. Many dresses had sashes the old-timers used to call 'fanny wraps'. No waist cinching belts here. Earth tones in shiny fabrics, some metallicized, dominated the show which built to a finale of Moroccan inspired gowns. The model lineup included the top European names, Doutzen, Emina, Polina etc. The crowd was a little offbeat for the tents, and we kept wondering what some of them were doing there. They weren't retailers, and they didn't seem like press. Mainly they were in our way. By the end of this show we were just exhausted.
Music: Girly Rock & Roll
Swag: see John Bartlett
And here's a bit of the scene:
She came dressed to attend a fashion show. He came dressed to perform in The Greatest Show On Earth.
And now....The Clunky Shoe Report:
The yellow ones actually looked cute with the dress. The rest, ugh.
So pretty, until you get to the feet. What a way to ruin things. Then there's these Louboutin ankle boots which are gorgeous but not with the cocktail dress their wearer chose to sport in the middle of the morning. She is way too short for the proportion, but try to tell her that.
And so Shophounders, Day 1 is over. Stay tuned. There's 7 more to come.