Saturday, October 03, 2015

New York Fashion Cool-Aid™

Madame Paulette Takes Adrian Alicea to the Cleaners

Adrian Alicea & John Mahdessian
All photos Laurel Marcus

Having lived at the periphery of the fashion business for the past several decades first as a model, then a dancer, as half of a design partnership and now on his own, Adrian Alicea shows no signs of giving up. I met him and saw some of his creations at a cocktail party last night given in his honor for his latest Adrian Alicea Haute Couture collection at high-end dry cleaner Madame Paulette. Alicea says that he's seen some of the great ones start out and eventually pass him by including Marc Jacobs. "He used to tell me he was going to be a big designer one day so I say good for him!" said the tall, tattooed and devil horn-capped Alicea.

The scene

Along the way of the path or trajectory that his career has taken, Alicea met and modeled for designers including Thierry Mugler, Giorgio Armani, and Jean Paul Gautier. He came to know and idolize Vivienne Westwood after being cast by Malcolm McLaren for "the world's first international vogue music video" where he danced alongside Grace Jones. Embodying his current incarnation as some sort of nouveau pirate he also let drop that he had worked with photographer Steven Meisel who shot Linda Evangelista in a spiked wrestling helmet of his and former design partner Nico Urquiza's creation for the cover of Italian Vogue.

Adrian Alicea resort collection

His decidedly sexy clothes are often favored by and shown on the transgender or gender fluid community as demonstrated by his most recent Spring/Summer 2016 show at the New Yorker Hotel on September 11. He notes that everything is handmade in his studio/apartment on 129th Street and is inspired by color, dance and his Latino and Taino Indian roots. The party featured a male and a female model who were really "werq-ing" it in several of his flowy creations.

Adrian Alicea collection

Serving as host was John Mahdessian, president of Madame Paulette, who you may be familiar with from the small screen in your living room. He is the boyfriend of Dorinda Medley of RHONY (See New York Post article). I noted that the last time I attended a soiree at Madame Paulette's it was for designer Victor de Souza, which attracted an entirely different crowd due to de Souza's following of socialites including Jean Shafiroff, Joy Marks and Chiu-Ti Jansen.

"Walking the walk"

In attendance tonight were several male models, photographers and various primarily fashion industry friends of the designer. At one point Alicea pointed out a two-page spread of his designs in Rare Fashion Magazine which someone had brought over. Featured were some outerwear pieces adorned with what looked like monkey fur which were quite interesting.

Publicist Lourdes Morales

The dresses on display in the window at Madame Paulette varied from sheer embellished gowns to a fit and flare leather tunic however, my favorite piece was a sample worn by the publicist: a flared vest embellished with striped " butt" bows and feathers.


The unseasonably raw and wet weather may have served as a going-out deterrent judging by the less than packed room,  but it did nothing to dampen the spirit of enthusiasm and pride emanating from the indefatigable Mr. Alicea.

- Laurel Marcus

Friday, October 02, 2015

New York Fashion Cool-Aid

Gold Dust Women

Stella Maxwell, Bella Hadid, Pat McGrath,
Imaan Hammam, right photo

There was gold in them there Jardins des Tuileries, at least for one day. Just ask renowned international makeup artist Pat McGrath who launched her first product known as "Gold 001" during Paris Fashion Week on Wednesday. The gilded cosmetic which made a "sneak tease" appearance on the models of the Prada runway appears to be a highly pigmented sparkling powder which can be used anywhere on the face.

Prada SS2016 gold lips on the runway

McGrath, who was also responsible for the Givenchy "face masks" and the more natural look seen at Dolce & Gabbana's SS2016 show in Milan, introduced the gilt en plein air at the Tuileries in a Vogue InstaMeet by applying it to some famous models, celebs and lucky bystanders faces. One look at Pat's IG confirms that this is a very versatile formula and can be used on brows, on lids, on lips, indeed anywhere on the face that you want to look "precious."

 CoverGirl Droid Gold Star Wars Makeup by Pat McGrath

Interestingly I had previously seen an article in Allure about a beauty researcher trying to achieve pretty much this same effect by using several already on the market gold eyeshadows/liners. (See article) Her inspo was also from Pat McGrath's Droid makeup look featured in the CoverGirl x Star Wars collection which hadn't yet debuted when she took up the pre-September 4th (may the "4th" be with you!) challenge. There is evidence that McGrath has been playing with the idea of gold makeup since for over a decade now. (See article)

It seems likely that the CG gold lipstick still left something to be desired hence the debut of Pat's signature product on Oct. 21. I'm guessing Cover Girl may have asked her to keep her gold fairy dust on the shelf (or at least in the lab) until after their product launched. You can bet your pinkie ring that the price point will skew a lot higher than the $6.99 drugstore version. See:

Kim K as Elizabeth Arden Cleopatra

“Gold 001 is a one-off, revolutionary, highly malleable formula. There is something magnificent about its pure form that leaves me breathless,” McGrath said in a press release. She also used it along with some 3D effects on a photo shoot with Kim K. as a modern-day Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra for Violet Gray

Edible Gold Flakes

Curious about the toxicity of gold ingestion, I Googled and found that, 1) Amazon sells edible gold leaf (and silver, for that matter) available to purchase by the sheet and 2) non-edible gold leaf could contain copper which can be toxic in high doses. No word on what is used in this product but I'm assuming it's been subjected to testing in order to comply. I actually own a few lipsticks of a brand that recently had some bad press over safety of ingredients (Lime Crime); confoundingly one of them is yellow (I know, WWIT!). It also ends up looking more like a white zinc oxide than a gold on the lips which is definitely not what I was going for.

After seeing Pat's product I think I may have to go for the golden ticket, even though I'm a card-carrying cool metal lover and have tried the occasional blue, green and gray/silver lippie. I'm totally loving the idea of a two-tone effect and would continue to rock my silver jewelry for contrast although I'd be game to try it with some of my less blindingly bright gold as well.

Lupita Nyong'o is a Golden Girl on Vogue Cover

Since I mentioned the upcoming Star Wars flick, how about the stunning photo of its star Lupita Nyong'o on this month's Vogue in a warm metallic-hued Valentino Couture dress. She sports a berry lip which is ideal--as I just stated, you definitely don't want to wear a predominately gold look with the gold makeup.


These Gianvito Rossi SS2016 shoes seem to have caught fire with the fashion cognoscenti--they are straight off of Linda Fargo's Instagram and come in a black suede as well as the metallic leather.

Speaking of the Dolce & Gabbana runway: try these gold baroque sunnies on for size. Maybe for weight too as they certainly look heavy.

Greg Lauren Scarf

Greg Lauren's first womenswear collection is for Spring/Summer 2016 and features this amazing coated scarf. He showed a silver leaf version in his fall/winter menswear line.

Jada Pinkett Smith
Photo: Getty Images

Jada Pinkett Smith at Paris Fashion Week attended the Guy Laroche show and seemed to be living by the golden rule as she posed in a black and gold frock.

Guo-Pei MAC

In terms of other makeup, MAC has a Guo-Pei line (the designer of Rihanna's "omelette" memed cape at the Met Gala) which I would have assumed would include golden hues however they seem more like jewel tones and neutrals. We're definitely talking more Marie Antoinette than C-3PO for this one.

Bella Hadid on Balmain Runway

And of course, you can't leave out Balmain at PFW when you're talking about a gold rush. Models Gigi and Bella Hadid both graced the runway in metallic collar necklaces while Bella sported a black dress featuring an oversized gold belt buckle; a Balmain Army signature "shield" necessary to do battle on the catwalk.

As for Pat's little pot of gold magic stardust, it will only be available for a limited time. Here's hoping all who want one find it at the end of their rainbow; leprechaun makeup artist to apply it not included.

- Laurel Marcus