Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Editorial: Fatigue Hits Fashion Week

Marc Jacobs
(All photos Style.com)

While this fashion week was exciting, and well-attended, the dominant players showed a lot of the same themes and designs, disappointing the press and public alike. Even Marc Jacobs, who usually stirs things up, debuted a camouflage collection which covered little new ground. The key trendsetters such as Jacobs, Schouler, Wu, Lim, Wang and Altuzarra stuck to their usual attire with little innovation. The sheer, floral, camouflage, black & white and fancy sportswear trends have been repeated tirelessly over the past couple of years. It is baffling that despite all the new technology and innovation in fashion, designers are choosing to stay routed in tradition - and in essence boredom. This field which should epitomize creativity and innovation has become mired in static and inertia. Lady Gaga's masks and plastic coverings have been replaced with sheer, boob-showing garments, with the net effect being a reversion to an objectification of the female anatomy without the fashion breakthroughs the public anxiously awaits.

Jason Wu

After viewing more than 30 shows in person, and reviewing others on-line, my overall impression was: so what? Moreover, some of the displays were downright morose; Jacob's collection which featured army like attire with angry looking models was an ode to military upheaval if I ever saw one. Have the global crises in Russia, Syria and Iraq influenced the dismal state of fashion this season, or have designers run out of new ideas reverting back to the status quo? It is hard to tell, but a cursory review of the spring 2015 shows indicates that fashion is in a state of purgatory and needs a rapid rejuvenation.

Ralph Lauren

Paradigmatic of this depressing shift, was the Jason Wu show which opened fashion week with a huge yawn. Wu who can usually be relied upon to wow us with brilliant fabrics and lush colors, opted for fatigue green, white, black and navy. Gone were the ruby reds and wondrous whites of his prior collections- despite this being a spring display. The last two gowns in red and black exhibited plenty of skin but very little design and beauty. The models appeared dour and inconvenienced and even Wu closed with a frown. Similarly, Ralph Lauren who usually astonishes with his lush, classic collection showed dresses, pants, skirts and gowns in mossgreen, conjuring up the battlefields of Normandy. It is difficult to comprehend why he dragged people to Central Park to view this drab, predictable collection.


Plaudits to Altuzarra for experimenting with gingham dresses and floral gowns, and to Gurung for his asymmetrically draped sweaters and mountain climber aesthetics; however, these looks were not as fashion forward as past collections. Alexander Wang who began his show with the ubiquitous black and white combo and then progressed to neon lime, electric blue and light grey was edgy and cool. Wang has the sportswear acting as both daywear and evening wear look down to a science. However, this is old news; Adidas becoming high end couture is so last year Chanel's runway.

3.1 Phillip Lim

Phillip Lim's robe-tied tops and tunics in drab colors reminded me of the old "Karate Kid" apparel and should be saved for an afternoon of lounging at the Canyon Ranch spa, and not for a formal affair. The models in the Lim show had their hair pulled back with little makeup, a frequent trend on the runway this season and one which makes me long for the big hair and glamour of an 80's Versace show. Where has splendor and embellishment gone? Thank the fashion gods for some great evening wear collections by Naeem Khan, Marchesa and Dennis Basso who make excess accessible to those who can afford it. However, even Oscar de la Renta showed a tame- I have been there one thousand times before collection, using the omnipresent Karlie Kloss to close his show in a floral mint green dress. This is almost as predictable as Oscar's George Hamilton tan.


The conclusion of fashion week at the Park Avenue Armory, a fitting venue, had Marc Jacobs presenting bare faced models in military garb and black wigs. This show summarized the collections of the past week- gloomy in appearance and short on fashion milestones. The headline story at the Jacobs show was the headphones distributed to those deemed worthy, with little attention heeded to the garments. Gimmicks that add excitement to the apparel should be embraced; however, when they are extrinsic to the clothing, they become unnecessary distractions. What happened to the days when Jacobs sent the press into a tizzy with his "grunge collection"? The dearth of talked about shows this season is surprising when taking into account the rebounding economy and flourishing fashion houses. Have designers come down with "fashion fatigue syndrome"? With the advent of laser technology and 3D printing it seems that a whole new wave of fashion innovation is on the horizon.

 Perhaps, when there is a change in our military fortunes, levity will enter the fashion lexicon, and designers will surprise in unprecedented ways?

- Lieba Nesis

"The Daily Bet" by Rhonda Erb

Amy Fine Design Rubber & Crystal Bangle

This bracelet is an eye-catching mix of edgy and sophisticated. The thick rubber bangle is adorned with crystal, available in three gem tones and two metal colors. Wear it alone, in multiples or mix and match it with other bracelets for a look that can be either dressy or casual.

Available at: http://www.amyfinedesign.com/catalog/bracelets $60.00

The Admiral Watch by Vince Camuto

This watch is a classic, with a twist. The rose gold band is easily adjusted for a perfect fit and the blue stainless steel dial gives a pop of color.

Available at: http://www.vincecamuto.com/the-admiral-watch/ $174.99

Monday, September 15, 2014

In the Market Report

‘Shirting’ the Issue

Bill Cunningham's September 14 The New York Times Style Section
"On the Street" Column featuring shirts
(Click images for larger views)

I have been covering fashion for decades, and it’s fair to say I’ve seen my share of designs and fashion shows. But it never ceases to amaze me how it’s often the simplest of things, that are ultimately, the best and most satisfying. (On second thought, that really does not come as any surprise at all). Case in point: the ‘humble’ cotton button down shirt. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. They are easy to wear, effortlessly cool, flattering on everyone (regardless of age or size), and versatile. You can primly button them up or keep them seductively unbuttoned to reveal a bit of lace lingerie or skin. You can tuck them in, leave the shirttails out (do a little of both), or tie at the midriff. You can keep the sleeves down, with the cuffs open and loose, or roll (or push) them up. They can be worn as simply, minimally and straightforward as possible, or used as a foil for great accessories. They are fabulous under an impeccably tailored jacket, but can easily stand alone. They can be edgy or classic, casual or formal, are completely season less, and unisex (you can borrow them from your husband or significant other, and visa versa LOL).

Guest leaving Ralph Lauren proves the ageless appeal
of a crisp button down shirt

Because I love to add that boy meets girl, tomboy element to my dress, my cache of crisp cotton button down shirts have always formed an important part of my wardrobe.  They are what got me through the sticky months of summer (where they substituted for a lightweight jacket), and most recently, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. And I was not alone. It was hard not to notice that the shirt (whether printed or plaid, in menswear ticking stripes, blue oxford cloth, faded or dark denim, or white), was the common denominator in the uniform like ensembles worn by many of the best dressed show attendees. (That, and all manner of athletic footwear and sneakers, which is a another story and yes, a big one).

Keeper Chambray shirt

And naturally, this did not escape the always observant Bill Cunningham, who literally sees it all. As it turns out, days before his “On the Street” (“On their Sleeves”) column that appeared on Sunday, (which was all about shirt dressing in all its forms, as captured during Fashion Week), I began writing a blog about the great white shirt, my hands down favorite. FYI, coincidentally, I was included in his pictorial, wearing my trusty J.Crew chambray shirt - see red marked image in column ($78, www.jcrew.com) - the same one worn by J.Crew’s creative director Jenna Lyons, who was also pictured. (They don’t call it the Keeper Chambray Shirt for nothing, and it’s wisely available year round).

Michael Kors white shirt with exaggerated cuff and black skirt
(photo Style.com)

In any event, there are certain things that cannot be improved upon from my point of view, such as the combination of a crisp white shirt and a black skirt or pant (regardless of the length, shape, or silhouette either takes). Many women simply overlook this as an option but really, you cannot go wrong (its fail proof), and it’s dramatic simplicity will undoubtedly always stand out in a room filled with women in their fancy printed frocks, tweed skirt suits, pantsuits, little black dresses, embroidered gowns, etc. Which explains why, when the white shirt with exaggerated cuffs and black ballet length skirt came out at Michael Kors (it was the second from last outfit out on the runway, in a collection that featured a variety of elements, including floral prints and classic Breton stripes ), I really took note.

Ralph Rucci in his white shirt and black pants
(photo Style.com)

In fact, this combination can be considered the perfect non fashion victim ‘uniform’, which is why many designers have adopted it themselves. Marc Jacobs, who endorsed uniforms for his spring 2015 show, took his bow in a white shirt, black pants, and white sneakers (rather than a multi pocketed army green fatigue jacket, like the ones he proposed); Carolina Herrera, opted for her signature crisp white shirt and knee length black skirt at the end of her flower inspired collection; and Ralph Rucci looked cool as a cucumber in his perfect white shirt and perfectly tailored black trousers, after his wonderful showroom presentation.

- Marilyn Kirschner

Sunday, September 14, 2014

New York Fashion Week Wrap Up

On and Off the Runway


Photo: Isabelle Erb

There were flowers everywhere when Designer, Monsieur Christian Lacroix’s  “Happy Casual” Spring/Summer 2015 collection for Desigual was presented at the Theatre at Lincoln Center. The looks were inspired by nature’s flora and fauna, and the lively group of models, including, Brazilian supermodel Adrianna Lima, were clad in brightly hued clothing covered with daisies in bloom, desert roses, tropical hibiscus and Mexican dahlias. A good time was had by all in attendance, including Sin City 2 star Rosario Dawson and Orange is the New Black’s Laura Gomez.

Project Runway

Photo: Isabelle Erb

Tim Gunn bravely faced the ice bucket challenge at the hands of Heidi Klum at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week during the taping of the finale of Project Runway’s 13th season.  The show’s finalists presented their lines for Klum and fellow judges Nina Garcia and Zac Posen as well as guest judge, Shameless star Emmy Rossum.

Malan Breton

Photo: Isabelle Erb

Guests at Taiwanese born designer, Malan Breton’s Spring 2015 fashion show at The Salon at Lincoln Center were taken on “A Journey to Taiwan: the Heart of Asia.” What just may have been the most elaborate show of the season opened with a performance by four traditional Taiwanese dancers. They were immediately followed by musicians who took their places at instruments positioned down the center of the runway. Finally the models emerged, revealing Breton’s collection of men’s and women’s wear, a tribute to the designer’s native country, combining his signature fabrics with fabrics indigenous to Taiwan.

Trina Turk

Photo: Isabelle Erb

At the Lincoln Center presentation of Trina Turk’s Pop Art Flower Mart collection for Spring 2015, the mood of the models was as upbeat as the clothes that they were wearing, as girls in colorful rompers, jumpsuits and dresses (long and short) posed playfully with guys in equally vibrant board shorts and shirts. Turk was inspired by the abundance of geometric prints and florals spotted on a stroll through downtown LA.

Carmen Marc Valvo

Photo: Isabelle Erb

To celebrate his 25th year in business, Carmen Marc Valvo’s collection of women’s wear was as elegant and polished as one might expect, highlighted by flowing gowns of silk organza. However, this season Valvo allowed his “ladies” to invite their “special beaus “ to debut his first menswear collection. Not surprisingly, the designer’s male models wore looks that were as strikingly elegant as their female counterparts

The Art Hearts Fashion Show

Photo: Isabelle Erb

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week closed with a charitable fashion show in support of Aids research.  Over a thousand guests filled the Theatre at Lincoln Center for The Art Hearts Fashion Show to see the collections of eight designers, including Michael Costello’s exotic MT Costello line, which featured a dramatic runway presentation.

Diana Vreeland Parfums Collection

Alexander Vreeland, grandson of the legendary fashion icon Diana Vreeland, describes his grandmother as living in a “scented world.” She included fragrance in every aspect of her life, even pumping it through the air vents of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when she was the special consultant there. How fitting that he would pay tribute to her legacy with the creation of this collection of parfums, which made its debut at Bergdorf Goodman during Fashion Week. Each scent is as distinctive as Ms. Vreeland herself, with names to match: Perfectly Marvelous, Simply Divine, Absolutely Vital, Extravagance Russe, and Outrageously Vibrant; allowing the wearer to channel the essence of Ms. Vreeland’s unique style.

- Rhonda Erb

Visit the new Better Bets: http://betterbetsny.tumblr.com/

Fashion Week Kool-Aid

Maybe I'm not as young as I was six months ago (LOL) but I need to take a breather from the fast-paced life of fashion in the big city. I honestly don't have any idea how fashion editors go on to London, Paris, Milan, rehab...oh wait, that's not an "official" part of the fashion circuit...Here's a rundown of some of the more notable things I observed, experienced, heard about, slept through, maybe even tasted, plus some "food for thought" from in and around the circus which is NYFW.

First of all, "Fashion Week" is different from all other 50 weeks (it's twice a year) on the calendar because instead of seeking info on fashion, as is my M.O. all the other days of the year, I find myself actually trying to screen out some of the "noise." Living and breathing fashion virtually around the clock, while great for a day or so, eventually becomes like subsisting on junk food and candy for every meal. Too much is wonderful, until it's not...if you know what I mean and binge watching fashion shows can leave you feeling every bit as sick as indulging in your favorite edible "guilty pleasure."

Of the approximately 20 shows that I viewed, I came up with this puzzler: What really constitutes a good fashion show? Is it the clothing; the entertainment value/showmanship; the music; the energy; the celeb factor in the audience; the advance hype; the fact that it started more or less on time? What about the novelty of not doing a traditional show at all but instead showing a one-act play (Opening Ceremony, however they had me at the chocolate walls last Fashion Week) or a water spectacle in Central Park (Polo Ralph Lauren) or some sort of interactive audio visual event I'm still not clear on what that was at Gareth Pugh)? I did not attend any of the non-traditional shows (my invite got lost in the spam filter, wink wink) but judging from the reviews, I would say that the more traditional runway shows seem to be the best for actually seeing the clothing, however maybe not for the buzz and the "hip" factor.

Despite that caveat, I had an amazing time this past week and it is difficult to hit just a few of the highlights but I'll try. From a limited pool of shows I attended I'd like to present the "First Annual Fashion Kool-Aid Awards" to the following:

"Best" In Show-- Carolina Herrera. This show had "everything" to quote SNL's Stefon. High-end exclusive designer, visually interesting set design (the large green obelisks on the runway reminded me of Christmas trees and I thought perhaps the models would come out and decorate them as they walked by) , exquisitely made clothing with a well thought out concept, top editors/ retailers/ important fashion people in attendance, decent non-blaring, non-snooze inducing music (although now I can't remember it), coolness, if a bit "old guard" factor, plus I scored a seat in the fifth row and got excellent photos. Like I said, all around "best."The New York Times was also impressed on the effort. Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/fashion/

Runner Up -- Angel Sanchez . Not sure why exactly but I just liked the show... the clothes and the vibe were gelling. For some reason, I like the designer. "An-hel" looks like a "hella" nice guy and I own one of his dresses.

Show To Attend If You're Planning To Be On A Yacht In St. Tropez-- Georgine. Lots of uber-fancy swim wear and luxe cover-ups including fur. What the well dressed "rich bitch" in Ibiza would wear. This show led me to the observation that models are thin but not necessarily toned and some have less than perfect derrieres. A guy next to me coined this phrase: "Under-butt is the new side boob" which made it hilarious. There's hope for us "regular" women yet!

Most Subversive-- Skingraft. They make amazing leather clothing which I had to have after their last showing at FW. Interesting crowd that one might not normally see at a fashion show (More likely at a bowling alley to quote "Arthur"). Whoopi Goldberg and an entourage of Jerzey Dean, Stacy London (formerly of "What Not To Wear") 2 Chainz Skrillex, and Ally Hilfiger (does her father know the company she keeps? LOL) were in attendance. This was the place to see multiple tatoos/piercings if you don't want to go to a biker bar. I also spied the "Best Sweatshirt" on an attendee at that show. The wearer sported a pink neon V. Stiviano type visor and across his chest his shirt read "Go F#@*K Your Selfie." He sat near the Whoopi crowd so I believe they were acquainted. Oops, wait! It was Perez Hilton! Should have figured.

Best 25th Anniversary Shows--Badgley Mischka had silver balloons drop out of the ceiling and Naomi Campbell who was their first runway model ever appeared with a cake, while Zang Toi had a cake spontaneously presented to him by pit photographer Richard Renda making for a particularly awkward moment.

Best Music-- Zang Toi's theme of The American Dream (he came to this country from Malaysia) made for some great toe-tapping, head bobbing rythyms including Lenny Kravitz' "American Woman" and Neil Diamond's "Coming to America." This show also wins the coveted "Most Real Housewives" award.

Show That I Was Most Excited For-- Project Runway, of course. It's Season 13's finale which won't be aired on TV for several more episodes so it was cool to see the remaining designers, although not the final designers. They send decoys down the runway so as not to give away who's actually in the show's finale before the episode where they select the finalists airs. I liked Korina Emmerich's collection (she's from Brooklyn and is the manager at Roundabout designer consignment clothing) but naturally, I would because it was all done in colorful leather. One poor model inadvertently held up the entire works as one designer (Alexander) saddled her with a skirt so narrow that she could only take baby steps; everyone else left her in the dust and she was the last one out there for an eternity it seemed. Surprise twist to the show: Tim Gunn took Heidi Klum's ALS ice bucket challenge on stage after the show and I feel sorry for him and his suit! He was a good sport; Heidi threw enough ice and ice water on him to fill a bathtub! Hope PR buys him a new suit...

Weirdest and Most NSFW Show-- Dorin Negrau. You've maybe heard of  vampire facials from Kimmy K. but who knew there were vampire fashion shows! This one was inspired by Dracula according to hits Romanian born creator. It's also the only show that I saw that featured completely bare breasts with some kind of a corset/belt underboob thing going on.  It started with the most ungodly music, like a funeral dirge but with an ear-splitting bass beat...one guy in the audience joked that he had the tune on his iPod. Then the model came out with a string web over her face and either she or the sound track howled! The models were made up to look like the Day of The Dead with crosshatched red lip liner instead of lipstick, the clothes (or should I say costumes) were bizarre, styled bizarrely and the show went on forever! I dare you to watch the whole thing... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaqAZWfn5PU

Best Show That Included A Sighting of Karlito--Taoray Wang  A designer I wasn't familiar with but actually really liked her "Black Swan" theme and her clothing.  The best part was spotting stylist and reality TV star Gregg Asher (one-half of the styling partnership of Tayler and Gregg) on Lifetime's "Million Dollar Shopper." BTW, Gregg is the better dressed half of the duo, usually in heels and a skirt along with a full beard while Tayler is a woman. He was actually dressed down at the show in pearl encrusted pants. Unbelievably, I had read something before FW had even started about seeing "Karlito" (the Fendi Bag-Bug of Karl Lagerfeld's likeness) at the shows. I felt like I had won a scavenger hunt upon spying the furry bag attachment, only to see who it's owner was. I just had to ask him if the show was ever coming back (it's been off the air for about a year now). "It is, in February," was Gregg's less than chatty answer. If you're a fan of the show where personal shoppers are pitted against each other as they vie to please their picky and rich clients, now you know.To see more of Gregg's closet click here

Best Show By A Law School-- Ok, technically it's the only show by a law school but The Fashion Law Institute held a show at Fordham Law (where they're based) that deserves a mention. Designer Carrie Hammer, an alumna of the Fashion Law Bootcamp program at FLI along with Professor/Founder of FLI Susan Scafidi presented a runway show which, rather than featuring fashion models, instead featured "role models." These included fashion lawyer, journalist and former fashion model Uduak Oduak, Transgender model and Gender Proud founder Geena Rocero, Change the Ratio Co-Founder Rachel Sklar, Race car driver and TechDrive founder Collete Davis, Intuit brand and innovation leader Karen DeFrias and Quadruple amputee Karen Crespo. See the show here:  http://vimeo.com/105519984

Best Fashion Week Parties -- You'd have to ask someone who can stay up that late! Briefly visited Paper Magazine's 30th Anniversary Party but since I am neither a club kid, a tranny nor a drag queen (also wasn't prepared for Halloween), I felt a little out of place and didn't stay long.    

Best Food in the Tent-- The cornbread that comes with the chili.  The chili itself was alright but the cornbread was TDF.

Lastly I attended a panel discussion of industry professionals sponsored by DHL, the official logistics partner of MBFW. The panel included designer Nichole Miller, Jarrad Clark, VP and Global Creative Director at IMG, Karsten Aufgebauer, GM at DHL Express U.S., Gary Wassner, co_CEO of Hilldun, the factoring firm for the fashion industry as well as DHL Exported Program Award winners Nicholas and Christopher Kunz, husband and wife (Nicholas is a woman) designing team of the Nicholas K label. The panel was moderated by Teri Agins, columnist at the Wall Street Journal and author of two books on the fashion industry, the second of which is due out next month entitled "Hijacking the Runway." Suffice it to say, the winning of this award serves to make Nicholas K a global brand, with DHL handling all the logistics for two seasons.

"Digital media can foist you into being a global brand" said Gary Wassner. Nicholas K had a bad experience with another logistics company, previously which made them enter the contest. "Your brand is only as good as its partners, and not every partner is great for your brand" said Christopher Kunz. "We almost lost $25,000 in expensive skins but ended up just getting charged for double shipment there and back and considered ourselves lucky." he said. With DHL on board they now plan to expand their business to Milan. It was pointed out that fashion is one of the most sustainable industries in the world as every day everyone gets dressed.

And with that thought in mind, I'm gonna go put on my sweats, curl up on the couch with the pile of newspapers that I had no time to read and try to find out what I missed in the world this week.

- Laurel Marcus

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dance & Fashion Exhibit at Museum at FIT

Valentino, woman's costume for Bal de Couture, Fall 2012, NYC Ballet;
Costume by Iris Van Herpen for Neverwhere, NYC Ballet 2013,Christian Dior,
 Black Swan dress 1949

All photos Laurel Marcus
(click on images for full size views)

There has long been a symbiotic relationship between dance and fashion whereby each influence the other. If you have any doubt just think of the opening credits of "Sex and the City" where Sarah Jessica Parker is shown wearing a pink tutu as a NY city bus drives by and splashes her. If a designer's goal is to witness his creations on a graceful moving human form, then there is perhaps no better client than a dancer. Similarly, many designers have taken inspiration from the world of dance particularly ballet and many have actually designed ballet costumes. Since dance is also a visual art, costume plays an important role for the dancer.

Last night, I attended the opening cocktail party for the Museum  at FIT's "Dance & Fashion," a stunning exploration of the relationship between these two embodied art forms.  The exhibit which will be on display until January 3, 2015, was organized by Dr. Valerie Steele and is set in a dramatic Mise-en-scene created by architect Kim Ackert. The exhibit features nearly 100 dance costumes, as well as dance-inspired fashions , ranging from the 19th century to the present, many of which have not been exhibited until now.

The exhibit opens with a display of ballet costumes and related fashions circa 1830s and 40s; the era of the Romantic ballet. There are costumes that were worn by the great ballerina Fanny Elssler accompanied by fashions of the period. Here you can trace the evolution of classic ballet costumes as it features the works of Christian Berard for Symphonie Fantastique and Mme. Karinska for Ballet Imperial. The continuing appeal of the Romantic ballet can also be witnessed in a costume from Creole Giselle for the Dance Theatre of Harlem. In 1949, Christian Dior's "Black Swan" ball gown was a direct example of ballet's influence on fashion design.   Marc Happel, costume director of New York City Ballet claims that his costumes for Symphony in C were in turn, inspired by Dior and Balenciaga.

Just before you enter the exhibit gallery there are photographs and a video by dance and fashion photographer Anne Deniau also known as Ann Ray, in collaboration with performers from the Paris Opera Ballet. A multi-author book, published by Yale University Press, accompanies the exhibition.  And, in case you want to learn more, a two-day symposium (October 23-24) which will be free and open to the public will further explore the topic of dance and fashion.

Jean Shafiroff

The period from 1909-29 known as the Ballets Russes with its orientalism has influenced and inspired several generations of fashion designers from Paul Poiret to Yves Saint Laurent who also designed costumes for the Paris Opera Ballet. An example is a costume from Scheherazade, 1910, by the artist Leon Bakst, the centerpiece in a display featuring a couture ensemble from YSL's 1976 Ballet Russes collection as well as an Emanuel Ungaro design worn by Princess Caroline of Monaco. This section also features costumes worn by Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov as well as pointe shoes. Many current designer's ballet costumes are there including Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy for the Paris Opera Ballet along with Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino Garavani, Prabal Gurung, Gilles Mendel, Olivier Theyskens, Rodarte and Iris Van Herpen for New York City Ballet.

Eleonora Kennedy, Valerie Steele, Anna Safir

The modern dance section features many from the Martha Graham Dance Company, some worn by Graham herself and some are a collaboration between Halston and Graham.  A costume from Katherine Dunham, one from Jose Limon's "The Moor's Pavane" and one from Alvin AIley's "Revelations" are featured here. Fashion designers in this section include Narciso Rodriguez for Morphoses, Francisco Costa for Elisa Monte and Tara Subkoff for Stephen Petronio. Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons has a featured costume for Merce Cunningham's "Scenario" as well as the CDG "bump" dress which was the costume's inspiration.

flamenco designer dresses

The section of flamenco and flamenco-inspired dresses was one of the most inspiring featuring a group of flame red dresses by Balenciaga, Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Lauren.  Elsa Schiaparelli and Jeanne Paquin also have dresses appearing in this section.

Marilyn Kirschner & Chiu-Ti Jansen

During the cocktail party there was a performance by Team Vicious, a step dance troupe which livened up an already interesting evening.   Guests included nine time Tony Award winner Tommy Tune, Yaz Hernandez, Maggie Norris, Jean Shafiroff and a puppet named Lola. Many attendees wore something dance inspired ranging from Ms. Shafiroff's Oscar de la Renta tulle and applique covered ball gown or Chiu-Ti Jansen's vibrantly colored flamenco inspired gown.

"Feathered woman":  Joy Marks with Nicole DiCocco

Many guests took their sartorial cues from the dance theme which lent to feathers, full skirts, tulle while others played it safer in classic cocktail attire.  I spied a pair of ballerina inspired stilettos that incorporated lattice work up the leg reminiscent of a lace up toe shoe.  One night after the conclusion of Fashion Week it would seem that fashionable New Yorkers never tire of the "dance" of dressing up and going out.

- Laurel Marcus