New York Fall 2008 Fashion Week
(photo by Isabelle Erb)
I did a double take immediately upon spotting Polly Mellen in the front row at the Douglas Hannant noon time fashion show on Friday (held at the Millennium Hotel’s Hudson Theatre). What was particularly coincidental, was that I had just been thinking about the iconic and influential fashion icon just recently, noting that I had not seen her at the New York fashion shows for quite some time. The ageless and tireless Vogue legend/stylist, who later found her place at Allure, was an enduring front row fixture and living proof that age is truly a state of mind.
From the signature shock of silvery hair, to the chic, rigorous, and unapologetically severe turnout, Ms. Mellen looked trim, fit, and fabulous. Her form fitting silver and black jacket (which was molded to her body like a fencer’s jacket) not only offset her trademark hair color, but mimicked the color story of Douglas’s collection (which could be boiled down to various shades of gray from silver to charcoal, black, white, touches of chartreuse, teal, and burgundy). As it turns out, this was hardly a coincidence; since Ms. Mellen actually styled the collection and was credited as such in the show program (“A special thanks to Polly Mellen”).
While the simpler items (fared better than those that were a bit over designed, undoubtedly, Polly Mellen’s expertise was not wasted, since the 38 piece collection was one of Douglas’s best efforts to date. Worth noting is the lean ivory wool crepe chemise with banding, a tailored three piece Prince of Wales pantsuit, a duo of white silk organza blouses paired with skinny black silk/cotton pants, the chartreuse crepe back satin draped gown and knee length blouson dress, a black lattice embroidered coatdress, and the black silk tulle veiled over satin gown with silver embroidered neckline.
Talk about life imitating art…or life imitating fashion. Not only was the Sky Room of The New Museum a perfect venue to present Yeohlee’s rigorously pared down, minimalist vision, (which was inspired by the “spiritual values of the Shakers” and completely devoid of any unnecessary embellishment), but the dreary, wet weather outside made the cozy, comfy pieces (many of which were quilted and had the feeling of wearable ‘tea cozies’) even more appealing. Like all of Yeohlee’s architectural collections, fall 2008 relies on the applied rules of geometry, the economical use of high performance materials, and the seemingly effortless ability to meld the functional, practical, and comfortable. In short, perfect clothes for the global “Urban Nomad” who is constantly on the move.
The models were a unified vision sporting neat straight pony tails, lean black jersey undercovers (leggings and long sleeved turtlenecks), and flat black ankle length boots with a modified pointy toe (which were made for Yeohlee by Manolo Blahnik). The dark color palette relied on black, navy, plum (the latter two were so dark they appeared to be black), brown, olive, and charcoal. The emphasis this time (an evolution of past seasons) was on hemline interest and the play of texture. As always, the outerwear was truly exceptional, and my personal favorites include the belted midcalf navy quilted bonnet capelet coat, the charcoal felt mantis coat, and the black mohair and alpaca coat with black oil arcs.
Red Dress Collection
Lisa Rinna (All photos Isabelle Erb)
The Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection 2008 Fashion Show was held in the tent on Friday morning. The red dress is the symbol of the national campaign to make women aware of the dangers of heart disease and to encourage them to take action to protect their heart health.
The ever popular show was introduced by First Lady Laura Bush and as always featured celebrity models wearing fashions by some of America’s top designers. This year’s participants included:
Lisa Rinna for Michael Kors; Ashanti for Tracy Reese
Maria Menounos for Marchesa; Cheryl Hines for Catherine Malandrino
Molly Sims for Daniel Swarovski; Jenna Fischer for Carmen Marc Valvo
Sara Ramiraz for Angel Sanchez; Anna Ortiz for Badgley Mischka
Liza Minnelli for Halston; Original Hiedi Klum for Marc Jacobs
Mary Lynn Rajskub for Monique Lhuillier; Joss Stone for Max Azria Atelier
Rita Moreno for Lilly Samii; Allison Janney for Donna Karen
Camryn Manheim for Ali Rahimi
Highlights of the collection included Lisa Rinna shaking and shimmying her way down the runway in her Michael Kors flapper style dress, and Rita Moreno dancing and strutting to the song “America” from her classic film “West Side Story”. The show’s finale featured Liza Minelli performing a rousing rendition of “New York, New York” which brought the delighted audience to its feet.
(photo by Isabelle Erb)
Perry Ellis’ menswear looks for Fall 2008 included looks that were both traditional and somewhat out of the ordinary. There were classically tailored jackets, vests, and trench coats paired with bold graphic print shirts and sweaters, and basic topcoats were modernized with large windowpane checks.
The collection featured a hunting theme that was underscored by the richly textured woolens and heavy sweaters and even the occasional knee length hunting shirt. The effect was completed by designer John Crocco’s use of deep forest greens, burgundies, and chocolate browns.
BCBG Max Azria
Yesterday at Bryant Park, BCBG MaxAzria surprised many by showing a very elegant and restrained display for its 2008 Fall Collection. What a treat it was seating on front row and watching the models walk by!
I did look again at the program: yes, it was BCBG MAx Azria and it was beautiful. I happen to not only love fashion, I wear fashion, and do not hesitate to pay full price for what I like. These past seasons I had been turned off by what BCBG Max Azria had to offer: it looked trashy to me, no less. Too much of everything and too little class. I didn't even make it to the sales when I got that worthy little card in the mail. All my BCBG Max Azria clothes were under plastic... and not coming out.
One can guess I have changed my mind upon viewing the collection yesterday afternoon. No doubt it was Max Azria designing, yet, it was different in the sense that it finally honored women for who they really are, and that is women who live, work, raise kids etc.... Women like me. Not some bimbo who moves around only in limo and can afford looking like trash because no matter what, she is rich and famous or wants to pretend she is.
Mademoiselle Chanel was honored with two dresses sporting her name: I loved the detail of the off white dress... a rosace stitched with the hem made out of a zipper half. A great detail that also links so well with the urban attitude long sported by Max Azria in his designs throughout the years. The other dress was a dream of teal silk satin that I noticed many loved as well.
My vote goes for the two sleeveless coats sported on the runway. I want one! The hems are what makes them and the tailoring is so flattering, women should try them out. The same stitched hem was repeated in every coat and jacket, bringing a most desirable edge to something that is usually only practical. A big fan of bodysuits and leggings myself (during the winter) I can see myself wearing just one coat like that.
Although the gimmick of turning up hems to give the designs more edge for the runway shows is not my cup of tea and distracted me more than anything else, I must give praise and a lot of bravos to Max Azria for a very consistent and beautifully designed collection. The colors were all beautiful and practical to wear. Nothing cumbersome or impossible to "recreate" in real life. The blouses with the half pleated pieces in the front were absolutely gorgeous AND wearable.
It is not always easy to pull out that kind of beautiful-gone- practical "magicaltrick". Doing so is a way to show respect for the real women who breathe and live out there, outside of the fashion world. The woman on the street deserves that respect.
As for the rest of the collection, Siri displayed a beautiful pleated work, Bruna (a midnight and grey silk crepe and jersey dress) was a fairy tale come to reality. Suvi, the model dress closing the showsported a beautiful back decollete. I truly liked just about everything,
This article would be incomplete without the mention of how beautiful all the shoes were as well. I know I will get at least one pair. The height, the designs, the colors ... nothing was not an eye pleaser. I am "sold".
All in all, the collection was a pleasure to watch and once again, kudos are given to Max Azria to make it seem possible to wear most of its designs in real life and not some imaginary life. I applauded and said "Bravo!" many times to him at the end. He deserves it. Thank you again for bringing BCBG Max Azria back to where it once stood: beautiful and wearable Italian fashion.
- Muriel Geny Triffaut