Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fashion Notes: On (and off) Broadway
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Interior view of the Tents - photo Isabelle Erb

Yesterday marked the third day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center and I feel as if I’ve officially settled into the new location and can more readily talk about the pros and cons. Pretty much all pros quite frankly; though there was a ‘little’ glitch at check in time for Vivienne Tam - the kiosks that printed out the invites were not working and a long line formed. I basically waited on line for over 40 minutes.

In addition to its great, easy to get to location (for me, anyway), I have found plenty of pluses. Of course, the great weather thus far (not too hot, not too cold) has not hurt and it’s made walking around, taking in the new neighborhood, and sitting outside, beneath a shaded cabaret table on the triangle directly opposite Lincoln Center, quite enjoyable. There’s a Starbucks practically across the street as is the iconic pub, PJ Clark’s (who doesn’t crave a good hamburger now and then?). It is actually adjacent to the Empire Hotel, which is fashionably appointed (velvet couches in tan, leopard and zebra oversized pillows and rugs), really inviting and comfy, and a great place to meet with friends, work on your lap top, and have a drink. On the second floor, there is Ed’s Clam Bar with a good menu all through the day.

I also love the proximity of the Time Warner Center (the blocks are very short making it much closer than it seems), where you can shop for clothes if you find you need something new ASAP there’s J. Crew, Bebe, Coach, etc.; you can also shop for eccentric ‘whatevers’ at the gift shop mxyplyzyk (, which is located in the lobby. And of course, we all need great food as fuel to get us through the week and nothing is healthier and more appetizing than the selection at Whole Foods. You can grab a sandwich or an entire entrée plus great fruit and veggies, plus there are tables and chairs where you eat.

And, if you happen to be looking for new furniture and other things for your home (be it humble or out of the world fab), there is Raymour & Flanagan, West Elm, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and Gracious Homes within a two to three block radius of Lincoln Center. There is also a Gap, Banana Republic, and Brooks Brothers, right around the corner. Should the shows get really dull, you can always find a good movie at the Lincoln Square Cinema. And because it’s the Upper West Side, that means it’s all about noshing; and so, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants, Korean markets, etc. at all price ranges (well, sort of), and if you have time (LOL) to head uptown, you can do worse than hit Fairway or Zabars.

Prabal Gurung collection - photo:

As for the fashion today, I really liked Prabal Gurung, the Nepalese designer who is a relatively ‘new’ kid on the block. The 41 piece collection, a chic study in youthful couture like elegance (replete with sculpting and highly technical dressmaking details like draping, hand smocking, hand pleating, raw seaming, asymmetrical hems), basically had no misses. There were the seemingly ‘requisite’ pale neutrals everyone else is focusing on (ivory, sand, white), and enough black to satisfy that urbane customer who wears nothing else.

But as a person who has always had a fondness for her beloved vintage Pucci’s, I must say that I loved, loved, loved that he began the show with strikingly colorful and graphic intarsia cashmeres (sky, poppy, saffron, coral, optic white). It was great to see some happy and eye catching color and patterns and his were exceptionally sophisticated, as was the entire collection. I also loved that the silhouette was really body conscious, lean , and elongated with everything was just below the knee, midcalf, or floor length. There were some really fabulous menswear inspired blazers, tuxedo jackets, and coats, but all fabricated so brilliantly as to render them unrecognizable.

And then there were the drop dead gorgeous dresses, many of which were sculpted and had racerbacks (these went from right below the knee and midcalf, to the floor). One could easily see more than few of them being worn on the red carpet at Lincoln Center (and points beyond), for a host of galas and openings. The innovation and mix of fabrics employed was quite notable, from rubberized fil coupe, geometric cut latex, neuron translucent printed silk gazar, pleated linen jersey, washed silk faille, etc. and hand embroidered seam tape fringe and burnt plastic paillettes resulted in a highly textural look with plenty of surface interest and movement.

Cynthia Rowley collection - photo:

Cynthia Rowley has always been known to be an avowed dance enthusiast (not to mention that she has the body and look of a dancer herself). So it was not surprising, and of course very timely and relevant, that she used the set from two New York City Ballet productions performed at Lincoln Center, for her wonderfully done 35 piece collection shown at Lincoln Center (both were from Peter Martins: “Romeo + Juliet” and “Swan Lake”. The run of show noted that both backdrops were created by the Danish painter Per Kirkeby for the original productions and were selected from the New York City Ballet’s archives. It was a decidedly embellished and graphic collection, with stripes taking center stage but done in a very unique way; hers were translucent she called it ‘invisible’ stripes.

Cynthia Rowley collection photo:

There was also a lot of surface interest, and it was highly ornamental and embellished but in a modern way (thanks to the use of milk glass, cabochons, and embossed dots). There was also a wonderfully unexpected use of perforation (in dresses, tops, and skirts). While there were some abbreviated shorts and shifts, many of the skirt lengths fell gracefully right below the knee and longer. Speaking of which, there were several dresses that one could easily imagine wearing for the opening of the New York City Ballet, among them, a cabochon top with fog tiered floor length skirt.

FYI, her show had hands down the best gift left on the seat of a show thus far Actually, it was the ONLY gift left on the seat of a show thus far. It was a chic black tin box containing the brand new Cynthia Rowley ‘Dress Up’ Band-Aids (20 assorted band aids in a fashionable floral, black lace, and gold chain on black background). So, the next time you are going out formally, and have a little booboo, you can cover it in style

Adam Lippes collection - photo:

I am a fan of Adam Lippes and this season is no exception. According to his run of show, he was inspired by the easy, refinement, and simplicity of Charlotte Gainsbourg’s character in James Ivory’s “The City of Your Final Destination”. The 32 pieces, which were rendered in a pleasing palette of ivory, clay, white, sand, ecru, a touch of graphite and ink, and the unexpectedly sophisticated use of pastels like lavender, peach, pale blue, juxtaposed iconic menswear with elements that were softer, more feminine - macramé, chiffon, eyelet, lace. Though in several cases, the menswear was ‘straight on’. As was the case of the wide legged trouser suits that are all over the runways, and looked especially great here.

Adam Lipps collection -photo:

He referred to his version as a ‘sailor’ pant: a copper linen blazer was paired with a crisp white denim sailor pant and an ink twill tuxedo jacket was shown with an ink twill sailor pant. There were knit linen sweaters, utilitarian canvas parkas, soft eyelet linen dresses, embroidered chiffon shells, ivory lace shirt dresses and two embroidered cut out chiffons. The finale was graceful and flowing. The shoes were high heeled sandals, and I especially loved the unexpected use of those in lacquer red which instantly punched up the neutrals and made them come alive.

-Marilyn Kirschner

Z Spoke by Zac Posen Makes Its Lincoln Center Debut

Photo: Isabelle Erb

Three days into Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York the response to the new Lincoln Center location for the event appears to be overwhelmingly positive. Members of the press and fashionistas alike seem to have embraced the newly relocated fashion tents. To be sure, the Lincoln Center structure is impressive. At first glance, it looks as though another building has spring up between the New York State Theater and the Metropolitan Opera House. But what is more remarkable is the unmistakably relaxed atmosphere that seems to exist in the tents this season. It is unclear whether this is due to the fact that the Lincoln Center space is larger than the one at Bryant Park, the simplicity of checking in with the new computerized “digital chic” system, or the opportunity to bask in the picturesque Lincoln Center surroundings. Whatever the reason, a decided level of calm seems to have settled on the fashion set.

The new locale faced its first major test of sorts on Saturday night when the Z Spoke by Zac Posen show was held in the Theater, the largest venue in the Lincoln Center tents. The showing of a Zac Posen collection always sparks a frenzy of activity, as crowds and celebrities converge, but despite the throngs in attendance and the unfortunate glitch that occurred in the “digital chic” system earlier in the day, check in flowed relatively smoothly. Even the scene on the runway seemed a bit more orderly than usual as celebrities such as Claire Danes, Kimora Lee, Russell Simmons, Brett Ratner, Jay Manuel, and Miss J. Alexander made their way to their front row seats amid the sea of reporters and photographers.

Photo: Isabelle Erb

The much anticipated runway debut of Zac Posen’s lower-priced line was nothing short of a crowd pleaser. It combined young, flirtatious, even whimsical styles with smart coats and two-piece ensembles that had universal appeal. Short dresses with sexy cutouts were mixed with jackets paired with shorts and long pants. Colors ranged from bright yellows, reds, and multi-colored “face-print” silks to more subdued hues of blue and black.

Zac takes a bow - Photo: Isabelle Erb

Some of the models wore playful Z-Spoke eyewear and many of them carried classic looking Z-Spoke bags. The high-heeled Z-Spoke shoes worn with every look proved treacherous for one model who stumbled and fell to the ground, only to make a quick recovery amidst applause from the audience. The show ended on a familiar Zac Posen note with a long black gown. This one was sleek and ever so slightly risquÈ with strategic cutouts on the sides and back.

- Rhonda Erb

Stay In Touch

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- Rhonda Erb

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