Sunday, September 08, 2013

New York Fashion Week Notes by Marilyn Kirschner

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Spring 2014 Mara Hoffman beaded rainbow serpent dashiki
 and beaded rainbow serpent twill pants

Well, okay. I know I spoke about the downside of Lincoln Center as the centralized location for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. But there IS an up side and I always try to see the positive side of things. So, even if the shows or the motely throngs leave a lot to be desired, you still have the great neighborhood  which is packed with restaurants,  a well stocked and appealing farmer's market  and of course, good shopping. In fact, on my way to the Lacoste show yesterday morning, I found a couple who were setting up outside to sell their wares (their company is called  Bop Creations). They had a number of items (scarves, hats, bags), but what stood out were the distinctive tooled leather bags that were dead ringers for Ralph Lauren's from spring 2013 (down to the leather tassels but minus the RL signature). They are available in black, white, and red, and the price? $75! Ralph's are well into the four figures.

Ralph Lauren Spring 2013 tooled red leather bag

 After the show, I headed up Broadway and stopped into the Zara store where I found what I had been searching for:  simple white patent leather kitten heeled sling backs; they were dead ringers for a pair that Michael Kors had on his collection several seasons ago, and they were on sale reduced from $79 to $49. A few stores north was BCBG. I walked in and what caught my eye immediately was a skirt (called the Elsa skirt): it looked like black leather, though it was pleather, and was knife pleated, falling just below the knee. It was also a dead ringer for Celine's pre fall 2013 version (hers was also pleather by the way and I assume well into the four figures). Zara's price? $220.

BCBG Elsa Skirt

Back at the Tents, I ran into one of my favorite fashion people, Robert Verdi. He is smart, amusing, dead on with his observations  -- and he makes me laugh: Robert is always wearing or carrying something great (clothing, accessories, etc.)  Yesterday it was a black & white box bag emblazoned with the iconic Louis Vuitton logo that was peeping out of a shopping bag. I asked what it was and he told me it was actually something he had made up in celebration of his fifteen "fabulous" fashionable years, and was filled with a few little mementos. He also told me he was going to mail it to me. But if I wanted, I could just take it with me. It was light, had a handle, and was perfectly matched with I was wearing - so I took it! Unsurprisingly, I had many people commenting and inquiring about the bag. It was not until I really looked that I realized that what I thought was the iconic LV logo, was RV (Robert Verdi). Inside was a sweatshirt imprinted with a photo of Robert, a small bracelet, and a humorous card mocked up to make it look like he was in the front row of a fashion show seated next to Anna Wintour, with Andy Warhol and several other icons, in the background. By the way, Robert told me he donated several items from his personal collection, to FIT, and they will be part of the upcoming exhibition, "A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk", Special Exhibitions Gallery, September 13 2013 - January 4, 2014. A preview party will be held on Thursday, September 12, 2012 and needless to say, it should be colorful and interesting.

 Outside the tents, I also took advantage of a free massage, courtesy (it was a heavenly 15 minute break I might add). Yesterday and today, a 'experience' will be set up right at Lincoln Center offering customer service to Fashion Week attendees with complimentary massages, juices from BluePrint, charging stations for their devices, etc. In addition, Betsey Johnson and blogger Leandra Medine of Man Repeller will be stopping by. FYI, I myself am a fan as they have great customer service (love the 365 day return policy!)

Spring 2014 Mara Hoffman Sunrise Intarsia poncho seater
 and Jungle Trip white mini dress

More good news inside the tents! .Several shows I attended did not look like anything else thus far (variety IS the spice of life), and were nice surprises. Mara Hoffman has a signature look, and an Island vibe. She always sticks to it, and she marches to her own drummer. As a result, she has drawn quite a fan base. She is known for her use of color and bold prints (which never go out of style and are always welcome in one's wardrobe but yesterday, her colorful spring 2014 show was one of the boldest and brightest to date. It had the hash tags fearless, rainbow, vibes, and in her run of show, she admitted to having drawn inspiration from "different cultures and cosmic spaces through a prism of colors". Standouts were the beaded rainbow dashikis that opened and closed the show; the Sunrise Lilac jumpsuit with lemon v- wire bikini; the Sunrise Navy chiffon column kaftan with Sunrise Navy chiffon pant; the Guatemalan belt shorts and ivory CDC button down; the Sunrise intarsia pullover with tie dye peasant skirt; the Sunrise intrsia poncho seater and Jungle Trip White mini dress; and a black mini dress with embroidered cut out back.

Spring 2014 Herve Leger black leather multi zipper peplum moto jacket
& black bandage multi zipper  short

 And Max Azria's collection for Herve Leger just might have been his best, most satisfying to date. Taking it in was Nicki Minaj, whose arrival caused quite a commotion (but not at all putting a strain on the Citadel Security detail). The collection was of course very body conscious and seductive, with all the usual bondage references that label has become known for, but there was another hard to miss dimension: the amazing couture like workmanship and attention to detail (zippers, crochet, jacquard, fringe, and beading). And is it me, or did I note a nod to Azzedine Alaia with the fitted and flared silhouettes and structured corseted waists?

- Marilyn Kirschner

BCBG & Leger After Party

Max Azria at after party
(Photos: Lieba Nesis)

Herve Leger and BCBG held their fashion week after party at the Boom Boom Room to celebrate the well received runway shows held at the Lincoln Center tents this past week. Next year they will be celebrating the twenty fifth anniversary of the BCBG label and this collection had a more sinewy loose fitting look than is typically associated with the brand. Max Azria who designs for both Herve and BCBG put on two beautiful shows exhibiting his wide range talent by producing affordable yet highly stylized clothing for BCBG, and expensive and sexy designs for Herve Leger. Azria a French fashion designer of Tunisian Jewish descent heads the fashion house that encompasses over twenty brands and for which his wife, Lubov, works as creative director. In 1998 he acquired the Herve Leger fashion house and relaunched it with his own designs in 2007. This line was quickly embraced by celebrities and trendsetters worldwide and Azria continues to astound with his prolific clothing lines and hectic schedule; heralded during Fall 2008 fashion week for being the only American designer to produce three major fashion shows in one week. The wearability of his clothing lines is astounding; many partygoers were clad in either BCBG or Herve Leger. It is rare to attend a designer event with so many in the crowd wearing the designer's garments but this is indicative of the mass appeal of his label.

Kathryn Le in Herve Leger & Sarah Williams in BCBG
(Click on image for larger view)

The evening started off with cocktails, hors d' oeuvres and an open bar. The crowd was replete with models, stylesetters, press and high level employees. Mr. Azria and his wife seemed slightly overwhelmed by the huge crowd and quickly retired to a corner to rest from an exhausting week. DJ Kiss played an amazing set of songs and Lauriana Mae belted out more than a few tunes. There were screen displays of the fashion show and people streaming in throughout the night enjoying the excitement of the space and the high octane energy. Stacy Keibler, ran in refusing to do press but nonetheless, stood in the middle of the room holding court. Martine Melloul, Executive Vice President of BCBG, herself dressed in a sequined BCBG garment said, "we don't jack up prices-our goal is to make women beautiful so that high fashion is available to everyone. In 2009 and 2010 things were slow but now we are making an incredible comeback. Our goal is to make a woman's fashion dream an affordable reality." Reiterating this sentiment, was Sarah Williams, in a BCBG floor length dress who said she loves the designs because it is "affordable runway." Her friend Kathryn Le in a sexy Leger dress, said the clothing makes her feel "sexy, hot and important."

There was a palpable enthusiasm in the party which I attributed to the crowds' adoration of the label. As I left the Boom Boom Room I grabbed my BCBG jacket which I inadvertently wore to the party and thanked Mr. Azria for the genius of his designs and for saving me thousands of dollars with his price conscious garments. The quality and intricacy of Max Azria's designs coupled with his vision of presenting affordable, yet well crafted clothing, as an alternative to his more pricey Leger label, makes him a democratic designer that will never go out of style regardless of the state of the economy.

- Lieba Nesis

The Daily Better Bets - by Rhonda Erb

Hanes Silk Reflections Pure Bliss

Every season, Fashion Week means long days of racing to get to shows and standing in long lines.  Your legs could use a little pampering.  Hanes has created a new line of hosiery that uses an innovative knitting technology combined with luxury yarns that actually give your legs a micro-massage.  They are available in Luxe Sheer and Opaque so now there is no reason why your legs can’t feel invigorated, even when you have been on your feet all day.

Available at:, Major department stores nationwide, $13.00

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