Friday, September 06, 2013

NY Fashion Week Notes - by Marilyn Kirschner

What's a nice Jewish girl like me, doing in a place like this?

 The eve of the Jewish New Year's coincided with the first night of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week this year, creating quite a stir, more than its share of conflicts, and a lot of controversy. All of which of course, makes for good copy. The subject even made the cover of The New York Post on Thursday, and they handled it the best, thanks to their catchy cover lines, "Fash Hashana", Faith and Fashion Clash. Inside, their coverage of the "controversy" continued with "The Jewish Guilt Group, Conflict is He-brewing as Fashion Week falls on Rosh Hashana!" They listed Jewish designers (such as Yigal Azrouel)who changed their usual timeslot to accomodate the timing of the holidays, and mentioned fashion professionals and bloggers (like The Man Repeller's Leandra Medine) who were skipping the first few days for religious reasons.

BCBG Max Azria black & white tuxedo jumpsuit

I myself decided to cover a few shows, including the Max Azria BCBG 10 a.m. show, held at the Tents at Lincoln Center. It was all about "urban edgy"; "traditional silhouettes and tailoring techniques deconstructed and reconstructed"; "practical functional fabrications"; the play of hard and soft, and masculine and feminine. The color palette was light (lots of white, off white, bone, pale blush, light chambray, khaki), but it was counterbalanced with plenty of black, and the use of an artistic abstract watercolor print, and the emphasis was on a relaxed fit and an eased up, flyaway silhouette. In general, I found myself thinking that the best pieces were as always, the most simplified. As I sat there, I asked myself, "What's a nice Jewish boy like Max Azria,doing in place like this?" Why is he at Lincoln Center and not at temple? Of course, it's none of my business. It's all personal and one has to do what feels right for them. (Suffice it to say that if this had been Yom Kippur, the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar, it would have been a different story for me). A little later, I bumped into Ellin Saltzman,who admitted that she would not be going to temple anyway, so why not go to the shows? Makes sense to me.

 Speaking of which  the fabulously talented fashion illustrator Gladys Perint Palmer, known for her irreverent caricatures, has just come out with a new book, "Adam & Yves", Highlights of fashion history, which contains 216 pages and 190 illustrations,  ( There was a book signing yesterday afternoon held at the Courtyard at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, and many people lined up to buy the book, and have it personalized by Gladys herself.

Getting back to religious symbols and symbolism, they have long figured into the vocabulary of fashion and there have been a number of fashion brands whose labels have referenced religion. For example, who can forget the now defunct Imitation of Christ? And nowadays, there's True Religion, the popular denim brand, which seems to be all over the place. On Sunday, the Avant Garde group Three as Four will be showing their collection, dubbed Mer Ka Ba, (a school of early Jewish mysticism), at the Jewish Museum on upper Fifth Avenue.  And through the years, some have even tried to equate great fashion moments with having a religious experience. Let's just say, I didn't find religion, nor did I find myself in the middle of a major religious experience yesterday (there's always tomorrow and hope spring eternal), though there were some nice clothes here and there.

Richard Chai Love white navy black striped cotton nylon patchwork t- shirt

In addition to BCBG, I saw Richard Chai Love, who proved that there IS still life after the iconic black motorcycle jacket (which became ubiquitous both on and off the runways especially after the opening of "Punk: From Chaos to Couture" which is now closed). His, in collaboration with well known leather manufacturer Andrew Marc, were shown for both men and women, and he wisely steered away from the traditional and predictable black, opting instead for versions in white, red, and ink. They still managed to look appealing, especially when juxtaposed over long chiffon skirts, or full high waisted trousers that resembled skirts. There were some graphic, nautical inspired ink and ivory striped knits that looked cool and fresh, several several interesting prints, and he favors a very full long pant that resembles a skirt.

Richard Chai Love grenadine cotton and nylon double breasted blazer
and silk shadow stripe trouser skirt

Actually, a grenadine (vibrant red) cotton nylon double breasted blazer and matching long trouser skirt stood out not only for the color, but the exaggerated, slouchy proportions that recalled the late Perry Ellis. He is on my mind as of late because a biography, "Perry Ellis, an American Original", written by  Jeffrey Banks, Erica Lennard, and Doria de la Chapelle, with a forward by Marc Jacobs, is set to be released on October 22.   I knew Perry, as I was his editor at Harper's Bazaar, (I actually brought him to the attention of then fashion director Carrie Donovan), and as such, was interviewed and asked to contribute my thoughts and recollections. I am looking forward to reading it

 And it's always interesting to attend design competitions, such as the sixth annual Supima Design Competition held yesterday afternoon at The Studio at Lincoln Center, because they can predict the future of fashion. The work of 8 design students, all of whom used the "world's finest cotton" was presented (5 outfits each), and the winner was announced by Rachel Zoe at the end. It was Morgan Selin from the Rhode Island School of Design, and her inventive creations, (all in shades of blue), included a corduroy knee length dress in midnight blue with foiled fabric; a denim gown with woven blue bodice and silver foil skirt; and a twill dress in an ombre of slate to midnight with dyed bias strips.

- Marilyn Kirschner


On & Off the Runway

All in Good Fun

Desigual, the casual clothing company based in Spain, brought its signature brand of contemporary, colorful style to the New York Fashion Week runways Thursday with their debut showing at Lincoln Center.  In an effort to convey a Mediterranean vibe with their Spring/Summer 2014 collection, Desigual’s design team, which features the legendary Christian Lacroix, showed looks ranging from vibrant florals to geometric black and white prints.  The male and female models were lively and uninhibited on the runway, exemplifying Desigual’s beliefs in “Lust for living well, feeling free and dressing expressively.”  They even provided a little PDA for the audience, which included actress and model Isabella Rossellini, seated in he front row. 

Opening Night
Fashion icon Patricia Field served as the host of a benefit evening to kick off New York Fashion Week on Thursday night at the Empire Hotel.  The event was a collaboration between GBK Productions, a gifting and special events company, and Fashion Group International, a professional organization for the fashion industry.  The two-hour cocktail party raised thousands of dollars in support of student scholarships for the LIM Fashion Education Foundation.  LIM FEF Board Member, Michael Palladino said, “I am thankful for the support of our mission to offer scholarships and educational enhancements to LIM College students as they pursue their studies and enter the business of fashion.”

Guests at the event included Fashion Group International members, socialites, and celebrities including Bravo reality stars Sonja Morgan and Nancy Pearson.
The Daily Bet by Rhonda Erb
 Haupt Charcoal Blue Plaid Shirt

This is no lumberjack shirt. It was designed in Germany and is made of a special cashmere touch, polyester and viscose fabric that is ultra soft and comfortable.

Available at:, $195.00


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