Monday, February 15, 2016

New York Fashion Cool-Aid ®

Just Drew Draws On Names You Know

Kyra Kennedy, Andrew Warren, Gaia Matisse
Click images for larger views

It's Sunday afternoon, Valentine's Day to be exact, part of a three day weekend in which the temperature here in New York has struggled to reach the double digits. "Just remember...I wanted to go to Miami!" is my husband's recurrent and now favorite whine (wine)? Instead I've dragged and coerced him to be my wing man for the Just Drew show, about to be presented at Style Fashion Week's home in the cavernous domed event space normally reserved for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs known as Gotham Hall.


Marla Maples

Style Fashion Week is a wannabe by invitation only entertainment endeavor, appealing to, and mostly geared for the masses rather than the fashion industry. Dare I say that this venue/event was set up to give the less established designer a place to show in New York during Fashion Week as well as the non-fashion industry person a peek into NYFW. Unfortunately it smacks of being born in the shadows, a bastard child to the official WME-IMG branded events, which is saying a lot considering many of those are now attracting a crowd normally seen at a particularly seedy bowling alley.


EJ Johnson before the show

It's actually (God help me!) my second time here this week, having previously attended Ev Bessar's "Firebird" runway show on Thursday evening. Bessar has been getting some buzz lately. She is a Russian designer who creates a line of loosely hand woven "dark fashion" knitwear in her Harlem basement studio. For Sunday's show, my spouse was duly advised that it was quite unusual to be invited with a + 1 to a "real" fashion event. "Don't judge me when you see this place!" I begged him. "This is not how I usually roll!"

As we stood waiting for the action to begin a young woman next to me happened to overhear my dirty little secret (the one about ostensibly being "press"). "Can I ask you, how do you get to go to a REAL show, like Nicole Miller? Do you have to be invited?" What can I say? It's a special thrill to chance meet someone with any degree of self-awareness.


Some of the Rich Kids hanging out before the show

As we speak, I am staring at the FROW which seats Dennis Basso, Lance Bass, EJ Johnson, Marla Maples and a Brant brother or two, to name drop just a few of the recognizable faces.  It's not really a coup to snag the elite for the newbie designer's freshman show -- these are just his homies and relatives of his homies. If you're wondering what is going on here I've got four words for you: "Rich Kids of Instagram." One of the unwitting contributors to the anonymously posted site, Andrew Warren, 22, is about to show his line of contemporary sportswear for the "It" millennial girl. It also is worth mentioning that he doesn't employ models, using his curated muses and bff's instead. How do you get into this club?  Well, if you're 18- 22, tall, thin, rich, well accessorized, adventurous, fun-loving, have a famous last name, AND Andrew likes you, then you're in.


Tiffany Trump, Kyra Kennedy, Gaia Matisse, Andrew Warren,
& Reya Benitez

Kyra Kennedy, Tiffany Trump, Gaia (great great granddaughter of Henri) Matisse, Eliza Johnson, Reya (Madonna's former music producer Jellybean's daughter) Benitez, Billie Lourd, Dani Lauder and the actress Abigail Breslin, have all made the cut and are set to strut their stuff on the catwalk today. Of course, Andrew is not without his own pedigree. His grandfather, David Warren had a line of ladylike dresses inspired by Jackie Kennedy's simple "princess-style," which he launched in the late '60s and continued to produce through the early '90s. Although Andrew's father is in real estate, Andrew believes he has inherited his grandpa's gene for the "schmatta" business.

Andrew's actual first foray into fashionland was with former partner and fellow rich kid Samantha Zaitz in 2013. The brand, called Sam & Drew was sold at Blue & Cream Boutiques and had Miley Cyrus as a customer. After some sort of falling out between the designing duo, we now have Just Drew.


Tiffany Trump walks in the show

To say I wasn't expecting a whole lot fashion-wise is putting it mildly. After the first leather outerwear piece the looks that hit the runway were exactly as I had feared -- standard tacky "club wear" -- stretch fabric crop tops and bra tops, minis, tight, shiny, sheer paneled garments, none fitting too well, all represented here. As the show went on to the strains of The Spice Girls "Wannabe," the collection seemed to evolve a bit with a few stronger looks such as an on-point bomber jacket worn bare-breasted (always titillating HA), and a pants outfit. Oops--spoke too soon... here come some garish suits in bright bluish purple (not great fabric choices) plus I don't picture a girl in her early twenties gravitating towards this look. I can't help noticing several fit issues the likes of which are routinely viewed on garments that receive the Project Runway auf'd.


A Foiled Dress

Next, a few interesting foiled evening bubble dresses (granted nothing too revolutionary but in this case at least, I can see girls wanting to wear them), and finally a covered up yet slightly sheer bronze beaded gown that managed (mostly) to stave off the pageant/ice skater vibe. I do give Andrew's collection an "A" for effort but wish he had been a little more insistent that his "models" learn to walk the walk-- the clomping and bad posture on a few of them was doing no favors to the presentation of the clothing. About halfway through the show I glanced across the runway to try to determine the famous furrier's (Basso) reaction. Hmm, there's a smile on his face, or is it a veiled grimace?   Hard to tell whether he's really digging it or is trying to obscure the fact that he's wincing in pain.


Just Drew suit

In the interest of full disclosure, I had actually heard of Andrew Warren years ago thanks to my same aged daughter who knew of his legendary lifestyle through the grapevine -- Manhattan's "elite" private school circles will do that. Back in high school, the early Instagram posts would elicit a groan in my daughter who would occasionally regale me with a few choice ones. Andrew now boasts almost 50,00 IG followers so obviously there's a market for these. The posted photos are exactly what you would expect; taken / filtered / curated while posing next to the most expensive cars, in the most expensive locales, with the most expensive libations/accessories/toys and the hottest bevy of  young thangs.


Gaia Matisse (great great grandaughter of Henri)

These images were (and still are) the kind that turn the most secure adult among us to question the banality of one's existence, let alone the untold next level effect they have on the developing psyche of the already moody teen-- now permanently convinced that their own life is both incredibly boring and lived in relative poverty. Several weeks ago when I told my daughter that there would be a Just Drew NYFW runway show her reaction was one of incredulity. I'll have to let her in on a little secret -- it seems she was onto something. One thing is for certain though -- if this confluence of cold weather, Fashion Week and President's Day happens again, you can find me in Florida.





- Laurel Marcus







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