Thursday, February 16, 2017

New York Fashion Cool-Aid by Laurel Marcus

Fashion Journal: Pier 59 Where Are You?


Photo: Laurel Marcus

To say that I've been laying low this NYFW would be like saying Manhattanites wear a lot of black. Due to inclement weather, inability to come up with a suitable outfit for said weather, and/or the kind of quality invites that would prompt me to haul myself across (and down) town, I've more or less sat this one out. Valentine's Day was my most productive jaunt -- I attended a whopping two shows and a presentation -- which provided me with a microcosm of the whole NYFW experience.

Freida Rothman & Numan Ataker
Photo by Patrick McMullan

I spent the afternoon at Pier 59 -- I had only been once before and hadn't taken time to explore. It's actually a very civilized venue complete with a palm tree festooned bar/restaurant, lounge area, outdoor deck, and a decent ladies room (beats the Lincoln Center tent situation, at least). The designer I had come to see, John Paul Ataker was not initially on my radar, however jewelry designer Freida Rothman, who I've become acquainted with, was supplying/styling all the jewelry including 35 nose stud rings for each of the models (don't worry -- they were glued on, not pierced) making it a must see.

Freida (a FGI Rising Star nominee) began her own business in 2010 -- she basically grew up in the family jewelry business and wished to put her own stamp on affordable luxury jewelry and accessories, which she is now turning into a lifestyle brand complete with leather goods and sunglasses.

Runway photo of a design by Numan Ataker with jewelry by Freida Rothman
Photo: Patrick McMullan

Her pieces are crafted of precious sterling silver metals and 14k gold vermeil with collections entitled "Lattice Motif," and "Fleur Bloom," while her rose gold collection is called "Rose D'Or." The two-tone metals and sophisticated European look to her stackable bangles, rings, earrings and necklaces were the perfect complement to the Turkish designer Numan Ataker's Fall/Winter 2017 collection, which paid homage to the beauty and strength of the women of Yazidi with an interpretation of how they would dress for a modern progressive culture.

Jewelry by Freida Rothman

Ataker's line is named after his father and his 9-year-old son who share the name John Paul. This was a stunning collection of rich textiles including leather, velvet, faux fur trimmings on organza, jacquards, brocades, feathers and embossing, in rich dark colors (and a few white bridal-ish gowns) with a touch of metallic. Ataker is known for his superb tailoring and I definitely found myself coveting several of the brocade black and gold suits, as well as the gold 3-D cocktail dress and the longer, velvet gown version.

Marla Maples
Photo: Laurel Marcus

In honor of Valentine's Day, red roses were placed on the seats and notables, including Olivia Culpo in a winter white pants suit and Marla Maples in a black velvet one, were in attendance. After this very satisfying half hour of beauty, I ventured over to Chelsea Market for lunch and to 14th Street to self-beautify a bit with a manicure. Arriving back early for the 5PM presentation of Carmen Marc Valvo, I decided to pop in at Yandy -- a runway show for online, modestly priced, but far from modest (read racy) swimsuit/ lingerie/costumes (www.Yandy.com/NYFW).


Photo: Laurel Marcus

The venue was about half empty -- but leave it to me to sit second row behind a few men in business suits who appeared to have something to do with either the company or the models. They whooped, hollered and catcalled the bare-cheeked/ cleavage-alicious models who were "killing it" on the runway. "These are great suits!" one remarked -- I'm fairly sure it was not the suit he was admiring. It's pretty unusual to feel like you've walked into a bachelor party during fashion week but this was close.

Photo: Laurel Marcus

Most upsetting: the models or their handlers had gotten super sloppy with the self-tanner -- you could see telltale streaks all over the white or light colored swimsuits -- yecchh! Not to body shame anyone but a few of these models (who were brought in from agencies in Arizona and LA and were shall we say, a bit curvier than the stick insects one sees in New York) had some serious wiggly "junk in the trunk" happening.

Carmen Marc Valvo
Photo: Laurel Marcus

Now, back to the world of fashion, rather than tackiness, I queued up for the Carmen Marc Valvo presentation. I wondered if it was in fact "Take your daughter to NYFW Day" as a woman behind me counseled her aspiring actor/model school-age sweetie to "soak it all in because who knows when you'll get to see this again." Alec Baldwin breezed past us as he sauntered towards the backstage area, carrying his three-year-old daughter also named Carmen.   Mom-of-the-year called out "Hi Alec!'

Photo: New York Magazine "The Cut"

In other years CMV has done runway shows which I prefer -- this presentation was majorly overbooked and disorganized, unfortunately, the nature of the beast. Fighting my claustrophobia I grabbed a flute of Prosecco to ease the pain.  The plus side of a crowd like this is that it provides an opportunity to meet fellow fashion folk -- basically you're unable to avoid them -- wanting to compare notes on which shows you've seen. I heard tales -- the trials and tribulations of the Oscar/Monse show (the curtain never opened on one side, making the unlucky photographers on that side unable to get their shots), as well as the Alice + Olivia presentation (apparently it's the same old, same old aesthetic which is, according to some, due for a refresh).

Photo: Laurel Marcus

When I finally fought my way up to the stage, it was quite the design departure as I was not expecting the loose Fortuny-esque pleated, unstructured gowns (on 10-ft tall models), in mostly solid colors of fuchsia, black, lavender and rust. I had briefly caught a glimpse of a model wearing a more exciting striped trench style, but she had already been whisked away. In addition to the stage where the models were posing, one side of the room featured a photographer's scrim with a wind machine where they took turns in front of the camera. The end product, emblazoned with the designer's name underneath resembled a publicity still or advertisement, which was then projected on the back wall.

When I was in spitting distance of Mr. Valvo I heard someone informing him that Vogue and WWD were there. Other attendees included Katie Couric and Vanessa Williams, although I didn't see either of them. There was someone in some sort of an LED lit faux fur. I noticed that Teri Agins and I both favored Giuseppe Zanotti wedge sneakers -- mine were of a metallic silver snake, hers army green suede.

Photo: Laurel Marcus

As I was turning to leave, I saw a small crowd gathered around two tiny white, actual fur puffballs. They had pink tongues and were clad diva style in sunglasses and jogging suits, whilst being held, admired and flash photographed (good thing they had eye protection to fight the glare)! Their owner proffered an itty bitty square card and told me I could find them on Instagram @zuzuswag (www.zuzuswag.com) because... of course. Perhaps it's time for an unofficial campaign tagline: "NYFW: Drag Your Daughters! Drag Your Dogs!"





- Laurel Marcus

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