Another Fashion Week has come to a close. It was a first for Lincoln Center and a first for me, as well. Now that I’ve cut my teeth on the whole affair I know better what to expect and prepare for come February’s shows. Namely, befriending the right publicists to gain access to the big designers. Yes, I scored major with Betsey Johnson (I still think it was a fluke) and the team that represents Max Azria was incredibly gracious but unfortunately, major PR company KCD, who handles design houses such as Anna Sui, Diane von Furstenberg, Derek Lam, Tommy Hilfiger AND MORE sent me a curt note informing me that they were “unable to accommodate you at KCD shows this season”. In other words “And you are…..??” KCD, (an acronym for “Kant C DaShow”) I will break them yet. My only wish for February is for less Real Housewives although my encounter with Countess Luann de Lesseps proved less annoying than her QVC gem-hawking contemporaries. Someone with a burgeoning singing career that features a track called “Money can’t buy you class (elegance is learned)” has got to have a sense of humor, right?
By Alison McLaughlin
There were more Birkin bags at J.Mendel’s spring/summer 2011 show than at the Hermes outlet store (does that even exist?) an accurate indicator of the kind of female who subscribes to the Mendel style philosophy. I’m not an uptown girl so I let the bob-nosed blonde in the next chair over school me as the silken gowns floated down the runway to Bittersweet Symphony. Obviously stocking her closet for next season she was largely disappointed with the show, “look at the way these necks are cut, no woman my age with a chest could wear that.” She was probably right but I was more dismayed by J.Mendel’s prolific use of fur. In a warm season collection? At all? Bolero jackets in subtle shades of grey, peach and neutral left their hairy mark as they shed down the runway. T’was gross, to be honest, watching the light catch strands of fox fur billowing in the artificial breeze. It took away from J.Mendel’s better looks of simple nude gowns with flat sandals and gathered mini dresses paired with dangerously sexy orange Louboutins. “Oh!” Exclaimed my row mate as one such goddess frock and stiletto ensemble marched past. “That would look great with an orange Birkin.” She should know.
When the good people at Pantone sent around the memo that purple was, yet again, going to thrill and delight us for another season it must been intercepted by everyone’s spam filter, given the riot of taupe and tan that ran rampant this past week. Spanish designer Davide Elfin, on the other hand, took the color to heart and let it dominate his, let’s face it, bizarre collection of dresses and suits accented by webbed nylon straps. Missing arms and odd cutting puzzled all including spectator, Real Housewife of New York, Countess Luann de Lesseps who called the collection “Very European” although, she did love the shoes.
Mastroanni’s hosted a show of eveningwear and beaded jewelry in her Garment District atelier. 60’s inspired cocktail frocks and elegant formal gowns were displayed in the cozy off runway setting. Mastroianni does it best when she keeps things simple. The heavy bead and lace combos are too busy, to heavy for spring. Simple silk sheaths and gowns prove a better canvas for Mastroianni’s craftsmanship
“Where the F*** is my Sailor” was the theme for Helsinki based designer Paola Suhonen’s line of nautical inspired dresses. A major brand in its native Finland I wonder if the quirky rope dresses and booties will scan stateside. A few pieces were borderline adorable, almost wearable even, such as Ivana’s take on the little white dress, a chambray pinafore, a hooded wrap sweater and gold knit romper, all embellished with anchors or rope motif. The ropier numbers just looked plain awkward and most garments, upon close inspection, looked poorly constructed for a line closing out Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Lining with wonky stitching peeked out from under dresses and errant threads poked out of more than one seam.