American Express "By Invitation Only" at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2008
A few days ago I had the privilege of being a guest of American Express at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2008 in NYC. Aside from agonizing over what to wear (and realizing that of course no one was looking at me), it was a fun experience, and one I'd likely never get to have without this invite. As an AmEx guest, I got to go to a special "Skybox" to view the DKNY Spring 2009 show along with about 20 AmEx Platinum Card members, who were there (at the cool price of $700 each) to enjoy the day's events and luxuriate in special amenities as part of AmEx's "By Invitation Only" program. Also on hand were staffers from various companies associated with AmEx, who made sure the guests were comfortable and enjoying themselves. I chatted with one guest, who took advantage of the complimentary hair and makeup services that morning. She did have excellent hair. The room was too dim for me to see her makeup, but I'm sure it was lovely.
AmEx, a major Fashion Week sponsor for the second consecutive year, has long associated itself with fashion icons. On display in the tent's main lobby, front and center, was an AmEx booth that featured three iconic photos, used as part of AmEx's "I'm a Card Member" ads: Sammy Davis Jr., Diane Von Furstenburg and Venus Williams. Word is the photos changed throughout the show. Other sponsors also had booths in the main lobby, from the usual suspects, such as Judith Ripka and the Italian Trade Commission, to unexpected companies, such as Office Max and M&M's.
Gallery: DKNY Fashion Show
It was very exciting to watch the show from the Skybox, which was high above the runway but behind glass. We had a great view of the models, enhanced by a TV screen in the room. The front rows were taken up by industry editors, buyers, and writers as well as Karan's friends and family. Celebs spotted were Winona Ryder, Christina Ricci and Nicole Ritchie. One protester jumped on the runway to protest Karan's use of fur, though there was not any fur in this collection. Karan smiled happily at the end of the show as a pumped-up, dance-y "Happy Birthday" pounded. DKNY celebrates its 20th this year.
Here's what I learned, fashion-wise: Bright colors are in for women -- think canary yellow, lime green, fuchsia, and bright blue, mostly paired with black. Strapless is hot, as are tight skirts and slim pants. For men, khaki suits and a casual look took the spotlight. Women's shoes, however, were kind of weird: ankle-high, sneaker-inspired pumps with teetering heels. At least the men had regular athletic footwear, even with their suits. And ladies, the '70s are back! Hair was long, pin-straight and parted down the middle. One brave model sported bangs, however.
Luckily, Getty Images was on hand to document the event. Check out the gallery!