RSVIP: Mercedes-Benz NYC Fashion Week at Lincoln Center (Part II)
The monolithic rectangle in the far left corner of the plaza at Lincoln Center that introduces the tents looks as if it were carved from white stone and balanced on a tornado shaped point. But the structure is an optical illusion. It is a metal box, stabilized from behind and covered with white vinyl that looks like marble.
Inside the tents, fresh computers print out paper tickets for the tide of fashionistas and celebrities who are invited to shows-Carmen Electra, Kelly Rowland, Rumer Willis.
The private Mercedes lounge was designed by interior guru Carlos Mota using Iman's new fabric line; colorful zebra-skin and peacock-feather patterns upholster couches and ottomans. Photos of Iman by Bruce Weber and Peter Beard on the walls are from Iman's private collection.
Across the street at an atrium space, WWD (Women's Wear Daily) would later showcase its 100th anniversary by featuring retro designs by Thakoon and other hip designers to be sold by Gilt Groupe.
Catherine Malandrino was a brave soul indeed to show out of doors at a reflecting pool near Avery Fisher Hall on a gray day that frequently drizzled. Her models stood on round pedestals at the edge of the water, right. And while most wore long pants or elegant dresses, Katya, a youngish mannequin, got stuck with what looked like a black girdle or swimsuit that had been sliced to shreds. And she didn't look happy.
Malandrino showed everything from Hammer pants to a full-length white macramé number that Kristin Cavallari, carrying coffee with her male publicist's name penned on the side, said she favored. Malandrino's husband told RSVIP there was no plan B if it rained.
Herve Leger by Max Azria is enormously popular among female celebrities. Molly Sims once explained that the dresses are constructed like a girdle to hold a woman's curves in place.
The show, at The Stage at Lincoln Center at 4 p.m., kept to the elastic fortified structure of previous Leger lines but, at times, only included the signature stretchy bands as outlines. Cutouts and sheer, camel and sand fabrics were prevalent, but some of the most dynamic new shapes might get a star ridiculed on the red carpet.
The Tommy Hilfiger show on Sunday at 8:00 p.m., celebrated the company's 25th anniversary and was a bit of preppie heaven. A tan suit was matched with a pink sweater and a lime-green belt. Designer Peter Som pitched in, and the details sang. Hilfiger opened the show with a hedgerow backdrop, and the runway appeared to be slate. The front row included Jennifer Lopez, Bradley Cooper, and Christina Hendricks of "Mad Men" fame. And afterward, the company hosted a concert by the Strokes at the Metropolitan Opera House next door. It was as if someone's parents were away and the kids took over the venue. Guests stood on tables and pedestals next to statues to get better views.
Designer Carlos Miele, whose spacious Brazilian getaway appears in Elle Décor magazine this month, showed at The Stage at 11:00 a.m. the next morning. The rotund female Brazilian crooner that Miele hired, who sang Pink Floyd's "The Wall" in English with a delicious Brazilian accent, was an inspired choice. And while some of the dresses were sexy-modern, excessive embellishment turned some sheer gowns into hooker garb.
Fast-forward to 4:30 p.m. Chris Benz presented a colorful spring collection. He talked about his inspiration being Paris in the 1960s, but he actually seemed to be doing what Benz is best at, a rich grandma's closet in Palm Springs. We were seeing prep Twiggy, with bright florals, orange leather, grandma house-dress prints, and puffy sleeves. Benz's clothes are like the ultimate thrift-store finds. He grew up in grunge Seattle coffeehouses and can turn out eccentric, youthful clothes with his eyes closed. Susan Sarandon, Kelly Osbourne, and Denise Richards were ecstatic.
Betsey Johnson also does color but with a clownish delivery. Love Betsey herself, who has literally been designing since the 1960s. She opened the show with bicycle-messenger chic. Models even carried a chain and a lock. One model on Lucite heels tried to ride a skateboard, and her heel snapped off. Oops. One loves Johnson's spirit and wants to love her clothes, but the Victoriana, right, can appear old school.
At 8 p.m. sharp at the 26th Street Armory, Marc Jacobs hit the same notes we had seen all week: sheer, floral, cone boobs, grunge stripes, bright patterns, '70s revival. But he did it bigger and far better. The clothes were masterful--dramatic and restrained. His fabric flowers could be seen across the armory. He was giving us Jodie Foster in "Taxi Driver" but with the elegance of a Parisian ballroom. His sheer had shape, panache, and dreamy colors. There were billowing scarf dresses and harem pants. Jacobs doesn't miss.
At the show, models appeared out of a structure shaped like a nuclear power plant. And after walking a quarter-turn on the round runway, they disappeared back into the mystery tower.
As usual, the show was a triumph that put highly-touted young designers to shame.
The next morning, Badgley Mischka showed a scaled-down version of the hair in Jacobs' show. While they included sheer and floral elements, there were some fringe and embellished fabrics that added unfortunate Vegas glitz.
At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Michael Kors featured a springy garden theme. Donald and Melania Trump were seated in the front row across from Serena Williams and Anna Wintour. Kors clothes exude quality. Sweaters are thick; pants are baggy yet well constructed. The entire collection was wholesome, with an outdoorsy glamour. The Kors models looked like rich college kids or Annie Hall with money.
Jeremy Scott, at Milk Studio, meanwhile, left, was the craziest, kookiest, most fun show all week. A red sleeveless sweater read: "For Rent." A long black one: "Help Wanted." A football jersey was cut off in a jagged fashion at chest height and read: "Trash." Yet another dress, complete with drawstrings, was elegantly crafted out of a trash bag. Kelly Osbourne, who said she had been out very late the night before told RSVIP she lives for such shows.
Marchesa aptly displayed their work at the Cheslea Art Museum on on Wednesday afternoon. Models balanced on five-inch metal stilettos atop mirrored platforms to showcase Marchesa's haute confections. In fact, the mannequins were standing on such sharp heels they had to be steadied occasionally and fed candies, fruit, and water.
Not all of the Marchesa dresses are constructed so that a gal could walk in them. But they are lovely. One ended in curved points like an umbrella. The last few were hand painted. Gabourey Sidibe was awe struck. Meanwhile, Marchesa dressed Kelly Osbourne in a belted tulle poof that she said felt as if the designers had captured a cloud.
At noon on Thursday, back at the tents, Isaac Mizrahi showed a floral print in an inspired patchwork pattern that out Lilly-ed Lilly Pultizer. His sheers appeared demure. And he ended with a long, bold floral-print dress that would wow a tony crowd anywhere.
Lastly, Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein packed the front row with heady celebs: Katie Holmes, Julianne Moore, Isabel Lucas and an ominous wall of bodyguards. The clothes were simple: pure white or pure black, with thin, bow-tied string belts. They were soft fabrics with shape. "And that's not easy to do," Costa told RSVIP.