Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fashion Week, Making Me Weak

Fashion Week Fall 2008 got off to a rocky start. It rained. No, it poured on Friday but I was determined to get in my first show of the season. After all, this was the first time I'd officially registered. Oh yeah, I waited in line outside Bryant Park for an hour on Thursday thinking I would beat the credential pickup rush. Wrong. Anyway, back to the rain. I navigated my way through semi-flooded NYC streets to get to Yigal Azrouel's show at some out of the way location on W 21st and 10th Avenue. Bit I was excited because I actually had an invite. I soon learned, however, that an invite doesn't mean squat except that you are guaranteed standing room. Gee thanks, but I got standing room seats in the spring without paying $65 for a press credential. Excuse my crankiness, but it was cold and rainy and I was feeling over Fashion Week before it began.

Once I took my place with the rest of the standees, I had ample time to check out the industrial loft space scenery. Billy Joel's pretty and pretty young wife Katie (she was born in 1981 and the Piano Man was born in 1949, you do the math) was also amongst those without a confirmed seat, so I guess I shouldn't feel too bad. Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley came in and curiously took a seat towards the back.

After about a 25 minute wait, I got a decent seat and enjoyed the show. The clothes were extremely wearable. Layers, earth tones, pinstripes, and pleated school girl mini skirts seem to be trends for Fall. Hot colors include olive, purple, gray, chartreuse, and black.

Friday evening I went to Bryant Park and was finally able to pick up my press credential. With no invite necessary, I got standing room for the packed Nicole Miller show. The bohemian collection was inspired by "a modern day Joan of Arc" and featured a bevy of metallic dresses in gold and silver, hooded capes, and a modern take on "the little black dress."

I also popped in an exhibition at the Steinunn showroom where live models wearing creepy yet cool white face paint posed alongside and were at times indistinguishable from mannequins. Next up was "Project Runway" designer Victorya Hong's show at the Altman Building in Chelsea. Plenty of "Runway" cast members past and present were in the front row including first season winner Jay McCarroll and this season's super talented but truly annoying Christian. Hong's Nabe line looked like something you'd find at Macy's -- lots of suiting and separates in black and white -- but so far I hadn't seen anything in terms of presentation or design that really blew me away.

That all changed Saturday night with Alexandre Herchcovitch's show in "The Tent." First off, I'd never seen a show in the big tent. Fashion Week staple and "America's Next Top Model" judge/photog Nigel Barker was in the house. And photographers frantically snapped photos of some downtown "it" girl in the front row. I googled and found out it was Leigh Lezark, but I still don't know why she's famous. Miss USA Rachel Smith also sent bulbs flashing. At first I couldn't place the face, but then I remembered Rachel was on MTV's "Pageant House." No disrespect to the stunning beauty queen, but OMG you have to check out the You Tube clip of her free fall.

Back to the show, where the true stars were Herchcovitch's minimalist collection (see lead photos) and compelling production. The lights dimmed and a recorded voice echoed: "People, all different, sitting in the darkness, all wondering....what is behind that curtain?" Then the models emerged. The techno beat pulsed. Brilliant. I actually got chills. The first half of the Brazilian designer's collection was all black. Black dresses in modern, geometric shapes and a variety of lengths. The second half of the collection showcased flowing sheaths in vibrant colors and bold patterns. The last dress was bright orange, a perfect contrast to the sea of black dresses that opened the show.

My final show of the weekend was Verrier, a "From Russia With Love" meets Upper East side, ladies who lunch collection. I loved the crystal-encrusted, pretty in pink cocktail dresses, but most of the clothes were a bit old-fashioned for my taste. And why the heck did the models have on white bras showing underneath their sheer blouses?

(some photos courtesy of