Monday, September 13, 2010

Ellin Saltzman's Fashion Diary

Friday, September 10, 11:30 arrival at Lincoln Center. See many chic people entering Avery Fisher Hall following a be-suited Andre Leon Talley (thank heavens he is out of his robes!) and an always chic Hamish Bowles (both are very special editors at VOGUE). Quickly realize that this well dressed and recognizable group are NOT going to the fashion tents but rather to a luncheon in honor of Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel, Fendi etc., brilliant designer — See DPC’s Diary).

He is a young designer, born in Melbourne Australia. His first collection was for Spring Summer 2008. He has received excellent press coverage, in particular a 2008 VOGUE editorial on "people to watch.” He does not seem to have any real retail presence in specialty stores but does have a private clientele. However BARNEYS had a team there to see the show so perhaps ...?

Michael specializes in digital and manual artwork printed on several fabrics. The prints are very colorful and shown over white or even eggshell leather. His looks are all layered but delightfully light and fluid looking. Almost everything is asymmetrical — skirts, dresses, tops.

Two fascinating things took me back to the 1950s: he had starched white collars and fronts under many of his clothes. Could this be the return of the "dickey"? The models had very flat and lacquered tight "page boys." A look which people way back when would accomplish by setting their hair wrapped around a sanitary napkin!

I am hoping that in the future we will see more of Michael. I would like to be a retailer working with him to make the collection a little bit more saleable. So some of us could buy and wear his pieces. 
Photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America.
September 11: The perfect sky and temperature. Very similar to nine years ago when I was late to Liz Lange's show. It was fashion week then. Fortunately the only catastrophe was Federer's loss in the semi finals. Preventing a Nadal/Federer final.

A brief shift: I took a taxi to the Lincoln Center show tents. My driver said to me "They have fashion shows here? What a waste of money. Everyone looks alike with jeans and tee shirts"! Ummm...think I. The driver then explains that in India women dress with beautiful saris in different colors and wrapped differently; and in Pakistan, his home, the women embroider their own dresses so they look individual. I told him I might include this in a column. He is very excited and took down the name, asking when??? I will admit it did make me think (admittedly I was in white jeans and a black tee shirt and shirt. Saturday casual as well as a refusal to admit summer is over).

The tents are functioning better than Friday. Essie is giving mini manicures; Tresemme is doing quick hair; Maybelline is already out of all the mascara they were giving out!

"Get here very early tomorrow when we get the refill order!"

People are very busy on their laptops in areas set up for them. Fiji water is in containers surrounding the tents; only complaint is the bottles are warm.

But best of all are the "card readers"! All emailed invitations have a confirmation barcode number and a logo to be read. Just as at airports you scan this and "voila" your seat assignment pops out! It’s a small printed ticket about 1/4 the size of a boarding pass...but it works! If you are puzzled they have people standing there to help. Note the more established designers with a slightly older clientele attending their shows do not have this. They are sending out their printed invites as always. They call it the "old way"

a brilliant newcomer to the fashion scene. His business opened in 2009. He has dressed Michelle Obama, as well as Oprah Winfrey, and that sexy cougar Demi Moore. Prabal was born in Singapore but raised in Katmandu, Nepal. He did work with Bill Blass which may explain his way of showing in groups; with the finale matching the start. It works brilliantly.

Signaling a return to COLOR for Spring 2011 he opened the show with fantastic bright color block MID CALF length dresses. They were in coral, saffron gold, aqua (which I call turquoise), and red.

The opening dress will be photographed by many as it totally works. It is sleeveless, skinny, mid- calf (here the length looks young and not dowdy). He followed all his color block dresses (and these may have been in lightweight cashmere. I was not close enough to tell) with shaped, curvy, intricately detailed but never overdone, or glitzy black, and also white dresses, as well as a smashing tuxedo with black lapelled white jacket and black full pants.

His finale were mid-calf evening dresses in saffron yellow, in red, in coral/orange, in clear red, and in aqua/turquoise and in black and white. Perfect for North South dressy parties, black tie or otherwise. Watch for the PRABAL GURUNG label to appear in your specialty stores come February. An exciting collection Prabal! Saleable but never boring.

Ever clean and neat with some great jackets and wider leg pants (this seems to be a trend). He has some young white dresses which are actually ageless. His collection gets more and more feminine every season (he is known as a menswear designer)
Courtesy of and Matteo Volta

Vivienne was born in China but raised in Hong Kong. She never lets her Asian heritage escape her, and this is not a criticism.

Her show was "dedicated to the people of the Silk Road. The summer of 2010 experiencing devastating floods across Asia. In both China and more recently Pakistan. Each leaving millions of people homeless."

Vivienne's collection was a wonderful mix of crafts: crochet, patchwork, applique, and macrame. All the sandals were macrame and thong tie back flats. (Please note that many of these early collections have featured flat shoes. A relief to some and a horror to others).

Her lengths were for the most part short, almost mini, which works oh so well with flats. 

Her predominant color was ivory with touches of lapis and midnight blue and a touch of jasmine print.

Vivienne is a survivor and she looks great as well as very much younger than her Wikipedia profile (born in 1957 making her 53).
Courtesy of and Matteo Volta
HOT HOT FLASH: Tom Ford previews his women's collection for 90 people only. All of them were sworn to secrecy and had to sign a "no disclosure" paper. No photographers were allowed.

It was shown in a 1960 couture manner with the audience sitting on gold chairs and the designer explaining each look. It was a true salon. Tom introduced each look and the personality that inspired him and were showing the clothes (Beyonce, Rita Wilson, Lauren Hutton, Marissa Berenson, Carolyn Murphy and some other very special models and personalities). 

It was a perfect couture type collection with perfect couture like clothes putting other long expensive runway shows to shame (but to be fair showing to 90 is much chicer and more elegant than to 750 or more).

There was a grand tuxedo or smoking, a leopard print pantsuit, and a smashing white leather trench coat. There were some hand fringed dresses and some feathers that I will have to see. All the jewelry was gold and I imagine for this collection it was 14 or 18k.

I am overusing the word PERFECT but that is what the word is ... a collection that we would adore wearing and sounds like one would break out of the recessionist mode to purchase one piece!

BRAVO TOM! I cannot wait to see it!
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