Monday, September 12, 2011

Ellin's Fashion Diary

Prabal Gurung was my first show on Saturday morning.
by Ellin Saltzman

This was the summer that seemed to fly.
It was a summer that saw short shorts on the young -- and sadly the not so young; with high wedge espadrilles, or flip flops -- a great resort look which unfortunately traveled to the city streets!

It was the summer of braids -- especially for the blonds -- one great long back braid, looking especially good on the tennis courts. It was a summer filled with all too many benefits, diminishing the causes, and taking away the importance of local causes such as libraries, local theatres, village enhancements.
It was a summer where fewer people entertained but more people seemed to spend time with their children and grandchildren. It was for many a delicious family time of cookouts, beach outings, bike rides, hikes, and even tenting.
It was a summer when more and more people discovered the joys of surfing -- first the children and then their parents; or paddle boarding.

It was a summer when many ladies of a certain age played golf in the morning (only 9 holes for them) and then lunched, and then played Canasta or Mah Jong all afternoon.

It was a summer of watermelon salads, drinks, soups. And kale salad, soup -- or grilled! It was a summer of extremes -- great sun and warmth or heavy rains and winds. But it all added up to a summer of great weather!
It was the summer of the deer ruling us. Where once they would flee when you honked a horn or yelled "scat," they now just look at you and continue eating your flowers, trees, or grass ... and their families seem to grow larger.
The return to reality after Labor Day happened all too rapidly -- no time to readjust to city life for some of us -- just time for a much needed hair cut and possibly color, and then maybe the shock of trying to wear heels and/or city clothes that must have shrunk with the summer heat in your closets.

I was fortunate enough to hit the opening day of the US Tennis Open. My son and grandson insisted we evacuate our glass house at the beach ... in case Irene were to hit it.

Returning to East Hampton Monday morning my son David said "lets hit the tennis matches." They were great, and a good way to avoid the house without power. The very first thing I noticed was the amount of red worn by the players; with the hottest thing being the babolat red tennis sneakers. You will see them in almost every match. And they are still not available in stores. 

They helped me ease into the Fall feeling and the city.
Red accents on the tennis courts at the US Open.
The first event I attended was  a benefit honoring Valentino, and anyone who has seen the "Last Emperor" knows that the fabulous Val loves red and ended most of his shows with a red finale!

And so it's Ciao East Hampton and Buon Giorno New York and the Spring 2012 Fashion Collections that next Thursday evening with Marc Jacobs show at 8:30.

Hopefully I will be able to tell you lots about the shows and the themes over the next week.

Hope we have fun together and can paint the town RED!

Me with Daisy Soros in Valentino red at The Couture Council of the Museum at FIT's Annual Award Benefit Luncheon Honoring VALENTINO.
Last year Fashion Week was a week later. This seems too early. Going back to school after a great summer, you get orientation time. Going back to work, you may be able to ease into a full schedule.

Wednesday morning the phone rings and it is my friend Helen O'Hagan (we were the Hel and El of Saks; and she was their brilliant Public Relations goddess). She tells me she has an extra ticket to the big luncheon honoring Valentino. Thinking about it, I realized it would be good to see everyone. And everyone. I had a good time kissing Valentino and Giancarlo and Bruce and Carlos. Each greeted me warmly and asked "how is Elizabeth?" They love my daughter as do most people including her mother. 

I wore RED; I no longer have any Valentino clothes as they seemed to shrink; but I knew he liked bright red ... even vintage red Blass. 
 
Thursday early morning I realized I had not written for enough show tickets to fill my day and the column, and the two that I saw were interesting but not memorable. BUT they prepared me for some of the trends that seem to be dominant for Spring 2012.

The first is color. Bright! and floral prints (peonies and roses), black and white, and lots of violet and lilac. Purples in all tones sell well. They sold well when on the cover of Saks Folios in the late 1980s.

Thursday evening was Fashion’s Night Out, so the shows all stopped at 4pm. I am not an FNO fan but I decided to do my neighborhood (Madison in the 70s).  I had heard that Rosita Missoni would be at her store. Fortunately. When I arrived there (on the corner of 78th and Madison) she was solo, so we got to catch up on the past 40 years!

Angela Missoni, Rosita Missoni, and Margherita Missoni at TARGET Missoni world collection launch (September 7, 2011).
Cathy Horyn and Bill Cunningham, front and center.
Grace Coddington and Virginia Smith of VOGUE.
Rosita looks fantastic, and rumor has it she is 80. I guess work, exercise, being surrounded by three generations, great Italian food which she prepares, and the sexiest 90-year-old husband all contribute!

Rosita was here for the launch of the TARGET Missoni world collection.  They had a one night "pop-up" shop, and the shelves were cleaned out -- even the Missoni bicycles. Target expects this designer presentation to be their most successful as it covers every area of home and ready to wear. I personally cannot wait to log in and go shopping. Missoni style is super, Target prices are right on and their workmanship is fantastic. The collection will be in Target stores and online September 16.

Bill Cunningham has a video on the New York Times site. He is very excited about FNO and his enthusiasm changed my mind slightly. He calls it "New Years Eve" for the retail/fashion/customer world. We now know it does not bring big business; it surely costs more than it makes but it does put everyone in the mood!

Another very smart member of the New York Times is not as enthusiastic about FNO. I am going to make her anonymous but tell you that she looks awesome; she cut her hair and lost 18 pounds on the Jenny Craig diet!!!

FRIDAY: Wake up all enthused about the day. Fashion Night Out did some magic although I seem to be walking like a cripple with my back in an s formation; not a very flattering rear view! Okay, that can wait. My wonder chiropractor Wayne Winnick can straighten me out I hope ...

Television the night before had spoken of truck and auto inspections at tunnels and bridges. “Fine,” thought I, selfishly thinking I was not going to East Hampton. I naively enter a taxi on the corner of 77 and Madison. "450 West 15th Street please."

The cab driver mumbles "how we gonna get there lady?"

I pay no attention suggesting we get to West Side highway; answer is another negative so I tune out as well and he continues his telephone talking. It is 9:30 and my show is at 10 a.m. I am still congratulating myself on being so early!
Gridlock on 67th and Fifth.
I am calling the chiropractor, etc., and returning emails. Suddenly I realize it is almost 10 a.m. and we are now on 66 Street and 5th Avenue. Eleven blocks in a half hour! We finally cross to the West Side ... but not to the West Side Highway, because the driver has now told me he doesn't really want to be driving me in this traffic. I tell him I cannot walk to 15th Street and 9th Avenue, so he follows a bus down 9th Avenue.

At this point I am calling KCD the wonderful PR firm that gives me good seats for shows (more about that later). I tell them there is major traffic and I am sure many people will be late! Obviously they know this. I still don't know why there is such heavy traffic. The whole city seems to be standing still.
An hour and a half taxi ride: $42.
To make a long story a bit less long, I arrive at the site at 11; it's been an hour and a half, and the fare $42. Of course the show has ended. Most people started out in the morning unaware that there was an “official” Terror Alert with police at some locations stopping every car and truck, scanning and inspecting them. This made the city immobile for the entire day.

I was sad to miss Peter Som because he is one of my favorite talents. We met years ago when he was hired to replace Bill Blass after his death. The head of Blass wanted me to check out Peter's work and see if it is right for the Blass customers.   Indeed it might have been. Peter’s own work was excellent and modern. But he was being forced to emulate Bill, which did not work. 

Now Peter is on his own and his collections are super. This Spring 2012 which I had to see online is bright and happy with great colors and bold rose prints. My favorite is a white tee shirt with rose pants. Although I missed the show, I agree with most critics. It is a very very good collection, and it is ageless!
Highlights from Peter Som's collection. My favorite was the white tee shirt with rose pants.
I vowed to find alternate, quicker ways of transportation. I thought of biking but decided no on that. Subways are it although I only know that 4, 5, 6 Lexington lines and the C and F on the West Side (and yes I am a native New Yorker; probably more spoiled than I thought, even though I love the subway). Leave it to my chiropractor to tell me about the L line from Union Square that crosses to 8th Avenue! Now I can go sidewise. So I am learning!

Saturday. My first show is at 12 noon (selective editing). It is off the West Side Highway on 18th Street. It is Prabal Gurung. I like his designs and have seen him with Carolina Herrera; and she has great taste! It is Saturday ... can I chance it with a taxi? I give myself an hour, unsure how to get to the 555 West 18 from Union Square by subway (the address is the Frank Gehry-designed IAC headquarters and a very handsome building).
The Prabal Gurung collection was full of voile or net inserts. I flipped for it in white with the net insert back.
I arrived in 20 minutes via the West Side highway and no Terror Alerts. In the show I got to view lots of folks -- such as: some singer with a cellophane hair bow and Baby Doll dress -- a bit scary, not at all with good taste or style -- and many editors.
 
The Prabal Gurung collection was strong; and full of voile or net inserts. Sometimes this worked and looked truly glamorous and sexy. I flipped for it in white with the  net insert back. I was however seated around a corner.
From Prabal Gurung's collection.
The Adam collection followed, back at Lincoln Center.  I stood on a corner in a bit of a drizzle to find a cab. Many who had been in the same show passed by -- with their drivers. No one offered a ride. Come on folks! we are all in the same business!

I finally got a cab and said to all people also standing on the corner: "I am going to Lincoln Center. Does anyone need a ride?"
Adam Lippes with Anouck Lepere, Ken Downing, and Lauren Santo Domingo.
And a young man said " I think Josephine does.” Up came Josephine, a beautiful young Danish model who travels with her mother (or rather, her mother travels with her). She is 18, and likes having her mother with her. 

The Adam collection is much sportier than Prabal or Peter but it too uses bold floral prints, violet colors, mixed in with whites and some citified denim.  I loved the mixture!
From the Adam collection ...
Sunday, September 11. My son's and daughter-in-law’s wedding anniversary.

Awakened at 5 and played "words with friends," a form of scrabble on my iPad. You can play individual games with many pals; some of whom have my bad sleeping habits, up late, then up early, then back to sleep. Reawakened to hear names of the 9/11 dead being read on TV; it still makes me cry.

After several calls I scrambled to dress; casual clothes for Sunday at the tents which are no longer tents but a structure attached to Lincoln Center. It is all very modern. If you do not have a printed invitation with a seat number you can check in with your bar code and receive your seating assignment. On your way to your seat you can get Tresemme hair products, Fiber One bars, frozen kefir, Fiji water, and if lucky some Maybelline products, and a copy of WWD and the Fashion Daily to read while on line or patiently waiting in your seat. Hefty weights but happy making!

I was truly looking forward to seeing the collection of one of my favorite "new designers," DEREK LAM. Derek designs beautifully tailored American sportswear. Elegant classics, ageless but age-appropriate for the modern middle ... and you know who you are! I realize that I love Derek's clothes because they have the same spirit as my long time favorite designer's clothes, MICHAEL KORS. Derek worked for Michael, it shows, happily!
Highlights from Derek Lam's collection.
The DEREK LAM collection is filled with well tailored and shaped leather pieces in caramel, ecru, and white goatskin. They are chic and simple and can be worn over everything as Mr. Lam shows us. There are some super crochet sweaters, tailored trousers, wrap skirts, and soft voile ones. He has some classic dresses; one in an orange kaleidoscope print worn with a marine print hat. That was followed by marine kaleidoscope print separates. In all, the collection was sophisticated and elegant, which was highlighted by the hair (Orlando Pita for Phyto) which was simple, sleek, slicked back in straight pony tails.

TRACY REESE seems to know her customer and gives them what they want. Feminine clothes, color, and multiple shapes. She does shorts, tap pants, rompers, full skirts, pencil skirts, maxis. Her looks were romantic in part, and shown with parasols which obviously emphasizes the point. In contrast to Derek Lam, the hair was tousled and wavy. Slick is not Ms. Reese's goal.
Tracy Reese does shorts, tap pants, rompers, full skirts, pencil skirts, maxis.
DIANE VON FURSTENBERG showed to a star-studded audience of fashion talents. Valentino apparently sang "My Way" at a party Carine Roitfeld gave last night! Oh I wish I had been there. He and Giancarlo are pals of Diane's as is Oscar de la Renta. They could have played a trio at the show.

At any rate I admit to not receiving a ticket to the show but I also admit to looking at the photographs and the show looked grand! Diane showed several shapes. She opened with a great white dresses; some prints in varied shapes; and striking American sportswear of bermuda shorts and blazers! The hair was beehive all the way, that and the bermudas were very late 1950s and early 60s but it worked. For evening it was jumpsuits and great column dresses.

Well done Diane. Hopefully next season I might see the collection in person.
From DVF Spring 2012 collection.
It was an interesting day of diverse shows; only three of which I mention. It is also an introspective day.

Sad to say our only hope and expectation for an American tennis champion (Serena Williams) to win the tournament fizzled as a sleek sporty-chic Australian Sammy Stosur destroyed her in 2 sets. Sam played a sensational game, and wears great tennis clothes, very sportif. They have the look of clean Blass/Kors/Lam/Som.

Fortunately after tomorrow's men's finals I will have to dedicate myself to fashion full time for four days. Happily I cannot do that!

Here's to the next week ...
 
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