Monday, February 13, 2012

Ellin's Fashion Diary

To date –
Lost and received:
1 long (really warm) black pair cashmere gloves; 1 Loro Piana chocolate brown cashmere scarf. Note: I am no longer taking off my hat, scarf, or gloves.
Received: 3 Fiber One bars (quite good, 140 calories, giving out in tents, will get more); Nifty boxed set of ZOYA toxin- free nail polish in 3 colors (from Peter Som); 3 bottles Aquafina water.
failure; Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Sunday February 12, 2012

Okay. As I write this, I am now by the Hudson River, off West Street. It is very windy and a bit chilly. Totally unlike me ... I walk up to a big, black wagon and ask for a lift. Turns out they are all going to the DKNY show. Then there was a bus, but that was going to DKNY as well. I was not invited. Actually do not think I asked to be. So I walked east with a big group of Asians to an uptown subway. Only one problem, there is yellow police tape around the stairs, which has been cut in half. It was there for a reason. No subways from that stop. I have read about some lines closing, but did they apply to me? Guess they did.

Finally grabbed a cab, the one before this took some other fashion folks who were not going to DKNY, but were going to brunch! Aha, think I. I deserve a treat today so cab to 63rd and Broadway and go into Fiorello's for brunch before my 2pm show. Brilliant time to eat and read and try to write my Lam review. Egg white omelet is not going to kill me as it is to be another day of walking failure.
A snippet of what I missed at the DKNY show.
Tracy is from Detroit, Michigan. She went to Parsons and then worked in Paris for Martine Sitbon. She has always been known for her use of color and graphic touches. This is, in my humble opinion, her very strongest collection. Very exciting. She covers multiple age groups with coats and pieces.

Some of her outstanding looks: citron, black and ecru, turquoise, and navy coats. The best were fitted to perfection. Fabulous sheath dresses; happy skirts in bright colors (orange being the most smashing), gold sequins, all shown with cowl neck or cocoon shaped blouses; some bulky knits.
TRACY REESE Fall 2012.
Tracy showed a new hat with much of her collection. I call it a citified baseball cap. The peak is longer and rounder and broader, and instead of a back strap there is a tie with tails. Sometimes it works and sometimes you want to take it off and see just the clothes (but I would love to have for golf on a windy day!)

Tracy, like other designers, has some nice winter prints and beaded evening clothes.

Congratulations Tracy. This is a well thought out, sophisticated but not too serious collection. It deserves good business at all levels.
TRACY REESE Fall 2012.
DIANE VON FURSTENBERG (and her designer Yvan Mispelaere)
Surprisingly, this is my first DVF collection in many many years and did I have a good time! First of all, she is the spokeswoman for American fashion, heading the CFDA and being involved in everything; everyone goes to her collection. I was seated across from Anderson Cooper, Barbara Walters (in bright acid green), Barry Diller, Suzy Menkes, Oscar de la Renta, multiple Vogue folks and of course Anna. I know there were many many others there, but this was just on my end of the big tent.
Anderson Cooper. Barbara Walters and Oscar de la Renta.
This collection is strong, it is happy, it is never boring, it is almost never a wrap dress. It is very colorful.

She opens with a great body circling jersey dress (my notes said brown but then I changed to wine; Diane called it Obsidian). I just looked it up, the definition of it as a stone from the days of Pliny with many more terms inserted doesn't give a clue. Let's just say that the opening pieces in Diane's collection were in shades of wine, pink, crimson, scarlet, rosy-red. All in body-shaped pieces and often under an oversized coat or topper. There were print jump suits and pajamas; and some great evening dresses, especially a turquoise strapless one (sorry, Diane calls it seafoam).

For after dark from cocktails to bed, the hits of the show to be were some fabulous black crepe and velvet dresses! These were to die for, and in my case to diet for and then to buy!!!!
Brrrrrrr ... my first show on Sunday. At St. John's Center at 330 West Street. Not where I am usually found.

The show was to start at noon (nice extra in-bed time for reading about Whitney Houston. How sad and tragic). At 12:20 the lights in the giant showplace went dark and Ed Filipowski (head of KCD) can be heard screaming, "turn them back on!" A long ten or more minutes and finally Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune comes flying in ... top knot in place. The photographers (positioned at the end of the runway at least 6 deep) started yelling "Suzy Suzy Suzy," and then the show started.
Ed Filipowski, Head of KCD, keeping tabs. KCD is one of the largest and most powerful (and talented) public relations firms -- they create images, stars, stage shows, and are incredibly decent.
Derek is American, of Asian parents, grew up in San Francisco, and went to Parsons. He trained at Michael Kors before he opened his own business. He stands for good, clean, but never boring, sportswear. He is now also the creative director at Tod's. A fine resume and pedigree.

The collection mixed baby floral embroidered leather with wool double-faced tops. He used white lambskin and ivory fake shearling; wine lambskin trousers and wine soft lambskin dresses. He had some fabulous double-berated pea coats with wide back belts. One in navy was a knockout as was the white one. There are some fabulous knit nylon tulle sweaters, sleeveless with side slits. He showed two for day and two for evening, the knockout being in ivory over a long ivory skirt. He also added some brocade pieces and sequin trousers, part of many collections, but very well done here.

Derek is classy and so are his clothes. An added bonus: great flat-heeled oxfords, especially in gold. Bravo Derek!
DEREK LAM Fall 2012.
Saturday, February 11, 2012

HERVE LEGER by Max Azria

Max and Lubov Azria continue with the body-conscious dressing that was Herve Leger's brilliance. I was fortunate enough to have met Herve when Bergdorf Goodman first bought his collection in 1989 or some such. He was a big talent, but not a business man; and as some talents can be, he was stubborn about his image and design. It was tough. But bondage was hot and so were his dresses!

Now, some of the outfits are a bit more relaxed leaving the bondage themes to boots, girdles, waist cinchers. For great bodies without whips, it does work!
HERVE LEGER by Max Azria Fall 2012.
Friday, February 10, 2012

What a pretty day. Especially as cold and snow forecast for tomorrow (Saturday). I had one show this morning: PETER SOM, whom I like very much as a person and designer. His show was at Milk Studios, a very good site, if it was not at 450 West 15.
I personally find the location difficult! It doesn't work with my walking plans. It does work for many editors who had several shows in that district. They also seem to have cars and drivers!

Peter's collection started with whites ... from nylon chiffon and organza to ivory flannel and a fun furry wrap coat which was simple enough for me to love.
My view of PETER SOM Fall 2012.
He used peplums; some work, some do not (but remember I am not a peplum fan unless it hides instead of extending the hip width). He had some great tuxedo shirts.
Also some patchwork print dresses, which are all seasonal. There were some super shapes in camel and caramel, burgundy, emerald green (especially a satin peplum dress), and burgundy (some jodhpur outfits).

Peter had some tee shirt chiffon dresses, especially a black one which is longer in back than in the front and really works.

For fun there was a patchwork fox coat. It would be a super thing to wear to get photographed at these collections!
PETER SOM Fall 2012.
One did not work, but I know many ladies that might be happy to hear they were in a fashion collection: elastic waist pants!!! If they fit, it's not a bad idea, but all of these were too big and the top was baggy. They were also leather!

His shoes were other thing that did not work until the models learn to walk in them They were sexy, but very high needle-thin heels.

All in all, Peter's collection was a good start to the day.
PETER SOM Fall 2012.
Jason Wu Fall 2012.
Jason has deservedly become hot news and a hot ticket. It started with the beautiful white dress he did for First Lady Michelle Obama at the inauguration, and his stock has continued to rise monthly, if not weekly. He was the CFDA award winner (the Council of Fashion Designers of America; okay, so why isn't it the COFDOA?) He has just done a line for Target and I am sure I am leaving out much more.

Jason is so hot and so popular that I was unable to receive an invitation to his show. I understand, and the PR firm is very good to me, so no malice!
Jason Wu-designed Inaugural dress for Mrs. Obama.
From all that I have seen and read, this collection was intelligent and quite beautiful. It was an homage to Asia; the Mao military, the Qing dynasty (wonder if Qing works in Words With Friends?), and the Hollywood glamour of "Shanghai Express." I have studied the photographs and am sure it will be a great success just as I am sure that Jason will continue to be a great success. He deserves it!
Jason Wu Fall 2012.
Very young and very edgy. Rebecca had some fabulous sweaters and jackets. It is a collection of separates and everything cam be worn with almost everything else. They are worn in layers, piled on without great thought (although I am sure there was great thought on how to pile for the runway). There seemed to be no rules here! For the most part it all works, including the hair, which is just-got-out-of-bed or never-been-to-bed!
Rebecca Taylor Fall 2012.
My seatmate at Rebecca Taylor and Rebecca Minkoff's. He makes his own clothes.
Rebecca's clothes are more grownup than Rebecca Taylor's. And, I think Rebecca M. might have been born before Rebecca T. This Rebecca was a handbag designer when I first me her. I did not know she started her career making "I Love New York" or "I Love America" tee shirts.

Her collection is modern and tailored edgy. She called it "fearless and unfettered." The collection opened with rapper Theophilus London (now if you say you know him I give you points, but he is good fun). Rebecca pairs tweeds and plaids, sequins and bike jackets, body dresses and oversized outerwear.
Rebecca Minkoff Fall 2012.
Prabal is another rapidly rising star. He is a runner up in the CFDA Fashion Fund and is being mentored by Carolina Herrera. He seems to be masterful in tailoring and intricate evening designs such as the black sheer lace and jet beading worn by Joan Smalls.

Prabal's business keeps growing and I wish him well. He is a strong part of the Wu, Wang, Altuzarra group who are closest to becoming the Donnas, Ralphs, and Calvins of the near future (as pointed out by Sarah Mower in her review)
BCBG Max Azria
Lubov Azria continues with her loose geometric color-blocked dresses. Besides fur toppers she adds color-blocked and fabric-mixed trench coats, which work with everything that a BCBG customer would want.
BCBG Max Azria Fall 2012.
is another collection I missed seeing. But how silly was I? Marcus Wainwright and David Neville design strong, sexy, clothes at reasonable prices. It is tough and it is chic. I hope to visit their showroom and no matter what will make sure I do not miss their show next season!!! I was very behind on this. Shame on me ...
RAG & BONE Fall 2012.
is my only excuse for missing Rag & Bone (besides not receiving an invitation). They were showing in totally different parts of town at the same time. The contrast also defines the collections. Rag & Bone was showing at Pier 57 in the Hudson River and St. John was showing in a striking embassy right off Fifth Avenue on 79th Street!

Okay girlfriends: have you missed being able to purchase clothes with the look of Bill Blass and Halston? Have you missed being able to buy well-tailored clothes that need no understanding? That look like they will fill all your needs? I am talking to my generation here. George Sharp has designed a superb collection that is tailored chic, but does not look matronly. This is not the St. John of old, perish the thought (sorry Marie, Bob, and Kelly Gray – the founding family).
ST. JOHN models at the ready.
These are not knitted geranimals. It is double-faced cashmere coats and jackets, off-shoulder cashmere tunics over pants, easy dressing for day and great sequined dresses and tops for night, with some fun but not-overdone feather looks for evening. I have to laugh because never did I think I would say that St. John was one of my favorite collections. And it isn't that I have grown more mature, it is that they have grown younger and wiser!
ST. JOHN Fall 2012.
Thursday, February 9, 2012

JH set the scene yesterday
with the photo (below) of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion structure; and the calm before the storm.

Today, a heavenly day weather wise, for me was a practice session.
Three starting shows did not invite me, one I actually emailed three times as I know the young designer's father and the owner of the art gallery where her collection was being shown, but did not get a reply. Of course she, the designer with big fat Hollywood connections, does not know that I was unanswered so I cannot really blame her! It gave me more time to shuffle papers, organize tickets, send Valentine gifts to my grandchildren.

Got to Lincoln Center early to pick up my credentials. I must further explain that in this Lincoln Center structure there are 4 places for shows as well as Mercedes cars on display and Maybelline, Diet Pepsi, and Tresemme shampoo samples. No one has ever looked at the tag hanging round my neck but it saves having to accessorize!
The scene inside the "tent" ( Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images North America).
Actually the tag also has my bar code on it so I can go to Lincoln Center daily and pick up my seat assignments. Quite ingenious. Means you do not have to stand on a long line for most shows (but once inside you do have to wait for the show place to open). I love radar and gps and bar codes IF they are working. Today, no such luck.

I did not have a seat at TADASHI SHOJI. Not a big problem in this case. The guards all know me by now so took me up front; the girls behind the desk say in unison, "we love Elizabeth," and hand me a standing ticket. For those who haven't heard me brag enough, Elizabeth is my daughter. Very chic, very with it, ex Vogue, ex Vanity Fair Fashion Editor, now contributing editor. She is loved by all.

Standing on line to enter the show two girls are having a major discussion about eyebrows (you see what a world this is!). One of the girls had been working backstage with the makeup crew on the show said "the lips are the key" ... indeed she was right. The lips were red and striking; and the hair was in a semi circle chignon.
Take a seat. Two rows are unnumbered so that is flying "elite coach" Standing becomes seated. Guess who sits right in front of me? A young man in a pink tutu with a pink fur shrug, and a long, bad blond wig. He is very young, I realize. Everyone is talking to him so I finally said, "you look great, but you have to get a better wig." I tell him about wig by mail catalog which has great wigs for very little money ($30 to $50) and that he can order on line. He asks if they have retail stores; I cannot answer that question except to realize he may not have a computer.

The young lady next to him admires my glasses. They are heavy black framed men's glasses (the frames cost $50 dollars) and come from Sterling Opticians on 78 and Lexington. My new look since an eye infection stopped me from contacts for a few months. Mr. Pink Tutu says "you are a walking information stand." I tell him I have been around for a long time and working in this industry for over 50 years; he says I am 1/4th your age I guess. Well not exactly as he is 21; but could be close.
Tadashi Shoji Fall 2012 show.
The show finally starts. His inspiration was the GOLDEN AGE of Shanghai. A modern, opulent, prosperous era when it was called the "Paris of the Opulent."

I confess to not knowing a great deal about Tadashi Shoji, but was most impressed with some of his evening looks (and he did just evening not trying to do all things).
One of my favorites (of course I am a red nut) was flame chantilly lace and pleated tulle tiered cap sleeve dress. Others were in burn outs, and many were lace and chiffon. There was a flame washed velvet and beaded lace cowl back dress that caught my fancy as well.

Sadly my tenth row photography did not do the clothes justice.
Tadashi Shoji Fall 2012 show.
This presentation was in a small studio. The designer is Australian. The sad thing is that neither the program or anything else told me her name. The PR lady, Linda Gaunt, with whom I used to work took me over and introduced me. Sadly it was noisy and I did not write down her name. The presentation was what I call "Log Cabin Chic."
There were some super clothes and boots of her design. I hope to learn her name and tell you before the week is over!
Candela Fall 2012. (Photos: Jason Kempin/Getty Images North America).
Late afternoon. I need to tell you all my promise to myself. Maybe by making it public ... I will keep it. I need to get in shape and lose some weight so I have been going to spin class. You may even know me. I am the lady in the last row who doesn't follow the leader in every move and sits more than she should but still keeps pedaling.

I am also trying to get back into core fusion or exhale mode. But since I cannot do 6:30 am classes, I skip doing both during this time. Therefore I vow to walk to and from Lincoln Center daily. If not both ways then at least one way (I tend to be late in the morning). Today I discovered Le Pain Quotidien in the middle of the park. Did you know it was there? A bit southwest of the bandstand. It is open for breakfast daily!

See you tomorrow. Shows are in three ends of town. West 15. Lincoln Center. East 79. But no excuses!

Photos: ImaxTREE; Pasha Antonov; Kathy Willens / AP.