Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Caroline and Oscar

Backstage at Carolina Herrera's Fall 2008 Collection.
By Jamee Gregory

Never trust the weatherman!
My run in the park was rudely interrupted by the arrival of snowflakes after WINS promised no precipitation until the afternoon. Dashing home, I changed fast into my brand new suit, covering it up with a raincoat. What fun is that? Hailing a cab, I rushed down Fifth, stopping off to see Tiffany for a blow out at Cornelia Day Resort.

By the then the weather really started to rip. Giant flakes descended in a sea of white. Covered in hair spray I was lucky enough to find another taxi and arrive more or less on time in the tents. All the ladies were disappointed by the drizzle. Even Neiman Marcus’ able fashion director, Ken Downing complained. Who needs another bad hair day?
Once inside, Renee Rockefeller, Aerin Lauder, Marina Rust and Tory Burch faced off across the front row from Vogue’s Anna Wintour, whose elegant hound’s-tooth checks were blocked by her bodyguard.

From NYSD Socialite's Closet: This Week's Sample Sales ...

Compiled by Wendy Lerman

Who: Valentino and Missoni Two Day Sample Sale
What: Valentino and Missoni's Spring/Summer 2008 Samples for Women will be discounted up to 70% off retail prices
When: 2/13 (10:30am-8pm) and 2/14 (9am-7pm)
Where: Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 West 18th Street (Btw 6th and 7th ave), 4th Fl.

Who: Christian Lacroix, Channel, Valentino, Pucci, and Gucci Sample Sale
What: Private sale hosted by Boutique on 57. Save up to 75% on gowns, tops, bottoms, accessories, dresses, and more.
When: 2/7 thru 2/8 (10am-7pm)
Where: Regency Hotel Penthouse, 540 Park Ave. (@ 61st street), 917.940.9934

Who: Furs by Frederick Gelb
What: Wholesale Designer Shearling and Fur Sample Sale
When: 1/14 thru 2/9 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9:30am-3pm)
Where: 345 Seventh Avenue, 19th Floor (Between 29th and 30th street), 212.239.8787

Who: Showroom Seven Sample Sale
What: Designer sportswear and accessories by A&G Cashmere, Charlotte Ronson, Erickson Beamon, Issa London and more at wholesale and below
When: 2/4 thru 2/14 (9am-7pm) Note: Closed on Sundays
Where: 498 Seventh Avenue, 24th Floor (btw 36 and 37th Street), 212.643.4810

Who: Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show
What: Join 80 of the nation's top dealers feature the best vintage women's clothing and home textiles, including designer label dresses, gowns, coats, suits, jackets, belts, handbags, shoes, boots and more. Admission is $20. Call 518.434.4312 to RSVP or visit their website at manhattanvintage.com
When: 2/8 (1pm-8pm) and 2/9 (11am-6pm)
Where: Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, Ground Floor, 518.434.4312

Who: Asprey and Baccarat Sample Sale
What: Asprey jewelry, silver, leather goods and women's and men's clothing, shoes and accessories at up to 75% off retail prices. Baccarat fine crystal giftware, decorative items, lighting, jewelry and rare museum pieces are 50% to 75% off retail prices.
When: 2/9-2/11 (9am-6:30pm) and 2/12 (9am-5pm)
Where: Soiffer Haskin 317 West 33rd Street (at 8th avenue), 719.747.1656
Do you know of a great sample sale that isn't listed? Have questions about a sale? Email Wendy.
Billy Norwich, Hamish Bowles in a jaunty blue tie, and Andre Leon Talley, who must have received inside information about the collection since he wore a felt fedora, just like the models, sat beside her. Angie Harmon, the only celebrity in sight, was flocked by admiring paparazzi. She sat opposite Bergdorf’s Jim Gold and Linda Fargo.

Everyone was milling and photo-opping in the aisles. On the other side, first row seats were claimed by the tall girls: Amy Fine Collins, Susan Fales-Hill, Joanne de Guardiola, Cece Cord and me. We faced Saks’ heavy-hitting honchos, Ron Frasch and Steve and Karen Sadove, while farther down Harper’s Bazaar’s Glenda Bailey, glamorous in grey flannel and fur and Mary Alice Stephenson, regal in white, faced Tara Rockefeller, Jill Roosevelt, and Jennifer Creel. The ever-organized Phoebe Gubelmann controlled everything calmly from her headset and the show began remarkably close to on time, considering the damp day.

The fun began as soon as the lights dimmed and the spots came up. Sun glasses came out, while both ladies and editors began to write. The collection was truly dazzling and great fun.

The audience was transported to the country, where Tattersall’s and jodhpurs, feathers and furs were given the haute glamour treatment. Why not wear a felt fedora in lime with a five foot feather topping off your hunting cape in metallic tweed, your bowed shirt in chiffon, and brown velvet jodhpurs tucked into patent leather boots?

Mink vests with quilted pockets, patch-worked re-embroidered jackets over citrine velvet jodhpurs, mustard suede boots, corduroys in rust and ochre all evoked a hunting fantasy, with no rabbits or foxes in sight. Beautiful soft chiffon blouses and scarves fell from the nape of the neck in long ties or wrapped the models pony tails, hats sat jauntily, topped off with so many colorful plumes that an entire flock of birds may have been plucked.

Orange tweeds, metallic threads, dark-brown crushed velvets made one long to stalk in the English countryside or ride with the hounds in Millbrook. Long evening gowns dripping in feathers were entrance worthy and would turn heads at any dinner or ball in Manhattan.

Full skirts made a statement, particularly one that was orange with brocade. I loved a chiffon shirt with a velvet ruffle down its front. Who could resist an amber fox vest, even if PETA might get you?

The final evening dress, a rust and silver jacquard vest with feathers, over a china blue gazaar corseted gown brought down the house. Long coats, fur trims, a sound track that chanted “Get out of Cape Cod tonight!” added to the excitement. Just grab your riding jacket, throw it over your chiffon gown, layer a tweed or two and head for the country weekend of your dreams.

Thank you, Carolina, for an enchanting vision and an escape from Monday in Manhattan!
Oscar de la Renta never fails to delight. With nary a celeb in sight, his ladies tuned out, despite the dreary day, filling the Park Avenue venue to the rafters. Oscar’s women, from his elegant wife, Annette, to Betsy Gotbaum, Mica Ertegun, Lynn Nesbit, Robin Gerstner, Ellin Saltzman, Catie Marron, Maria Bonetti, Emilia Krimendahl, Stephanie Krieger, Gail Gilbert, Claude Wasserstein and Marcia Mishaan all loved the show. We were intrigued by the live performance of Regina Spektor, whose haunting voice filled the church space as models moved slowly to the melancholy sounds. The clothes seemed to float along the runway, as straight-haired, fresh-faced girls loped past in all their finery.

Heather Mnuchin, Marina Rust, Amanda Cutter, Aerin Lauder and Renee Rockefeller were also enchanted by the lovely dresses that they could easily imagine wearing to next winter’s galas. Beautiful coats, glistening with sequins, glowing in metallic leathers and shimmering in exotic fabrics or black Swakara fur with embroideries, black and white plaid tweed with black mink whip-stitch trim, all made the idea of winter a bit brighter. Crying for cold winter’s nights, these garments give one more reason to fight global warming. With glamorous wraps like these, no one will want to go in. Perhaps we’ll all have to move to Aspen just to wear Oscar’s gold embroidered shearling? It would be worth it. The Russian sable on the other hand, could keep us here!

Full skirts, with lots of volume, in a wide variety of fabrics, from cotton flower silk-wool dip-dyed and embroidered, to cherry ikat, and bronze silk-wool floral jacquard looked fresh and different, especially when worn under short, fitted jackets in leather and fur.

Heavy cabled sweaters with belts looked great on the slender models. Amethyst was a bold new color, turning up in quilted cashmere knit jackets, knit cardigans with a feathered-sable collar, a silk velvet gown and a satin dip-dyed embroidered gown as well as a taffeta jacquard evening dress. I loved a black and white knit dress with a matching scarf and a stunning white sheath embroidered with black jet in horizontal patterns. There were lovely full-skirted cocktail dresses, with illusion tops, especially a golden one, perfect for black tie parties that are not balls.

The parade of evening gowns offered something for everyone. My favorite was a full-skirted long champagne tulle dress worn under a bronze shearling embroidered vest. I can’t wait to see what the top looks like without the vest! There were very va va voom numbers, one in shimmering green jade silk with an embroidered tulle overlay, a black faille embroidered gown with giant tulle ruffles, and a simply stunning full skirted number with gold leaf embroidery that was glorious. Slim columns in velvet with plunging necklines and a slinky black number with silver embroidery will be perfect for the Academy Awards, provided the writers sign an agreement soon. No one need skip and go naked this coming winter. Oscar’s choices will meet everyone’s needs.

For day there were suits with short full jackets, tweeds and knits in beige, brown and black and white herringbones and boiled cashmeres. Tortoise shell clutch bags and belts in patent tempted. Stretch suede boots in Bordeaux, black and dark brown complimented the city suits, giving legs a jaunty, sexy look. Refined ostrich pumps and satin sandals with bows and diamonds in black and amethyst looked new, peeking out from under skirts. Judging from Oscar’s optimism, a recession is not at hand.

The men in the audience, from PR king Paul Wilmot in his elegant black overcoat, to the Times clever Eric Wilson, W’s dashing Patrick McCarthy, stylish Paul Cavaco and dapper Stefano Tonchi all seemed to enjoy the show as much as the ladies. Park Avenue was a sea of limos as the entire fashion press headed off to investigate Halston’s newest incarnation.