|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.
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 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!
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.