Friday, February 20, 2009

Fashion Week 2009

By Jamee Gregory

Fashion Week 2009 begins with a bang.
My first stop, last Friday, was at the chic shop Ankasa where Sachin and Babi showed their small but chic collection of embroidered tunics and easy pieces. Known for the work they have done for heavy hitters like Oscar and Carolina, this talented duo will make their own mark quickly. I ordered a black tunic with heavy white embroidery and a black shell with a gold bib-like detail.

Bright sun, blue sky, high spirits color Monday as I hit my first big show, Carolina Herrera. The crowds converge in the tents, from Anna to Pat Wexler, filling the double-sided stadium-like rows. The paparazzi snap shots, the ladies stop and pose, discussing the weekend Water bottles are grabbed, pencils taken out. Slowly guests take their seats, as the plastic on the runway is rolled up and the models march out. “Uncross your legs!” shout the photographers whose job it is to capture the fashions without feet in their way. Clothes in shades of purple and mustard appear, in heavy brocades with many layers. It’s over in less than twenty minutes and Carolina takes her bow, dressed impeccably in a crisp white shirt and full black tuxedo pants. The crowd roars.
Christian Siriano and Carolina Herrera Rachel Zoe and Brad Goreski Nina Garcia
CAROLINA HERRERA Fall 2009 Collection.
Tuesday it’s time for Badgely Mischka. James and Mark send beautiful gowns waltzing down the runway. Shimmering columns with diamante bows for trim and tulle floating over sequins look elegant and easy to wear. A sexy slim grey gown seems fit for Ginger Rogers. Flashes pop for the likes of Kellie Pickler, Kim Kardashian and Kit de Luna. Who are they? (One is on American Idol, two an LA celebutante and the third a singer.) There are no Oscar candidates in the tents this season. I sit beside Mila Mulroney. We love the gowns and are intrigued by the platform-like shoes that peep out beneath. Not good for tall girls!
Badgley Mischka Fall 2009 Collection.
After lunch it’s time for Dennis Basso. Security is tight, in case PETA protests, but the show passes without a hitch. Dennis outdoes himself with cigarette pants and sexy sables, worked horizontally in bands. Alligator and leather pants under long vests caught my eye. Hand-painted Chinchilla and Russian Broadtail blocked with back and white patterns look fresh and move gracefully. Short-sleeves make these furs attractive for Palm Beachers. Tweed and brocade, coat dresses, menswear styles and peplums, asymmetrical closings intrigued the audience which included Jill Roosevelt, Somers Farkas, Alex Lind Rose, and Valesca Guerrand-Hermes.
Gail Holeman, Michael Cominotto, and Sabrina Georgiades Kim Raver, Dennis Basso, and Amanda Ross
As I walk uptown I see throngs of women on Fifth Avenue waiting to enter Sephora. I inquire as to what’s happening and am told that the Real Housewives of New York will be in the store. Even a recession can’t stop the cult of celebrity!
Genevieve Jones Filipa Fino Meredith Melling Burke Somers Farkas and Jamee Gregory
Wednesday is a big day. How will de la Renta, Kors and Burch approach this frightening time? Michael summons up his gutsy, positive attitude, sending out nattily tailored suits with slits up the skirts, acid colored furs in green, pink and yellow and lots of black. The house is packed and the front row filled with pals like Jane and Aerin Lauder, Gigi Mortimer, Hilary Geary Ross and celebs like Molly Sims and Rachel Roy. The feeling is bold and cheerful but there are no evening gowns. Short tailored jackets in double-faced white look crisp and sharp. Sleeves make a bold statement. Menswear is modeled alongside.

Kors’ girls will look polished and professional in the year ahead, striding confidently on their way to their jobs. An hour later the fashion world congregates on Park Avenue. Girls in black with fur vests, ladies in elegant suits, gentlemen like Andre Leon Talley of Vogue and Jim Reginato from W file into the church space which has been reconfigured from years past, eliminating many seats. The hand-picked crowd includes real clients like Donna Acquavella, Catie Marron, Barbara Walters, Maria Bonnetti and Robin Gerstner.
Molly Sims Heidi Klum Jane Krakowski
Mario Testino, Michael Kors, and Carine Roitfeld Robbie Myers and Joe Zee
Oscar’s mannequins are confidently lacquered, their bouffant hair making a statement as they stride off to lunch or board meetings, perfectly polished. A black suit, a cocktail dress topped with a large black hat, a terrific tweed coat with piping, animal print jackets, lame prints and pouf dresses come to a crescendo, preceding glorious evening dresses, going from a red column with an enormous bow, to leopard chiffon with one shoulder, to full skirted ball gowns, ending with an amazing black and white confection, so grand and gala that it took one’s breath away. The creation was so lovely that it might inspire one to chair a ball, just to wear it! I salute Oscar for providing inspiration and activating the lust button in the audience.
Grace Coddington, Anna Wintour, Sally Singer, Amy Astley, Candy Pratts Price, and Michael Roberts
OSCAR DE LA RENTA Fall 2009 Collection.
Glenda Bailey and Joanna Coles Marina Rust Connor and Alexandra Lind
Everyone has enough in their closet, so why not offer something irresistible and new? Desire is what fashion is about! I rush home to change into a downtown outfit, fit for the Tory Burch show being held in the Prince George ballroom on East 28th. The weather takes a turn for the worse, with rain changing to snow, but New York fashionistas are not sissies! Hundreds of them turned out for Tory, along with the likes of LL Cool J and Kanye West, as the clothes took a step in a new, edgy direction. Leather leggings, skirts and dresses looked hip yet sophisticated.
Kanye West Ann Dexter Jones LL Cool J
Leigh Lezark Kenny Lane and Tory Burch Amanda Bynes
Gold lame skirts under camel vests with gold embroidery, black Mongolian lamb vests over camouflage pants, sailor belts over a slinky sequined navy column or slouchy jeans looked trendy and elegant. These fanciful clothes were just what girls of all ages would want for the months ahead.

Full of poise and attitude, their jaunty style would assure a good time. They appealed to everyone in the audience from mothers and daughters like Carol McFadden and Willa, Tory and her mother Riva, Gigi Mortimer and her daughter, and my daughter Samantha and me! Now that’s no small feat!
TORY BURCH Fall 2009 Presentation.
Thursday was Douglas Hannant’s day at the Plaza. His ladylike clothes included beautiful gowns in colors like plum and taupe.

Frederick Anderson and Douglas Hannant
One covered in peacock-like feathers captured my attention. Ladies like Debbie Bancroft, Susan Magrino, and Bettina Zilkha made notes. Frederick Anderson greeted everyone with a big kiss. The Edwardian Room lent itself to the presentation. Goodie bags filled with gift cards to the Plaza shops, Kinerase moisturizer and Vincent Longo makeup delighted the guests.

Naeem Khan chose his dashing design studio as the venue for his show. Models stood on platforms as they did at the Tory show, allowing guests to get up close and personal with the clothes. Sumptuous embroideries decorated a long red coat grand enough for the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera gala, along with slinky silver pants that will certainly top my shopping list. Full black-sequined skirts, beaded cropped jackets, crystal-covered columns, dazzled guests like Mary Alice Stephenson, Princess Alexandra of Greece and Katarina Pavlos.

Fashion Week highlights the talents of many skilled New Yorkers, from designers to pattern makers to models, publicists and producers. The high energy, the beauty and drama of each show displays the creativity and drive that will help lift our spirits no matter how bleak things seem at the moment, guaranteeing that the future will be brighter. Attending these shows is a great privilege and loads of fun.
Susan Magrino Dunning, Jamee Gregory, Debbie Bancroft, and Bettina Zilkha
DOUGLAS HANNANT Fall 2009 Collection.

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