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Ellin's Fashion Week Diary

Anna Sui thanks the crowd.
Tuesday (afternoon and evening), February 12

DENNIS BASSO
This collection marks his 30th in fashion. He had all the generations of blonds out in full (DPC captured many of them, from Joan Collins to Joan Rivers to Martha Stewart and Nina Griscom and Audrey Gruss and Perri Peltz. Not a brunette in place.

Considering the celebration I felt Dennis was very controlled in his presentation Nothing really outrageous. Perhaps that is a sign of the times although the stock market soared again today.
Some of the blondes at Basso: Susan Magrino and Martha Stewart ... Joan Rivers ... Nina Griscom and Perri Peltz.
I play golf as I have said at Banyan Golf Club, a very beautiful course with orchids fused on gigantic Banyan trees. The 9th hole has two alligators; Mommy (or maybe it is Daddy) Alli, and baby. Mommy or Daddy is very large, over 7 feet I would guess (but I quite frankly cannot get close enough to measure him). His son or daughter is now over 4 feet long. Every time I pass them I design a handbag and a wallet to match, but now I will design a fitted bolero jacket in forest green or bright blue as at Basso his alligator and fur pieces are totally extraordinary!

But ironically the strongest pieces in this collection were his cocktail and evening dresses. They were plaid (pale), pale and beaded and sheer, full skirted, gold on tulle, or strapless. At some times they had fur toppings, but the clothes stood on their own in contrast to other seasons and years.

At this rate Dennis has another 30 seasons to go, and a full wholesale/retail career. Congrats Dennis.
OSCAR DE LA RENTA
I have received many many emails this evening asking, "Was he there?" Did he take a bow? Could you tell the difference? Did he have any effect?" The answers are: No, John Galliano was not visibly there for us; no, John Galliano did not take a bow; but yes, you could tell the difference, and yes he had an effect on the collection.

And it was all very exciting and very interesting. And as Annette de la Renta said to me: "It is different."

The first outfits were mid calf, straight skirted and difficult to walk in. The models had funny stringy hair under funny felt high top cloche hats. Patricia Underwood, the hat designer, said she received a call from Oscar on Friday with a frantic request for hats, and that hey were to have come from Philip Treacy (in London, but plane travel for them was very iffy). She made the hats over the weekend.
The coats and suits were actually beautiful, with circular treatment at the hips and interesting shaping. The colors were aubergine, teal, anthracite grey, ruby, and black.

My guess, which isn't too brilliant, would be that these looks were totally influenced by John Galliano.
Now, I have to confess two things:

1. Oscar de la Renta is someone I adore, admire, and in my past wore. I have been a fan since his early days with Elizabeth Arden.

John and Anna and Oscar.
2. I first saw John Galliano's work in London at Brown's in 1988. His clothes were full of pearly white buttons, I believe. In 1989 I saw his first collection in Paris. Andre Leon Talley of Vogue introduced us (I was working for Bergdorf Goodman at the time). His bias-cut evening dresses were incredibly beautiful, impossibly difficult to fit, but fortunately Bergdorf bought and introduced the collection (luckily they did not fire me then!)

In other words I was fortunate enough to watch a very short term collaboration of two incredible talents. I do not know what the future holds, but think we all should be grateful that Oscar gave John a second chance and hope that it leads to something happy for both of them.

The Oscar collection had some great looks: a black grain de poudre coat dress with a draped middle; a "little nothing," but totally perfect black wool boucle dress with silk chiffon illusion top and black jeweled alligator belt.

He had a totally Oscar tweed suit, with knee length skirt. Some fascinating embroidered pieces with Asian overtones. And a bright citrine embroidered tent dress. Many cocoon shapes joined the tents. The finale clothes were striking in teal and shocking pink and navy and black.

"Bises" Oscar. A truly exciting evening!
Wednesday, February 13

Awakened and immediately ran to my iPad to read NYSD and discovered I had goofed big time as DPC had sent in his pictures of Dennis Basso and Oscar de la Renta, on time for this morning's edition, and I had not delivered my words until close to midnight for tomorrow morning. He won that race and I apologize.

Hopefully we will catch up and dance together. In the meantime I have been in to the Dennis Basso shop twice (crosstown bus from Lincoln Center stops there) to congratulate him on his ready to wear. Everyone in the store is very happy.

Speaking of buses ... and I must get this off my chest ... but a man got out of his seat on the Madison Avenue bus today so I could sit down!!! OMG! Do I look that old? And I thought I had pulled myself together quite well ... clean hair, which is tending to flip much to my displeasure (calling Kevin Lee), soft make-up, great oldie but goodie Fendi reversible long black hair fox sewn into cashmere coat, nice, straight leg black pants, black cashmere tunic sweater. I thanked the gentleman and I stubbornly stood the whole ride!

It got worse. A few hours later on my way to write to you, same Madison Avenue bus, a young lady (although not really so young) did the same. HELP!!!! Next trip will be with baseball hat and brown-lensed aviator sunglasses.

MICHAEL KORS
Have you been reading about all his success? Well, it is totally deserved. They say he is about to become a billionaire. And I remember when. The when includes showing in his showroom with the roof falling down. Of course it had to fall on Suzy Menkes, the terrific writer and fashion director of the Herald Tribune.

Michael remembers all the bad and now all the good, but he has kept his old friends and been faithful to them as well as to his new. He is one of our national treasures! (Fashionese speaking).

He was all about BRIGHTS this season. Opening with royal BLUE in a double faced cashgora (that must be cashmere and angora wool) double faced placket jacket with matching side slit skirt. His blues end in blue camouflage print mink coat over merino leggings.

His blues transpose to HOT TAXI CAB YELLOW in a black sweater with a full full long skirt (as you know I do not like long length but Michael makes some work) He goes on with these bright colors, sometimes in just a royal peplum sheath dress, or in a houndstooth rubberized paillette trouser and shell.
He takes a rest from brights and has a group of charcoal, black and white which suddenly appear joined by NEO ORANGE for him and for her. Another of my must haves; it matches my 1969 orange ford convertible.
The collection ends with some long pieces such as a keyhole back sweater paired with a long skirt, and some super moto jackets and pants and full skirts in black leather. All pulled together with some goggle glasses and some pointed toe and heel shoes and bicolor bags.

On my way backstage I spoke to two of his backers, Mr. Stoll and Mr. Chou. They seemed like very happy campers.

You go Michael! This is great country into city dressing. Sports into subway. You don't mind if I shorten some of the skirts, do you?
NANETTE LEPORE
I have a new group of "seat mates" at some shows. I have hit blogger row. One said to me that she had gone to Harvard Law School, but thought writing about Fashion was more interesting. She wants to send me her work. She and a fellow blogger started to talk about the New York fashion scene and how important it had become in the only two years that it had existed. I was about to disagree and tell them ... but decided what the hell.

Nanette's collection, while not her best, featured some iridescent textures ... and bags in iridescent patterns.
My favorite part of the collection was the midnight violet group: a leather suit, fit and flare dresses, tent-shaped dresses, and peacoats.

One of my seat mates was shooting a film on "Made in America," and Nanette is a star (the other "Made in America" super star is Ralph Rucci!)
There has been a great deal of talk about doing away with shows altogether and showing the collections digitally.

I just watched PETER SOM, the first of the talented new breed of designers on the edge of stardom. Peter opted this season to show only in a digital manner. At 9AM this yesterday morning, people lined up to watch the show. I lined up a bit later on (9 in the evening), and although it was fascinating being the only person at the show (the model was in a white studio) I missed the interactions of others. Quite frankly, what I truly missed was a program to tell me what fabrics I was seeing, who did the hair, what the inspiration was.
I saw some very pretty soft dresses that moved, which made the below-the-knee length pretty and feminine, but still not young.

There were some black and white wools, some chinoiserie-looking prints; all in all a pretty collection of clothes for ladies of a certain age and wealth.

As for the digital approach, that remains to be seen. But they are going to have to reach editors with descriptive sheets and photographs ...
KATIE ERMILIO
It is always fun to look at new talent. It is one of the things I loved doing in my past retail experiences. Marc Jacobs was one of the first; starting with his homemade peace sign sweaters shown at Charivari and knit by his grandmother; Isaac Mizrahi was another; Tommy Hilfiger claimed I gave him his first windows (a nice claim but I am not sure about that).

At any rate I like Katie Ermilio. She is a young lady with style and presence, from Philadelphia, studied at NYU, could interview well, and seems to have a workroom which manufactures well. Let us see what happens, but look for her name and check her out at Barney's. I know that I will ...
PROENZA SCHOULER designs I personally admire. They are sharp, to the point, well-shaped and cut. I did not see his collection this season but I just checked it out on Vogue.com and liked it. What's not to like? It was all simple, stark but not severe, black and white. I think you will like it as well. His rounded shoulder coats and jackets are pleasers ...
ANNA SUI
You have heard me talk about Anna over the past few seasons. Just to quickly reiterate, Anna was a stylist whom all the top photographers and magazines used. She thus knew every model and everyone who was anything in the business and went into design with a huge following of professionals who wanted her to succeed.

The audience was filled with fans. I was fortunate enough to be moved by my friends at KCD to the first row to sit between two super professionals, Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune and Bill Cunningham, the man and the legend and the talent. Bill was all dressed up in blazer and tie. Why I ask? "My waiter's uniform," says he. "I have to go to two charity dinners this evening and photograph; have to earn some money!!!"

Shepard and Kirkland.
He is a very special man, and in between shooting he was telling me about all the great editors of the past and their reactions to Chanel (who inspired this collection). The names Eugenia and Sally were mentioned most; Shepard and Kirkland, New York Tribune and Life Magazine ... and they were a duo ... one very very short like Betty Boop, the other tall and lanky and discoverer of Lauren Bacall.

Anna's collection opened with a red carpet and models coming out of three gold frames. Karlie as number 1 was the star in a perfect bang hair cut, hot pink tights, thick-heeled shoes, lipstick red swirl combo dress and magenta crepe de chine shirt.

She was followed by various combinations of RED: merlot and lipstick red in dresses, sweaters, suedes, and jersies. The mood changed to midnight, sapphire, cerulean and teal ... all shades of BLUE. She had a great navy wool fitted coat and jumper, almost a must have (16). BUT Fei Fei in number 14 coat stole the must-have place; a great TEAL MONGOLIAN FUR coat, but the great thing is that it is fake fur and definitely going in my shopping bag to wear to next winter's shows!
Anna then goes into navy, merlot, and indigo colors along with forest green and black and does some marvelous the price-is-right CHANEL suits! Love the total fakery. And she has some perfect CC quilted bags. Eat your heart out ... these are fun and terrific and probably at least $3,000 less expensive than the real things. Listen to Principessa Saltzman talking. My, how she has changed!!!!
Anna sums up the season with another big trend: the TENT dress, and also the green burn out TUNIC. Her "Chanel-inspired suits" were shown with knee socks and looked enchanting. She also had some Chinese floral prints ... but then my favorite, a GOLD QUILTED LAME coat and dress with gold tights and a great gold quilted "CC" bag. Believe it or not the lame (sorry, I cannot find the accent key for la-may and not lame) coat is another must have!!!!
Anna, thank you for making me smile ... thank you for making us all smile ... thank you for your warmth and humor!

And with that I walked out of the Lincoln Center facility for the last time this season ... kissing all the guards good bye ... and totally forgetting I was supposed to be at a Zang Toi show.

Tomorrow all the shows are off campus so to speak: Ralph Lauren at 10; 11 at St. John's Center on West Street; Calvin Klein on West 39th at 2 and 3; and Marc Jacobs at 8 at the 23rd Street Lexington Armory.

In between I will have time to order a newborn gift for Emanuel Loeb Chajet, born yesterday. It is great news, and like a very tame Auntie Mame I want him introduced to society here!!!!
Click here for Ellin's Fashion Week Diary, Part 1.
Click here for Ellin's Fashion Week Diary, Part 2.
Click here for Ellin's Fashion Week Diary, Part 3.




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