Thursday, September 11, 2008

7 years later

Outside the tents in Bryant Park.
9/11/08. Seven years ago today.

Yesterday was a bright, sunny day with temperatures in the low 70s. Fashion Daze; that’s what it is around New York.

I went down to 563 Park, the Christian Scientist Church designed at the beginning of the last century by Delano and Aldrich who also designed the Colony Club one block south and the Knickerbocker Club, two blocks to the east. A few years ago, an enterprising businessman named Louis Rose (married to designer Alex Lind) turned the church weekdays and nights into a social venue for receptions, art showings, and Oscar de la Renta’s private runway for his shows. Yesterday was the showing of Oscar’s Spring 2009 Collection.
The Delano and Aldrich designed Christian Scientist Church, now also the venue for the Oscar de la Renta Fashion Shows, where guests had begun to congregate before yesterday's 2009 Spring Collection show.
With my trusty new Canon I was able to photograph almost the entire collection of several dozen pieces. Jamee Gregory, who often contributes to the Shopping Diary, was there to report on the collection at the end of today’s Diary along with my photos.
The chairs identified for their special guests.
Annette de la Renta and Nancy Kissinger Robin Gerstner and Emilia Saint-Amand
Boaz Mazor and Lou Lou de la Falaise (who also designed the accessorites for the models) Time magazine's Kate Betts being interviewed before the show.
Teri Agins Allure's Linda Wells and Paul Cavaco
The New York Times' Cathy Horyn Paul LeClerc and Judith Ginsberg (Mrs. LeClerc) and Toni Goodale
Nati Abascal Irith Landau Jo Hallingby
Nina Garcia and friend with Nancy Novogrod LouLou de la Falaise
Now heeere's Jamee ... Wednesday’s bright sunshine made everyone merry. Rain was banished from Big Apple skies and ladies who lunch, along with ladies who work, set off in high spirits for Oscar de la Renta’s spring 2008 Fashion Week presentation, held uptown in the lovely 563 Park Avenue space that doubles as a Christian Science church.

The high ceiling and crystal chandelier create a cooler and more intimate venue than the tents. Oscar’s hand-picked audience admired the black and white drawings that covered the room, evoking a Parisian salon, echoing the private presentations favored by the French when fashion shows were really chic and geared to real customers.

Robert Jangigian and Jamee Gregory
The seating was reconfigured, allowing the audience to sit up close and personal. Instead of raised tiers with two runways, guests were seated on one level and the hoi polloi occupied two balconies.

All the he heavy hitters were promptly in their places by 1:15. Saks’ Ron Frasch, Bergdorf’s Jim Gold, Neiman’s Ken Downing could all be seen. While editorial underlings were scattered in back, top guns like Glenda Bailey, Anna Wintour, Pam Fiori, Kate Betts, Linda Wells, Roberta Myers and Nancy Novograd sat with their favorite editors like Grace Coddington, Anna Maria Wilson, and Nina Garcia.

I sat with Oscar’s ladies: his elegant wife Annette looking crisp in white, Nancy Kissinger, Donna Acquavella, Lynn Nesbit, Lee Radziwill, Barbara Walters, Catie Marron, Lou Lou de la Falaise, Hilary Geary Ross, Toni Goodale, Emilia Krimendahl, Robin Gerstner and Marcia Mishaan. The New York Public Library’s charming Paul Leclerq with his adorable wife Judith, and Palm Beach’s urbane fashion writer Robert Janjigian added some testosterone to the group. Across from the paparazzi sat some young customers, including Aerin Lauder and Marina Rust.

Last year’s celebrity appearance by Roger Federer and Posh Spice was matched by the arrival of Jennifer Lopez in a strapless black cocktail dress, an ensemble more photo-oppy than daytime, but she looked quite beautiful. Boaz Mazor presided over the scene with watchful eyes.
Oscar closes out the show ...
Oscar mobbed by the press while greeting Jennifer Lopez.
The parade of models began with fabulous color-blocked maillots, just the thing for summers on yachts, in unusual combinations like oyster and navy, carrying chic totes covered with appliqués. Their bare feet were in bronze brushed -patent leather sandals, their waists cinched with truffle crackled- leather corset belts. A white linen embroidered dress sashayed past, a cream shift with a long coral necklace, a snappy bag on a long wooden-link chain dangled temptingly off a model’s shoulder. Long cardigans worn over straight pants were all accessorized with large hoop earrings. Belts were four inches wide, allowing no room for gluttons.

Poppy, a lovely shade of red, was featured in crisp sheaths and a sleeveless sweater over a flirty pleated skirt. Avocado, a chartreuse green, also worked well with the oyster theme, brightening this collection’s gentle base. Navy and white, spring favorites, also appeared in striped tops, crisp trousers and jaunty sweaters. Navy silk organza was covered with white Ikat embroidery; it also was accented with marigold floral embroidery.
A black and white crinkle chiffon skirt topped by a sleeveless top with a ruffled jabot captured my fancy. What a perfect outfit for a lunch at La Grenouille on a bright spring day! The dress floated down the runway. A navy and white embroidered sheath seemed just thing for private dinners, while a full-skirted white dress with black embroidery would stop traffic at any cocktail party.

A pink taffeta blouse tucked under an oyster and blue brocade coat worn over shimmering oyster pants was another head-turning ensemble. A poppy silk dress worn under a white silk faille coat with navy Harlequin embroidery would brighten any room, giving its owner a rosy glow along with a series of pink faille print dresses.

What about evening? Oscar provided the best gowns so far this week, presenting so many alluring choices that my head started to spin. How to choose between the full-skirted black and navy gowns with strapless lace bodices and organza appliqués or navy silk organza with a tulle bodice and a black embroidered tulle gown with a sweetheart neckline? If only I had a bigger closet! I want them all!

On the skinnier note, there was a shimmering silver maco bead embroidered strapless gown that looked so icy and divine, a white Jean Harlow confection with a plunging neck, a sheer clingy black lace, and a pink floral print silk faille with a ruched bodice that would make me feel like dancing, as soon as I trimmed its train. These were dresses to dream about. Thank you, Oscar, for making my day!

Ever since the first dress my mother-in-law gave me I have always been an Oscar kind of girl. This dazzling collection once again hit just the right note. I pray for a strong economy in 2008.
Last night I started out downtown at the home of Rory and Elie Tahari who were holding a cocktail reception for fashion editors. The Taharis live with their two small children in a fabulous 10,000 square foot loft that once belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Rupert Murdoch.

There is a beautiful terrace overlooking the city to the south including the Wall Street area. Guests were just arriving but our host was kind enough to show me around the triplex space.
The view of lower Manhattan from the Tahari terrace in SoHo.
Rory and Elie Tahari. The living room.
The screening room. Models in the playroom.
From the Taharis’ I went around the corner to their boutique on West Broadway where they were holding a book party for Tatiana Boncampagni and her new book “Gilding Lily” about a young New York socialite who apparently has it all -- including a mother-in-law from hell and an often absent husband and a claque of catty friends.

I’d never been to the Tahari boutique which is spacious with a magnificent chandelier hanging from the center of the room, but last night was also packed back-to-back, belly-to-belly with Tatiana’s friends and fans.
Author Tatiana Boncampagni with her new novel "Gilding Lily." Click to order. Laurie Dhue Scott Currie and Christian Leone
Fifteen minutes in one place, time to go. I hopped a cab on the corner of Prince and West Broadway to go up to Bergdorf Goodman where they were fete-ing Bill Cunningham, the bicycle riding, peripatetic, ubiquitous image chronicler of fashion in New York.

A boy from Marblehead, Mass, he started out many many moons ago as a milliner in New York.

Somewhere in the last few decades he transformed into a photojournalist with a unique beat: recording the fashions of the city, year round, at events, a parties, at the opera, the ballet, and on street corners like 58th and Fifth (where Bergdorf’s is located) or 57th and Fifth or 60th and Madison in front of the Barney’s. He started with the New York Times in December 1978.
Outside the tents on the way to Bergdorf's.
Now he’s a real fixture to New Yorkers who often spot him with his camera, snapping away. Every Sunday the Style of the Times section runs two pages of his weekly chronicle – one being the parties he’s photographed and the second being the fashions he’s photographed on the corners.

In his unique way, he’s also chronicled various aspects of the society of women who are New York. There are not a few women who have become familiar almost to the point of famous because of Bill’s lens. And many are on a first name basis with the man although his “social” life seems to be devoted entirely to his camera work.

He gets around town, through all kinds of weather, on his bicycle. There are few doors not opened to him because he very quietly, almost unobtrusively does his job and moves on. His demeanor is cheerful although quiet and focused. His bearing his humble and modest although if you watch the man go after a shot, he can compete in the arena with the best of them and is determined to win.
New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Bill Cunningham, and Jim Gold
Someone at Bergdorf’s (which is located on one of the Cunningham corners) got the bright idea of doing a series of their windows as a tribute to Bill’s fashion photojournalism with blowups of his columns and his subjects on display with the fashions he continues to record with that sense of composition that belongs to a natural designer.

I ran into him outside the de la Renta show earlier in the day and commented on how later on (last night) he was going to be the object of the cameras rather than vice versa “Oh no,” he corrected a resolute shaking of his head, “I’m going to be there with my camera.” And sure enough, he was.
Rose Hartman Jamee Gregory Montgomery Frazier and Jackie Rogers
Patsy Tarr Mark Anthony and B Michael Mr. and Mrs. Ponzo
Mark G. and Charlie Urstadt Gillian and Sylvester Miniter Adelina Wong Ettelson
Carmen Dell'Orifice Fashion forward from he back Leslie Stevens
Jackie Rogers and Patrick McMullan being interviewed Patrick McDonald and Company
Sue Hoftettler, Thelma Golden, and Lisa Phillips Somers Farkas and Betttina Zilkha
The Bergdorf Windows for Bill Cunningham.
From Bergdorf’s I hiked over to Le Cirque to dine with Arnold Scaasi and Parker Ladd. Le Cirque was packed too. At the table next to us Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber was dining with Lady Lloyd Webber. Across the way Arlene Dahl and Marc Rosen were dining with Bob and Barbara Taylor Bradford, Dickie Moore and Jane Powell, Rose Sachs and friends, and right next door Bobby Liberman was with his daughter Kristen Allen, and when the Lloyd Webber table became available, Nancy and Bill O’Shaughnessy showed up with a friend to try the desserts.

Photographs by DPC/
CLICK here to subscribe to our mailing list.