Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fashion Forward

Zipping down Fifth Avenue. 9:15 PM.
Wednesday, 9/10/08. Yesterday morning in New York started off cloudy and looking like rain. Midmorning it began to pour buckets, the kind of rain where the only way to stay dry is to stay inside. This being Fashion Week, I was imagining the thousands of people attending the shows at the Tents, especially the morning ones where people would emerge from a show into the deluge and without umbrellas. By early afternoon it stopped, but still cloudy.

There are so many many fashion shows this week that it’s impossible for us to cover them all but here is a list of some. The fashion rags will show you the models and the items, so we’ll just try to add a few of the faces that populate the runway spectator gallery.

Betsey Johnson at the 2007 Red Dress Collection show for the Heart Truth campaign.
Betsey Johnson is amazing. She grew up outside Hartford, came to New York in the early 60s and went to Pratt. Her first items were designed for a shop called Paraphenalia which was very cool and hip, really a pacesetter in those days where the hippie movement (and fashion) was just beginning to take hold.

Youthquake Fashion, they called it. Betsey was part of that. She was also part of the emerging scene of Max’ Kansas City, downtown lofts (the SoHo name had not come into use yet), and Andy Warhol’s crowd which included Velvet Underground, Lou Reed and Edie Sedgwick.

In the late 60s she opened her own boutique Betsey, Bunky and Nini on the Upper East Side. Also considered very cool and hip. Edie Sedgwick was her house model. Johnson designed Sedgwick’s clothes for her last film Ciao Manhattan. Rock music was always an ingredient in the design atmosphere, and Betsey’s things were popular with rock musicians of the day. In 1978, she opened her own store in SoHo. Today there are more than 45 stores worldwide.

She’s been a famous or recognizable name in fashion since she started. What is remarkable is her staying power. Most of the “names” including her peers who were around in those early days in the business are gone from the business, and even from life. Because she was considered to hip and quirky back then, one might not have expected such lastingness professionally. But there’s a strong and highly stimulated personality there, with a tendency to prevail. The sensibility that first seemed hip and quirky naturally developed into something modern and always contemporary.

Her 2009 Spring Fashion Show yesterday was in the Tents at Bryant Park ...
Lulu Johnson, Layla Johnson, and Betsey Johnson Amy Lee and Kelly Osbourne Bow wow and Victoria Silvstedt
Patrick McDonald Liam McMullan Patrick McMullan and Anita Sarko
Also yesterday, over at MoMA, there was the Halston Spring Presentation. The man himself started out about the same time as Betsey Johnson, but working as a milliner at Bergdorf’s. Jackie Kennedy wore his “pillbox hat” at her husband’s Presidential Inauguration in 1961, and in no time the women of America were wearing pillbox hats. By mid-60s, young brides-to-be affirmed their fashion eye by having their wedding party headdresses made by Halston. He was the go-to guy; classic design but also very hip.

Halston with Marisa Berenson.
In those days, the Paris frocks which Bergdorf’s purchased (from the couturiers) for their high end customers came with their muslin patterns. Halston used to “requisition” them to practice pattern-making as part of his self-teaching. That was the beginning of a huge business and an enormous influence on American fashion.

The most fashionable women of that decade – Bianca Jagger, Babe Paley, Liza Minnelli, Anjelica Huston, Elizabeth Taylor, were dressed by Halston. He’d made a multi-million dollar a year business (very big numbers for “designer” businesses in those times), and launched a perfume with a classic bottle design. A corporation came along to buy him. He was rich.

He was as famous as his clients. The life of the man, however, began to go into a tailspin by the mid-70s. It became a classic parable of too much too soon.

Although the Halston name still retains the promise of that classic chic and has morphed into an international popular brand, the spectacular career of the man had fallen by the wayside by the time he died at 58 in 1990. Nevertheless, like some other Gods and Goddesses (and Sacred Monsters) of the Fashion World, Halston, the name, endures, a tribute to the creative genius of Roy Halston Frowick from Evansville, Indiana.
Bonnie Takhar, Padma Lakshmi, and Phillip Bloch Harvey Weinstein and Ken Downing Hilary Alexander
Stan Phillip Bloch and Tamara Mellon Massimo Suppio and Mercedes Castillo Jody Furlong and Bayo Furlong
On Monday, Proenza Schouler showed their Spring 2009 Collection at the Armory ...
Glenda Bailey and Stephen Gan Tory Burch and Nadja Swarovski Kelly Klein and Aerin Lauder
Kanye West Billy Norwich, Helen and Tim Shifter, and Amanda Cutter Brooks
The PORTS 1961 Spring 2009 Fashion Show designed by Tia Cibani, was shown at the Tents in Bryant Park, with the After Party at Revel.
Stan Herman Brandy and Gigi Leung Olivia Palermo and Karen Eldad
Jennifer Sample, Kim Hastreiter, and Mickey Boardman Joy Bryant and Brandy
The Christian Cota Spring 2009 Fashion Presentation, was held Monday at the Altman Building ...
Sarah Wolfe, Agathe Planchon, Alejandra Cicognanii, Angelica Labastida, Christian Cota, and Yaz Hernandez Mayraher Nandez, Belen Hudson, and Renee Domingo
Peter Som, staged his Spring 2009 Fashion Show at Promenade at the Bryant Park Tents ...
Thelma Golden Kate Mara, Elizabeth Banks, Nastia Liukin, and Maria Sharapova
Michael Roberts and Elizabeth Saltzman Walker Tinsley Mortimer Robert Burke and Julie Macklowe
The Catherine Malandrino Spring Fashion Show was held at the Chelsea Museum on Monday ...
Caroline Issa Emily Current and Merritt Elliott Amanda Hearst
Veronica Webb Darling Caite and James Goldstein Catherine Malandrino
Luca Luca held its Spring 2009 Fashion Show Monday at the Tents ...
Luca Orlandi and Raul Melgoza Serena Williams May Anderson
Lindsay Price, Raul Melgoza, and Perrey Reeves Carol Alt, Ivana Trump, and Julie Hayek
Over at the Hammerstein Ballroom, Isaac Mizrahi held his Spring 2009 Fashion Show, also on Monday ...
Isaac Mizrahi Billy Norwich Virginia Smith
Hal Rubenstein Teri Agins Lynn Yaeger
And at Eyebeam, NYC, also on Monday, THAKOON held his Spring 2009 Fashion ...
Hilary Alexander Lauren DuPont and Lauren Santo Domingo Anna Wintour Karen Duffy and Olivia Chantecaille
Thakoon Alexis Phifer Julie Gilhart

Photographs by ©PatrickMcMullan.com
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