Upon looking back, I realize it's one thing to cover Fashion Week. It's quite another to covet the clothes. After seven straight days of attempted objectivity, trying to make sense of the emerging images, ideas, trends and designers, there's always this little voice in the back of my head imploring, "Yes, but what about me? What, in all this, do I have to have? Or what, at least, if I could afford it, would I desperately want?" People always ask me what my favorite shows were. The truth is, sometimes I will love a show, but more than that?, I would adore having certain items in that show. So here's my list of all that I covet from the Spring 2009 shows and why:
Every single thing in Ralph Rucci's show, as always. Not only is he America's only couturier, a successor to Jimmy Galanos, but everything he makes is timeless, elegant and a true work of art. If I could afford it, I would only wear Ralph Rucci and Michael Kors. This year, his show was lighter, younger and even more beautiful than ever, if that's possible. Forgive me for gushing. Ikram Goldman should dress our First Lady in his clothes.
Michael Kors slashed a little here, deconstructed a little there and actually showed pastels for the first time in memory. But he still turned in his beautiful feminine clothes with just enough edge to keep everyone on their toes. The man can do no wrong -- I wanted it all. His main accessory was a necklace made of gumball-sized Plexiglas beads, created by one of my favorite jewelry designers, Alexis Bittar. His work in resin, gold, silver and now gemstones has garnered him kudos and awards. He doesn't create costume jewelry; his pieces are affordable, original luxury ... which brings me to my next most covetable accessories ...
Kara by Kara Ross. For several years, Kara Ross has been creating showstopping fine jewelry and handbags at heart-stopping prices. But now Kara has come up with a line of affordable jewelry called Kara by Kara Ross. These whimsical, delicious and totally original pieces include starfish cuffs, vintage knot jewelry and deconstructed timepiece chain necklaces. All brilliant.
Derek Lam's navy crepe blouses (which would look smashing with Kara's vintage knot necklace). The classic simplicity of his line was a joy to watch and covet.
Everything Donna Karan ever drapes, I want. This season's ode to the elements was a knockout...Thakoon! How I love his subtlety and craft. His simple shapes are intensely modern and classic at once...Mark and James, as in Badgley Mischka, turned out one of their best shows. The glitz was still there, but toned down. And the clothes, both day and evening, were perfectly exquisite...Francisco Costa's floating cotton candy coats and dresses for Calvin Klein, which looked as comfortable as they were dreamingly beautiful... Jason Wu, the new Oscar de la Renta. Perfect for the younger ladies who lunch, and do just about everything else... the dazzling brights in bold sportswear shapes by Rachel Roy, whose talent grows every season...And for pure, punchy, all-American fun, no one beats our own hometown hero, Isaac Mizrahi. He not only puts on a great show, but he puts together great clothes. This year, very much inspired by 40s and 50s greats.
Now understand, there really is a class, or caste system at Fashion Week. It's a clubby, unspoken snobbism about something that dare not speak its name. O.K., I give up, I'll speak it: commercial.
Anyone considered too commercial is usually passed over by the Fashion Nuns, the editor ladies in black. That is, unless they buy tons of advertising in the nun's own magazines. These nuns make sure to uphold the true religion that is fashion. In reality, there are any number of houses that make great, wearable, pretty clothes. Diane von Furstenberg and Tory Burch made wonderful day and cocktail clothes. And, for all-out evening glamour, Carmen Marc Valvo makes some of the most beautiful, wearable evening wear on the planet. I would love pieces from all their collections, this season and every season.
And so, I can dream. As the action, for now, passes on to Europe, I mull over my loves. In fact, going to the shows season after season resembles nothing more than going to your first high school dance...so much you desire, yet so little you can actually have.