What do Kanye West, LL Cool J and socialites like Samantha Boardman and Lisa Airan have in common? They were all at the Tory Burch presentation last week during New York Fashion Week. Burch held her presentation, which felt like a "happening" in the '60s sense of the word, at a ballroom in Gramercy. On a raised platform in the middle of the room with music blaring, models posed in signature Burch looks: classic clothes with all-American styling. This collection featured accents like belts with anchors, pea coats and mariner shirts. Attendees circled the platform to see all the different looks as the models chatted with each other. Burch punked up her looks by adding sequins and fur to create a military meets Madison Avenue look. The result was fresh and relevant, and very "new economy." For women who don't want to splurge on Burch's mainstays, they can head to the their local Army-Navy store a pick up a pea coat or camo pants, and mix it up with heels, a fur vest or a chunky rhinestone necklace.
Over at the tents, the William Rast show, which is Justin Timberlake's line, was packed with the ne plus ultra of the fashion world. In the front row: French Vogue Editor-in-Chief Carine Roitfeld wearing a white monkey fur chubby, a few seats down from her the Sisters Hilton (Paris checked her hair and makeup in her compact during the show) and American Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, in Prada natch, and daughter Bee. They were both wearing very shiny opaque black stockings that I have identified as both Wolford Satin Deluxe and very expensive at $65 a pop. I can't say much about the clothes themselves - flannel shirts and t-shirts with shoulder pads paired with acid washed jeans and leather jackets. Not to out myself, but I kinda wore that at camp in the early '90s.
Caveat: Herve Leger is one of my all-time favorites. The dresses are sexy, chic and make the wearer feel like a real movie star. Max Azria, who relaunched the line in 2007, has only improved upon the perfection of the iconic bandage dresses adding rhinestones, gradient ombre, and texture. This season, Azria added a larger, more contoured shoulder to some of the dresses which made them look a bit futuristic, but I recently heard a celeb trainer on E! say that the broader your shoulder, the smaller your butt looks so bring on the shoulder pads! There may have been some bold-faced names in the crowd, but I was too far back to catch a glimpse.
Anna Sui puts on a show! Models like Agness Deyn and Jessica Stam sashayed down the runway in colorful dresses with beaded Georgian-style velvet jackets over them, sparkley opaque tights (this is the big leitmotif at Fashion Week this year, at least for me) and turn of the Century (19th) black jewelry by Erickson Beamon. Accessorized within a happy inch of their lives, the models also sported knitted caps with sequin and feather decals and colorful over-the-knee boots. I read recently that Sui carefully chose her fabrics so that her clothing would maintain their essential signature Sui styling but at an accessible price point in these trying times; if she made any artistic adjustments, they were imperceptible.
Ralph Rucci is a true craftsman. Using only the most luxurious fabrics (sable and 7000 ply cashmere), he constructs and deconstructs silhouettes ranging from ball gowns to suits. And each one is a small work of wearable art. The audience gasped and clapped when a model appeared in a feathered cage dress over a caviar-beaded bodysuit that was truly breath-taking. There were also many beautifully designed jersey day dresses with signature insets, paired with over-the-knee crocodile boots. Denise Rich and Deeda Blair were among the couture clients in the front row who jumped to their feet for a standing ovation at the end of the show. I'm just curious: how much for the skin-on-skin honey sable coat?