I wore… Skirt: American Apparel, Blazer: Topshop, Shirt: Whistles, Boots: Massimo Dutti & Bag: Mulberry
I may have bitched about the cold endlessly during day 1 of New York Fashion Week but it was nothing, and I mean NOTHING compared to the weather on day 2. Despite my stubborn refusal to listen to the stormy predictions, I awoke to a snow shower which soon turned into a full on blizzard! Suffice to say, my plan to wear the Nicholas Kirkwood for Erdem silk shoes I picked up at his sample sale did not happen but rest assured, those babies will be getting an outing another day. Instead I went for this little ensemble, with my Sandro coat and Maje fur hat over the top it was almost temperature appropriate. Once again I woke up far too early but I wasn’t sure whether it was due to jet lag, or I was just way too over excited about the day ahead of me. It was going to be a long one, and thanks to the snow a pretty damp one too, but given the designer line up in store I didn’t care even a little bit. After a much needed trip to Starbucks I made a half hearted attempt to get the subway before giving up and getting a taxi. My first port of call was the chic streets of Chelsea for the Kate Spade New York presentation.
Kate Spade is one of those brands that you either love or hate and personally, I’m head-over-heels for it. Despite my early morning excitement, by the time I arrived at 548 West 22nd Street I was feeling bedraggled, cold and frankly a little bit moody. But the second I entered the venue all weather induced angst instantly melted away as I feasted my eyes on the riot of colour popping confections before me. Much to my delight the collection was a fabulous homage to Kate Spade’s beloved hometown, New York. A little bit Studio 54, a little bit tongue in cheek and a whole lot of fun is what we’ve come to expect from the brand and in their 20th anniversary year, every girly girls favourite label did not disappoint.
Polkadots, bows, neon brights, animal prints, boucle tweeds and shimmering metallics were all on the menu, styled to max Park Avenue Princess effect with big hair, shocking pink talons and lashings of glitter. As far as I’m concerned you can never, ever have too many cute details in one collection and as per usual, Creative Director Deborah Lloyd delivered adorable adornments in spades (pun intended). Ankle straps complete with playful charms, cartoon prints, embellished Mary Janes, vibrant tights and kitsch clutches were just a few of the little lovelies that made my heart skip a beat. I ventured back out into the now sleeting streets with a smile on my face… what more could you ask for in a presentation?
Having entirely given up all good intentions of taking public transport by this point, I made a beeline for the nearest cab and headed uptown to the Jenni Kayne presentation. I was sorry to hear that the designer herself wouldn’t be there (her flight from LA was cancelled thanks to the snow) but her collection had made it and was every bit as covetable as expected. Jenni Kayne is all about fusing the fashionable with the wearable. For AW13 she delivered an array of chic city staples that illicited sighs of longing from everyone in the room but you could also imagine going to work in. Jenni’s trademark relaxed tailoring had been given a new season update with bold leopard prints, scarlets and modern tweeds sitting alongside monochrome and neutral shades. The collection was all about giving understated pieces an ohmigod-I-want-it edge, think simple black shift dresses with fur trimmed skirts and glimmering metallic blazers paired with low key cigarette pants. You can always rely on Jenni Kayne to complement her clothes with equally fantastic footwear as next season’s offerings contained a truly tantalising ponyskin style, availble in both a flat and stiletto heeled version.
By this point my stomach was rumbling so I slid my way through the slushy streets in the direction of Pret a Manger. One regrettably spicy wrap later it was time to head uptown for one of my most-anticipated shows, Jason Wu. After being turfed out of my cab due to a road block I joined the hoards of die hard fashion weekers battling their way up Park Avenue in the snow. If I hadn’t been so cold and wet the scene would have been quite comic but I was so instead of lolling at the ridiculousness of the sitution I pulled my furry hat ever further down over my face and concentrated on putting one impractically high heeled foot in front of the other without falling over. The venue itself exuded old school, Upper East Side glamour with black and white floors so shiny you could see your face reflected in them and a vast, floor-to-ceiling chandelier taking pride of place in the centre of the room. As expected at Jason Wu, the FROW was a veritable fest of famous fans and fashionable faces with everyone from Miroslava Duma to Jamie King and Girls star, Allison Williams. I have to say, I felt incredibly sorry for the poor PRs as orchestrating a show in that space looked like an absolute nightmare. Aside from trying (and failing) to keep guests and their sludgy shoes off the gleaming floor the weather put a major spanner in the works and several major Editors only just made it in time for the doors to close! Uber blogger, Leandra Medina (AKA the Manrepeller) arrived so late that rather than taking her usual place on the first or second row, she ended up standing. To her absolute credit Leandra handled the sitation with such grace that I was even more impressed by her attitude than her super chic beanie. At last the show began and what I show it was! Wu had promised us “extreme feminity” and that was precisely what he delivered. The designer built on the boldly seductive aesthetic he surprised us with last season, offering up sculpted silhouettes, razor sharp shoulders, cinched waists and masterful tailoring in a palette of slick monochrome shades punctuated with hits of caramel and flashes of red. Of course, it wasn’t all black, white and buttoned up to the chin. The designer also offered up semi-sheer lace printed plastic trenches, luxurious fur trims, delicate polkadots and exotic skins. Few do dream dresses quite like Jason Wu and his latest collection included several so stunning it was all I could do not to start dribbling. Leather strap detailing gave sweetly pleated chiffon cocktail numbers a bad girl flair and the final floor sweeping cobalt blue goddess gown to hit the catwalk was nothing short of mesmerizing.
Jason Wu AW13
Like last season, I left the Jason Wu show feeling exhilerated and longing for a red carpet moment. Being pelted with snow seemingly from all directions interrupted dampened my mood a little bit but frankly, I didn’t have time to let it bother me. As I mentioned, or rather ranted about on day 1, finding a free taxi in Manhattan is often pretty difficult. Add a blizzard into the mix and you may as well not even bother! After trying, failing and getting frozen in the process I gave up and made for the subway. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty tempted to call it a day and head home to the warmth of my pyjamas but I managed to force myself back uptown to Lincoln Centre for Rebecca Minkoff. Much as I adore gazing at a couture worthy catwalk spectacle, sometimes it’s nice to look at clothes I could really see myself wearing, that is if I could afford to. You can always reply on Rebecca Minkoff in this respect and her latest array of cool girl creations were simply excellent. The designer treated us to a selection of easy going separates ranging from low-slung leather minis and boyfriend fit pinstriped trousers to cosy cute knits and slogan t-shirts. Outerwear was good enough to eat and must-haves included a caramel leather trench coat, camo print numer and tweed leather-sleeved aviator jacket complete with supersized fur collar.
Rebecca Minkoff AW13
Say what you like about fashion folk but you can’t accuse them of lacking commitment. As the snow storm worsened and the news warned people to stay inside after 7pm I emailed a couple of PRs who’s clients shows or parties I was meant to be attending in the evening. They all replied that the event in question would of course be going ahead and seemed vaguely surprised I’d even think otherwise! Not that I was complaining though, given the awesomeness of New York Fashion Week’s after dark evngagements the idea of a cost evening in has never held less appeal! The rest of my day (and night) would be spent downtown in my spiritual homeland and
fingers crossed if I win the lottery future home, the West Village. After a hastily stuffed panini (not a satisfying supper by any stretch of the imagination) I headed to the ever so trendy Pace Gallery for my penultimate show of the day, Helmut Lang. By this point my ankle boots had admitted defeat and pretty much filled up with water. My footwear frustrations weren’t helped by style icon/girl crush Taylor Tomasi Hill arriving in world’s chicest sheepskin lined (and flat) boots, instantly making me feel like an idiot for wearing heels. Despite the weather the venue was still pretty full and it appeared the only non-attendees were a handful of FROW-ers. This worked in my favour when I was bumped up from the second to the front and treated to a fantastic view of the collection. I’m not and never will be a Helmut Lang girl and suspect I’d look ridiculous trying. That said, I’m always in awe of the brand’s inimitable aesthetic, not to mention their commitment to using large amounts of leather. For AW13 husband and wife design duo, Michael and Nicole Colovos drew inspiration from the Cubist art of Picasso, an influence evident in their multi-textured patchworked fabrics. Of course, being a Helmut Lang collection, there was nothing winesome or whimsical about this patchwork which consisted of sharply tailored, monochrome looks made up of fashion friendly materials ranging from PVC to ponyskin. So far I’ve seen enough fabulous outerwear to make me almost want to skip Summer altogether and this show was no exception. There were minimalist wool overcoars, shearling lined bikers, glossy calfskin bombers and one truly tantalising blue black rabbit fur confection. A finale of ice cool blonds sporting oil slick black brought the show to a suitably low-fi-luxe conclusion.
Helmut Lang AW13
With just one more show to go, I could almost taste the post-shows/pre-party Pinot Grigio and set out for Milk Studios at high speed. Unsurprisingly there were no free taxis to be seen and my umbrella chose that exact moment to completely disintegrate. I decided to “start walking in the right direction” on the assumption that I’d find a cab along the way but naturally, I didn’t. By the time I arrived I was caked in snow and looked like a small and no doubt quite angry yeti. Every fashion week there’s always a certain point where you stop caring what you look like and at that moment, I reached it. Luckily I was not the only one looking like I’d been exploring the arctic so at least we could all commiserate together. I think if a show’s held at 8pm on a cold Friday night, it really does have to be a good one. Thankfully SUNO always is and this time around they certainly delivered. I’m a sucker for print and while designers Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty’s latest collection was considerably less pattern packed than last season’s it still featured a few crackers. Folksy prints were married with city chic tailoring with an added “wow” factor by way of gobstopper crystal embellishment. On paper the idea of combining florals and tartan with pinstripes and crisp white shirting sounds like sartorial sacrilege but on the SUNO catwalk it oozed playful insouicance. The label is a major fashion insider favourite and it’s certainly not hard to see why. Creating garments that are both pretty and cool is no mean feat but Beatty and Osterweis absolutely nail it.
After four shows, two presentations and four Starbucks lattes day 2 was still far from over. Having been uncharacteristically sensible for the previous two nights, blizzard be damned, I was going to party. I don’t even know how to begin to describe the hilarious insanity that ensued but don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it soon.
Love Ella. X