No matter how much you adore clothes, parties and general fabulousness (in my case, a LOT) New York Fashion Week is a bit of a marathon. By day 6 I my limbs, eyes and just about everything else were aching, in short I was shattered. Despite having dragged myself away from the Phillip Lim party before 1am it took every ounce of willpower I had to force myself out of bed, into my heels and over to Lincoln Centre. Aching limbs, or no aching limbs, there was no way in hell I was going to miss that morning’s first presentation…
I wore… Shirt & Sweater: Theory, Skirt: Carven, Coat: A.P.C, Hat: Vintage, Bag: Anya Hindmarch, Shoes: Nicholas Kirkwood for Erdem.
J.Crew may have chosen to showcase their AW13 collection in about the most basic format imaginable (two lines of models, boys on one side, girls on the other) but Head of Womenswear Design, Tom Mora’s creations don’t need fanfare or spectacle. With J.Crew, the clothes themselves do the talking by way of vivid prints, kalaidescopic colours and plenty of spatkle. But beyond the initial “ohmigod I want it” gorgeousness of it all, the brand once beloved by soccer moms still delivers fundamentally practical pieces, albeit in very pretty packaging. This time around we were treated to brocade cigarette pants, snazzy skirt suits in bright tweed and embellished collars galore. Knitwear and coats were excellent as expected, a particular favourite of mine being a delectable double breasted camel number complete with sheepskin collar and bling trimmed lapels. As expected, I left the J.Crew presentation having put every single look on my AW13 wish list which is looking to be a mile long after this week.
After a much, much needed trip to Starbucks I hopped on the subway (major lack of funds by this point) and made for midtown. Next on my schedule was the Victoria, Victoria Beckham presentation. The venue was a fair schlep to get to but despite my surprisingly uncomfortable Nicholas Kirkwood’s, I made it. The show notes promised a “new androgynous feel” and given SS13’s super girly aesthetic I was excited to see the results of this new direction. I have a lot of respect for Victoria Beckham as a designer and businesswoman and judging from her FROW I’m certainly not the only one. Anna Dello Russo was there sporting a full Prada catwalk look. Other important attendees included Harvey Nichols’ Fashion Director Paula Reed who, being basically the loveliest person in fashion, made a point of coming over to say hello, and LOVE Magazine Editor Alex Fury, funnily enough a former student of my course at Central Saint Martins. Victoria had promised us a departure from last season’s overt feminity and that is precisely what she delivered. The collection was a masterclass in elegant understatement while still retaining the youthful feel you expect from a diffusion line. Silhouettes were simple and lines clean with embellishment kept to an absolute minimum. Everyday separates and immaculate shift dresses came in a palette of neutrals, monochrome shades and rich autumnal hues while fabrics such as softest cashmere, tailored wool, boucle tweed and silk kept things strictly luxurious. Subtly styled with crisp shirting, glossy leather boots and oversized beanie hats, the collection exuded an air of effortless insouciance, no doubt forcing those who voiced their doubts about Victoria Beckham’s design abilities to promptly take it all back.
Victoria, Victoria Beckham AW13
My next port of call was Pier 59 for the Diesel Black Gold show. Inconvenient though the piers are to get to on the subway, they provide such an awesomely atmospheric venue that I had to forgive Diesel for “forcing” me to take another taxi. While getting ready that morning I had spotted someone’s tweet about how much warmer it was and foolishly dressed accordingly. By the time I got to show number three I was absolutely frozen and vowing never again to put such faith in social media! Luckily I was doing backstage so the lovely PRs whisked me straight inside and I got to watch the model run through while sheltering from the cold and using the venue’s WiFi. It wasn’t long before my fellow attendees began pouring in and I was in prime people watching position. Like last season, the Diesel FROW was pretty major with everyone from uber blogger Chiara Ferragni to Editors Emmanuelle Alt, Carine Roitfeld and Giovanna Battaglia. As with most shows, all us European press were seated together so I got to catch up with my friend and former boss, VELOUR Magazine Fashion Director, Violaine. Twenty minutes chatting later the lights went up and it was time for the first model hit the runway wearing a long line black tux jacket, stark white roll neck and skin tight leather trousers; a high fash bad girl look that set the tone for what was to be an achingly cool show. I don’t know whether you know this (I didn’t) but Diesel Black Gold recently hired a new Creative Director. Having previously worked everywhere from Yves Saint Laurent to Calvin Klein, Andreas Melbostad is about as good as it gets and he certainly brought his A game this season. Sharp shoulders and sleek tailoring in monochrome shades were combined with all manner of treated fabrics ranging from distressed denim and waxed cotton to resin-treated wool and well worn leather. Indeed, leather played a crucial role in the collection applied to everything from badass boot cut pants (a far cry from those favoured by the Duchess of Cambridge) to ultra mini mini skirts and of course, many a motorcycle jacket. Studding was another key component of Diesel Black Gold’s new season aesthetic and every inch of the final look – a drop waisted, short skirted, body conscious dress/jacket hybrid – was covered in them. At the risk of sounding like a wannabe America’s Next Top Model judge, it was seriously fierce and left me pondering how to attitude-up my look for AW13.
Diesel Black Gold AW13
After going backstage to meet Andreas (who FYI is utterly lovely) I made for the subway as quickly as my throbbing feet could carry me. Luckily I had a few hours to kill so I decided to go home for a breather. As darkness fell and my fifth (or was it sixth?) coffee of the day began to kick in, I slipped into an evening ready ensemble (and considerably more comfortable heels) before heading uptown for my last show of the day, Oscar de la Renta. Oscar’s show was a major highlight for me in September and this time around I was even more excited because, as you probably already know, John Galliano recently joined his design team. My state of fashion giddiness reached new heights when I arrived and found myself seated on the second row next to former Vogue Features Director Harriet Quick and directly behind International Herald Tribune Editor Suzy Menkes. As for the FROW itself, I hardly know where to begin. It was basically a “who’s who” of the international fashion elite ranging from Emmanuelle Alt and Justine Picardie to Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour. There had been some speculation about whether or not Galliano, who started in Oscar’s studio less than a month ago, would be working on the AW13 collection. Our question was answered the second the first look hit the runway – a cinched waisted wool coat in richest azure, the sculptural silhouette of which was unmistakeably Galliano.
Oscar de la Renta AW13
Oscar de la Renta is renowned for his gorgeous gowns but this season’s offerings really did take it to the next level. Every exquisite embellishment and fine fabric imaginable was employed to concoct a succession of painstakingly crafted, couture worthy creations. In a colour palette spanning everything from lime green and magenta to barely-there shimmering nudes, the collection was the embodiment of every girl’s (or at least my) ultimate fashion fantasy. Extended cloche hats and elbow length, organza evening gloves added an almost other worldly air, resulting in an aesthetic that was less Upper East Side housewife and more serious style maven. Just when I though things couldn’t get any more mesmerising, Karlie Kloss closed the show in a embroidered, purple silk floor sweeper that felt positively regal.
Oscar de la Renta AW13
Leaving the show it was clear that everyone else felt as awestruck as I did. No matter how physically, mentally and financially broken you are by the end of fashion week, seeing a show like that makes it all worth it.
Love Ella. X