The fact that NYFW takes place in September and February poses something of a problem, sartorially speaking. In September AKA well and truly the start of Autumn, or as my American friends would say “fall”, any self respecting fashion devotee worth their Kenzo sweatshirt should have long since packed away their summery gear. The reverse is true come February but given the fact that the former tends to bring sweltering, muggy heat and the later sub zero temperatures and the odd blizzard, only those who are either incredibly brave or in possession of a driver can feasibly dress for the (fashion) season rather than the weather. Many people do indeed do this – I always spy lashings of leather at the SS shows and bare legs in Feb but personally I can’t quite manage it. Hell, even in my sleeveless Sea NY shirt dress I nearly asphyxiated on day 4!
I wore: Sea NY dress, Wildfox Couture sunglasses, Vince Camuto sandals & Jaeger London handbag
After a deeply unpleasant, sticky subway journey uptown followed by walked precisely the wrong way up 8th Avenue I finally arrived at the Sean Kelly Gallery with just minutes to spare before the Derek Lam show. On this occasion my lateness played in my favour as I got to stand directly where the models walked out, affording me a close up look at what was a truly masterful collection. The aesthetic was, at least in my opinion, All American elegance with a Parisian twist. Gingham ensembles were concocted with couture craftsmanship resulting in crisp, full skirted looks complete with matching turbans. There was a certain strictness to the cinched waists and immaculate precision with which Lam cut his cloth, counterbalanced by a soft palette of whites and blues with hits of cornflower yellow. With embellishment kept to an absolute minimum, the designer was left to experiment with texture. From my prime position I marvelled at his manipulation of raffia, hand-painted guipure lace, spongy crepe, indigo denim and silk georgette. The collection was the epitome of refined ease and I could certainly see Mrs Obama in one of those fantastic gingham looks, although possible sans turban.
Derek Lam SS14
Feeling somewhat less flustered after seeing such a fantastic show (the venues “more is more” attitude to air con may have helped a bit too) I headed to the West Village for the Public School presentation. If you read my pre-fashion week New York posts then you might remember I enjoyed a night on the town with Public School designers, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne. Both awesome, clearly very talented and a lot of fun to boot, I was intrigued to see what they had in store for SS14. When I arrived at MILK Studios it became clear I’d have to wait a while to find out, the queue for the presentation was a mile long! Clearly this was the place to be and once inside I spied J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons and just about everyone else worth knowing in town. The collection itself was the epitome of what any fashion forward fellow should be wearing come Spring. Urban inspired staples and modern tailoring in a blend of luxe, tech and natural fabrics. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… guys, will you PLEASE start doing womenswear!?
After a brief spot of relaxation on MILK Studios roof terrace with Sharoni and lovely stylist Haya Maraka, it was back out into the sweaty streets and on to the Thakoon show a few blocks North in Chelsea. I needn’t have rushed though, there was a mega delay in opening doors thanks to lighting failure (fashion week nightmare alert!) but those kind of queues can be good for a mingle and this time I even managed to fit in a little interview for Glamour.com. Once inside I stared open mouthed at the unbelievable outfits I spotted fellow show goers wearing which were above and beyond anything I’d seen before. The FROW bore a seriously impressive line up, as befits a designer beloved by Anna Wintour (going from what I saw in The September Issue, obv) including Suzy Menkes, Caroline Issa, Paula Reed, Hanneli Mustaparta, Leandra Medine, Bryan Boy… Oh and your’s truly. Admittedly this may have been more by default that anything else but when the wonderful PR team managed to slot me into a seat, my feet and Instagram feed were both extremely grateful. I have to say, if ever there were a show worth being in a great spot for, it was this one. I don’t even know where to begin it was, just, wow. The collection began an exquisite ice white and cream ladylike fantasy, a modern take on aristocratic elegance complete with freshwater pears and lace embroidery. How Thakoon managed to make this feel so fresh is anyone’s guess but the duchesse silk, crystal embroidery and ivory chevron textured crepe all carried an underlying feeling of youth and newness.
Thakoon’s meticulous attention to detail is unsurpassed and as a lilac silk gazar number glided past I spied the shimmer of a reflective floral slip layered beneath it. Delicate jacquard prints paved the way from Princess worthy shades of cream and ivory into stiffened hot pink floral pleats featuring laser cut latex and thigh skimming slits, what a transition! Cheeky PVC numbers in red hot shades moved into sculpted denim and noir satin slips adorned with crystal trims and lace inlaid pleats – think Park Avenue Princess with a wild side – displaying the vast scope of Thakoon Panichgul’s imagination and sheer design skill. It was the kind of heart meltingly exquisite collection that makes the frenzy fashion week just melt away while you gape in awe and wonder. Thakoon’s show was without a doubt a major New York Fashion Week highlight and it was frankly an absolute privilege to be there.
With an unimaginable stroke of luck I managed to pounce on a free taxi within minutes who sped me up to Lincoln Center at a terrifying pace, in good time for DVF. Once I arrived, the feeling of calm instilled in me by the Thakoon show disappeared pretty quickly. Lincoln Center is always akin to some sort of feeding frenzy during NYFW (think the scene outside Somerset House on steroids) but this was truly something else. DVF shows always attract a high celeb quotient which inevitably results in mayhem in the tents. Once in my seat, having politely asked the random trio of people occupying to if they wouldn’t mind moving I had the interesting experience of watching my row mates reactions to the seat stealers who proceeded to move into unoccupied spaces until there were none left. Some people asked them to move with a sigh, others were downright vitriolic and refused to so much as make eye contact with the offending parties as they apologised. Could make an interesting human behaviour study, don’t you think? The FROW was a frenzy of celebs and industry legends, with everyone from Janice Dickinson and the Hilton sisters to Grace Coddington and Franca Sozzani in attendance. Eventually the disembodied French accented voice I’d come to look forward to so much ushered us to our seats for the show to begin.
Diane Von Furstenberg SS14
Karen Olsen opened to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (cheeky or controversial?) in a monochrome wrap dress with a printed A line skirt. The show notes decreed “Be Your Own Oasis… An unexpected source of renewal, serenity and Beauty”, words Diane clearly stuck to when dreaming up this collection. We were treated to nautical inspired blue and white prints complete with rope detailing, crop tops paired with flirty skirts and of course, lots and lots of dresses. DVF was clearly drawing on her own heritage here with the bold hues and punchy patterns we all know and love incarnated in jersey, chiffon and denim accompanied by a soundtrack of RnB classics which got me smiling. All in all, it was DVF doing what she does best; sexy, wearable glamour not exactly pushing the fashion frontiers but bursting with joie de vivre. Between the A list model line up – Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, Daria Werbowy, Karlie Kloss and finally a majestic Naomi Campbell – and Diane herself dancing down the runway to Mary J Blige, the whole thing was truly a joy to behold.
Love Ella. X