Thursday, July 19, 2007

Red Carter Cruise 2008 gets a standing ovation


The event: The Red Carter show, the big tent at the Raleigh

Timestamp: @ 7:30pm, pre-show interviews

Text, Vivian G. Kelly

Photography, J. Ecochard

Backstage, during our brief pre-show interview, with designer Red Carter,
Red appeared relaxed for someone who was about to have a fashion show. He stopped his pre-show preparations to give us the highlights of the upcoming show. “We’re doing the theme thing, it’s a mix of safari, burlesque/cabaret, and techno-eighties which is athletic inspired. The point is that we’re not natural beings, and we’re making fun of it here.”
Perhaps most exciting were the bags hanging on the racks that were launching that very evening. The styles are classic silhouettes, many with removable liners in the same impactful prints he uses for his suits and sportswear. The one that really caught our eye though was an oversize black nylon tote with a snowflake created from round and square orange Lucite chips. From his perch up in the heavens, the former Stephen Sprouse must be smiling and nodding his approval.

Backstage Makeup watch: MAC artist Lara Vickery, Regional Director of Artist Training, Southeast pulled two trends from the RTW Fall shows: "graphic" and "Technicolor".
"Graphic" was achieved using white and gold eyeliners to create a frame around the eye.
Technicolor came via a vivid orange matte lipstick. Note: if you're going to wear lipstick in a startling shade this fall, keep it matte.
The only thing that remained to finish the look was some bronzer and contour blush to pop the models’ already razor sharp cheekbones.

The hair: “best hair” award for this year’s round of shows goes to Oribe and his talented team of guys who never disappoint when it comes to creating knock-out hair for Red’s show. [They’ve been working from Red from the beginning] This time, to go with the techno theme the Oribe team used black obviously synthetic wigs which look just like the tinsel used to decorate Christmas trees. The wigs were cut into severe bobs with Cleopatra bangs. One special wig was Pippi Longstocking red and worn by the model Red took his victory lap at show’s end with.

Preshow: On our way out, we caught up with John Marazza, Red Carter’s business partner
outside the backstage tent to hear about the company’s expansion plans. We applaud him and Red for taking the slow and steady as it goes approach, and keeping their operation internal. This is a relief to hear after having witnessed many talented designers come and go, many jumping too far, too fast, only to find that they had to cancel shows, and worse, founder about in search of a new backer to come to their rescue.
Mr. Marazza was particularly bullish about the addition of sportswear to the line and tipped us off that we’d be seeing some great cover-ups in silk, pima cotton that would transition from the pool to lunch and cocktails. The responses so far back at the Miami Convention Center where potential buyers were inspecting the latest collection: “excellent”.

The Red Carter Show, Cabana Grande aka the big Tent

It’s only Mr. Carter’s third show season, but he’s already a certified star, that much was apparent from the pre-show excitement and mob scene as well as later at his after party held at the Shore Club’s Red Room which reminded us of the fracas at Studio 54 in its heyday.
The well-produced show had the theatricality of a a Dior show. Like Mr. Galliano, Mr. Carter is a skilled showman. He opened Part I with a Miami Beach tropical fruit salad, which included a lace up coral halter suit and a punchy floral print bikini with handy patch pockets, one on each nipple. The nude cutout maillot with aqua/red geometric print resembled the beadwork on Native American clothing. This Pocahontas-y look brought us back in time to John Galliano’s Pocahontas collection. Lest you thought you’d had enough of animal prints, you’ll reconsider after seeing Red’s oversize leopard print pieces shot with Swarovski crystals. Pair the leopard bikini with the sheer puff sleeve blouse and you’ve got a potent naughty and nice combination going.
The Burlesque/Cabaret had one of the few men’s looks shown on the runway. The black monokini with a black and white grosgrain belt will be a hard act for most guys to follow, but not out of the realm of possibility after spending a year religiously working-out with your personal trainer.
The new clear handbag with removable liners in wild prints added to the eighties vibe of a solid turquoise one-piece edge with black piping. The cut out suits in lime and black would have been scooped-up pronto by eighties glamazons Grace Jones and Brigitte Nielsen.
Not that it’s a popularity contest, but Mr. Carter received a rousing standing ovation.