Thursday, February 28, 2008

THE GQ CFDA FUTURE MENSWEAR COLLECTION PARTY: Gilded Age, Rag & Bone, SPURR






Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, Richard Spiegel



Time/Place: The unofficial kick-off to NY Fashion Week Fall 2008,
Wednesday night, Jan. 30th,, Rockefeller Center,

This show’s purpose was to showcase GQ Magazine’s picks for the honor of best new menswear talent in the USA. It was also the unofficial NY Fashion Week kick-off, judging by the industry VIP’s in attendance, including Michael Kors, Isaac Mizrahi and Fern Mallis. Among the capsule collections on display were: Gilded Age, SPURR, and Rag & Bone.
The overwhelmingly large crowd and the great menswear on display, led us early on, to the conclusion that this event was a hands down success within our first 5 minutes in the venue. A few words with the runway’s #1 lens man, Dan Lecca, confirmed our assessment. Said, Mr. Lecca, while hunched over his laptop busy downloading event images, “ I’m very impressed with what Jim Nelson [GQ’s Editor-in-Chief] has done here. These clothes are very wearable and put together in a very well-done presentation.”
Mr. Lecca is also Mercedes Benz’s official photographer for the NY, LA, and Miami shows and also shoots for every major publication you can think of in NY, Milan and Paris.

HIGHLIGHTS

GILDED AGE showed comfy looking shirts, pants, and jackets that had a weathered and slightly imperfect appearance as well as the indigo dyed jeans everyone was talking about. The big selling point for us; that designer Stefan Miljanic has designed a collection that looked great and is sustainable in the bargain.

RAG & BONE:

WHAT”S INTERESTING - the manufacturing process is based entirely in the USA and everyone they work with has been sewing clothing for generations.

This line’s been the recipient of a lot of buzz over the past few seasons, and accordingly, it was nearly impossible to get more than a few words in with Marcus Wainwright, one of the designers before he was called away for another interview.

LYRA: There’s a lot of tweed in this collection, it looks good.

MARCUS WAINWRIGHT: Tweed, well, we’re English!

LYRA: What was your inspiration and what were you trying to achieve in this collection?

MARCUS WAINWRIGHT: Our past and our English heritage inspire us. We also wanted to create something that would look well on the streets of New York today.

LYRA: Our friend over there picked out the oatmeal tweed suit for himself.
What’s your favorite piece?

MARCUS WAINWRIGHT: I’m going with the oatmeal tweed too.

www.rag-bone.com

SPURR – wins the award for best footwear, hands-down. We loved the smooth black leather boots with absolutely no embellishment on them. These beauties define that old truism “less is more”. The clothes did their part too; the detail work on the black wool and cashmere topcoat was noteworthy. The quadruple stitching on a hem is a fine detail you don’t see too often.

www.spurr.tv

LINGERIE AMERICAS- FALL 2008: Lola Haze™ Miss Oops®, Nu Bras®, Hollywood Fashion Tape, Sheandme, G.DAmico, Sexy Bastard by Buckler

WHAT LIES BENEATH REVEALED

Text, Images by J. Ecochard except as noted

Metropolitan Pavilion, NYC
February 26th, 2008

Cruising the aisles of the lingerie exhibitors on the last day of the three day tradeshow turned up more designers of foundation garments and leisure wear with a special something.

Interestingly, what walked the runways for the just finished NY Fashion Week subtly translated into lingerie separates, consciously or not. Meaning:

COLOR-In addition to usual neutral tones, lines were toughed up with darker/ edgier shades, shimmery metallics, and autumnal prints. Also pop neon eighties-style.

DETAILS: Overly frilly feminine looks of Spring 2008 dialed way back. Slashes, cuts and technology innovations (like supportive elements, wearability) more important.



INNERWEAR AS OUTWEAR: Nearly every line we saw had separates that would work layered over tank tees, as cover-ups for swank pool lounging, as statement pieces-instead of a necklace for example, functioning like bold accessories, anchoring an outfit.

SPECIAL PURCHASES: Giving the consumer more reason to shop…plus impulse (full margined sales) splurges were reflected in number of exhibitors who served up ancillary products retailers could stock on the counters.






Some highlights:

BEST NEWCOMER:

A gorgeous, curvy model outfitted in the LOLA HAZE™ line of edgy sleek camis and tap pants a.k.a boy briefs…grabbed our attention right off. But it was the smart friendly designer, Laura Mehlinger-who gave us a deeper understanding of the modern women she creates for; a grown up “Lolita” (hence the brand’s name) who “plays in many forms…but is sophisticated, sensuous and confident.”


Schooled at Harvard and mass market giant the Gap/Old Navy, Mehlinger has “followed fashion and knows the transformative power of clothes’ but wanted to dig deeper into the emotional powers of touch. “I love lingerie because it dances between public and private domains.”

INSPIRATION: Titled “Plunder” Mettinger’s Fall 2008 is for modern “armored” Joan of Arc gals “seeking and offering treasure.”

COLORS and FABRICS: Color blocks of liquid silver metallics, muted purples, brooding midnight black, dreamy grays, twilight navy, and crème ivory in sensuous silks, and light as a feather mesh net. Chain mail and striking architectural details “that add structure, are integral to the piece, and are not trim.”

HOLIDAY ITEMS: A sparkling tiny gold metal studded, bright red net cami, boy cut briefs that was smooth to the touch. A genius radiant gold/ivory striped dressy hooded cover-up with matching cuffed pants. Expect to see a Hollywood starlet sporting this.

HOT ITEM: The black jersey cotton suspender shorts, a “tasteful side of trashy.” Also lower priced (around $35/piece) line of cool camis, thongs. Black leggings with a silvery gray lock and key trompe l’oeil graphic snaking up the left leg.


Images courtesy of Designer
REMINDS US OF: Alexander McQueen, Nina Ricci’s Olivier Theysken.

SCOOP: Completely fabric’ sourced, produced in NYC. Designer makes her own samples! Sigur Rós on iPod.

Look for LOLA HAZE™ to hit big at better boutiques. For now, try NYC’s Azaleas.


New gadgets that switch on light bulb ‘why didn’t I think of that” moments.

MISS OOPS®

Leave it to two Texan moms to produce novel pieces with kitschy fun names- that we need to make our lives easier.

BESTSELLERS FOR FALL:

BOOB TUBES™ and JAKS™ are bandeau-like stretchy lace pieces that women slither into. The cover-ups deftly mind the gaps between shirt buttons…and tops over trendy low slung pants. Their motto; “say no to cracks.” ($38-40)

NUNDIES™: Peel off “hygienically hip” microscopic thin shields to wear attached to performance gear or slim fitting pants/leggings for guaranteed no tacky VPL plus some protection.


RESCUE SPONGES™: Rub-dry sponges with a special dry cleaning solvent-that wipes away make-up powder, baby powder etc. Lasts for months.





Fashion Week staple HOLLYWOOD FASHION TAPE had a slew of feminine retro- packaged items to prevent our wardrobe malfunctions.



MUST HAVE: HOLLYWOOD BEHIND THE SEAMS™-pretty self-adhesive apparel under arm shields. Ladies, get ready to save on dry cleaning bills.


HANDY: RED CARPET ASSORTMENT™-Soon to be a bridal suite staple, a kit with 5 unique double-stick tape shapes that will secretly keep garments in place.









NU BRAS®

We don’t’ understand the physics, but the re-usable, strapless bra cups of Nu-Bra magically manage to enhance and uplift invisibly. No wonder the medical grade silicone cups are patented engineering wonders. Different cover-up modalities including a feather-lite and gel types.

NEW COLORS: Bright neon cups join the popular Aphrodite collection of leopard and Pucci-esque prints.

TREND ALERT: Look for daring ladies to bust out…with deep v-necks or un-buttoned tops.




SHEANDME

This two-year old, mix and match brand by two Los Angelinos- are known for their signature soft “back to basics collection” and for Fall 2008, the “lounging in luxury” modal/silk separates. By popular demand, they’ve expanded their 100% certified organic offerings to join their natural hoodie and draw string waist lounge pants with airy tank tops/bralets/bottoms available in natural neutral, H20 blue and pomegranate.

BEST SELLER: Boy cut briefs.

BEST IDEA: The double-sided brief with a solid front fabric, printed back.

REAL WEAR IN ORANGE COUNTY: We swear we’ve seen Cameron Diaz and/or wives of southern Cal in the sexy comfort wear swingy solid and printed chemises.

SERIOUS FACTOID: The socially conscious SHEANDME donate a portion of profits to charities “that seek justice and empowerment for women around the world.” We’ve met them…they mean it.












GIOVANNI D’AMICO

A new line by a lingerie veteran, Giovanni D’amico ventured south from Montreal to display his new elegant women’s “trousseau.”

LOOK FOR: Understated luxe details, Canadian crafted lace that harks back to Belgium’s finer moments. Vintage, twenties-flapper feel in well-made night gowns, robes…fine enough to wear beyond the bedroom. In black, soft white, pastel “mint.”

INSPIRATION: His mother. Desires to bring a traditional European women’s dowry “into today’s world.”

WE APPRECIATE: Sexy subtleness, refined chic…NOT in your face vulgarity.







MENSWEAR FAVORITE ANDREW BUCKLER

We met the cult favorite Andrew Buckler aka Sexy Bastard- backstage at his January runway show. American ingenuity and a Brits edge came through very well indeed in his Spring 2008 basics line. To join his “Thruster” brief (packaged with detailed instructions in a box with a signature print) are fine-spun basic briefs with contrasting trims.

BEST IDEA:Sporty or "tailored" socks with matching color bands on the top and toes-so guys can easily match up after a toss in the dryer.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

GILDED AGE – HURRAH FOR ORGANIC FABRICS, NATURAL DYES AND MAKING GARMENTS THE OLD FASHIONED WAY





Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, J. Ecochard

All images from the Presentation of the Fall 2008 Men’s Collection at the Woolworth Building, Tuesday, February 2nd , 2 – 4 pm


Time/Place: The GQ CFDA Future Menswear Collection Party
Rockefeller Center, Wednesday night, Jan. 30th, 2 days before the show


What we previously knew about “The Gilded Age” had nothing to do with the eco clothing line we discovered at the GQ party. Back in the late 1900’s [1878-1889] a great many fortunes were made, like John D. Rockefeller (oil) and Andrew Carnegie (steel). They were either businessmen or ”Robber Barrons” depending on your point of view. On the other side of the coin, there was flood of immigrants who came to Manhattan who dressed in dark and earth colored palettes such as the ones we saw on the Gilded Age preview platform. We’re happy to report that the Gilded Age we discovered at the GQ event was nothing but positive.
We braved the throng gathered around designer Stefan Miljanic long enough to ask a few questions. Mr. Miljanic is an artist who shifted gears a bit and went on to design for some big guns in the fashion biz including Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, and Abercrombie & Fitch.

LYRA MAG: It’s chic to be eco now it seems.

STEGAN MILIJANIC: I’ve always felt strongly about sustainability.

LYRA MAG: Tell us about some of the organic aspects of your brand.

STEFAN MILIJANIC: We use organic fabrics and natural dyes such as natural indigo and persimmon and other vegetable dyes. You’ll also find some of the oldest natural dyes in the collection: Volcanic mud dye, parchment, natural charcoal, tea, logwood, and Japanese Alder.

Although the GQ party was only a preview to the collection Mr. Milijanic showed later in the week at the Woolworth Building, we liked what we did saw that evening.
The look actually reminded us of the original Gilded Age, in that the shirts, pants, and jackets had a weathered and slightly imperfect appearance. Like Martin Margiela’s pieces, they may look “undone” but don’t be deceived - there’s a lot of handwork and hardwork that goes into achieving this “undone” look.
We’ve grown tired of the seemingly innumerable jean collections out there, even the organic ones, but we really liked G.A.’s natural indigo jeans in a very deeply hued blue, thanks to being dyed with the color of the actual indigo plant.


POINT OF DIFFERENTIATION:
AN INTERESTING MANUFACTURING PROCESS AND A FOCUS ON ARTISANAL SKILLS
Gilded Age works with some of the oldest machinery still used in industrial production. A lot of upper end design houses offer hand knit sweaters, but we doubt that many are created as they are at G.A. Some of their knit garments are knitted on "Hung Up" jersey machines [a staple in knitting from 1870's -1960's] It’s a time-consuming process as these machines operate 30x slower than regular knit machines. The beautiful sweaters that result are well worth the wait.

BACKSTAGE BRANDS- MAKEUP SECRETS


Text, Backstage Images by J. Ecochard

Products Makeup Artists Rely On!

THE 411
Check out the make-up cases of the pro’s (no matter who they’ve pledged allegiance to) and certain beauty products always seem to be packed in the stash.

For a few seasons running, casual glimpses of these venerable treasure chests of colors turned up European skincare lines that made the voyage stateside without any advertising campaigns…but because they work.

WHEN INSIDERS SPEND THEIR OWN MONEY ON POTIONS AND LOTIONS-we pay attention.

EMBRYOLISSE

Founded by a French pharmacologist in the 1950’s, the skin-care brand Embryolisse works with the derma’s “natural barrier properties.” Cutting edge technology and plant extracts are tossed in the brew of all products-serving up a complete line to cleanse, moisturize, and restore skin tone and elasticity, and reduce wrinkles.

The multi-functional Lait-Créme Concentré (a.k.a. 24 Hour Miracle Crème) was found backstage everywhere-from mid-town’s Bryant Park Tents to fashionable downtown catwalks. The creamy lotion acts as a thorough cleanser, an absorbable moisturizer, and soothing shaving lotion.

Prices for the entire line range from around $18-$75.00

BIODERMA
The Laboratoire Dermatologique BIODERMA, based in Lyon, France-prides itself on working with the leading dermatologists and global researchers to produce top notch skin-care treatments. This aggressively expanding company has several lines targeting specific skin types-as well as-sun protection, and hair & scalp products. Many of their formulations are patented and from personal experience, terrific.

Bright red packets of Bioderma’s H2O wipes removed spackles of makeup easily-sparing the perpetually late models more trauma to their visages.

Other shows and struttin' runway gals themselves-had plastic bottles of the liquid cleanser version, Bioderma-Créaline H20, an ultra mild non-rinse, soap free cleanser and moisturizer that often sells out in the States (Retail-about $24.00).
Tempered with cucumber extract and non-detergent ingredients, the calming solution lifts the dirt while imparting a hydrating film.


MENSCIENCE
Based in sunny Florida, the under the radar Menscience has a trove of pro athletes as customers for its supplement and skin care goods.
We noticed the handy Advanced Acne Pads quickly wiping away the city's grime off the faces of male models as they were getting prepped for make-up. Grabbing a container, the label had healing Tea Tree and Witch Hazel extracts listed in the ingredients...while the Glycolic Acid surely kept the guys skin ready for their close-ups.(Retail $22.00)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

LINGERIE AMERICAS CEO, PATRICE ARGAIN, TALKS ABOUT HOW THIS SHOW HAS GROWN AND WHERE IT’S HEADED


Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, Richard Spiegel


TIME/PLACE: The Altman Building, West 18th Street,
Early Sunday morning, Feb. 24th.

Our first stop at LINGERIE AMERICAS was a sit down with Lingerie Americas’ CEO, PATRICE ARGAIN.
Granted, this isn’t Ready To Wear and doesn’t get nearly the attention that NY Fashion Week does, but the lingerie market is nothing to sniff at.
*Dun & Bradstreet reported in 2006 that the industry's estimated 179 establishments posted annual sales of nearly $1.9 billion. New York led with nearly $827 million in sales, followed by New Jersey with nearly $229 million in sales, and Connecticut with nearly $225 million in sales. Comprised of seven different specialties, the primary segment was brassieres (nearly $973 million in sales) with bras, girdles, and allied garments trailing with nearly $704 million in sales.
Given these numbers, it’s not surprising that there are five lingerie market weeks a year in the US.


Lingerie Americas has steadily been growing in attendance and importance on the trade show circuit. CEO, PATRICE ARGAIN, sat with LYRA MAG and answered a few questions about the how’s and whys.

LYRA MAG: Why did you decide to change the dates and not show over Valentine’s Day?

PATRICE ARGAIN: We changed it after conducting a survey of our attendees. Over 92% of the Specialty Store buyers/owners responded that they needed to be at their boutiques selling for Valentine’s Day,

LYRA: How many people come to Lingerie Americas?

PATRICE: The average # of attendees is 2,500. It’s stayed at that level since the last 2 years. It’s true that the NY show has grown – there’s a 4th floor now.

LYRA: You’re now showing in Vegas. Why?

PATRICE: There’s a West Coast Show for the West Coast buyers in Las Vegas in Feb. and August in partnership with WWDMAGIC. They agreed to have a Lingerie section called “Lingerie Americas at WWDMAGIC. This is a good opportunity for many specialty shops that weren’t necessarily shopping for lingerie to find some great lingerie while at WWDMAGIC and for lingerie vendors to pick up some accounts. WWD MAGIC is a very large show, they have 120,000 visitors and 4,000 exhibitors showing all sorts of lines, from kids wear to menswear, sportswear and now of course, loungewear.


LYRA: You’ve been at the helm since 2002 and we’ve always come here [the Altman Building] for this show. Does this location still work for you?

PATRICE: THE ADVANTAGE is that it’s centrally located and it has wooden floors, which is boutique-like in feeling and works well with the upscale merchandise being shown.

THE DOWNSIDE is that it’s not all on one floor, and we have a waitlist of @ 20 brands
It’s a high-end premium show and a great resource for fine specialty stores, and better Department Stores. Bras here generally wholesale for upwards of $30.

LYRA: What’s the dream? How could you improve an already good show?

PATRICE: TO double the size of the show, have the show all on one floor, larger booths, more rest areas, accept everyone who applies and to do a real [full on] fashion show for maximum impact.

LYRA: Although you don’t have a fashion show [yet] you’re doing some interesting seminars.
PARTICE: Yes, there’s a great one about how to properly fit lingerie being led by Frederika Zappe, an EVEDEN INC. It teaches buyers how to fit their full-busted and full-figured customers.

To learn more about Lingerie Americas, visit
www.lingerie-americas.com

[*From the book, “The Encyclopedia of American industries article published by the Gale Group]

LINGERIE AMERICAS: Some great Eco Chic lines and just plain adorable robes and intimates







Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, Richard Spiegel


TIME/PLACE: The Altman Building, West 18th Street,
Early Sunday morning, Feb. 24th.


Our focus this season was on locating some great new Eco chic resources meaning resources in which fashion comes first, and they just happen to be Green. WE called our search for these resources, “MISSION FOCUS GREEN”.


MISSION FOCUS GREEN
RESOURCE # 1: THE PUR CASHMERE line.
Everyone was talking about the Pur Cashmere line up on the 4th floor, with good reason.
Pur Cashmere combines Jil Sander chic with an Eco Conscience, just the kind of resource that gets our heart racing.
We were initially drawn in by a gorgeous fluffy white robe and once inside, discovered much more.

Pur Cashemere co-founders Leslie Deane Roth and Lynne A. Shanoski have been in business for 3 years. While they’re very pro-eco, they’re market savvy and understand that the vast majority of the women trolling the floor at Neiman Marcus is interested in great design first, eco second.
The result of 3 years of hard work? A line that defines the term “Minimalist chic” in a Jil Sander type of way [when Jil was designing it in the nineties]. Add to that the fact that the pieces have an incredibly soft hand and are environmentally friendly.
The Eco aspect is important to these ladies; Leslie Roth has been going to Mongolia to source the cashmere and to work with the indigenous culture for the past 4 years.


OUR FAVORITE: THE CAMBOO TRAVEL SET in sand. The set includes a 50” X 55” blanket, travel mask and socks. Camboo is a fabrication that’s 20% cashmere and 80% bamboo.
Wholesale: @ $100.


IT’S A GO
Style conscious buyers have already taken note; Pur has already been picked up by Neiman Marcus and Manhattan’s hip ABC Home. ABC Home CEO and creative director Paulette Cole is according to Leslie, “ a total supporter of eco chic”. Ms. Cole’s mission is to transform ABC into a 100% socially responsible world market. The trick, she acknowledges, will be to do it without sacrificing the company's $80 million in annual revenue, its 350 employees, or diminishing “the ABC magic”. Carrying brands such as Pur goes with her philosophy of helping indigenous people while creating a wonderful product her upscale consumers will be lining up to buy. With lines such as Pur on her selling floor, she won’t have any problems meeting her goals!

www.purcashmere.com
tel 1.800.225.9157
fax 240.536.0094

www.abchome.com


MISSION FOCUS GREEN
RESOURCE #2: The BAMBOO NIGHTS line.
We chatted with the jovial Louis Van Leeunen, the owner of the Greenwich CT based Eco line about the merits of his line. We’d stumbled across it and admired it a few months ago while browsing Greenwich Hospital’s Gift Shop.

LYRA: What’s your point of differentiation with all of the other eco brands that are also using bamboo fabric?

LOUIS VAN LEEUNN: We were the first to do bamboo sleepwear exclusively 2 years ago. Our sleepwear does not have a Topical Finish, a spray you don’t want up against your skin. All that is good, but we’re not stopping there. We’ve come out with more fashion forward looks, like the 2 piece pink lace trimmed set that wholesales for @$35,


TARGET AUDIENCE: a good choice if you’re pregnant, are experiencing menopause or are undergoing chemotherapy; women in chemo can benefit from bamboo’s proven anti-microbial properties. These sets also work for those days you want to relax in total comfort in a chic pajama set devoid of distracting frou frou.

HANDY PARTING TIP: Don’t use dryer sheets or fabric softener on fabrics containing bamboo, as they could destroy the bamboos and the wicking effect.

WHERE TO GET IT:

www.womenshealth.com
www.zappos.com
www.coolblossom.com

With 2 eco resources under our belt, we went looking for lines that were just plain fun and pretty and spent a good bit of time at milili and Daddy’s Favorite.

JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT – milili

The name. “milili “ is a combination of the name owner and her sister’s names. One of the company’s designers, Angel D. Hernandez, took us through the line.

TOP SELLER: the boy short

THE CONCEPT is geared toward their two different customer profiles, the teen and the more mature [20 year +] woman.
For the young teen that’s looking to have fun there are designs with glitter appliqués and colors. For the more mature customer, there’s that lingerie favorite, lace. Enthuses Mr. Hernanadez, “There will always be a demand for lace!”

OUR FAVORITE: the “Tie me up collection”

Designer Ludy Adams, the company’s other designer is responsible for this one.
We loved the black mesh “Statin Ties Fishnet Boyshort” [Style # SX2008] wholesaling for an astonishing $3.75. We say astonishing because this is an exception to the steeper price point typically found at this upscale show.

The ribbons come in yellow [as pictured], fushcia, orange and jade. With this many choices, it’s a winner. We’re planning on getting one in every color.
www.milili.com

ON THE 4TH FLOOR
DADDY’s FAVORITE - NOT JUST ANOTHER BORING ROBE – our favorite new capsule line from LA.
Designer and owner, Mariam Saffarian’s first piece was “The Dame” a short robe in a colorful print, which started her 1-year old company.
Wholesale: $63.99
WHO SHE’S MARKETING TO: both sexes! Men buy robes for their wives, especially at Christmas.
The fabrication is an easy lighter weight cotton voile fabric. BY easy, we mean that it never gets wrinkled enough to have to have to iron. The most you’ll ever have to do is to lightly steam it.

WHAT WORKS: The unique graphic designs in cheerful colors and the fact that you can wear these robes out like dresses, especially the long wrap version. We loved it in a coral and hot pink “modern safari” print.
Wholesale: $67.99


NIFTY IDEA: the 1-size fits all velour towel wrap that wholesales for @$29. Here’s an elegant alternative to fussing with a towel wrapped around you while you blow dry your hair, and do everything else you need to do to get ready after taking a shower. The matching long black velour robe also looked good in black.
Wholesale: $72.
FOR BRIDES TO BE or for a woman who just likes white there's the long “Royal cream damask” robe in a shade flattering to all complexions.

GOING FORWARD: Miriam’s a designer with a business background that realizes the merits of growing her business, slowly. She’ll continue to sell her solid jersey wrap front robe and solid towel wraps and develop her custom prints with her graphic designer. If things keep going well, we may see some cute pajama bottoms in a season or two.

www.daddysfavorite.com

MARK YOUR CALENDARS
The next Lingerie Americas New York show will be held August 3-5. There will be a 5th floor to accommodate sleepwear.
The next WWD MAGIC show will be held in Las Vegas, August 25-27.

Monday, February 25, 2008

INDUSTRIAL ROCK RAD HOURANI-AN EDGY FALL 2008 DEBUT







Meatpacking District, NYC
February 8th, 2008

Text, Backstage Images by J. Ecochard
Runway Images Courtesy of Rad Hourani

The haunting voice of Johnny Cash singing Trent Reznor’s (Nine Inch Nails) moody “Hurt” filled the stark white space on Bumble & Bumble’s eight floor gallery. So right off, we knew we were going to love the music played for Canadian stylist turned designer Rad Hourani’s mid-day show.

And then backstage- we noticed a clutch of top tier models getting board straight hair extensions-and figured out that Hourani must have something special about his clothes too.

Thirty looks later, we joined the choirs of universal praise for the fitted masculine/feminine silhouettes with strappy details that channeled early Helmut Lang and Anne Demeulemeester…and like Lyn Devon’s show-was totally 2008. Merci.


The modern edgy vibe of leggings, scrunched lean pants, silk sleeveless tops, and strong shoulder long jackets and winter coats will find street chic wearers amongst the young, the French, the slim…or any combination there of. We assume the striking Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld has already blessed this talented design new comer to NY’s runways.







Largely black (what else?), smoky grey, and poppin’ red tones dominated, while blocks of fabrics and leather, marked by satiny trim or ingeniously tailored into deep pocketed vests… admirably bought to mind the artist Mark Rothko. Custom designed black and red leather boots, and thick belts- were the most notable “accessories” in a show that really didn’t need any.








HAIR/MAKEUP:

This was the last day of NY’s Fashion Week-so the models’ may have needed the revitalizing moisture masks applied by the M.AC. pros, followed by spritzes of M.A.C’s Charged Water. Curled, mascara-laden lashes and barely there lip-gloss subtly accented the clean skin palette.

Shiny, flat ironed long, center parted locks (enhanced or real) ruled.

CAMILLA STAERK-GETS IT RIGHT FOR FALL/WINTER 2008

Scandinavian House, New York
February 8th, 2008


Text: J. Ecochard

New Yorker by way of Denmark, Camilla Staerk and her Fall 2008 collection lived up to the accolades heaped on her by Gen Art (and its Fashion Fund that co-sponsored the show), Top Shop’s New Generation Award, loads of editorial ink, and A-listers who wear her garb… and probably paid for it too.

Staerk’s 2007 and Spring 2008 collections showed deft use of bright textiles and polished austere outfits… befitting a native from Hamlet’s brooding abode. This collection’s sophisticated lineup, amped up with vibrant white and red colors, balanced by enchanting blue-ish greens and ash greys, was truly a creative, and no doubt-commercial leap forward.

THE LOCALE:
Park Avenue’s multi-stored glass sheath Scandinavian House -is emblematic of clean, modern architectural design and was a good choice, venue-wise for Staerk’s runway romps. The shows were staged several times to accommodate fans and press temporarily under lock down at the nearby Sean Comb’s Cipriani’s held runway soirée.

Flutes of bubbling Moet&Chandon greeted the crowds. Plus an upstairs airy event space, tricked out with copious pours of Belvedere Vodka cocktails and a coat check room- ensured a well–lubricated, hands free audience.

THE INSPIRATION:

The looks coined “Black Bride Of The Moon” tapped the “strength and mystery” of the abstract expressionist sculpture, Louise Nevelson.
This legend’s “dark and textural” works (namely her charcoal black assemblages and monumental sharp angled pieces) gracefully seeped into Staerk’s mindset…as seen in glistening black, and graphic black and white prints of the close fitting helmets/head scarves and fedoras by the West 18th Street NYC Milliner, Ellen Christine, a bold black, fringe-y leather belt and thick wool scarves… and dynamic fabric choices of merino knits, malleable leather, and coated silk punched up with metallic, lace and rubber attributes.


The deeply rimmed kohl eyes of the models- by Londoner Pep Gay of Streeters- were also a direct nod to the Nevelson’s stark physicality. As Nevelson herself observed:

“Every time I put on clothes, I’m creating a picture.”

THE COLLECTION:

Twenty-three looks strolled the catwalk. All were winners but we were particularly drawn to simply elegant deep scooped neck, dark grey lace patterned tank dress layered over black jersey (Look # 20) and the upscale ensemble of Look #4: a thick strikingly fringed charcoal wool scarf paired with a biker style dark teal green leather jacket-its turned lapels revealing a jaunty black lining -over side pocketed, high waist white wool trousers.
Plush black leather, belted harem pants with big side knots (Look 13) and an end of show, shiny coated silk sleeveless, two front slit wedding gown, with a softly cascading black lace bottom half-were also striking.


CONCLUSION
Retailers should come a calling.


Images Courtesy of Gen Art, ARTnews, Don Ashby,Louise Nevelson Foundation