Fashionable Life: New York Fashion Week Recap

by John Arundel
Dennis Basso. (Photo by Allison Priebe Brooks)

Front row at Dennis Basso. (Photo by Allison Priebe Brooks)

“It’s like when stores rearrange their floor plans,” said Fern Mallis, senior vice president of IMG Fashion, which organizes the shows. “People don’t know where to make a right or a left, and they get testy about that, but people are still going to come.”

There was certainly an air of nostalgia as we saw large photo cutouts from Fashion Weeks of years past lining the giant tents.

The excitement was buzzing as droves of fashionistas poured into the tents at Bryant Park for their last week downtown.  I entered the tents for our first show of the week on a Sunday, just after the Old Town Boutique Warehouse Sale in Alexandria, and just in time for Diane von Furstenberg’s show.  This was the most high profile show of the day, and fashion heavies such as Vogue’s Wintour, Andre Leon Talley, Patricia Field, Rachel Zoe and Washington’s own Tim Gunn lined the front row.

The Von Furstenberg collection dripped with embellishments and textures: metallic half-moons on floaty ballerina-sheer skirts, glitter, plus gorgeous prints straight out of the ’70s, liberally layered with slouchy cardigans.  “I always say I wanted to have a man’s life in a woman’s body,” Von Furstenberg told attendees.  This certainly was one of her more feminine collections to date and the crowd seemed to take notice as many jumped to their feet to applaud the collection of the fashion icon.

After the Von Furstenburg show we headed backstage to rub elbows with the designer, models and production staff before hitting the after-party at the W Hotel’s VIP lounge before heading to the Union Square Ballroom for Marisol Henriquez’s stunning collection and a late dinner at SoHo House.

The next morning we headed to The New York Public Library for Jill Stuart’s show, where we were able to

Backstage at the W Hotel's VIP Party web ready. (Photo by Allison Priebe Brooks)

Backstage at the W Hotel's VIP Party web ready. (Photo by Allison Priebe Brooks)

sit front row…always a huge treat.  Grungy and military trends pervaded as well as the short, tight, and sexy looks Stuart is known for.

We also went backstage after Stuart’s show before hitting NYC hot-spot Koi for lunch with DC’s dynamic duo, Erwin Gomez and James Packard-Gomez.

After lunch it was back to the tents for the Monique Lhuillier show, where once again we sat front row and next to celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch, who was most excited for Lhuillier’s show.

“Monique always puts on the best shows,” Bloch said.  “Her clothing is impeccable.”

Oriental-influenced separates were followed by a parade of the stunning gowns Lhuillier is known for, ranging from the simple to extravagant.

The word lovely doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Next, we jaunted down to SoHo for the BCBG debut of the new Kardashian line, staying for 20 minutes.  There was not enough there to hold our interest, although I must say the store was gorgeous and our favorite bubbly was flowing.

But it was back to the tents for Perry Ellis and my first ever men’s runway show under the tents.  The Ellis Fall 2010 collection heated up the runways with chiseled male models and luxurious men’s sportswear.  Designer John Crocco is working hard to elevate this brand’s fashion cachet, and he showed three-piece suits, leather trenches and pants, even crocodile vests.   The audience was packed with gorgeous style-conscious men ready to see the latest from the beloved line.

Tory Burch. (Photo by Allison Priebe Brooks)

Tory Burch. (Photo by Allison Priebe Brooks)

Tuesday was filled with luxury for us as we attended the Pamella Roland and Dennis Basso shows. Roland was inspired by the dark glamour and decadent colors of Venice.  Guests in the front row included Brooke Shields, Nigel Barker and Alfie Woodard as well as a smattering of Manhattan housewives.  The collection was classy and rich with a real Art Deco feel, and also lots of beaded embellishments.

The Dennis Basso show was one of the most provocative shows I have ever seen – decadent furs, spiky shoes, dark sexy colors and leather.  It was an interesting juxtaposition that worked, and I left feeling exhilarated.  We also sat front row directly across from fur-loving Vogue Magazine legends Andre Leon Talley and Anna Wintour, which is always fascinating.

Dinner followed with family members in Chelsea followed by a late night concert at the exclusive members-only club, Norwood, with a raucous performance by the Swedish rock band Soundtrack Of Our Lives, creating sweet dreams of fashion and rock-n-roll.

Wednesday morning it was early to rise for the Tory Burch presentation under the tents at Bryant Park.  Models lingered on the runway, posing for pics and hamming it up for attendees.

The designers mingled and chatted with buyers, fans, and journalists, as she unveiled a collection that seemed to be styled for extreme eclecticism, mixing uptown vs. downtown, day vs. evening, classic vs. trendy and feminine vs. masculine elements.

Personally, I have been a huge Tory Burch fan for years, and this was one of my singular highlights of Fashion Week as I was able to hug the designer and tell her how her clothes inspired me.  “I want to evolve,”  Burch told me.  “I think this collection is more of a departure for me.”

Jill Stuart. (Photo by Allison Priebe Brooks)

Jill Stuart. (Photo by Allison Priebe Brooks)

As we departed Burch’s show, leaving the tents for the last time, we felt a bit blue, cheering up quickly as we bumped into Melania and Donald Trump.  Yep!  That’s how Fashion Week rolls in a nutshell; rubbing elbows with designers, billionaires, students, journalists and the like as we view the absolute best of New York fashion.

There is something for everyone in the world of fashion;  it can and should be attainable for all.  What we must do is open our eyes, make an effort, absorb and execute.

In September we’ll be back in the Big Apple for the debut at Lincoln Center, because as Nicole Phelps, executive editor of put it so adroitly: “People in the fashion industry are addicted to change; they’re the sort of people who like it a whole lot more than other people.”

“Evolution,” as Tory Burch put it.  “That too is what fashion is all about.”

Allison Priebe Brooks is the owner of Queen Bee Designs in Old Town, Alexandria.


Related Articles