Fashionable Life: Trend Safari in NYC

by John Arundel

This year’s collections at New York Fashion Week flashed both brilliant sunlight as well as some electrifying thunderbolts.
By Stefanie Ball

Karolina Kurkova showcasing this season's hottest trends at MBFW

Karolina Kurkova showcasing this season's hottest trends at MBFW S/S11. Photo by Yulia Gorbachenko, Courtesy of Michael Kors.

Under the alternately sunny and stormy skies of last week’s Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week next year’s Spring-Summer collections flashed both brilliant sunlight as well as some electrifying thunderbolts, particularly from designers Michael Kors, Davidelfin, and Pamela Love.

Washington Life readers know by now what to expect from a Michael Kors show – beautifully designed and tailored clothing in a bright, elegant setting. And this year’s prêt-à-porter show did not disappoint.

The show’s attendees in the Lincoln Center’s theatre space were transported to a sun-splashed, Hamptons-esque beach, soundtracked by the Beatles’ hit, “Here Comes the Sun” and other Beatles covers.

These musical riffs on proven pop masterworks mirrored Kors’ own takes on the quintessentially American luxury look.


Davidelfin. Photo by Yulia Gorbachenko

And the set design itself echoed Michael Kors staples: pristine whites and clean lines, culminating in a tasteful floral proscenium promising model after beautifully clad model.

The crème de la crème of fashion (including Vogue magazine’s venerable Anna Wintour), and other celebrities like Donald and Melania Trump and Wimbledon winner Serena Williams, were treated to classic Michael Kors: gorgeous garments displayed by big-name models.

For the women, Kors created a look that every woman covets.

Each model had the perfect sun-kissed glow and appeared elegant, comfortable and effortlessly sexy. The men portrayed a chiseled, rugged look — Brad Pitt on safari.

Strutting out to open the show was top model Karmen Pedaru in a luscious white linen gauze pullover and sarong.

Also gracing the runway were Isabeli Fontana and Karolina Kurkova (here without their Victoria’s Secret Angel wings), Fontana stunning in a curve-enhancing maillot, and Kurkova impressive in a hemp-based linen tunic, as well as Chanel Iman, adding elegance to her cardigan and smock ensemble.

Overall, Michael Kors turned out amazing seaside-chic outfits in neutral tones, deployed in gauzy linen and see-through knits, playing with drape, cling and ruffle, with touches of leather and occasional silk departures. Michael Kors treated his many fans to a “Good Day Sunshine,” and again topped the charts in his unbroken line of classic hits.

Backstage at New York Fashion week is the storm’s epicenter. The runway’s smoothness belies the controlled madness backstage in the hours, minutes and seconds before, during and after each show.

The “stormchasers” of the shows are the designers’ representatives, the public relations teams coordinating the entire production and administering everything from designer interviews to lighting, music, model castings and seating charts.

Donald and Melania Trump soak up the fashions. Photo by Yulia Gorbachenko

Donald and Melania Trump soak up the fashions. Photo by Yulia Gorbachenko

Stefanie Ball and Kelly Cutrone chat at MBFW

Stefanie Ball and Kelly Cutrone chat at MBFW S/S11. Photo by Yulia Gorbachenko

One public relations team making time for Washington Life during this frenzy was famous fashion PR firm People’s Revolution, founded by Kelly Cutrone.

Cutrone chatted backstage with Washington Life about fashion trends in New York and its enhanced importance in the nation’s capital with our recent addition of noted fashion plate, First Lady Michelle Obama.

Pamela Love in this season's must-have accessories

Pamela Love must-have accessories. Photo by Jenna Elizabeth.

Cutrone’s fashion insights made the upcoming People’s Revolution-produced shows even more highly anticipated. And these People’s Revolution shows, like Davidelfin and Pamela Love, far exceeded expectations.

On Fashion Week’s final day, Spanish design house Davidelfin’s designs embodied the phrase “less is more”. When minimalist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe coined that term to describe spare and stripped-down frameworks expressing more than excessive detail ever could, he might have been sitting front row with Washington Life at this Davidelfin prêt-à-porter show.

According to some commentators, Davidelfin is one of the few design shops truly applying art to clothing design.

In fact, the current collection evokes the stripped-down aesthetics of both Mondrian and even the later, more abstract Lichtenstein, with clean, contrasting lines bridging empty spaces between blocks of color, and delineating forms.

Davidelfin’s collection, a stark thunderbolt of design injected into Fashion Week, celebrates minimalism, employing brightly hued nylon straps to connect and define electric blue and black building blocks of only partially-reconstructed formal attire.

Asked how his Madrid-based Davidelfin line would appeal to the American market, the line’s founder, David Delfin, believes he will indeed conquer America – and specifically Washington, D.C.

“I don’t think that women in Spain dress much differently than American women,” Delfin told Washington Life. “Fashion ideas have become all connected now.”

Refreshingly, Davidelfin pays little attention to the demands of any single demographic or impulse to dress any one woman, believing that his role is to design clothing that allows a woman to be herself and not what a designer may want her to be.

“I don’t design for a particular type of woman,” he said. “My main concern is to design special clothes that are good quality. I don’t think what a woman wears can change her personality — it can only change it for a minute. If a woman is sassy, she will be sassy in any clothing.”

Davidelfin thus continues to define and also push fashion’s boundaries, expressing more but displaying less, with his purely wearable art.

Another jolt of creative electricity came from Pamela Love’s edgy presentation at the übercool Milk Studios, complete with cocktail bar and smoking room.

This allowed Love to mingle and interact with the throngs of photographers, videographers, fashion writers, bloggers, trendsetters, models and buyers, blurring together the watchers and the watched in a multi-media mash-up. In this twist on the traditional fashion “show” formula, the venue and format allowed not only the tribal and darkly beautiful designs but also Pamela Love herself to become more accessible, and even more visceral.

Energy is essential to life and has many uses, including illumination and shock value. This year’s Spring-Summer 2011 collections displayed at New York Fashion Week — the sunny luxury of Michael Kors, the stark aesthetics of Davidelfin and the primal beauty of Pamela Love — all harnessed and expressed energy in different ways, but together these designers made this Fashion Week electrifying.

Michael Kors

Michael Kors. Photo by Yulia Gorbachenko

Camera ready in white and navy

Camera ready in white and navy. Photo by Yulia Gorbachenko


Davidelfin. Photo by Yulia Gorbachenko

Isabeli Fontana

Isabeli Fontana. Photo by Yulia Gorbachenko

Stefanie Ball is a professional model who lives in Washington, D.C. This is her third fashion critique for Washington Life.

Related Articles