We know everyone is already thinking about London and Milan by now, but we wanted to mention a few shows we didn't get to note last week because, let's face it, we had important Olympics to watch!
We braved the slush and snow early on to get to BESPOKEN
's charming menswear presentation in the westernmost part of West Chelsea which included the now obligatory short film. We always like it when models are just standing there waiting for us to shoot, and there were a few in this crew who weren't above a little bit of playful mugging, giving a humorous edge to the line of well-tailored, modernized classics.
Afterward, we trekked even further west to young designer GEORGE McCRACKEN
's artsy presentation. We have noticed his meticulously constructed clothes in a few stores this past Fall, and we give him credit for attempting to find an interesting way to show his newest wares, but we will have to forgive him for a late-starting and excruciatingly slow format. It didn't help that it was dinnertime and some people might have barely eaten all day and possibly had to pee. On the plus side, the clothes looked beautiful and he served beer. Next season, keep it simple, please, George.
The next day, LODEN DAGER
brought us to the Audi Forum on Park Avenue which, it turns out, is a pretty decent place for a small runway show, allowing for a nice sized bar and a rotating convertible automobile to examine while you are waiting for the show to start. This season Loden Dager moved further away from its earlier preppy incarnation to classics with a twist, literally, adding shawls wound around the models and trousers with wrapped waistbands. It was surprisingly directional, but not too much to alienate loyal friends and customers like actors Anthony Edwards
and James LeGros
who made low-key appearances.
While we missed some of their individual shows, the winners of the ECCO DOMANI FASHION FOUNDATION
award were gathered for a group show in the big Tent. Group shows can be disjointed, especially when there are seven designers to cover, and to pull it all together, the producers hired an emcee, stylist and ambitious TV personality Robert Verdi who referred to himself in the third person and brought schtick. This was of questionable value, and since most of these designers had their own shows planned elsewhere on the schedule, we wonder if Ecco Domani might not have skipped the show and just given more money to the designers? White hot winners Joseph Altuzzara
and Prabal Gurung
have already emerged as standouts. Prova
showed the pitfalls of showing jewelry in a runway show as it took a couple of looks for us to realize that it wasn't a label of crêpe de chine sack dresses. Salvor Projects, Siki Im
and Organic by John Patrick
all showed seven respectable, promising looks, but it was the flamboyant pair known as The Blonds
who wowed the crowd with the showgirl outfits that have made them famous. Of course one model was out of her shoes before she was even halfway down the runway, and as always, we wondered if the pair would ever be able to (or interested in) adapting their glittery costumes into something that might actually be commercially viable. Our eyes kept drifting to the front row lineup (below) which featured an alluring lineup of Annalynne McCord, Kelly Rutherford, Molly Sims
and Kate Walsh
We were kind of surprised that PAMELLA ROLAND
invited us back after we blasted her amateurish runway production last season, but nothing much has changed. Roland's considerable skills remain obscured by ill considered accessories and poor styling (really, side ponytails
?). The lack of expertise was crystallized when the finale bride came to the end of the Salon tent's narrow, elevated runway with a long train that made it impossible for her to turn around with any amount of finesse. Though she gingerly redirected herself without major mishaps, it's too bad that showgoers will remember that moment instead of the series of red carpet stunners that immediately preceded her. Still, Roland can attract stars even in a dry season, including Mena Suvari
, Shiri Appleby
and the still gorgeous Brooke Shields
. We wanted to hop over the runway and tell the elegant Alfre Woodard
that we have been fans for decades, but then the show started.
Woodard reappeared later at DENNIS BASSO
in the same outfit (a major fashion week gaffe) with her friends Pauletta (Mrs. Denzel) Washington
and LaTanya (Mrs. Samuel L.) Jackson
. Models Maggie Rizer
and Carol Alt
were also there swathed in mink by the designer along with the complete Vogue
contingent including La Wintour
and Andre Leon Talley
in a giant mink coat. The real shocker, however, was that the show started with seats left empty in the front row! Despite this unheard of faux pas, Basso, with a bit of help from stylist Patti Wilson, outdid himself with lavishness, and a knockout finale gown that looked like satin, but revealed itself to be made of the lightest, supplest Russian broadtail.