Yes, folks, that sleek , gull-wing Mercedes could only mean one thing: Fashion Week is back. We passed through the now familiar brushed steel façade at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week to find a whole new arrangement inside -one that, unfortunately, feels more like the Auto Show than ever. That's mainly because the main sponsor area has been pushed to one end of the space, and the addition of a pair of not particularly stylish models (sorry girls) doesn't help. Samsung has also created an unavoidable presence at the tents in an effort to convert the Apple-loving fashion crowd to it's Galaxy line. One model dressed like a Pan Am stewardess appeared to be offering treats from a tray that turned out to be Samsung batteries for anyone whose Samsung devices had run out of power. We were kind of hoping that they were really chocolate. They weren't.
The new configuration made the tent seem extra crowded, which would not be a good development, but that may have just been because we were there for the BCBG Max Azria show, which is always a crowd pleaser and a cluster___. Next Fall's line was inspired by "the architecture of Istanbul and the eclectic style of the Gypsies of Southern Europe, contrasted by the artwork of contemporary artist Phil Frost" which translated on the runway as Grunge + a ton of fur. We couldn't tell from the run of show if it was real or not, but it looked awfully real, and made an interesting departure from some of the more severe minimalist looks we have come to expect from BCBG's Runway collections. Wow, that show is crowded every season, and usually features the season's most prominent front-row starlets for hire, but Azria's crop of "celebrities" included a third banana from NBC's "Smash" and a bunch of other people we have never even heard of. That bodes poorly for those who look to Fashion Week for showbiz glamor.
Our next stop was down to the West Village at Industria for DUCKIE BROWN, always a Shophound favorite. Designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver were in peak form offering a rich color palette and artful details like an ingenious double pant cuff and slices of color on a classic wool coat where the shadow between the body and arm would be.even the inevitable runway trick (backwards jackets?) They seem more than ready to meet the increasing level of attention they have been getting lately.
Next we were off to the Harvard Club to check out the presentation for BOAST, the classic sporting brand known by its maple-not-marijuana-leaf insignia. Frankly, we were intrigued to see what it was like inside the Harvard Club which turns out to be remarkably like a larger, more mazelike version of the Yale Club where J. Press held it's York Street show last season. As for Boast, it is relaunching with an appropriately preppy range. They also had drinks and a full spread of fruit, bread and cheese for lunch, so they are getting of to an excellent fashion week start.
Finally, making a full set of rounds, we found ourselves back downtown at MADE Fashion Week at Milk Studios for COSTELLO TAGLIAPIETRA. While the duo has become well know for their expertly draped dresses, this season they added more sportswear pieces and knits that broadened the scope of their collection. Basically, they seem long overdue for some attention from the First Lady. As for Milk it has never been a favorite venue of ours, but they are making efforts to improve their previously awkward intake and elevator issues. Still, there is no getting around the need to corral guests like cattle. Passersby will by disappointed that the Walgreens Café that appeared on the sidewalk last season, offering free treats has moved indoors for showgoers only.