Ralph Lauren's Rugby Stores
Are Open On Bleecker Street


Target's Missoni Pop-Up
Sells Out & Shuts Down


Day 1 With Nicholas K, Rachel Antonoff, Duckie Brown & Catherine Malandrino

RachelAntonoffSS2012Click all images for a larger view in a new window

It's not every season that we start with the very first show on the schedule at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, but there The Shophound was bright and early at 9:00 AM for Nicholas K. It was a solid NicholasK-SS2012 kickoff with the label's signature blend of utilitarian functionality and the kind of fluid, architectural draping that continues to gain steam in the most directional stores (pictured left). The show drew a serious, celeb-free crowd that was there for business and a few surprises like '90s star model Scott Barnhill on the runway looking as if he has aged not a minute since 1987. What is his secret?

Next we began the the inevitable shuttling around town that has come to be the most exhausting element of Fashion Week. The tents were supposed to relieve this torment, but there are so many shows now that MBFW couldn't possibly host them all. Downtown we went to the West Village where Rachel Antonoff took over the 13th floor of a building on West Street for her presentation. Last season we couldn't have been more charmed by her high-school prom show, but this time it was a somewhat more sedate affair as she collaborated with set designer Aux Armes and illustrator Alia Penner to create "Antonoff Manor", an elaborate setting for her youthful collection that was also just the littlest bit creepy in a winsome-girl-in-a-trance-who-might-attack-you-with-a-paper-axe sort of way.

Luckily, our next show was only a block away at Industria Superstudio where Duckie Brown staged a rare departure from the uptown tents. Their new, airy setting suited the collection in which designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver played with the conventions of masculine vs. feminine dressing. Few others can make giant cabbage rose prints and silk chiffon shirts seem like perfectly logical men's sportswear options (pictured below).

We shuttled back uptown for Tadashi Shoji whose front row featured Carrie Preston, True Blood's flame haired waitress Arlene. As we watched the parade of gowns we were thinking that it had been a while since we had gone to a Tadashi show. So anyway....

Finally it was a muggy trip to Exit Art in the West 30's, one of our least favorite fashion show venues as it is convenient to absolutely nothing. We were lured there by Catherine Malandrino who on the day before we received our invitation announced that she would not be showing a new collection this season as her search for new financing has hit a few bumps in the road. Instead, she staged a "Wear It Now" runway show of her current Fall line with celebrity stylist June Ambrose. It offered our first Housewife sighting of the season as Countess LuAnn swanned around the runway pre-show, and Harper's Bazaar Executive fashion and beauty editor Avril Graham made an appearance to lend the show some editorial credibility. On the whole, however, most of the serious crowd stayed away because, after all, they had already seen this collection presented in February. It seemed clear that the designer had already booked the space and couldn't get out of it, so she decided to make lemons out of lemonade and show what she had. What followed was a lively, perfectly well-produced runway collection that showcased Ambrose's formidable styling and also reminded everyone there that Malandrino is a talented, seasoned designer who shouldn't have to go around hunting for new financial backing.


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