Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Random Fashion Week Thoughts

As of right now, my feet hurt. I know I should have worn flats, but later today I have cocktail hour with Cartier... no they are not giving out free watches and I wanted to look cute. (smile.)
This morning, I actually missed my first show. I just zoned out on the D-train and instead of getting off at 42nd street, I chilled until I got to 34th.
This place is officially a zoo as everybody and their mama try to get in the shows. My hat goes off to the black suited security guards that keep the people here organized. As I type this in the tents, I'm watching a bunch of people try to get into the Carlos Miele show. They don't h ave seating assignments, which around here are golden because they allow folks to walk right into the show. So they must wait until all the seated people are down and then they will fill in standing.
I tell you.
This place is all about who you know and even the people who know people can't get where they need to be.
In other news, I had lunch this afternoon with Tom Marotta, vice president of designer collections at Saks Fifth Avenue in Bala Cynwd. We sat in the Bryant Park hotel and noshed on salad. I had a banana split for desert. All of this is a far cry from the bagels and cream cheese I've been eating for breakfast and lunch as I write on deadline.
If Tom has his way with the buying Philadelphia socialites will be really happy next spring. wink. wink.
I'm gonna have to wean myself from carbs when this is all over.
Next Carmen Marc Valvo, Vivenne Tam and Anna Sui.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Marc Jacobs

The biggest suprise at the Marc Jacobs show was not that his show started just 30 minutes late, but that the blue and white clad Penn State University band hustled down the runway blasting "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
It was surprising and awesome.
And so were the clothes which were refreshingly plain and short juxtraposed with all long and glittery embellished gowns.
Celebrity watch included: Venus and Serena, Mary J. Blige, Diddy, Carmen Electra and Jessica Simpson.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Stop Wearing Sunglasses Inside

I bet you people wouldn't think they were so important here at Fashion Week if they took off these darned sunglasses inside.
Outside when it's 80 degrees and the sun is beaming, that's one thing.
But inside it's ridiculous. It's just extra.
All weekend I traipsed from show to show from Tracy Reese to Luca Luca to Sass and Bide to LaCoste watching sunglasses wearing people trying to get into shows, but getting turned away. It's as if the shades give them some air of imagined Vogue editor Anna Wintour importance and then the black clad gatekeepers of seat assignments turn them away.
It's the most annoying trend that's gotten out of hand. There are people walking around these tents with Guccis, Ray Bans... you name it wrapped around their whole head.
I'm surprised they don't bump into something. I'm sure they are gonna bump into me. It's a level of cool I just can't understand.
I'm probably jealous.
Even models are wearing sunglasses inside as they walk down the runway expecially with BabyPhat where close to a dozen of the 51 models traipsed out in sunglasses.
Who knows?
I wonder if they've got functioning brains behind the eyes hidden behind those tinted shades.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Let Me In!!!!

The first Saturday night of Fashion Week is traditionally the Baby Phat Show entrance fiasco. Baby Phat is a line of sportswear designed by Kimora Lee Simmons, wife of Russell Simmons, otherwise known as the grandfather of hip hop. Basically it is the most celebrity heavy show of Fashion Week as dozens of rappers and the like are the VIP's making the 20-minute production as much, or more, about the celebrities than the clothes.
That said, Saturday's show was held at Radio City Music Hall to allow for maximum capacity. And let me tell you the number of people trying to get in was still off the chain as every Tom, Dick, Harry, wanna-be-stylist, fashion editor and star gazer crammed at the front door.
I knew it was gonna be a problem when I didn't get my invitation to the show. I called the public relations firm, LaForce and Stevens, to tell them. Invitations were going out late, a nice young man named Chris told me. But not to worry, they would send my invite to the hotel.
It never showed up.
So after checking out LaCoste and Sass & Bide at Bryant Park, I walked the four blocks down Sixth Avenue to Radio City Music Hall -- which by the way was a blessing in Simmon's part because usually her show is way, way downtown -- picking up Susuan Stapleton editor-in-chief of Philadelphia Style along the way.
I stopped at the first entrance. They couldn't help me. Go around the back. Tickets sold out there. Press entrance on the other side. And there he was, a Heaven Send - James LaForce himself. Earlier in the week Rod Hagwood, fashion writer for the Sun Sentinel, introduced me to LaForce at the Perry Ellis Mens show who standing with Paul F. Rosengard, a bigwhig at Perry Ellis who just happened to go to Drexel business school and gushed about the Philadelphia Inquirer.
So at the event he remembered me and LaForce handed over two extra tickets to Stapleton and I.
Thanks James.
Shout out to Philly!
Philadelphia's La Columbe coffee is giving out free samples under the tents. And homegrown model, Sesilee has already been spotted walking in Tommy Hilfiger and Baby Phat shows. We'll be checking you out.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Congratulations Tommy!

Spring 2006 will mark the 20th Anniversary of the Tommy Hilfiger label and the wide-smiled, eternally young designer celebrated in style Friday night.
Of course the celebs were in the house, actor Josh Duhamel looked pretty cozy Fergie singer from The Black Eyed Peas. A very skinny Paris Hilton waltzed through the crowd with a pitiful little ponytail pasted to the back of her dome. And rapper turned music executive Jay-Z was seen sauntered around quietly backstage.
It wasn't the celebrity sitings that made the Tommy Hilfiger show impressive, but the retrospective film the designer put together showcasing his shows and influence on pop culture. The seven-minute film was a fast paced montage of Hilfiger maxin' and relaxin' with the likes of Americana's wide celebrity spectrum including everything from Mick Jagger to Beyonce.
I was 12 years old when Tommy Hilfiger's line hit the stores. To be honest back then I was blissfully unaware of the stylishness of the designer's All-American polo-shirted look, probably because in the beginning his core audience wasn't young city black teens, but well-off middle-aged suburan men.
It wasn't until Brand Nubian's Grand Puba spritely rhymed "Gibraud's hanging baggy, Hilfiger on the top." in 1992 that I started paying attention. Those oversized baggy shirts and low slung jeans that all my homeboys were wearing indeed labled Hilfiger. Hip Hop took its own sort of ownership of the label.
Friday night's show featured 100 models in brighter shades of Tommy for both men and women. We're talking kelly, greens, cotton candy pinks and turquoises. Plaids and seer suckers show that Hilfiger is following fashion lead with an unabashed mix of color and texture.
The best part is that through celebrating his celebrityism, Hilfiger thanked all shades of Americana who made him the style icon he is. So, Congratulations Tommy!!!!!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Day One Fashion Week

America is undergoing its worse natural disaster ever: Hurricane Katrina.
I haven't bought a stitch of clothing for fall.
It's a lovely 80 degrees outside.
And I'm covering Spring Fashion Week 2006 for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Welcome to my Blog. This makes absolutely no sense.
Nonetheless I'm here and the week it's really happening. Somehow, I thought Seventh on Sixth would cancel this biannual display of decadence because of the catastrophe in the Gulf, but they didn't and Day One is half over already.
Everything here, however, is beautiful. Fashion week is held in a series of tents in Bryant Park on Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street. Here is where American couture designers like Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Donna Karan and the likes host splashy fashion shows to woo the press - that would be me- and buyers at top department stores. Each show costs thousands of dollars to stage and lasts about 15 minutes.
This year organizers hooked up the billowing airconditioned tents with bronze accessories everywhere. Womens Entertainment Network is handing out the cutest carry all that is sure to work fabulously with beaded flats of all kind.
Corporate sponsorship is more vast as folks try to make high fashion speak to the every day person. Thus, affordable mall staples attempting to raise their level of fashion cache are on hand giving out freebies too. Gap Body is hosting bra fittings as is Maidenform. J.C. Penney has dressed several men in what they hope shoppers will take to as their spiffy Fall Menswear line, Nick It. UPS is sponsoring a stage for six young designers to make their high fashion week debut. (It is astonishing, yes, but UPS is even giving out Goodie Bags. I haven't figured out what's in them yet, so stay tuned.)
In addition to shows there are parties, parties and more parties. Celebrities pop up. (We've already seen Clay Aiken. Stop laughing....) And it's an all and all good time. Provided, of course, you are wearing the proper shoes.
That's why it's so weird this week long party is going on. People have said that people need to take their minds off things that ail them. Forgetting is a way we can move forward, they say. And while New York Fashion Week is a festive and exciting way to be in the know, coming this year was a conundrum. I can't help but feel guillty that while I'm fighting for invites into the hottest shows, my fellow countrymen are fighting for their lives with barely the clothes on their back.