MARC JACOBS: CLOSING FASHION WEEK WITH A BANG — AND A BOOM
Marc Jacobs is known for starting his shows exactly on time, not almost 30 minutes late as most designers do. And so at the very stroke of 6 p.m. on Thursday, fashionistas in the cavernous Park Avenue Armory were thrown back into their seats with a huge, pounding "BOOM!" It was just really, really loud music, but it certainly got everyone's attention.
Then, Jacobs kept that attention with a moody, stylish show that at some points seemed to channel some darkly romantic Victorian novel, perhaps by Dickens, and at others seemed utterly modern.
The show was heavy on long, pleated skirts, often topped by gorgeously tailored and embroidered coats, or capes. Some of the outfits were heavy enough to wear outside in the rapidly descending New York temperatures, and others were light enough to — well, one gown was totally sheer.
There were luxurious coats in black-and-white mink, and there was plenty of sparkle, too: in silvery metallic pleated skirts and jackets, for example, or on gowns covered with the brightest of sequins. Model-of-the-moment Kendall Jenner, half-sister of Kim Kardashian, sported a sleek black coat over a floral pleated skirt.
Her hair, like that of all the models, was pulled up into a topknot on the very front of her head. These distinctive hairdos — meant to elongate the neck, as in a swan — were accompanied by heavy silver-grey eye shadow and eggplant-colored lips, for a dramatic and elegant look apparently inspired partly by Diana Vreeland, the famous fashion columnist and editor who died in 1989.
Among Jacobs' guests at the show: singer Nicki Minaj, director Sofia Coppola, and actress Christina Ricci, a longtime Jacobs fan. "It's the most exciting show, the most fun show," Ricci said. "Such a creative mind, always doing something unexpected."
Something unexpected like, perhaps, those waiters offering guests glasses of vodka with a lemon twist when they arrived in from the cold? That was pretty creative, too.
—Jocelyn Noveck and Nicole Evatt
RALPH LAUREN'S WINTER WONDERLAND
With a model's tip of a high floppy hat for the cameras and others wrapped in furry shearling, Ralph Lauren put on a show of sexy — and warm — elegance.
Forget shades of grey. Lauren stuck mostly to taupe and cream, in suede platform boots, cozy cashmere sweaters and fringe on coats, collars, ponchos and capes. Wide suede belts hung at the hip, offering a little oomph to a few body-skimming looks.
There were wide-brimmed hats in tune with Lauren's signature vibe, but he threw in some warm, Russian-style gems in shearling worthy of weather that put this round of fall previews in the deep freeze.
There was also black, in a floral lace evening dress, another in velvet with a scant back strap and a beautifully tailored leather skinny pant and jacket set.
So what'd Lauren have on his mind?
"The mix of clothes," he said after the last of two shows. "The very sharp black silhouettes for evening. Sexy, very bare. Daytime is cashmere and warm and (shearling) hats. The weather is changing and it sort of goes with the world."
Kanye West, who made his fashion week debut last week, sat on Lauren's front row with a smiling Chirlane McCray, the first lady of New York City.
"I love this so much. You know I love Ralph," West gushed. "He's the No. 1 inspiration. He's the greatest designer of our time."
—Leanne Italie and Emerald Morrow
CALVIN KLEIN: A STOP FOR SALLY BOWLES
On her way to the Kit Kat Club in decadent 1930s Berlin, Sally Bowles stopped off at Calvin Klein.
That would be Sienna Miller, who just began a stint starring in "Cabaret" on Broadway, taking over for Emma Stone. Miller's been having a big year, with a major role in the movie "American Sniper" and now her theatre gig. Dressed in chic winter white, she had the seat of honour next to Vogue editor Anna Wintour at Thursday's show.
"I'm very excited," she said before the models came out. "Francisco (Costa) is a friend," she said of the Calvin Klein designer, "and I've managed to squeeze it in between my play, so I'm really happy to be here."
As for the clothes, Costa was clearly favouring patchwork leather in coats, jackets and dresses this season; fully half of his runway looks had it, in black, blush, chocolate, eggplant and forest green.
Costa also showed coats in haircalf, and dresses in a comfy-looking metallic knit. And he presented an extremely shiny patent leather peacoat, in burgundy and in black.
The designer said he was inspired by the very "vocal" type of woman he sees in New York — "very strong, very confident," he said.
—Jocelyn Noveck and Nicole Evatt
PROENZA SCHOULER: PERFECT FOR A (VERY HIP) MUSEUM
It felt like no accident that Proenza Schouler showed their collection at the imposing (and now empty) Whitney Museum on Madison Avenue. Design duo Jack McCollough and Lazaro Fernandez are so innovative — even audacious — with fabric work, their garments could be shown in glass cases and wouldn't look out of place. But that would have been a shame, since many of the items — including some soft tweed coats with nice wide belts — seemed perfect for the freezing night air outside.
Wednesday's event drew an artsy crowd, all the better to appreciate the show's theme: The art movement called the New York School, a mid-20th century group of artists based in New York, including abstract expressionist painters. Particularly, the designers say they were inspired by the paintings of Helen Frankenthaler, and her "instinctual and spontaneous approach" to her art.
The designers say that led them not to overthink their designs, and clearly that worked for them, because the collection left many in the crowd gushing over the creativity on display.
The early part of the show — which took place in an upstairs gallery with models crisscrossing each other between the seated rows at a brisk pace — focused heavily on that thick, luxurious tweed, often in grey or black. There was also a striking "spotted calf" fabric that looked exactly what it sounds like.
The Proenza designers use titles for their fabrics that hint at the complex development process: "Boiled felt," for example, and "needle-punched chiffon-crepe." The collection moved from those comfy tweeds to gauzier items to dresses and tops that, like bandages, wrapped around the body and tied in back — no closures. If they literally looked like they had been stripped apart, it seems they had been. Drawing from the work of sculptor Robert Morris, "clothes are cut, slashed and pieced together to create a feeling of movement and freedom," the designers wrote in a statement.
Often designers' themes and inspirations sound silly and unrelated to the garments on show. Not here, though. Even the hosiery looked like a work of contemporary art — with huge oval holes making the black tights look like super-artsy fishnets.
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