COLORFUL KICKOFF AT TOMMY HILFIGER
Luckily, it was an indoor football game.
On a frigid day in Manhattan, guests at Tommy Hilfiger's splashy runway show arrived Monday to find the cavernous Park Avenue Armory transformed into a football field. Sure, the turf was artificial, but that was a small price to pay for not being outside. Yardage was marked out, with each end zone bearing a huge "HILFIGER." Naturally, the prime seats were at the 50-yard line.
After a huge monitor hanging over the runway — er, field — counted down the final 30 seconds to kickoff, models began streaming out of an entry marked "Locker Room." Their attire was a whimsical riff on football wear, down to the lace-up platform ankle boots that resembled football cleats.
In a collection aimed at channeling what the label called "an American Love Story inspired by Ali MacGraw," the colours of burgundy and navy gave the collection a vintage college football feel. There were capes, duffel coats, and colorful sweatshirts bearing the number 30 — to mark 30 years of the Hilfiger brand.
There were fluffy, furry football jackets. There were varsity-type sweaters and bags with football appliques. Huge furry hats, appropriate for the day's weather, accompanied many of the outfits. And there were skirts and dresses galore, pleated like cheerleader skirts — in casual fabrics or, for dressier occasions, in chiffon or velvet.
Hilfiger, ever the showman, came out at the end carrying his own football helmet, jogging along the field and waving to the crowd, which included singer Rita Ora.
DONNA KARAN's NEW YORK AT NIGHT
Karan's New York City never ceases to inspire. For fall, she interpreted the towering architecture into sculpted origami designs and offered sparkly gold lame worthy of a really great party.
In metallic brocades and gun metal silk, Karan's signature line shown Monday did the glamour of the city's skyline justice with geometric planes of fabric that flowed loosely on dresses and coats. Touches of organza danced down the runway against her backdrop of the city at night.
Gold glam not your thing? The collection was punctuated by tuxedo detailing on several tops and trousers. And she threw in some warm shearling coats worthy of the frigid weather.
How does she keep the New York City story fresh season after season?
"New York for me means the world," she said in a post-show interview. "It's about where women are at today. The chaos (of the) life they live. ... It's more crazy than it's ever been."
The designer's pal, Susan Sarandon, knows a thing or two about glamour and fit, Karan-style.
"I love the comfort of what she makes, and also anyone that has breasts, sometimes people don't dress for breasts," said the actress, sitting on Karan's front row. "It's a problem when you have things that don't take into consideration some curves."
Told of her friend's observation, Karan added: "I think I dress women with hips. Let's put it this way, I take care of women's body parts. At least I try to."
—Nicole Evatt and Leanne Italie
50 SHADES OF DVF
Diane von Furstenberg says it's a mere coincidence that her runway show took place on opening weekend of "Fifty Shades of Grey," but there was nothing coincidental about the "seduction" theme that came through loud and clear on the catwalk.
It was all about lace, skin, satin and yes, the colour red — which, paired with black, gave DVF just the sensibility she wanted for this season.
"The show is called seduction," the designer said in a pre-show interview Sunday. "It's THAT woman. ... During the day she commands the room, and at night she inspires fantasy. It's very seductive."
At show's end, Von Furstenberg took not a victory bow but a victory lap, sauntering up and down the U-shaped runway and blowing kisses to guests, who included singer Kesha, Paris Hilton, and of course Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
—Nicole Evatt and Jocelyn Noveck
SOON TO COME AT THE MET: FASHION MEETS CHINA
When the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute holds its annual star-filled gala in May, you can be sure that the glamorous gowns will include endless yards of gorgeous Chinese embroidery.
That's because the institute's spring exhibit, which always sets the gala's theme, is called "China: Through the Looking Glass," an ambitious examination of how China "has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries, resulting in highly creative distortions of cultural realities and mythologies," according to the institute.
The museum held a special preview of the exhibit on Monday to coincide with New York Fashion Week. Andrew Bolton, the institute's curator, spoke afterward about the scope of the new show.
"I think it's probably our most ambitious to date," he said in an interview, "because it includes both the Costume Institute and also the Asian art galleries, so it's probably twice the size of the Alexander McQueen exhibition that we did several years ago."
An intriguing twist of the exhibit is the role of film. Famed Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai is the exhibition's artistic director, and he showed a clip Monday about famous films that have influenced perceptions of China: Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Last Emperor," Kaige Chen's "Farewell My Concubine," Zhang Yimou's "Raise the Red Lantern," Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," and Kar Wai's own "In the Mood For Love."
All those films and more will play a part in the exhibit — which will also include costumes, paintings, porcelain and other art.
"Film is sort of the first portal of entry for western designers when it comes to imagining China," Bolton said. One of the issues to be examined: The stereotyping of China's femininity — particularly in the Hollywood films of the 30s and 40s.
CAROLINA HERRERA MAKES WAVES
Carolina Herrera usually makes waves at fashion week. This time around, she did it with a splash.
Moved by the element of water, Herrera sent out dresses Monday that fluttered with long metallic droplet embellishment and prints evoking ripples and ocean sprays. A touch of crimson red popped among the muted whites, blues and greys, in a touch of alligator skin on a multi-textured wide scarf and full-skin short looks for cocktails and day.
"This collection I have been calling 'Making Waves,' because it's all about the elements of water. It's the waves. It's all the form and colours that the water has in different aspects. And I love it because it has so much movement, and all the materials I designed especially with the water in mind," Herrera told The Associated Press in a backstage interview.
As if to ease her crowd's wintery angst in the frigid weather, Herrera paired a cozy sweater with cashmere pants and fox gloves. She used a swan motif in embroidery on another cashmere top in black, worn with wool felt pants in ivory.
"I like women to look glamorous," Herrera said. "Why not?"
—Leanne Italie and Nicole Evatt
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