Uggs? Ugh. NY Fashion Week Battles the Elements
Mother Nature is clearly not a fashionista.
A blizzard forced Michael Kors to arrive at New York Fashion Week's "Project Runway" show on Friday in — gasp — Uggs.
"I came in looking like Pam Anderson," he joked backstage, where the offending boots had been traded for tasteful black leather.
Marc Jacobs postponed his Monday night show until Thursday, citing delivery problems, but for the most part Fashion Week went on with the show. IMG Fashion said organizers remained in contact with city officials, including the mayor's office, about potential weather problems but had planned for an extra layer of tenting for the venue and more heat at Lincoln Center, along with crews to help with snow and ice.
Zac Posen said he would present his collection as usual on Sunday but he worried that out-of-town editors and retailers might not be able to make it. Other designers were considering Plan B — adding an Internet stream — to accommodate guests who couldn't make it to their shows.
Still, plenty of fashion fans wouldn't let a little snow get in the way. Baltimore college student Carmen Green arrived in a red cocktail dress and black high-heel booties.
"In this outfit, the blizzard did not deter me," she said. She did allow that she only had to cross the street from her hotel and would change into combat boots for the train ride home.
Alyssa Montemurro, 22, works for a website that covers models. She was wearing four-inch heels and left the boots at home. Why?
"I am 5-foot-3 on a good day," she said, "and when you're interviewing models backstage it's best to be somewhere near their face level."
The celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch offered a blizzard pro tip.
"You either come in warm and comfortable clothes and boots or you come in neon — or sequins would be a good one — so they see you in the drift," he said.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week wraps up Feb. 14, when the industry moves on to London, Milan and Paris.
Wu's collection was all woman. Not girlie. Not mannish. That was by design.
"I wanted to bring back the woman to the runway," he said backstage.
The clothes were full of strength, with exaggerated shoulders and some military touches, but chiffon pleats floated down the runway. Two outfits were long — as in floor-length — pleated, peplum tops over tuxedo pants, the perfect yin and yang.
Red that offset the mostly black-and-white combinations was the va-va-voom. Use of the color both here and on Michelle Obama's inaugural gown last month was not a coincidence. Wu started on the collection in October and the gown — for which he received plenty of congratulations and accolades — was designed in November.
"Certainly red was on my mind. ... I felt it was right for right now," he said.
RAG & BONE
Outside, there was sleet, snow and slush. But inside at the Rag & Bone show, one could find at least a temporary solution to the winter storm: Hot mulled wine to ease the chill, and some fun, colorful clothes.
Designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville were interested in pops of bright color — like mineral green and grape — and in a more overtly masculine style. "We referenced men's silhouettes a lot more than usual this time," Wainwright said.
On the other hand, the collection was full of flirty quilted miniskirts, too, giving it a feminine accent along with the structured jackets and coats. A grape-colored crochet mini was a typically fun look, as was an orange bomber skirt paired with a long coat, also in grape.
There were lots of soft sweaters, too, like a charcoal "funnel sweater" paired with a crochet skirt of the same color. A charcoal sweater-coat looked deliciously big and warm — one envied the model who got to wear it on such a cold evening.
The rivalry stayed on the catwalk when new judge, Zac Posen, met previous judge, Michael Kors.
Kors, acting as a guest panelist, Posen, Heidi Klum and Nina Garcia were one big happy family when they took their seats to watch the collections of this season's contestants. (Kors and Klum joked they've spent so much time together over the years that they now look like brother and sister.)
"I didn't call Zac with any tips before he started. He knows what he's doing," Kors said. "I knew I was leaving it in very capable hands."
Chiming in, Posen added: "I had 10 seasons to watch Michael, and I had been a guest judge with him. I'm sure I learned a few things."
The show is the godmother of fashion reality TV, now in its 11th season. It was time for a change, said Klum, who is an executive producer.
The other new wrinkle this go-around is that the contestants have been working in teams — and they are not necessarily happy about it, Klum said.
CARMEN MARC VALVO
Valvo's tell-tale heart drew him to Edgar Allan Poe for inspiration.
"I was thinking long, lean, moody and dark," the designer said backstage. "Edgar Allan Poe. Creatures of the night. With a little rock 'n' roll, too."
The show featured some stunning gowns in ivory, grape and merlot, but most creations were in black. Valvo said he was so taken with black this season that he almost did the entire collection in it. "It really makes you focus on the structure and the detailing, to make sure each dress is different," he explained.
The show opened with what seemed a perfect nod to the stormy weather: An embroidered trench with patent leather squares, all in black.
Actress Nichole Galicia, who appears in "Django Unchained," especially loved a couple of gowns in flowing ivory — but was partial to the black lacy gowns, too. "I'm doing some mental shopping here," quipped the actress, who wore Valvo to a recent event honoring "Django" director Quentin Tarantino. "I'm still looking for an Oscar dress."
There's something new on the Edun runway this season: the Y chromosome.
The theme for fall is youth culture, and the label founded by U2 rocker Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson, decided to showcase men's clothes with equal emphasis.
"We've been making men's clothes for so long, but a lot of people didn't know that," Hewson said. "It's great to bring men's looks to the fore."
The look was strong and simple for the men: big black biker jackets, with fitted black jeans. On the women's side, many of the looks — from jackets to tops to dresses — featured little silver chains.
But not too thick, emphasized the label's designer, Sharon Wauchob.
"I didn't want it to be too aggressive and tough," she said backstage of the chain detailing. "It's always a very careful balance between expressing femininity and expressing a strong identity."
The Lang label went cubist, Picasso style.
The show in a funky downtown space was dubbed "Assemblage," for the many geometric dresses, skirts and coats combining a range of fabrics and textures.
But this Picasso, as interpreted by creative directors Nicole and Michael Colovos, was near-absent color, sticking mostly to shades of black, white and nude. Hints of bright yellow and blue broke through in some looks for fall.
The show was influenced, according to its notes, by an exhibition called Picasso Black and White, along with the work of Richard Prince in his book, "Prince/Picasso," which turns an eye on the nude female form ala the Spanish painter.
The Lang designers used a rubber-treated fabric for a raised effect. Some pieces combined leather, pressed felt, wool, pony and silk. The pony theme was carried into high-heel boots and pumps.