There may only be one day left of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, but the energy in New York City hasn't even come close to dieing down. Today's schedule was jam-packed with world class designers and the people who came to take in their shows. Collections shown on February 7 were Tony Cohen, Vera Wang, Naeem Khan, Rebecca Taylor, Bill Blass, Reem Acra, two back-to-back Calvin Klein shows, Chris Han, Tommy Hilfiger, Custo Barcelona, Zac Posen and Jayson Brunsdon. The second half of Vera Wang's collection is shown in the video. Detailed highlights of all the collections follow below.
The most bizarre happening of the day? Late this morning, Zac Posen UNinvited some of the A-list celebrities he had initially sent invites to. Publicists were asked to pass on the message that stars were not welcome. "An insider shared that Posen wanted to 'refocus the attention,' on him and his clothes and fill his first three rows with buyers," the New York Post explained.
During this week's coverage I've mentioned where the shows are taking place, yet didn't explain what the venues are. The Tents at Bryant Park include "tents within a tent" in the center, with boutique-like stations around the outside at which reps give out the much desired freebies and samples. Better known as swag, or stuff we all get, the goodies are given to celebrities, editors, retailers and over attendees. The shows themselves take place either at the Tents which seat around 1,200, the Promenade for 900 and the most exclusive shows take place at the salon which only seats 300. Front rows are reserved for major editors, like Vogue's Anna Wintour and celebrity guests.
Tony Cohen - Cohen's show was the first of the day at 9 a.m. at the Salon. The designer showcased several dresses, from warmer sweater dresses to flowing shorter gown, worn either barelegged or with black tights. The colour palette was dark neutrals with a splash of burgundy, olive and periwinkle.
Vera Wang - The show was packed and anticipation was high at the Tents as spectators gathered to see what the New York-based fashion designer would show. Although she's gained notoriety for creating wedding gowns for celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman and Mariah Carey, the designer proved she could tackle ready to wear fashions beautifully too.
The overall style was slouchy yet tailored, with dominant accessories like enormous bracelets in silver and glittering black pulling the look together. Aside from the bracelets and a snake-shaped necklace, the collection didn't have any pieces that were particularly memorable. She did add a few peculiar pieces like faux fur arm warmers She also featured ragged hats you'd imagine on a chimney sweep and hair that looks as if her models went to bed with too much hairspray in.
Naeem Khan - This was by far the most gold I've seen in one collection for a long time, but each piece was uniquely crafted in a different design. Some looked like gowns Cleopatra may have worn, some modernized with snakeskin patterns while others looked to be inspired by the flashiest days of disco. The designer, who often creates pieces for celebrities, follows in the footsteps of his designer father and grandfather, both of which used to design for Indian royalty. Eva Longoria was spotted at the Fall 2008 show in a short white dress (isn't it cold in New York?)
Rebecca Taylor - Celebrities like Amy Smart took in the show at the Salon which included several dresses that could have been designed by Gucci. She punched up classic blacks and greys with bold colours, including Blue Iris.
Bill Blass - Peter Som showed his first collection under the Bill Blass label at the Tents under the watchful gaze of the sunglass clad Anna Wintour. The majority of the collection featured blacks, white and grays, but Som added bursts of vibrant peacock shades like blue, green and purple.
"Plenty of YSL-esque wool trouser suits, pleated skirts, ostrich feathers galore and cocktail dresses that you can just see the former Mrs. Trump wearing in paparazzi photos in Spy magazine," mused NY Times writer, Horacio Silva. "The custom shoes by Christian Louboutin made the show as did the Leggs hosiery (when was the last time you saw hose on the runway?). We predict a trend."
Reem Acra - The designer known for her red carpet designs showed a collection that brought back Old Hollywood class at the Promenade. "Acra didn't disappoint in her fall presentation, sending mostly sleek and prim silhouettes of nipped-in waists with knee-length skirts that recall a generation of ladies who lunched with white gloves," the Canadian Press wrote. "The socialites and well-coifed ladies came out to support, as did actresses Sophia Bush and Aisha Tyler, and the male supermodel-cum-television host Tyson Beckford."
Calvin Klein - CK held two shows at 205 West 39th St. The Brazilian designer behind the label, Francisco Costa, showed a collection dominated by black that made minimalism chic very desirable.
"The heart of this show was the tailoring, where Dr. Costa cut with a micro surgeon's scalpel, angling his incisions to create spruce mini tail coats, molded felt cabans and plush futurist pea coats," Fashion Wire Daily wrote. "His sense of novel proportion was at its best with a series of austere cocktail dresses, where large panels of boiled wool reminded one of overlapping roof slates."
Chris Han - The designer had to compete with Tommy Hilfiger; as Han was showing at the Salon, Hilfiger's show was also going on at 6 p.m. She's still relatively new to the fashion scene, but the timing didn't allow her a proper opportunity to show off her talents.
Tommy Hilfiger - The Fall 2008 collection was heavy on the shades of navy blue, red and white the designer is known for. Every now and then, he would throw another colour down the runway including a seafoam green sweater, pale purple sweater dress and a shocking pair of plaid pants. There were chic neck scarves, white lab coats and trousers that billowed so widely, they almost looked like a flowing skirt.
Custo Barcelona - This collection shown at the Promenade provides an instant visual jolt; the designs were pure candy for the eyes. It was some of the pleasant oversaturation of colour I've seen at Fashion Week. The co-ed showed an array of fabrics, from frills, fur and leather. A must see!
Zac Posen - This show at the Tents was peculiar to say the least; first celeb were disinvited, and then two models tripped on their impossibly hard to walk in heels, one falling flat on her face. Many of the designs seemed to be inspired by penguin-like tuxedos. Hair was pulled back to reveal stern faces and blood red lips. One outfit, featured in the gallery, shows a long fur vest paired with a very sheer, checkered shift that revealed the garter belts holding the white thigh highs to a pair of Superwoman undies.
Jayson Brunsdon - The Australian designer, who was live blogging throughout fashion week for Vogue.com.au, closed the day's shows at 9 p.m. at the Salon. His collection was much anticipated after Harpers Bazaar Australia awarded him Australian Eveningwear Designer, and he didn't fail to impress. His Fall 2008 was feminine and flirty despite a high use of black. He punched up one black turtle neck and tights with a hot pink, strapless cocktail dress and cute boots. A stunning collection!
To finish the last day of fashion week with a bang, Project Runway is kick starting the shows at 9 a.m. Later in the day, Sean Combs will show his Sean John collection which has already created quite a buzz since the designer declared he would be using all black models.
Style addicts needn't worry they won't get their sartorial fix - London Fashion Week begins next week, and according to several news sources, designers have some surprises in store!
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