Sunday, September 13, 2009
Yesterday was full on - what with all that celeb-spotting - so today I decided to take things a bit easier and go with the less is more/quality over quantity philosophy. I chose three shows to go to: Lacoste in the morning, Karen Walker in the afternoon and Alexander Wang in the evening. First thing I saw walking into Lacoste? Grungy British it-girls Alice Dellal and Pixie Geldof. Grunge girls at the preppiest show of the week? Slightly incongruous, I know. Next thing I saw - swarms of photographers down the far end of the catwalk. I couldn't help myself. I ran over to find Mischa Barton and Corbin Blue of High School Musical fame - the two stars of new model drama The Beautiful Life - sitting front row. I snapped a couple of shots then retired to my seat.
Image /Steve Wood
The show was Lacoste at its traditional sporting best. Here was a presentation with no metaphors - the first section was entirely devoted to tennis whites. I'm a sucker for all things reminiscent of the Wimbledon glory days, so they had me at the first strains of the soundtrack - tennis balls being hit back and forth. After the whites came whites with blues, then turqouises, nautical stripes, and a finale walk with 25 models dressed head to toe in bright yellow. Everything you'd love to wear in summer on the court, to the park or on the beach. I love a show that leaves you smiling, and Lacoste did just that. It was unpretentious, fun and didn't try to do anything elaborate or unnecessary with styling. It is what it is, and I hope the Croc stays that way. I've heard rumours that Lacoste is opening up a flagship store in Auckland's Deloitte building in the next few months, so we'll be able to see the full collection first hand soon (inshallah).
Image /Steve Wood
I headed straight over to Karen Walker after Lacoste, and found the lady herself relaxed as ever, about to tuck into some lunch at the catering table. I asked her on Wednesday how she copes if something goes wrong on the day of the show. Her reply - "I handle it". Great answer. But there were no dramas that I was privy to, I watched as the clothes were steamed, models arrived, hair and makeup was taken care of and first looks assembled. A calmer backstage I've never seen. Out front the crowd was a mixture of New Zealanders (Sunday's Katie Newton, hair dresser Richard Kavanagh, NO Magazine's Delaney Tabron and Matt Offord, stylist Molly Kennedy with boyfriend Peter Villiger in tow, and his sister, Turned Out's Maya Villiger), and the best dressed New York cool kids I've ever seen. I sat next to a New York based Australian writer named Indigo who nudged me as every look came down the runway, saying, "Oh God, I need that dress," or, "Ahhh look at the tee shirt, it's exactly what I want to wear!" Needless to say, the show was a hit. Read what Karen Walker had to say about it here.
There are two massively hyped shows here at New York Fashion Week - Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs. Alexander Wang was directly after Karen Walker, so the moment the show ended I went running through the muggy rain to hail a taxi for the long ride up the West Side Highway to the venue. I've had a bit of a mare with invitations here in New York - I gave a friend's postal address to all the designers and it turns out he lost the key to his mailbox. Just my luck. So I haven't actually known which shows I've had invitations to unless they specifically emailed me back saying yes or no. I'd heard that Alexander Wang had sent out emails declining people's invitations but I never received one, so all I could do was assume I was on the list. I arrived, no name on the list. But my experience in New York has been that if you're polite, clearly explain who you are and who you work for, the PR agents will let you in. I was surprised and chuffed to find that the lovely girl on the desk listened to my story and immediately gave me a standing ticket.
Inside was a who's who of the fashion world's cool kids. Erin Wasson running from side to side greeting friends; Terry Richardson (pictured above) chatting with Mark Hunter aka The Cobrasnake and Purple Magazine's Olivier Zahm; model Devon Aoki posing for photographers; all the Vogue staff; Alice Dellal and Pixie Geldof; and flying the flag for celebrities was Rachel McAdams sitting alongside Anna Wintour. The models that walked the show were equally impressive - Natasha Poly, my mate Magdalena Frackowiak, Australia's Abbey Lee, Freja Beha, Lily Donaldson... the list goes on.
The show lived up to the hype. Part sporty - gridiron inspired marle sweaters with shoulder pads and lace-up shorts (as seen above on Abbey Lee), part Air Force with khaki trenches and elaborate dresses in what looked to be utilitarian beige drill.
First show tomorrow is my favourite New York menswear label Thom Browne with New Zealand's own Michael Whittaker modelling.
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