September 12, 2007
Kiss & Tell
A Taste Of Fashion Week
We all rotate in our own spheres, and when I arrived in New York City I wasn't aware that there was a taxi cab strike or that the Republican presidential candidates were debating that night or that my favorite spot for a drink, the Royalton Hotel, was closed for renovations. All I knew was that it was Fashion Week.
For the uninitiated, these grand runway shows which present the designers' Spring and Summer collections for 2008 are a bit like fireworks or Peonies – a big build-up to a short-lived but brilliant visual display. If you're lucky enough to have an invitation and an assigned seat to a show that is not madly overbooked you can enjoy the fantastic people watching experience. You can also get caught in the crowd of sheer mayhem where you have to compete for sardine packed standing only room.
Another thing to realize is that you are on "fashion time," where no self-respecting show would dream of going off any earlier than a half hour late. For those who arrive at airports two hours before their flight and have never missed a curtain because they thought for sure they could grab a latte and make it downtown to Broadway in 10 minutes, this might be off-putting, but for the rest of us this works just fine.
When the lights finally go down and the music comes up there is an excitement which is palpable and a collective energy that reflects which of the designs are a big boom firework and which are more of a sparkler. Designer Jackie Rogers presented her collection which was inspired by the Egyptian 18th dynasty with pleated burlap and flowing silk jersey fabrics adorned with snakeskin details and amulet necklines – my personal favorite being the black and blue zebra gown with the halter neck and open back. Very sexy. The Cleopatra makeup augmented the fantasy and made me want to start bossing around Mark Antony.
I also got the chance to see the Carlos Miele show which reflected his very Brazilian appreciation of the female form in motion. It was amazing meeting him the day before the show where he was absolutely calm and humble while I, in a true American sort of way, excitedly gushed over him. We shared an appreciation for the Rainforest Foundation as well as built-in bras. His new sensual, flowing chiffon gowns with "fuxico" (rosettes) were to-die-for, and I even thought I caught a model in a beige version which would make you want to get married just to wear it, unable to suppress a small smile.
What I found most surprising up close and personal at the runway shows were the models themselves. I simply don't understand why they have to be so thin. Apparently they are supposed to showcase the clothes but anyone knows that a dress never looks as good on a hanger as it does on a woman. One of the things I like best about Jackie Rogers' store in East Hampton is that she includes elegant feminine clothes for women who are not a size 2.
And in terms of the Brazilian theme, when I hear "Girl from Ipanema," I was expecting some more curves under the Miele gowns. We cheeseburger eaters want to know if these gorgeous couture creations we see on the runway will actually look good on us. I had to laugh that under the tent at Bryant Park one of the sponsors was Lycra which is the body slimming material for the rest of us.
Ultimately, Fashion Week is part fantasy and part reality–– both the theatrical specter of the other-worldly models on the runway as well as the moment you hope you'll get to actually try on the gorgeous gown. It's the ultimate female grown-up dress-up game.
For me I'm back to rotating in my own universe again which is more about a clean pair of Juicy sweatpants than gowns, but after a taste of Fashion Week I can at least dream.
You can check out more of Heather's writing at HamptonsHeather.com or drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.