Alternate title: OMG I WENT TO FASHION WEEK!
I was thrilled and honored when BlogHer contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I'd be willing to cover (and attend!) Fall 2009 Fashion Week. (Honestly, I don't really know if they would have extended the offer, had they known that I thought "Versace" rhymed with "her lace" until well into my teen years, but fortunately, I like to think I've made up for lost time in terms of my fashion knowledge.) Naturally, I said yes immediately, and commenced my Dance of Joy.
I arrived at the Bryant Park tents early Wednesday, and was ushered into the American Express Skybox, a gorgeous private lounge (decorated by Top Design's Jonathan Adler!) for select America Express card members. The Skybox provides an incredible experience, offering an unparalleled view of the runway and access to industry insiders, stylists, and designers. Scattered throughout the room were small placards which read, "get personal." This seemed to be a perfect theme for the Skybox, in terms of the unique chance guests had to view the shows and interact with fashion experts.
I viewed two shows from the Skybox on Wednesday, Nanette Lepore and Michael Kors. Nanette Lepore has been one of my favorite designers for years; I adore her whimsical, unique looks, as well as the complements I get whenever I wear one of her pieces. Michael Kors is another favorite of mine, not only for his insightful (and often hilarious) contributions to Project Runway, but also for his clean, classic collections.
Before the shows started, I had the opportunity to speak with Todd Okerstrom, Director of Personal Shopping at Bergdorf Goodman, about his take on some of the trends for Fall '09. Based on the shows he'd seen so far, Todd said that he was seeing a return to a more figure-conscious silhouette, as well as bigger shoulders and more volume. Monochromatic looks are also big, and most of the collections, he said, seemed to have a "shine element," as well.
I was most excited, though, about another theme he was seeing in the collections: GLAM ROCK! This does not mean my tattered old Poison t-shirt (um, I hope?), but rather, according to Todd, very skinny pants, high shoes, and a lot of leather. I can't wait to see how these trends will be interpreted this fall.
With Todd's expert take on the trends fresh in my mind, I sat down to watch the shows. (Now, before I begin with my analysis, I must tell you that I have very purposely not read any others yet, so as not to be influenced by the impressions of others. This is PURE TORTURE for a Fashion Week junkie like me, who usually hungrily pores over the show reviews, but hey, I got to see the shows live, which is pretty much the best consolation prize there is, right?)
Nanette Lepore's collection had a very bohemian/gypsy vibe. Asymmetrical hemlines, jewel tones, gold and leather pervaded the show, and the models all had free, wavy/mussed hair. Paisley, leopard and plaid fabrics were in full force, as were chunky knits, particularly these adorable melon-colored caps.
Shimmery taupe eyes and frosted coral lips were definitely de rigeur. There was a lot of contrast, in terms of color as well as texture and materials, and a lot of the models wore incredibly chunky, yet intricately beaded, angular chokers, which enhanced the designer's tops and dresses. Waists were very defined, often with mid-sized leopard-print belts. The collection was colorful, youthful and fun.
Michael Kors' collection paid homage to the 1980s, but updated those looks to make them fresh and modern. The music at the show -- remixes of Coldplay and '80s hits -- reinforced this vibe. All of the female models (it was a mixed collection) had their hair slicked back into neat chignons.
While the collection was largely black, gray, and camel tones, it was in no way dull, as the seemingly straightforward pieces had unexpected touches (one-shoulder sheath dresses, cutout lapels). Kors' characteristic lean silhouette was definitely present, but he really made things pop with occasional playful fur pieces in neon pink, orange and green. Between the '80s music, the slicked-back hair, and the models strutting down the runway in sunglasses, I was reminded of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" video. The collection overall was classic with a twist.
Nanette Lepore and Michael Kors have divergent viewpoints, but their Fall 2009 collections share a common theme. The collections were both gorgeous, of course, but what struck me most was just how eminently wearable almost every piece in each collection was. There are many exciting trends to look forward to this Fall, but above all, designers appear to truly be thinking of the consumers, and accessibility seems to be on the horizon. The exhortation to "get personal" definitely seems to be going beyond the Skybox, and in these times, this trend, above all, is most welcome.
My most sincere thanks to American Express for granting BlogHer such incredible access to Fashion Week and the Skybox.
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