Fashion Week Diary

Oklahoma Magazine’s delegation got a peek at the 2012 spring collections from the biggest names in fashion at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. Our ever-fashionable reporter gives us some of the highlights:
 

If you believe Heidi Klum, über model and star of the Lifetime reality series Project Runway, "One day you are in, and the next day you are out."

It's true; we saw some new fresh faces showing their collections at the Spring 2012 New York Fashion Week runway shows. Chris Benz, famous for the ever-changing color of his hair (currently hot pink), showed us avant-garde looks that are more downtown than uptown, dripping with Asian attitude. (Is he the new Marc Jacobs, we wonder?) We are going to keep our eye on Anndra Neen, who presented a bold collection full of inspired accessories. BUT, we really fell head over heels, crazy in love with some of our timeless favorites.

Zang Toi, all elegance and refinement, gave us a powerful collection with a North African influence. These are STATEMENT pieces. Stephen Baldwin, of the famous Baldwin brothers clan, sat across from us with a very young, very pretty brunette. Closing the Toi show was Kirstie Ally, exploding onto the catwalk in a royal blue, jeweled gown and full-length coat, sporting a very sexy new figure, compliments of her recent stint on Dancing With The Stars. We had just bumped into Kirstie in the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge relaxing before the show. Kirstie, girlfriend, you go, girl!

Showing to a packed, standing-room-only crowd, Hervé Léger creator, of the iconic bandage dress, had a seductive collection designed by French couturier Max Azria, who also designs BCBG. His signature is a sculpting silhouette that wraps the most famous female bodies in Hollywood. This season, the look was monochromatic, except for the few pieces that used Ikat dyeing techniques. I am not quite sure how they translated, but his fans adore him, just the same. Country crooner Lee Ann Rimes was on the front row looking scarily slim.

The eccentric Betsey Johnson has been IN since she first launched in 1978 and continues to show a funky, frilly, flirty and oh-so-sexy collections, which had pink and black lingerie playing peek-a-boo. Her daughter LuLu strutted the catwalk in a form-fitting champagne maxi dress à la Jessica Rabbit. All of the models were curved in just the right places, unlike the typical 16-year-old, starved, under-developed waifs that look as though they had their last meal some eight weeks ago. The coup de grace was when the 69-year-old quirky designer, with her platinum locks, ended the show by flying down the stage and landing a perfect cartwheel to thundering cheers and applause.

If I could walk away with only one piece, it would be from Carlos Miele, whose flagship store is in the Meatpacking District. This gorgeous Brazilian knows how to make a woman look beautiful. These are sultry clothes that blast of luxury and sensuality, especially the sheer silk kaftans infused with colors of the swirling sun and sea. Whether you are on the red carpet, at a gala or the very chic mother of the bride, his alluring gowns make your body look and feel flawless.

What is Pink Tartan? A smart, sophisticated line designed by Kimberly Newpot-Mimran

I loved these ‘60s inspired Brigitte Bardot meets Holly Golightly styles.

How does one achieve lady-like and prim and at the same time sexy? Sometimes it is what you DON'T see that rules the imagination. I loved these ‘60s inspired Brigitte Bardot meets Holly Golightly styles. A red satin cigarette pant and fitted shirt with a pencil thin orange belt simultaneously screamed siren and coquette. I want every piece in this collection, including the Tom Ford Nikita, cat-eye sunglasses the models were sporting. If you don't yet own a pair, get them. They sizzle!

On a side note, Vivienne Tam proved that you cannot always mix prints. The show, however, was redeemed by the fact that we chatted up the tall, handsome Matt Nordgren, star of Bravo's latest reality show, Most Eligible Dallas. "I love Oklahoma!” Matt said. Thanks Matt, we love Dallas…AND Bravo!

Dallas native Lela Rose is one of many designers who is down streaming a designer collection for the masses. Seated on the front row were her beautiful husband, children and dog looking like they jumped off the pages of Town & Country. She designs a shoe collection for Payless that has the look of couture with an affordable price tag. The collaboration between designers and mass retail began with Karl Lagerfeld's collection for the Swedish retailer H&M in 2002. This season, Missoni is designing for Target, proving the point that you don't have to be rich to be fashionable. The response to Missoni for Target was such a grand slam that Target's website crashed 30 minutes into the release of the collection, leaving shoppers enraged. Note to Target execs: Try this again with Gucci or Ferragamo, but be prepared for the onslaught of shoppers who will do just about anything for a designer label.

Derek Lam delivered a "California Dreamin’" montage of mustard yellows, gold and aqua that made one want to rip out the Net Jet card and fly away to Palm Springs for the weekend.

On a break between shows, we cruised the shops on Madison Avenue to catch our breath and do a little window-shopping. We popped into Chanel and snagged the last bottle of the white-hot nail color of the season: Chanel's limited edition "Les Jeans" is a muted steel blue called Blue Boy. As fashion is known to make a girl a little thirsty, we meandered into the posh Surrey Hotel for an afternoon libation in Bar Plieades. Resident bartender Mary McGuigan whipped up cappuccinos and frothy little cocktails. The rooftop bar is perhaps one of the best views in Upper Manhattan.

A girl cannot live on fashion alone. We needed some gastronomic sustenance along the way, and we found it. Lavo (39 East 58th), owned by the restaurant group who gave us Tao, is a loud, jam-packed scene with a mix of youngish Manhattanites, Europeans and tall, blonde, aggressive Russian girls looking for the buyer of their next handbag. The Kobe beef spaghetti and meatballs…SO worth the indulgence.

Sometimes you love a place, sometimes, not so much. We opted to head across town to The West Village eatery The Lion by chef John DeLucie, formerly of Waverly Inn fame. Sad to say, it failed to dazzle. After 15 minutes, a rude hostess and less-than-acceptable table on a balcony the size of a matchbook, we walked out and popped down 9th to the Hotel Griffou, another trendy spot that was a bordello at the turn of the century. As serendipity would have it, we were met at the door by one of the four owners, who showed us to a sexy little booth and proceeded to deliver a beautifully executed dinner. We noshed on a juicy halibut, chicken under brick (the latest way to prepare a bird) and sweet sausage rigatoni with broccoli rabe. The chocolate soufflé ended in a four-way, spoon-to-spoon war game! Lesson learned: Sometimes the grass IS greener on the other side of 9th Avenue. (21 West 9th).

Saturday night après dinner in Jean-Georges at The Mark Hotel (Madison Ave at 77th) – I ordered a watermelon and goat cheese salad with cracked pepper and olive oil which I can't stop thinking about – we quite literally bumped into Daphne Guinness. Daphne who? Daphne of the Irish Guinness family, heiress, fashion icon and oft called "the most fashionable woman in the world" Daphne, that's who! She swept into the hotel bar (best place on upper East Side for cocktails) like a cyclone in Brian Atwood suede wedges and an alligator Hermès Birken bag that probably cost more than a semester at Duke. A retrospective of her famous haute couture clothing collection recently opened at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I totally have a girl crush on her…. AND her handbag. In the words of Rachel Zoe, I could just die!

Every once in a blue moon you are able to get a dinner reservation in the hottest spot in town. Score one for the concierge at the Peninsula, who booked us into Marea (240 Central Park South), Chef Michael White's Cucina del Mare. Donnie Deutch was at the next table high-fiving a group of men that had obviously just closed a major business deal. This is a power broker restaurant. Order the branzino, which is a striped sea bass served with roasted eggplant and apricot mostarda, or the seppia, a Mediterranean cuttlefish.

Philippe (33 East 60th) by Philippe Chow (not to be confused with Mr. Chow) was voted Best in Chinese in 2010 Zagat. We opted for the tasting menu, which included chicken satay in cream sauce, squab lettuce wraps, pork dumplings, a divine crispy Peking duck, green prawns and Chilean sea bass. We hosted a couple of students from Parsons School of Design who are from Tulsa families.

Don't you just love fall Sundays in New York? The place you want to be seen in your sweater and leggings is at Isabella's on 77th and Columbus. The lines are long, but while waiting to dine on the farmers’ market egg white omelette or Isabella's huevos rancheros, you can stroll the farmers’ market in the surrounding Upper West Side neighborhood. We saw vendors with giant bouquets of fresh lavender and artists showing interesting jewelry designs.

Our first and our last stop to New York is always Botega del Vino for breakfast and lunch. A cappuccino or glass of pinot grigio and a Veronese mortadello panini split two ways is just enough when you need a small bite. It is located across from the Plaza Hotel at 59th and Fifth. This area was a checkpoint to get into midtown Manhattan due to the 10th anniversary of 9/11. New York's finest were on full alert due to a high threat level and were randomly searching cars, taxis and trucks. It was a somber day, to be sure. We will never forget how this sad historic day changed our lives forever.

All good things must come to a close.  It was another glorious fashion week overflowing with talent and celebrity and dining and shopping.

Coco Chanel once said,  "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."

Oh, dearest Coco, my thoughts, exactly!

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