Sunday, September 14, 2014

Jiva Dance Steps to a Classical Note ...

The Jiva Dance company honors an important bird in "Mayura: Blue Peacock." Photos courtesy of Jiva Dance.

BY TAMARA BECK

IT'S
a showy, even magnificent but seemingly earthbound bird, at its best strutting and displaying its feathers.

Dance, on the other hand, is the essence of leaping, rising, reaching – a kind of flight. So perhaps it is safe to infer that rather than finding inspiration from the national bird of India, a rare and beautiful peacock, Sonali Skandan and her Jiva Dance company honor it.

Later this week, they unveil “Mayura: Blue Peacock,” a Bharatanatyam classical dance production.

Jiva Dance founder and artistic director Sonali Skandan is on an important mission.

“Mayura is the Sanskrit word for peacock, and throughout history, this magical creature has been featured in poetry, literature, sculpture, art, music, dance and mythology,” says SS, who founded Jiva Dance six years ago with a mission to present (and educate audiences about) the classical music and dance of India.

The company seeks to preserve and promote the traditional arts, while incorporating innovative techniques and invigorating the classical with a fresh and unique voice.

SS says of the peacock and the new production: “We wanted to pay homage to its beauty, grace and regal nature through our movement, music and choreography.”

The artistic director draws from these sources in her choreography for the evening-length program – from classical poetry and Indian myths and legends and love songs. An original score is provided by Rajkumar Bharathi, one of India’s most highly regarded composers.

The Jiva Dance company was founded in 2008.

“Mayura: Blue Peacock” will be performed on the evenings of 18-20 Sept. at the Chen Dance Center in New York's Chinatown.

Visit http://www.jivaperformingarts.org to learn more about "Mayura: Blue Peacock" and Jiva Dance; visit http://www.mayura.eventbrite.com for ticket information.

While Shakedown Dance Collective Lets It Rip
THE populist and free-form Shakedown Dance Collective (SDC) represents nearly the polar opposite of the stylized approach of Jiva Dance.

The New York City-based SDC, conceived by dancer-choreographers Jamie Benson and Deborah Lohse, invites everyone to get up and perform.

There are lessons, so the less adept won't fall flat. The concept, however, is anyone can (and should) dance. (See video at right).

The SDC season is just a week old and the dancing is from 7 to 8 ($10 class) Monday nights immediately followed by an hourlong rehearsal (free) at the Chrystie Street Ballet Academy.

Visit http://www.jamiebenson.com/shakedown/ to learn more about the Shakedown Dance Collective.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MBFW Day 7: The B(etsey Johnson) Is Back! And She Wants Some Justice …

From the Betsey Johnson Spring-Summer 2015 collection, PRENUP. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

HEADS UP: It's early September and that means one important thing in the ragtrade: fashion trade shows. To that end, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York Spring 2015. As we at VEVLYN'S PEN endeavor to bring some interesting fashion news to our dear readers, we don't mind changing with the seasons. One small tweak this season, each day one (perhaps two) designers/labels will be singled out for particular notice. That will be the main story (in more than 50 words). Elsewhere, our commentary will remain unchanged. We will continue to put emphasis on the truly inspirational on the runway and will only do a “best of” when it suits in 50 words or less. On some days we will provide a “snapshot” and so on. Finally, we will continue to do the off-runway bizarre, unusual and generally noteworthy. Thank you for your support!

Day 7
(SOME of the players at the tents and elsewhere: ADRIAN ALICEA, ANNA SUI, BIBHU MOHAPATRA, THE BLONDS, B MICHAEL AMERICA COUTURE, BOSS WOMEN, CLOVER CANYON, DELPOZO, ELIZABETH AND JAMES, ELLE RUNWAY COLLECTION BY KOHL'S, ERIN FETHERSTON, FLUX HAWAII, HANLEY MELLON, JEREMY SCOTT, JOANNA MASTROIANNI, LUAR ZEPOL, MARIA KE FISHERMAN, MAURICIO ALPIZAR/A. BERRETTS, MICHAEL KORS, NEWBARK, ORGANIC BY JOHN PATRICK, OSKLEN, PATRICIA MORALES, PROENZA SCHOULER, REED KRAKOFF, RICARDO SECO, STEVEN ALAN, TRADEMARK)

TWO
male models, got up in matching white jackets, v-neck shirts and black pants, meander down the runway. Both are holding the same b&w bouquet. When they make their turn, printed on the back of their jackets in silver sequinned letters are the the words pre and nup, respectively. At the mouth of the runway, one of them grabs the other and kisses him on the mouth.

So begins the Betsey Johnson Spring-Summer 2015 show, “PRENUP. Clearly, BJ is making a case for marriage equality in her unique way. That is, with straight models, along with LBGTQ colleagues. You gotta love it. (See video below).

Judging by the attitude of the getups on the runway, BJ's financial woes of a couple of years ago are forgotten. She is as sanguine as ever and seems to be everywhere this season. One of her dresses appeared in the “Salute the Runway” show last week.

She's behind a few ensems in the traveling “Snoopy & Belle in Fashion presented by MetLife” exhibition that closed yesterday at the New Museum. And she was at that swanky opening cocktail party on Monday night. On Tuesday afternoon, she was front row at the Serena Williams Signature Collection by HSN Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York debut.

Old girl is her old self, producing clothes that don't pretend to be serious. Yet Spring 2015 is more accessible than much of what has come before it, without obvious conformity. And once the mind quits trying to ascertain the gender of the model wearing these wedding-themed frocks, it can concentrate on some of the nifty details and craft herein. They are in here.

Life is too short, so why not walk down the aisle in the blinding silver gown with halter-top and voluminous multi-layered skirt on Atlanta housewife Cynthia Bailey who is strutting a la Mae West? Indeed, one must have the little chiffon negligee with fur bra. A more conservative type may go for the fetching creme embroidered lace A-line cocktail dress with cap sleeves. Retailers will be happy about this one.

In considering BJ, do not literally interpret her from the runway. Of course, this is the case with many designers, but especially true of she of the signature cartwheel. Persist and you may do so at your folly.

Seriously, law enforcement may cite you for indecent exposure. To that end, save the white chiffon wrap with horizontal bands with bra and panties underneath for your bedroom. If you simply must wear it out of doors, pair it with a white pencil dress, for instance.

Similarly, take that cropped canary yellow top with "PRENUP" emblazoned across it – which is rather tame by BJ standards – and match it with a pair of high-waisted pants or a shift. The possibilities are various.

From the Betsey Johnson Spring-Summer 2015 collection/Getty Images. Photo by Frazer Harrison.

One piece with wide appeal, however, is the white gown with a bustier top and voluminous tulle skirt. It's actually quite beautiful and well-executed, with belle of the ball pretensions.


Yes, life with BJ is never boring; always fun!

Visit http://www.mbfashionweek.com/new-york to learn more about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, including show information and videos.

On deck today, LAST DAY: ART HEARTS FASHION, CALVIN KLEIN, CRISTINA OTTAVIANO, EN NOIR, JEFFREY DODD, J. MENDEL, KITHE BREWSTER, K. NICOLE, KOTUR, MARC JACOBS, RALPH LAUREN

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

MBFW Day 6: Serena Tucks Another Win Under Her Belt; Shy Zang Toi Is Dragged Back to Face the Music; Concept Korea Takes It to the Street …

From the Serena Williams Signature Collection by HSN. Photos by Bebeto Matthew/AP.

HEADS UP: It's early September and that means one important thing in the ragtrade: fashion trade shows. To that end, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York Spring 2015. As we at VEVLYN'S PEN endeavor to bring some interesting fashion news to our dear readers, we don't mind changing with the seasons. One small tweak this season, each day one (perhaps two) designers/labels will be singled out for particular notice. That will be the main story (in more than 50 words). Elsewhere, our commentary will remain unchanged. We will continue to put emphasis on the truly inspirational on the runway and will only do a “best of” when it suits in 50 words or less. On some days we will provide a “snapshot” and so on. Finally, we will continue to do the off-runway bizarre, unusual and generally noteworthy. Thank you for your support!

Serena Williams poses with models backstage after her fashion show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York. Photo by Yours Truly.

Day 6
(SOME of the players at the tents and elsewhere: AZEDE JEAN-PIERRE, CYNTHIA ROWLEY, J. CREW, BADGLEY MISCHKA, DIESEL BLACK GOLD, ICB, ISABELLA ROSE TAYLOR BY BELLE, JENNY PACKHAM, JURJIS JARVIS, MARC BY MARC JACOBS, MM6 MATHIEU MARTIN MARGIELA, NAEEM KHAN, NARCISO RODRIGUEZ, NOON BY NOOR, PAMELLA ROLAND, RODARTE, SERENA WILLIAMS SIGNATURE COLLECTION BY HSN, SOPHIA THEALLET, TIMO WEILAND, TORY BURCH, VALENTINA KOVA, VERA WANG, ZANG TOI)

SHE
wanted a collection that is immediately wearable; clothes that can be taken off the models and placed on mere mortals who could then go about their business.

Serena Williams closes her show with a plus-size model. Photo by Yours Truly.

On that score, Serena Williams hits an ace in her debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York. The Serena Williams Signature Collection by HSN is a capsule collection of ready-to-wear casual clothes.

Spring-Summer 2015 is heavy on black and gray with navy, pink and purple popping up occasionally. It is competent, wearable. Tooling around clothes that can also fit in at many offices, the night club and numerous other venues. Nothing earth-shattering like 18 tennis grand slam singles titles spaced over 15 years. These are pieces – go-to clothing – that are utterly accessible to the mass market that the tennis champ and businesswoman is targeting.

Serena Williams with Kenya Moore after her show. Photo by Yours Truly.

It is not yet clear where else one can cop those gray and black animal-print leggings or leatheresque A-line black miniskirt, but they will be available on HSN.

Meanwhile, one has the nagging suspicion that most of the enthusiastic witnesses to SW's fashion week debut are unaware that this is not her first fashion line ever. It is her first fashion week line ever. SW has been doing brisk business on HSN for a spell now.

With her days on the court winding down, it can be surmised that SW is slowly transitioning to another of her passions: fashion. No doubt, she will be accommodated.

Model hair, styled to perfection with salon-quality products from Olivia Garden (http://www.oliviagarden.com). Photo courtesy of Olivia Garden.

And if there was any doubt about the seriousness of this venture, one need not have looked any further than the front row where Anna Wintour took herself off to. It is only fitting that when the queen of the tennis court makes a serious foray into fashion that the queen of fashion deign to give her public blessing, as it were.

Also on the front row is galpal and vanquished 2014 U.S. Open opponent Caroline Wozniacki and home state girl, Kenya Moore, former Miss USA and current rabbble-rouser on the “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

Kenya Moore liked what she saw on the Serena Williams runway. Photo by Yours Truly.

The show closer is a pièce de résistance: a black dress with zipper on the front, an asymmetrical collar and chiffon sleeves. It is sexy and looks comfortable. Further, it is remarkable because it is worn by a plus-side model, a woman with a figure similar to – though not nearly as toned and honed – the designer's.

“I loved it,” gushes KM not surprisingly of the dress and her buddy's entire collection backstage after the show, her first of fashion week. “She's done a great job, like she does with everything.”

SNAPSHOT: ZANG TOI
CARMEN Marc Valvo is not the only designer this season celebrating 25 years in the ragtrade. Take a bow, Zang Toi. ZT, who produces evening wear with mastery and elegance, is a perennial hit at fashion week. He is also a very humble and shy man.

It is no surprise, then, that he is very reluctant to accept the adoration that is his due after his spectacular show, in three parts. In fact, he is downright persistent in not facing the praise; gripping the hand of one of his models, seemingly for dear life, he is fleeing backstage.

Just as persistent, however, is photog wrangler Richard Renda. He sets off in pursuit, literally pulling the Malaysian designer and muse back onto the runway to be serenaded by the crowd, and to blow the candle on a chocolate (or opera) cake. So very American like ZT's show, “A Privileged Life: The American Dream.”

Wrote RR on his Facebook wall about the Zang Surprise: “Life and all its powers chose the way this would come together. Everyone in the house was on the edge of their seat in anticipation or standing and cheering as we all came together as one big family and had a Magical Moment give new means to the word 'spontaneous'.

Wait, i take that back! I think EVERYONE was standing, clapping, and cheering in anticipation of will Destiny be fulfilled. The Moment of – this is Unbelievable!"

CONCEPT KOREA
From Spring-Summer 2015 collection of Concept Korea designers Beyond Closet (left) and Resurrection. Photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

YOURS Truly concurs with stylegeister Phillip Bloch about the Concept Korea collective show: “It is edgy, real fashion, the type of clothes that people wear. The kind of stuff you see in London.”

On deck today, Day 7: ADRIAN ALICEA, ANNA SUI, BIBHU MOHAPATRA, THE BLONDS, B MICHAEL AMERICA COUTURE, BOSS WOMEN, CLOVER CANYON, DELPOZO, ELIZABETH AND JAMES, ELLE RUNWAY COLLECTION BY KOHL'S, ERIN FETHERSTON, FLUX HAWAII, HANLEY MELLON, JEREMY SCOTT, JOANNA MASTROIANNI, LUAR ZEPOL, MARIA KE FISHERMAN, MAURICIO ALPIZAR/A. BERRETTS, MICHAEL KORS, NEWBARK, ORGANIC BY JOHN PATRICK, OSKLEN, PATRICIA MORALES, PROENZA SCHOULER, REED KRAKOFF, RICARDO SECO, STEVEN ALAN, TRADEMARK

Visit http://www.mbfashionweek.com/new-york to learn more about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, including show information and videos.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

MBFW Day 5: Guess Who They Are Wearing Then and Now: Snoopy & Belle in Fashion …

Snoopy and Belle by Karl Lagerfeld. Photos by Yours Truly.

HEADS UP: It's early September and that means one important thing in the ragtrade: fashion trade shows. To that end, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York Spring 2015. As we at VEVLYN'S PEN endeavor to bring some interesting fashion news to our dear readers, we don't mind changing with the seasons. One small tweak this season, each day one (perhaps two) designers/labels will be singled out for particular notice. That will be the main story (in more than 50 words). Elsewhere, our commentary will remain unchanged. We will continue to put emphasis on the truly inspirational on the runway and will only do a “best of” when it suits in 50 words or less. On some days we will provide a “snapshot” and so on. Finally, we will continue to do the off-runway bizarre, unusual and generally noteworthy. Thank you for your support!

Day 5
(SOME of the players at the tents and elsewhere: 3.1 PHILLIP LIM, ADEAM, ANGEL SANCHEZ, CAROLINA HERRERA, GEORGINE, LELA ROSE, MILLY BY MICHELLE SMITH, THE ROW, PALTER DELISO, PEANUTS WORLDWIDE, REEM ACRA, TAORAY WANG, THEORY, TOMMY HILFIGER, THE WHITE SPACE, YEOHLEE, ZAC POSEN)

Snoopy and Belle by Hermes.

THE
siblings canine are dressed to kill in their black evening finery. Ready to disco in their shimmering silver. And between galas and parties, they are a sporting pair in what looks to be golf garb.

Regardless of the getup, Snoopy and Belle are turned out in high style, courtesy of some of the world's top designers.

Rachel Kapur and Betsey Johnson have a tête-à-tête after the designer looks over her pieces.

Welcome to the second edition of “Snoopy & Belle in Fashion presented by Metlife.” It is among a number of Peanuts-related entertainments, timed to coincide with the 65th anniversary next year of the Charles Schulz comic strip.

The traveling exhibition, celebrating 30 years of Peanuts in fashion, opened yesterday with a star-pocked cocktail party at the Sky Room of the New Museum in the Soho section of Manhattan. Hurry, it leaves on Wednesday (10 Sept.)

Snoopy and Belle by Gucci.

Betsey Johnson, the talent behind four Snoopy and Belle ensems, is here in this space offering some enviable views of the Lower East Side and Soho. The designing men of Costello Tagliapietra are lumbering about in their plaids. Fresh off of the successful showing of his Spring-Summer 2015 line, Christian Siriano is stealthily moving about, trying to make himself feel smaller than ever. And Tyson Beckford is standing here and there in fine, v-shaped form.

Almost from the beginning, Snoopy fans began demanding a wardrobe for their plush doll. A few years after Belle hit the fashion scene, an executive from the company that had heretofore been producing the frocks reached out to some of the world's top designers, no doubt humbly asking whether they would deign to design some threads for a pair of dogs.

Snoopy and Belle by Royal Asscher X Pluma.

The response was enthusiastic and that first world traveling exhibit was born in 1984. The class includes Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld and Oscar de la Renta, who is presenting his Spring-Summer 2015 collection this evening.

Thirty years later, it seems fitting for a redux. The new class includes Siriano, Zac Posen, Tracy Reese and Rodarte, also showing today during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York.

Snoopy and Belle by Hermes.

“Snoopy and Belle in Fashion presented by MetLife,” free and open to the public with reserved ticket, journeys to the Palais de Tokyo in Paris after it quits New York. Other stops are Milan, Moscow and Tokyo on a two-year tour that is still being worked out.

Visit http://www.snooopyandbelleinfashion.com to learn more about “Snoopy & Belle in Fashion presented by Metlife,” including ticket information.

Visit http://www.mbfashionweek.com/new-york to learn more about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, including show information and videos.

Monday, September 8, 2014

MBFW Day 4: Is Vivienne Tam Missing Something or Is Someone Missing Some Sleep

From the Vivienne Tam Spring-Summer 2015 collection. Photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

HEADS UP: It's early September and that means one important thing in the ragtrade: fashion trade shows. To that end, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York Spring 2015. As we at VEVLYN'S PEN endeavor to bring some interesting fashion news to our dear readers, we don't mind changing with the seasons. One small tweak this season, each day one (perhaps two) designers/labels will be singled out for particular notice. That will be the main story (in more than 50 words). Elsewhere, our commentary will remain unchanged. We will continue to put emphasis on the truly inspirational on the runway and will only do a “best of” when it suits in 50 words or less. On some days we will provide a “snapshot” and so on. Finally, we will continue to do the off-runway bizarre, unusual and generally noteworthy. Thank you for your support!

Day 4
(SOME of the players at the tents and elsewhere: BRANDON SUN, CUSTO BARCELONA, DEREK LAM, DESIGNERS' PREMIERE, HOOD BY AIR, NANETTE LEPORE, PORSCHE, PUBLIC SCHOOL ROLANDO SANTANA, THAKOON, TIM COPPENS, TRACY REESE, VICTORIA BECKHAM, VIVIENNE TAM)

THE
dress with an enchanting floral print on its top, black on its skirt and red panel at its waist is perky.

The blue floral dress with orange cut-outs has verve. Here we are at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York, the Vivienne Tam Spring-Summer 2015 show. It is informed by decorative treasures from the Ming and Qing dynasties that reside in the Forbidden Palace. Vases and such bearing exquisite floral designs and motifs; whatnots that are lacquered up. Exquisiteness and craft, all.

Yet there is a disconnect. Something is lost in translation on this runway. This collection lacks a specialness, unlike Custo Barcelona, but more on that later. The music is heavily techno and the clothes tend toward zen. Ying and yang. Not a good match here.

From the Custo Barcelona Spring-Summer 2015 collection. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

The prints are beautiful, and of course, the garments are well-constructed. Yet, something is off (or is someone behind on her sleep?). The last gown – blue and white floral that is in its natural habitat on a grand vase, or gown – is quietly beautiful. Demure, even.

One likes SS 2015 at VT but with elusive caveats.

MILLENNIAL MISCHIEF, OR IS SOMEONE TOO OLD FOR THIS _ _ _ _?!!!
“Did he send you over here,” Big, Beefy Guy demands to know from Yours Truly and her Wingwoman as I open the door – and he stays my hand – to enter the Lower East Side bar, Max Fish. He is referring to his colleague, also a BBG, who'd pointed us toward the door when we inquired about the whereabouts of the refurbished haunt.

“Yes,” I say. He releases my hand, I open the door and we sweep inside, quickly hustling ourselves through the crowd of hipsters here at the Frank 151 x DKNY afterparty, celebrating the issue of the quarterly cultural rag, sponsored by the fashion brand. We're hurrying and scurrying before BBG No. 1 checks out our story and hauls us back outside and to the back of the long line of people waiting to go inside.

DKNY sponsored the latest edition of Frank 151. Photo by Yours Truly.

It appears that we are off to a good start. After we settle our gear in a seat that just opened up next to an acquaintance, Wingwoman goes to the bar for some liquid refreshment and returns with a cocktail for her and a beer in a glass for me.

I introduce her to my companion and the three of us quickly chatting amicably. Then, a little bit of hell breaks loose. CRASH! BANG!! BOOM!!! Our table is upset and glasses and beer fly, giving the three of us a premature shower. The cause of this commotion – a tall drink of water with a baby face and light brown hair– is profusely apologetic. Profusely. So profusely that he does not understand that I am asking him to replace my beer. Finally, comprehension dawns. “If you replace my beer, all will be forgiven,” I promise.

He smiles sweetly and off he goes. And he does return with beer, apologizes again, and decides that it may be better not to try to dance wildly with his girlfriend while standing between the bench and our table in a space that is about two-feet wide.

All is well that ends well, right? My little party returns to chatting, only to have to suffer through a few aftershocks.

Aftershock No.1: Curvy Six-foot beauty in red hot pants is go-go dancing right in front of us. She is close enough to give anyone of us a lap dance.

Aftershock No. 2: Five-foot beauty, a tiny thing who is an acquaintance of six-foot beauty, somehow manages to stand behind her friend but in front of us. Her rear is so close we can bite it. Finally, I can stand it no longer. Quite apart from me, my left hand pushes her forward. She reacts like scalded cat, calling me a dog of the female variety and stomps off. Good riddance.

Aftershock No. 3: A guy is smoking a cigarette of dubious origin until maybe he has had enough of it. Yes, they is smoking inside an establishment in Manhattan. Maybe the Lower East Side has different rules. He attempts to put the cigarette out on the table. I suggest the floor or going outside. I don't think he even hears me.

Aftershock No. 4: Random handsome guy who we strongly believe has had a little too much of something, drunk-sits next to me. Or should I say partly on my right leg, then he puts his arm around me and Wingwoman. By now, I am speechless.

Aftershock No. 5: Mya, a late 1990s and early 2000s R&B, is performing now. Everybody wants to see. By now, the bench around us is populated by fans who are standing on the bench. Video guy appears and is standing right next to where I am sitting, so absorbed in recording that he does not realize that he is partly standing on my leg. I jump up like a scaled cat, nicely informing him once upon a time about three seconds ago he was standing on me. He is profusely apologetic.

By now, I decide that I can't stand this any longer. I have no choice but to stand – on the floor. That's when I see a snake sprawled across my purse. Before thinking, I was about to throw the critter across the room, that is until I realize that it is a skateboard resting on my purse as if it is a blanket. I haul it under the table. The infernal thing belongs to Video guy, I learn soon enough. I didn't even bother to tell him where he dropped it.

Aftershock No. 6: By now, Mia is on her third song. The Hot Young Think in the Black Gown, who has been standing on our table, is now swaying. As Mia gets toward the end of her song HYTitBGM is ramping up for a full dance-on. Meanwhile, the glasses on the table are shaking as if the earth is quaking. The closer she gets to what is about to be a go-go dance, I tap her on the arm and suggest that it may not be a good idea to do that level of dancing on the table, which is full of glasses.

Several performers stepped up to the mic last night during the Frank 151 x DKNY afterparty at Max Fish. Photo by Rachel Kapur.

“Did you buy this table,” she asserts (it was not a question).
“No,” I reply, “ but the glasses are going to break and our drinks are here.”
Looking down on the table. “Oh.”
I look her in her glassy eyes, my expressions saying, “Even you see the problem, right.”
“I guess I should probably get down,” she reasons.
“Yes.”
She extends her hand and I take it as she steps down from the table, nearly toppling it and everything else on it.
“I love her so much,” HYTitBGM says of Mia.
I nod in understanding.


The moral of the story: In the United States, the under-30 crowd is … has a certain je ne sais quoi.

On Deck today, Day 5: 3.1 PHILLIP LIM, ADEAM, ANGEL SANCHEZ, CAROLINA HERRERA, GEORGINE, LELA ROSE, MILLY BY MICHELLE SMITH, THE ROW, PALTER DELISO, PEANUTS WORLDWIDE, REEM ACRA, TAORAY WANG, THEORY, TOMMY HILFIGER, THE WHITE SPACE, YEOHLEE, ZAC POSEN

Visit http://www.mbfashionweek.com/new-york to learn more about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, including show information and videos.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

MBFW Day 3: Christian Siriano Is Zen, While Venexiana Still Shines With Less Sparkle

Stripped organza blouse and skirt from the Christian Siriano Spring-Summer 2015 collection. Photo from Getty Images.

HEADS UP: It's early September and that means one important thing in the ragtrade: fashion trade shows. To that end, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York Spring 2015. As we at VEVLYN'S PEN endeavor to bring some interesting fashion news to our dear readers, we don't mind changing with the seasons. One small tweak this season, each day one (perhaps two) designers/labels will be singled out for particular notice. That will be the main story (in more than 50 words). Elsewhere, our commentary will remain unchanged. We will continue to put emphasis on the truly inspirational on the runway and will only do a “best of” when it suits in 50 words or less. On some days we will provide a “snapshot” and so on. Finally, we will continue to do the off-runway bizarre, unusual and generally noteworthy. Thank you for your support!

Day 3
(SOME of the players at the tents and elsewhere: ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY, ADAM LIPPES, ALEXANDER WANG, ALON LIVNÉ, ALTUZARRA, BAJA EAST, BILLY REID, CHRISTIAN SIRIANO, DESIGNERS’ REVIEW, EDIE PARKER, EVA FEHREN, JILL STUART, KATYA LEONOVICH, KOONHOR, LACOSTE, LIE SANGBONG, LUIS ANTONIO, MALAN BRETON, MAX AZRIA, PRABAL GURUNG, PRISM BY ANNA LAUB, RALPH RUCCI, ROBERT GELLER, SON JUNG WAN, VENEXIANA )

EVERYTHING
at Christian Siriano is well-done for Spring-Summer 2015.

The cuts, draping, flow, layering. The fabrics appear to be the very best. This season for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York, CS is inspired by the work of two different sculptors.

“I wanted this collection to feel light, clean, and crisp; tranquil like a Japanese zen rock garden, ...” he states in the program notes. (See video of ending procession below).

The Season 4 “Project Runway” winner largely realizes his vision. Take the draping on the crew neck long sleeve dress, it is reminiscent of the sinews of the body, undulating in a way that a sculptor might cast them.

On a few occasions, the treatment is overmuch, not attaining a level of tranquility, but descending into the chaos that is the brocade and crystal beaded series. It's is disorienting, as is the liquid lame.

Perhaps, they are to suggest the glass or liquidity for which the designer is striving. However, more consideration might have been given to scale. Cover a cropped top, for instance, with these appliques rather than the wide leg cropped trouser or front draped long sleeve dress.

The show opens with white lattice-work pieces. They have about them the essence of a “Project Runway” challenge. Though executed well and unlike the fetching striped organza ensembles - also in white - they look more at home on the table or hanging on the shower rod.

The last ensemble, a slightly daring sheer crystal beaded blouse and trouser combo, almost fully captures CS's vision. A sound note to end on.

SNAPSHOT: VENEXIANA
From the Venexiana Spring-Summer 2015 collection. Photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

AS contributor Neil Wolfson noted in February, “gorgeous gownage.” Designer Kati Stern put the breaks on some of the sequins this season, instead opting for more cutouts. Shimmering fabrics, florals overlaid on organza and pale colors like mauve, mint and marine blue also do some of the heavy lifting that heretofore was the purview of sequins. Snatches of sequins and other sparklers often reside asymmetrically along the plains of the neck.

The effect is stunning, showstopping even.

On Deck today, Day 4: BRANDON SUN, CUSTO BARCELONA, DEREK LAM, DESIGNERS' PREMIERE, HOOD BY AIR, PORSCHE, PUBLIC SCHOOL ROLANDO SANTANA, THAKOON, TIM COPPENS, TRACY REESE, VICTORIA BECKHAM

Visit http://www.mbfashionweek.com/new-york to learn more about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, including show information and videos.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

MBFW Day 2: Carmen Marc Valvo Sets Silver Standard; Nicole Miller's Brazilian Vacation; At Cadet, They're Watching ...

A model wearing Carmen Marc Valvo, right, who is a celebratory mood. Photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

HEADS UP: It's early September and that means one important thing in the ragtrade: fashion trade shows. To that end, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York Spring 2015. As we at VEVLYN'S PEN endeavor to bring some interesting fashion news to our dear readers, we don't mind changing with the seasons. One small tweak this season, each day one (perhaps two) designers/labels will be singled out for particular notice. That will be the main story (in more than 50 words). Elsewhere, our commentary will remain unchanged. We will continue to put emphasis on the truly inspirational on the runway and will only do a “best of” when it suits in 50 words or less. On some days we will provide a “snapshot” and so on. Finally, we will continue to do the off-runway bizarre, unusual and generally noteworthy. Thank you for your support!

Day 2
(SOME of the players at the tents and elsewhere): A DÉTACHER, BILLY REID, CADET, CARMEN MARC, VALVO, CHADWICK BELL, CHARLOTTE RONSON, CUSHNIE ET OCHS, GREGORY PARKINSON, HELMUT LANG KATE SPADE NEW YORK, KATIE GALLAGHER, KELLY WEARSTLER, JASON WU, JENNI KAYNE, LYN DEVON, NICOLE MILLER, PIERRE BALMAIN, RAG & BONE, REBECCA MINKOFF, SALLY LAPOINTE, ST. JOHN, SAUNDER, SUNO, TESS GIBERSON, THE ELDER STATESMAN, TOCCA, TOMMY HILFIGER, TRIBUNE STANDARD, YIGAL AZROUËL

“I
feel really invigorated, ” Carmen Marc Valvo tells Yours Truly a couple of days ago when I inquire after his general well-being, two days before his Spring-Summer 2015 show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York, his 25th anniversary show.

For Spring-Summer 2015, he has silver on the brain for obvious reasons. Another source of inspiration is his garden, for him a beautiful place that has provided inspiration, solace and healing.

During our chat a couple of days ago after the “Salute the Runway” (http://www.bit.ly/1upn8q8), which featured one of his designs, he mentioned that SS 2015 would be heavy on silver. But he also invoked words such as“Americana,” “polished” and “sleek.” (See video below).

He did not over sell it. Silver fairly shimmers and is at its zenith in the form of the silver leather and double face silk organza gown.

The sleekness is most evident in well-placed flesh-toned mesh that gives the illusion of bare skin. A case in point is the black silk gazaar cocktail dress. Like several other pieces, it has cutouts about the upperbody, mainly around the shoulder area and under the arms, along the obliques. Here is a way to show skin without being vulgar.

As for polish, the whole collection is polished, even the inexplicable booties, which are best described as demure swimsuits. Surprisingly, though, polish is most apparent in the few men's pieces. Yes, menswear is part of CMV SS 2015. No doubt part of the expansion that he alluded to in our little tête-à-tête .

The first men's piece out of the gate is a black organza tuxedo shirt (tucked into black jeans). Organza is an arresting sight on a man; it is also done in white. The black embroidered tuxedo is sublime.

CMV does not have the look of a man who is plagued by worries. On the contrary, he appears carefree, with a very good reason.

“There are a lot of great things happening with the company, with Carmen Marc Valvo,” he says. “It's [25-year anniversary] a milestone … we have new offices … new energy.”

And it shows.

SNAPSHOT: NICOLE MILLER
Nicole Miller is inspired by a Brazilian vacation for Spring-Summer 2015. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

HOW to explain it? For Spring-Summer 2015 Nicole Miller must be feeling a little melancholy because Brazil was humiliated in the 2014 Fifa World Cup. How else to explain this lethargic collection, inspired by the idea of a Brazilian vacation.

The country is in mourning after spending billions on the games and to be dismissed without a cup victory. And then there is the matter of much of its citizenry lacking a pot to piss in. This is the atmosphere that NM is entering with her print motif. Depressing business all around.

The colors are bright, as one would expect. Alas they lack energy and vitality, particularly the orchid jungle series. In a collection that leans heavily on blindingly bright colors, the one that makes the best impression is white. The white viscose crepe godet dress with puckering on the front is a little showstopper.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

Similarly, the metal dress with ruffle in tomato, a color that looks like pale watermelon, is ready for carnival! The color alone has the power to lift the mood of a nation.

Another bright spot, which is more reminiscent of NM of seasons past is the exuberant pineapple jacquard series. The print is aligned along the arms and legs against a solid background. It suggests that the depression is lifting, that this has been a good day.

Despite the blues at NM for SS 2015, the designer must be commended for her shoe selection. The bright-colored, open-toe strappy sandals have a chunky heel that is, max, four inches.

If nothing else, the Nicole Miller girl will have happy feet.

STYLING BARBIE
THE hottest party last night had to be the CFDA Barbie party. That is not to mean hip and happening, though it was a little of both. It was held outside at the plaza in a tent set up at the intersection of 14th Street and 9th Avenue.

If Rebecca Taylor can design an out for Barbie, so can Yours Truly. Photo by Yours Truly.

It was probably about 80 degrees outside the tent and 90 degrees inside. There was a crush, and the fans at either end of the tents were blowing hot air. Necks were craning, elbows were rubbing and mobile phones were snapping or trying to snap one of the live and lifesize Barbies standing behind glass panels.

The models were got up in dresses designed by Charlotte Ronson, Cynthia Vincent, Rebecca Taylor, Tess Giberson and WHIT. Alas, they are not for sale.

Over in a corner away from the crowd was a bank of iPads on which anybody who wanted to could create an outfit for their own personal Barbie,

In any case, Yours Truly created an outfit for my Barbie. Disclaimer: That pink necklace is part of the Barbie promotion and could not be removed. Still, you get the gist of the outfit. Whaddaya think?

WELCOME TO GOTHAM, BORIS BIDJAN SABERI
I can't take my eyes off of this guy. I've made my way to the flagship store opening of the Boris Bidjan Saberi on Greenwich street.

That's saying something, considering the room is full of stylish downtowners, the kind of people who look super cool and who don't venture above 14th Street unless they have a very good reason. Business strategist Jey Van-Sharp – that is his name – is wearing a white shirt and dark jeans.

Jey Van-Sharp in some lost and found garb. Photo by Yours Truly.

The abbreviated-button down, wrap shirt is long and asymetrical On his feet are black sneakers with a pristine-white band on the toe area. The white of the shirt and the white on the tip of the sneaker play off of each other. (Both are from Lost and Found Ria Dunn, http://www.lostandfounddesign.net/)

How to describe this getup? J-S is rocking it.

On Deck today, Day 3: ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY, ADAM LIPPES, ALEXANDER WANG, ALON LIVNÉ, ALTUZARRA, BAJA EAST, BILLY REID, CHRISTIAN SIRIANO, DESIGNERS’ REVIEW, EDIE PARKER, EVA FEHREN, JILL STUART, KATYA LEONOVICH, KOONHOR, LACOSTE, LIE SANGBONG, LUIS ANTONIO, MALAN BRETON, MAX AZRIA, PRABAL GURUNG, PRISM BY ANNA LAUB, RALPH RUCCI, ROBERT GELLER, SON JUNG WAN, VENEXIANA

Visit http://www.mbfashionweek.com/new-york to learn more about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, including show information and videos.
 
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