Friday, August 7, 2009

Styling and Profiling in the Moss Garden

The crowd, above, in the garden at the Upper East Side townhouse of Charlotte Moss. Below, Michelle Harper illustrating that one can strike a balance without symmetry. Photos by Patrick McMullan and Shaun Mader/Patrick McMullan Company.

THE star of the FIT Museum’s Annual Couture Council Summer Party last night was personal style. One got the impresssion that folks – the authentic fashionistas – dressed themselves. No surprise. They KNOW fashion.

They are not movie stars overdone by a retinue of minions in threads and baubles borrowed from A-list designers. After all, they (i.e., CeCe Cord Yigal Azrouƫl Amy Fine Collins Valerie Steele Hamish Bowles) ARE fashion.

Rosemary Ponzo showed off in flapper style a leaner version of herself, which she attained by “lifting men,” she deadpanned. The designer and Renaissance woman was a goddess in a black sleeveless shift that she “had made” once upon a time. It looked to be silk and was adorned with sequins, buttons and paillettes in silver, gold, white and orange. The appliques were fancifully arranged in teardrop and floral patterns. On RP’s head tiled like a gangster lean was Saturn, that is a Saturn-ringed hat topped with a shock (or two) of orange boa feathers.

Also dressed as a goddess, perhaps one of Egyptian/Greek extraction, was stylist to stars Lauren Solomon. She was turned out in a white Adam Lippes dress with empire waist and dolman sleeves (which was reminiscent of a number from the 2008 collection of rising-star Mexican designer Christian Cota, also in attendance and looking rather like an Adonis/GQ cover model/young George Hamilton in Downy-white low-rider pants and a simple, sexy silkish print shirt in taupe). LS accented the dress with a bronze vintage snakeskin Judith Leiber belt and bronze bangles galore from India and Couture Couture.

Meanwhile, on earth was pixieish Michelle Harper doing an interesting turn as a 21st century Audrey Hepburn. The businesswoman’s (luxury cosmetics) main tool was a top that Yours Truly can only describe as a multi-dimensional study in asymmetry. Consider: it was black, except for the gray right sleeve; said right sleeve was long on the arm, whereas the left arm was less a sleeve; the right side had a bodice, no (bo)dice for the left side – ditto for the floral applique on the right shoulder; the left side was a halter top; on the right, the bottom of the top stopped with a built-in belt at the natural waistline, meanwhile the left side ended where the thigh began and was accented with a puckering of fabric in a floral shape. Also on the thing somewhere was what looked to be a square, plastic panel. As I said, it was a multi-dimensional study. No doubt to prevent sensory overload, MH wisely decided on a gray skirt in silk. In her hand, she held a red Birkin/Birkinesque bag that was a shade or two darker than her lipstick, which complemented her pale-as-a-vampire complexion. And did I overhear her tell someone she was wearing Dries van Noten pumps?

Speaking of DVN, the Couture Council will honor the Belgian design titan with its 2009 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion at its fourth such benefit luncheon on 9 September at Cipriani 42 Street.

The CC is a group that is passionate about fashion in general and the FIT Museum in particular. They are the likes of council chairs Yaz Hernandez (preternaturally pretty in a pink silk toga-style dress with impressive draping), Liz Peek, Sarah Wolfe, and “just a council member” and agile check-writer Randall Ian Stempler (smart in a gently quilted baby blue pinstripe suit, pink shirt and pink print [or was it black?] tie with black shoes).

These good people merge their time, talents and tony UES townhouses (designer Charlotte Moss) to raise $$$$ to ensure that the museum remains viable and relevant. The party at chez CM is the event that jump starts the CC’s $$$$-raising machine, ending with the September lunch, which the CC describes as “the first event” of New York Fashion Week (10-17 Sept.).

Learn more about the FIT, FIT Museum and the Couture Council at

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