Friday, September 10, 2010

Strange, Wonderful, Bizarre & Funny Start

Supermodel Ellen DeGeneres, above, doing her thing at Richie Rich. Below in descending order, a pretty model in a pretty dress with a lipstick malfunction at Farah Angsana; Kate Ciepluch as a good model for wearing lace at Mara Hoffman, and Yours Truly and Apollonia catching up in Verrier's urban oasis. Top two photos from Getty Images; bottom two by Yours Truly.

Just like last time, the plan each day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is to give a roundup of the best (and worse where applicable) and most interesting Yours Truly witnesses, from shows to trends to sightings to the rather unusual/bizarre. Mind, this won’t be a comprehensive list simply because I can’t be everywhere. But depend on it, I’ll do my best. Drum roll, please …

Day 1 cont'd.
(SOME of the players at the tents and elsewhere): Nicholas K, "Project Runway," Richard Chai, Ruffian, Anne Bowen, Bensoni, Mara Hoffman, Candela, Concept Korea, Christian Siriano, Farah Angsana, Verrier, Daniel Vosovic, Richie Rich)

In her updo are flowers. On her face pancake-white makeup. Her blond eyelashes go on forever. She walks serenely down the runway in a salmon mini shift in organza with a lace back and organza train that ties in front into a passel of sashes.

See her there, a white veil pulled away from her face. Is that a black leather bustier over a sheer taupe tank? Her salmon harem pants are tapered from knee to ankle.

Here's a pink silk blouse with an enormous bow at the neck and three-quarter tulip sleeve.

It’s a strange and wonderful business that is Korean designer Lee Jean Youn’s latest collection. He was the last of the three to show under the rubric Concept Korea. He’s shopped “The Strange Wedding Ceremony”around the world, including Paris, and has received good notices. They are well-deserved.

In their unexpected get-ups the models walk ghostlike down the runway and take their place where they remain until the last model comes out. A huge screen projects their images. It’s simply arresting. No other collection on the first day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - not even Christian Siriano in another strong turn - made such an impression.

It seems that in part LJY has deconstructed the traditional Korean costume, the full-bodied hanbok to create cropped tops, bottoms and cutaways. The collection is strange in that it is unexpected to see organza and leather hanging out together and black leather bustiers under sheer silk tops. To create the many intricate folds, bows, pins and tucks is massively difficult, yet in LJY’s hands it appears effortless. The workmanship is impressive. About the clothes is a quiet pride and dignity; they are peaceful and serene.

So many pretty after-5 dresses and gowns from Farah Angsana. Very feminine and classy. Sequins in just the right quantity and placement. What is dismaying, though, is the pink lipstick on the model with skin the color of rich, dark chocolate. Is this a minstrel show or a fashion show? The makeup person should know better. Shame!

Silver tentacles extend around the crown and over the heads of the models like rabbit ears. Others wrap around the head and shade the eyes like eyeglasses or bangs. A few wrap around the head and appear to protrude from ears. The Borg comes to mind. Meanwhile, the tentacles tap foreheads and temples in the manner of fingers on a telegraph machine. Behold, sculpture for the head. Sure to set tongues awagging at Ascot. Dreams inspired the collection of “Project Runway” Season 8 contestant Andy South. Another inspiration is statues brought to life, possibly by the tap tap tap of tentacles.

Enter the annex of the Box tent and take a glass of Champagne. Venture farther in and indulge in the serenity of a space dotted with trees, hydrangeas and wild flowers. Allow upbeat tunes from the Great American Songbook to wash away the stresses of the day. Breathe in. Now out. Observe the beautiful, young women strategically placed around the area, standing atop low pedestals, complementing the greenery. They are well-dressed in the pieces that comprise the 2011 collection of Verrier. Yes, lovely. “It’s a garden party” the designer says of the inspiration for her show. “We decided to make it an urban garden party. I was thinking about “The Great Gatsby.” We wanted to make it really nice and welcoming. We even brought the flowers.”

After keeping his guests waiting for his Popluxe show, Richie Rich calmed them down with ballerinas and a little Vivaldi. Once the lights went down and up, out came a few primas. One was packing a violin, while another was at the keyboards. And others pirouetted hither and yon. If that didn’t smooth over ruffled feathers and frayed nerves, the dominatrices would surely have slapped someone on the butt.

Very special guest star Ellen DeGeneres channeling her countenenace from CoverGirl’s Simply Ageless Foundation commercial. Therein she muses that it should be no wonder that models look so mad because they are wearing expensive foundation - unlike you know who. What can one say? EG, tricked out in a miniature hat, white seersucker suit w/colored Lichtenstein-esque T underneath, brought it. The crowd erupted into applause and laughter and went near-ballistic when she was joined by RR.

She’s being photographed near the models in Mara Hoffman’s presentation at Pier 59. Clearly, she is not one of them, though she can be a model. What gives Kate Ciepluch away is that she is not got up in one of the laidback, devil-may-care “Military Gone Native” affairs that informs the collection. The buyer for Shopbop does Victorialand proud in the label’s black lace shirt. Underneath she sports a black bra, flat tummy and no muffin top. Her bottom is well covered by gray, drawstring shorts. She’s kicking it in a gray pump with a sensible heel. It’s not too fat, too thin, too high or too low. It’s just right. And so is she.

I’m doing lightweight eavesdropping on a rather long interview Ashleigh Verrier is giving a reporter from an outfit called Fashion News Live. The interviewer is peppering her with interesting questions about her creative process. The designer is fully engaged and giving thoughtful answers. It makes waiting a little less painful.

After I lock down my interview, I complement the interviewer on her questions. She thanks me profusely. "I didn’t know whether I was asking good questions or not,” she confides.

I assure her that she did a fine job. A conversation ensues; introductions are made.

“I know an Apollonia,” I say when she tells me her name.

“I am Apollonia,” she says.

“You are Apollonia from “Purple Rain;” you don’t look like yourself,” blurts I before I can stifle myself.

“That was 25 years ago,” she reminds me.

And so it has been. The hair is different - smaller/shorter, more polished. The face seems somewhat familiar; perhaps it has been refreshed. In my mind she was a woman around 5’7” instead of the 5 feet plus a little change (in heels) looking up at me (in heels). Common sense should have told me that she must be shortish to be cast opposite Prince, with whom she's out of touch. Only her eyes seem familiar.

After our little reunion, I cross paths with Verrier again and inquire whether she knew who was interviewing her. She did not. “Really,” she said trying to wrap her brain around that piece of information. “That’s intense.”

And what has Apollonia been up to besides fashion journalism?

“I’ve been doing a lot of mentoring - mentoring young actors and doing some producing.”

In the works on the production side is “Food and the Single Guy,” an upcoming Bravo show. “It's the day in the life of a chef,” she explains.


1 comment :

  1. I was there too! Great show... Check out for photos.


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