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.
(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!"
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.