Wednesday, February 18, 2015

@MB/NYFW Day 6: Word About Zang Toi Is ... ; And One for Michael Costello, Too; Skingraft's Exploration; Nice Work and Todd Harrison Calvert Has Gotten It ...

From the Zang Toi Fall-Winter 2015 collection. Photo by William Gaines.

HEADS UP: It's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York and New York Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2015. At VEVLYN'S PEN, fashion commentary will roll out as it did in September: Each day one (perhaps two) designer/label 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.

SOME of the players at the tents and elsewhere, Day 6: Alexander Vida, Badgley Mischka, Baja East, Christina Ottaviano, Diesel Black Gold, Elie Tahari, Georgine, Harbison, J. Crew, Jenny Packham, KTZ, Lela Rose, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Michael Costello, Lupe Gajardo, Narciso Rodriguez, Naeem Khan, Oscar de la Renta, Pedro Del Hierro, Rachel Zoe, Rodarte, Skingraft, Sophie Theallet, The Art Institutes, Tory Burch, Vera Wang, Zang Toi

IT'S a best practice before a Zang Toi show to lock down which superlative one is going to tag it with. For fall winter 2015, the designer considers the “Mystique Beauty of Venice.”

Sumptuous is to be the keyword for this ZT production. His Venice is a place where by day, a lady is turned out in basics of the highest quality fabrics, accessorized by the black murano glass necklace, for instance.

This one applique transforms her insouciant taupe lamb suede classic twinset and black georgette fortuny pleated maxi skirt into an arresting vision.

It sets the tone for the show and defines the keyword. The taupe handloomed cashmere and silk turtleneck twinset with hand-beaded tweeds ensemble – sumptuous. Brown handloomed cashmere and silk and ribbon and silk and wool tweed jacket and mini sheath dress, the very same.

Relaxed elegance at Zang Toi for FW15. Photo by William Gaines.

A lone bone to pick with this sumptuous feast is an evening confection: The black lame fortuny pleated venetian gown bordered with bronze crystal is in need of some tapering lest the poor (not really, but one gets the meaning) woman will appear as if she is expecting a happy event. Not a happy event if she is not.

The grand finale – the showstopper for the masquerade ball where one will no doubt waltz – should have been the black silk faille strapless ballgown with hand-embroidered chenille and bullion venetian arches. Without any adornment what so ever, it is beautiful. Sumptuous.


From the Michael Costello Fall-Winter 2015 collection. Photos by Yours Truly.

IN Europe, too (Paris and London), as well as Japan is Michael Costello. His jetsetter is very different from Zang Toi's, though.

Where the latter's lady adheres to the strictures of subtlety, decency and class, the former's is a bodacious broad who flirts shamelessly with indecency, forgetting or ignoring the good manners that were instilled in her. Perhaps, her wardrobe choices are what sexy means at the moment. She conforms to societal norms, however, when she takes herself off to Asia.

Before the start of the show the ears of Yours Truly catch snatches of the running commentary about MC from a woman sitting on the row behind me. “… In L.A., his models have big boobs and butts ...; he makes stuff that Kim KardasHian wears ...”

The reality star is a customer, as is Beyonce among others of the curvaceous set.

The first look out of the gate does not give lie to the words of our commentator. It is a fishnet-lace gown with a left split so high as to cause altitude sickness and one's very proper grandmother to call for the smelling salts were she to clap eyes on it.

In his program notes, the former “Project Runway” and “Project Runway All-Stars” finalist discloses that his woman “demands attention.” And she will have it. Most of this inventory – well-crafted, one must note – is not for the faint of heart or lack of a bangin' body.

The imperfect 99 percent can limit its consumption to the wardrobe dedicated to the Japanese leg of the jaunt.


A little more refinement to its underground, counterculture pose most pronounced in embellished coats, jackets and vests redolent of the ponchos favored by the Peruvian nomad that in part informs the collection. Creme and white are conspicuous, though the oversized white shirt is off course in this odyssey.

Todd Harrison Calvert Has Many Reasons to Smile

Interior of Glasscock Boutique in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo from Glasscock Web site.

WHY is Todd Harrison Calvert smiling?

First, because he has good teeth and wants to show them off. Perhaps, but not really; he's a smiler.

Another possibility is because he is the buyer for the exclusive Glasscock Boutique in Louisville, Kentucky, an embodiment of a cushy gig. His job title, as it appears on his business card, is "Director of Fashion & Marketing." (

Through Glasscock, this son of a banker procures for the "upper two percent." The kind of folk who renovate a guesthouse on their Tampa, Florida beach compound especially for him. Folk who arrange riding lessons for THC; who have him rigged out with the proper attire to look the picture of equestrian elegance sitting astride a horse.

Can his very own horse be far behind. He didn't answer directly if one does not consider the glee winking out from the irises of his eyes. "My clients have names like Fo__es," he discloses during our tête-à-tête in the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge. "Bergdorf Goodman wishes they had my clientele."

Indeed, that rarefied retailer would, considering that THC represents the demographic that can spare $250,000 for a Zang Toi gown.

"I have already seen the collection," he gives me to know about a show scheduled in two hours for the hoi polloi.

When one is parting with that amount of coin, is it any wonder that previews are part of the package. Is it any wonder that when THC calls at Carolina Herrera the lady pays her addresses to him herself?

TC's dream job was born one fateful morning when a mutual friend called upon him on the phone at 7:30 – "I had not even had my first cup of coffee" – entreating him to help her friend, a damsel whose business (Glasscock) was in distress.

What started out as 15 hours a week by necessity would become a full-time job. Making a brand viable again and whipping into shape a lethargic and complacent staff demands a body's undivided attention.

Todd Harrison Calvert in the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge. Photo by Yours Truly.

"I had other clients but could wrap them up in a month," THC recalls.

And so he did. Fast forward to the present day. His work brings him to New York a couple of times a month. When he journeys North for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week in tow are usually a few Glasscock clients.

Horizons are soon to expand, however – restlessness threatens; ennui is setting in – taking THC& places like Paris and London.

In Europe, they will replicate their New World behavior: sit on the front row, pointing and saying “I want that and that and that ..." like much of the 98 percent chooses from the list of adds-on at Chipotle, for instance.

And what does THC do? " I take notes."

On deck today, Day 7: Alexis Bittar, Anna Sui, Bibhu Mohapatra, B Michael, Boss Womenswear, Clover Canyon, Delpozo, Eidos, Elizabeth and James, Erin Fetherston, Francesca Liberatore, Iijin, Greg Lauren, Jeremy Scott, Laquan Smith, Leanne Marshall, Lie Sangbong, Malan Breton, Marchesa, Michael Kors, Nanette Lepore, Newbark, Pink Sheep Heiress, Proenza Schouler, Rolando Santana, Sons of William, Stephen F., The Blonds, Thomas Wylde

Visit to learn more about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, including show information and videos.

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