Friday, February 13, 2015

@MB/NYFW Day 1: Not 'Wuthering Heights,' But Pas de Calais; At Helen Yarmak, Some Presentation; Oh Brother, You Sew Good ...

The forecast is cloudy at Pas de Calais. Photos by Yours Truly.

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 1: BCBG, Brand Assembly, Claudia Li, Coach, Costello Tagliapietra, Creatures of the Wind, Gabriela Cadena, Hanley Mellon, Helen Yarmak, Honor, Jonathan Simkhai, Julianna Bass, Kaal E. Suktae, Kempner, Marissa Webb, Mark McNairy, Nicholas K, Pas de Calais, Pyer Moss, Richard Chai, Ryan, Roche, Saunder, Simon Miller, Timo Weiland, Tome, Ulla Johnson

is misty – foggy, the atmosphere is redolent of … je ne sais quoi – something unnamable at the moment. Walking into Pas de Calais' Soho atelier, one feels that she has stepped into “Wuthering Heights.”

The milieu is eerie and mysterious as it is on Bronte's moors. On a huge screen is projected continuous scenes of clouds that sometime undulate, creating an image of the surf ebbing and flowing underneath.

It it is not 19th century England, though. It is Fall-Winter 2015. Pas de Calais designer Yukari Suda is inspired by the clouds that often crowd out the sun in the actual place called Pas de Calais, a coastal region in northern France.

A coat as a cocoon, shadowing a mannequin bust.

Like the clouds, the very frocks are soft – wools, cashmere and some of the softest shearling these hands have touched. To create the cocooning effects of clouds the designer undertook several methods. She boiled some of the fabrics. The result is slightly distressed affairs that are also puffy. Cocooning is further achieved by cuts. A wool coat fairly hovers over a mannequin bust as if enfolding it in a gentle embrace. Suggestive of clouds, too, is the color scheme: gray, off white, ash, semi-translucent treatments.

Tasked with putting key words to this collection, one might offer quiet simplicity. Yet this characteristic is occasionally tedious. One wants to make some noise on the order of the mannequin busts created especially for the collection. The busts are doppelgangers of high-neck blouses that are a confection of an intricate lace-embroidery combination.

They are arresting – objects of beauty. Alas, one can't spirit away with one of these to wear underneath that shearling coat.

Quite the Show at Helen Yarmak

HELEN Yarmak prefers to do things the old school way. To that end, the venue for her Fall-Winter 2015 presentation is the penthouse terrace of the Crown Building.

Visitors step into a busy room bursting at the seams with interesting folk immersed in engaging conversation. If the poseurs are here they are taking their cues from their betters and enjoying themselves. After all, it is a festive occasion. Champagne is flowing; sweet treats are making the rounds.

The penthouse terrace is a suitable space for HY to show off her newest furs and some of her own heirloom jewelry – mostly rings – that sit unlocked, unmolested, and seemingly – but not really – unguarded on a low glasstop table.

Meanwhile, a couple of performers – Sultana Lips and David St. Louis – provide an offering. “Helen said 'would you sing something' and I did,” explains DStL, a baritone and star of the recently shuttered “Side Show.” (See the videos above).

If fur is your thing, “The Metamorphosis Collection” may be worthy of consideration. Fox, lamb, mink, sable and weasel have chameleon-type qualities. Consider: coat become vest, coat become sleeveless. Jacket is two-faced and other such shifts.

The Dream Machine From Brother

YOURS Truly: Brother is making sewing machines now.
PR Lady: Brother has been making sewing machines for 60 years.
YT: What?
PRL: Yes.

Introducing The Dream Machine, ensconced in a corner during a party for a “Project Runway party for Snowman, a line of down jackets and coats.

This … is not your grandmother's, mother's, godmother's, stepmother's or even your sewing machine. If for no other reason than it is not for the consumer market. It costs a lot of pretty pennies, too.

The Dream Machine from Brother is an antidote for sewing nightmares.

It can justify its five-figure pricetag. This contraption can buy the bacon, fry it in a pan, serve it and do the dishes afterward. The Dream Machine is capable, for instance, of creating stitches that look hand done. It can handle an extremely intricate multi-colored design. If you change your mind, you input it in the memory bank and it will correct your error. It will unstitch.

Not sure how scary this is, but pretty sure it is sew remarkable.

On Deck today, Day 2: Adam Selman, A Detacher, Ammerman Schlosberg, A Moi, Annie Bing, Asaf Ganot, August Getty, Charlotte Ronson, Chromat, City of Hope, Concept Korea, Cushnie et Ochs, Cynthia Rowley, Edie Parker, Ese Azenabor, Espion Atelier, Fatema Fardan, Gabriela Hearst, Jason Wu, John Eliott + Co., Kate Spade New York, Kye, Mark & Estel, Mongol, Monique Lhuillier, Naadam, N. Hoolwood, Nicole Miller, Nina Athanasiou, Novis, Orley, Rconic Collections by Amiat, Rebecca Minkoff, Romana Keveza, Roomeur, Rubin & Chapelle, Sally LaPointe, Siki, Suno, Wes Gordon, Tanya Taylor, Veda, Yuna Yang, Zimmermann

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

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