New York Fashion Week - Fall 2006 Collections

Flare's editor-in-chief Lisa Tant reports live from New York

New York Fashion Week – Fall 2006 Collections
Flare’s editor-in-chief Lisa Tant reports live from New York

Friday, February 10th

Final day – just in time since a major snow storm is supposed to hit Manhattan tomorrow. Stilettos and snow don’t mix! I’m at Matthew Williamson‘s show. The Brit is also designing for Pucci but this is his own line. He’s abandoned his signature boho chic look in favour of a more polished look. There are still some pretty printed dresses but now joined by ombre silk shirt dresses, maxi skirts , sweet cropped jackets and maxi trenches. Patricia Field, costume designer for Sex and the City is here wearing a cream canvas jacket screen printed with the head of Abraham Lincoln in red – fabulous!.

I grab lunch at the Mercer Kitchen in Soho, a big celeb hangout. No one famous here but the olive and arugula pizza is excellent.

Across the street at Miu Miu I see Hana Soukupova shopping. She’s one of the tallest girls on the runway and she looks about 7 feet tall here. How does she find long enough jeans?

Jennifer Lopez is showing her Sweetface collection in an informal space. Her hubby Marc Anthony is standing across the runway from me. JLo emerges from a silver Airstream trailer on the runway to introduce the show. She’s wearing a fitted lace shift – there’s no way she’s pregnant judging from this dress. I love the navy swingy trench but not sure how the loose back silk dresses will sell. If this collection is priced for department stores, it will work. If it’s high designer prices, her fans won’t be able to afford it and others likely wouldn’t be interested. She’s clearly excited tho’. P Diddy’s Mom is in the crowd.

Off to Donna Karan where she’ll show in her late husband’s studio. I always look forward to her collections and this one doesn’t disappoint. Her draped back dresses are outstanding and I want every pair of shoes!.

Time to pack before heading to Karl Lagerfeld‘s NY debut. One would think I’d figure how to pack for the shows by now. I brought about eight pairs of shoes, two toppers and other pieces I won”t come close to wearing. I’ve been wearing my two pairs of flats most of the week and warmest jacket and sweaters. Whatever else I need, I could have bought! Instead I’m dragging home my unworn clothes … Sigh.

The buzz is high for the last show of the week. Karl Lagerfeld is showing his new lower-priced line here along with pieces from Lagerfeld Gallery. It’s a big deal as Karl has become a household name and he’s hoping to capitalize on last year’s success with H&M.

Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue, has just walked in with her bodyguards. I expect she’s worried about PETA who attacked her last season at the Chloe show.

The collection is primarily black with lots of layers – both skinny and full pants, long skirts and minis, knits and sleek wools. The feeling is post punk 80s. Huge success? Unlikely, it needs more of a point of difference but will no doubt get big marketing and promotion.

Some of my highlights of the week:
Favourite show – Proenza Schouler
Most controversial – Marc Jacobs
Biggest hype – Karl Lagerfeld
Craziest show – Heatherette
Break-out model – Canadian Irina
Standout Canadian collection – Jeremy Laing
Scariest celebrity – Janice Dickinson
Most overexposed “celebrity” – Nicky Hilton, closely followed by Nicole Richie

Next up is Milan with Market Editor, Tammy Palmer.

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Feb 10 • Feb 9Feb 8Feb 7 Feb 6 Feb 5Feb 4

Thursday, February 9th

What a fabulous way to start the day! Proenza Schouler‘s modern spin on the 80s is easily my favourite show of the season. Skinny pants, tight shimmering metallics, scribble prints – and a phenomenal update on the leather motorcycle jacket with bell sleeves and a full curvy trench-like back. All from two designers who barely look old enough to shave.

Nicole Richie is a front row fixture this week. She was led into the show by the hand, hiding behind monstrous sunglasses. Her body is about the size of my right leg. She appears to be working on her style profile – what else is she famous for? She was on the cover of one of Teen Vogue’s top selling covers last year.

J Mendel is known for their luxe furs and showed plenty – broadtail toppers, fox-trimmed coats. Gorgeous!

Front row is over-rated. I’m trying to type from my front and centre seat at Vera Wang – check out her red dress worn by Daria on our March cover. Anyway I’ve just been bashed in the head – twice – by tv cameras in a panic to get to Hilary Duff and her boyfriend. (Think he’s with Good Charlotte.) Holly Hunter is behind me and the crews are yelling at her to “show ya dress!” I need to ask Anna Wintour if I can borrow one of her bodyguards. Another editor – who shall remain nameless – is freaking because she didn’t get front row and wants it NOW! Good grief.

Phillip Bloch, the famous and sweet Hollywood stylist, chat throughout the show. We both love Vera’s suits and the delightful detailing on the backs of her toppers and cocktail dresses. There’s one stunning cream chiffon column that he’d like to see on Jessica Alba.

I’m off to see Toronto designer Arthur Mendonca at the Four Seasons before the big Calvin Klein show. While all this is going, I’m on the phone and Blackberry nonstop with the office. We’ve got our June cover to confirm and April is a HUGE issue!

A group of us head up to the Four Seasons to check out Arthur Mendonca’s capsule fall collection. He’s taken a sexy glam look with hot cocktail dresses – love the one with the bow and bubble skirt – and a formal work looks.

Then it’s down to Calvin Klein‘s show where his “face” model Natalia Vodianova sits out this show. She’s 7 1/2 months pregnant but comes with her son and hubby. The collection continues the season’s layering, bubble skirts and polished cocktail dressing. Black and sheer is the main message.

It’s hard to tell which season these shows are for – fall / winter – because of the light dresses, bare skin and summery feel.

Tomorrow is the last day …

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Feb 10 • Feb 9 • Feb 8Feb 7 Feb 6 Feb 5Feb 4

Wednesday, February 8th

The day starts on a high note with a pretty collection by Peter Som, one designer generating major buzz. I can see his tulle cocktail bubble dress on any Hollywood starlet. Delightful!

Next up is heavy hitter Michael Kors who runs with the season’s preppy direction that Gucci (an Italian of all things!) started last season. Daria wears a floor-sweeping polo dress under a long navy coat, and others follow in plaid minis, lean suits, pea jackets and great little suits. Kors excels at this type of fashion. I pass by Ivanka Trump and Debra Messing on my way out. Hilary Duff was supposed to be here too but the place is packed. I hope she didn’t get crushed!

A short walk later (thank goodness I wore my flat boots today) I’m at Diesel‘s show at the Hammerstein Ballroom. It’s all sex on the runway Diesel style – sexy jeans, skinny jackets, skimpy dresses. Grace Jones finishes the show vamping down the runway in studded leather. A bizarre finale to a cool show.

We hop in a cab to see Jeremy Laing‘s presentation downtown. Laing himself – one of our favourite Canadian designers – is sick in bed with stomach flu. Too bad! I want to congratulate him. His capsule collection is stunning! Draped back jackets over slim skirts, a luxe orange velvet dress, sweet work looks with skinny pants. This is a star in the making. As we’re waiting for the elevator, someone spies the elusive Karl Lagerfeld in a meeting one floor down. You can’t miss his silver ponytail! His big show is finishing the week Friday night.

I finally grab a bite for lunch and then it’s off to Derek Lam.

Derek Lam continues many of the details I’ve noticed this week – pretty high neck blouses with full sleeves and high waisted skirts to match. Love the kelly green trench.

I’m curious to see what Trovata is all about. The gang of four male designers won the CFDA/Vogue award last year and are showing at The Supper Club off Broadway. The staging – a snow covered runway, live band and yodelling couple (!) Is charming but the clothes are unremarkable. J Crew with button detailing.

A flock of stuffed black crows greet me inside The Roseland Ballroom for the launch of Yohji Yamamoto’s Y3 collection for Adidas. Creepy. My fast food Fashion Week diet is weighing me down and my feet hurt – not a high point of the week for sure but enough whining.

The Hitchcock theme continues as feather trimming on pants, down sleeves and feathered hats. Revolvers are featured sequinned on jackets and knit on the back of sweaters. Large mail and bowling bags and white striped shoes and boots go with the simple pea coats, jeans and jackets.

Mena Suvari and Anna Kournikova watch the show in the blackened ballroom.

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Feb 10Feb 9 • Feb 8 • Feb 7 Feb 6 Feb 5Feb 4

Tuesday, February 7th

The fashion crowd hates early mornings so there were more than a few empty seats at Monique L’Huillier. Too bad because the red carpet favourite showed some lovely 50s inspired gowns and toppers in lace, brocade and metallic prints. I chatted with fan Jamie Lynn Sigler (of The Sopranos). Look for a stunning exclusive photo of Sigler in an upcoming issue of Flare.

[At the Chaiken show] The smaller of the three tents is packed when Alec Baldwin (? Who knew he was a fashion fan?), Juliana Marguiles and Kyra Sedgwick are ushered in. The press go nuts. I’m chatting with Rafe Totengo, designer of Rafe bags and shoes.

Chaiken then shows lots of wearable double knits perfect for work. I like the skinny pant suits and the frog trim on the coats.

Earlier at Bill Blass – what a difference a supermodel makes! The clothes are lovely and mature but the right girls give them a much cooler edge. So far I’ve seen a lot of some of our Canadian favourites including Tasha Tilberg, Heather Marks, Lisa Cant and March’s cover girl Daria.

Next I’m off to Marc by Marc. He doesn’t keep us waiting long (not two hours like last night) and his signature street grunge look doesn’t disappoint. His jeans are extra wide, skirts sweep the floor – and even the bags are oversized. No celebs at this show surprisingly.

After a quick dinner, I head down to W22nd for Narciso Rodriguez. His look hasn’t changed much over the years and once again he shows structured shift dresses, skinny pants and boxy jackets. I love the black abd white boots and bags and the beaded cocktail shifts.

From one extreme to the other – while my colleagues call it a night, I hotfoot it back to Bryant Park for a much needed dose of Heatherette, by designers Traver Rains and Richie Rich. I’ll be honest, I’m not here for the clothes but the atmosphere. And WOW! The biggest tent is packed. The front row is a nutbar mix of celeb – is that really porn star Jenna Jameson next to Ashanti and Diddy’s Mommy Janice Combs? Is that Jamie Lyn Sigler next to Rufus Wainright who has a drag queen perched on his knee? It’s like a drag queen convention! I’ve never seen so many before – actually I’ve never seen one at Bryant Park before! And the crazy thing is that a lot of the clothes are really cool! The theme is New York and the skyline is beaded on gowns and printed on denim. The trenches are wearable, the denim is super cute and one group of check suiting would work at work. The finale features Naomi Campbell and designer Richie Rich roller skating down the runway, plus Amanda Lepore busting out of a nude toned sequinned body suit trimmed with dolls. She/he was holding a sign saying “Dreams come true in New York”. It’s nuts but it captures the wacky side of NY perfectly! Good night!

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Feb 10Feb 9Feb 8 • Feb 7 • Feb 6Feb 5Feb 4

Monday, February 6th

Today’s blockbuster lineup was kicked off appropriately by supermodel (and this month’s Flare covergirl) Daria at Carolina Hererra. Carolina added a sophisticated note to fall’s emerging working girl theme with chic suits and lean shifts. My faves though were the cocktail gowns – beaded and jewelled in electric red, orange and turquoise. Ivanka – by far the best looking Trump – seemed entranced too!

Cynthia Steffe blasted our ear drums and then showed a sweet collection of pinafores, flannel shorts and minis with knee socks and heels – a prep school look.

Next is the madness getting into Oscar de la Renta, a marquee show that attracts NY’s socialite set including Aerin Lauder and fashion lovers like Nicole Ritchie, and Serena Williams, the tennis player. The best dressed crowds are generally the least civilised. You should see how these ladies scramble for the goodie bags!

Daria had the coveted lead at Oscar’s show. The best part was the finale with truly stunning gowns that will no doubt walk red carpets worldwide.

Betsey Johnson‘s show was, as always, one of a kind. Looks ranged from cheerleader cute to showgirl trashy. At the end of the show a banner was reavealed reading “Grandma to Be”. Betsey rushed down the runway and presented her very pregnant daughter who was sitting in the front row with a bouquet of red roses – and then BJ (who has a cheerleader’s figure) cartwheeled down the runway! Go granny!

Celebs come in the back door (from backstage) at the shows. Paula Abdul and Anne Hathaway have just rushed in causing the tv cameras to cut off their C list interviews mid-question and take off in hot pursuit. Is that Kelly Rowland who just swept by with Vivica Fox? The tv couple behind me (I have no idea who they are) start kissing madly to try to attract attention. It looks like he’s going to swallow her face.

The show is an interesting mix of volume and texture – cropped jackets paired with knit bloomers, skinny tees under full pinafores. Missing is the line’s usual eclectic but pretty colour palette and girly playfulness.

Next up is Zang Toi

Zang Toi’s gowns are perfect for debutantes, royalty and Miss Universe – and there she is Canada’s Natalie Glebova wearing her sash, with her pal Miss USA!

Marc Jacobs is the most highly anticipated show of the week. We’ve been warned that it will start past its published 8pm time. When we’re finally allowed in at 9pm, the models have only just finished rehearsing. Allowing time for entrance-making celebs and this could start at midnight! Already here: model Naomi Campbell, Winona Ryder, Keith Richards’ daughters Theodora and Alexandra, Dita von Teese (that’s Mrs. Marilyn Manson), Rachel Bilson and Nicole Ritchie.

The clothes are unusual – an eclectic mix that looks like it started under a rock on the forest floor. The palette is drab – moss, bark, black, mushroom, lichen and grey. Silhouette is oversized with big coats, droopy tunics, cargo shorts and massive hats that look like mushroom caps. Dresses are layered over pants. The design inspiration appears to be Yohji Yamamoto. The bags are strong while the shoes and boots feature chunky cone-shaped heels. I need a second much closer look to decide whether Jacobs has achieved another masterful collection – the knits and evening wear are particularly strong – or if it’s as dreary as it looks at first glance.

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Feb 10Feb 9Feb 8Feb 7 • Feb 6 • Feb 5Feb 4

Sunday, February 5th

My day starts with an early brisk walk to get ready for the day ahead. My first show is Y&Kei with a moody Victorian theme – lots of high neck blouses, a lame gown and some sparkly metallic tuxes thrown in. Carrie Underwood, the recent winner of American Idol, is in the front row. She’s been spotted everywhere and the celeb hungry press go after her. The big celebs won’t show up until later this week although Beyonce is rumoured to be coming to Naeem Khan tonight.

Guests are greeted by anti-fur protestors outside of DKNY in Greenwich Village. There’s no fur on the runway just lots of terrific mini bubble skirts worn with cropped cardigans, and pinafore dresses. I love the colours – chocolate, lime, black, turquoise, bottle green, burgundy. Can’t wait to add some of these great pieces to my wardrobe.

Tracy Reese‘s show featured more Victorian styled blouses – an early trend that’s actually more than a year old. All everyone seems to care about though is which celebs will be here this week. Too bad as it really distracts from the clothes.

Diane von Furstenberg has moved her popular show out of her showroom into the Tents. Last season’s lighting accident – lights fell on some of her audience – has made her retreat to the security of Bryant Park.

First major star sightings came at Diane von Furstenberg. Fans included Nicky Hilton (glued to her phone of course), a bored Salman Rushdie with wife ex-model Padme, Lorraine Bracco, Susan Sarandon and Diane Sawyer. Diane was inspired by Working Girls – “a man’s life in a woman’s body” – and showed 40s looks like belted tweed suits, shirtdresses, two piece printed dresses and giant houndstooth patterned cropped jackets. Her strongest messages were strong shouldered jackets and high waist pencil skirts.

Tuleh ended my day on a high note with a chic wearable collection. Highlights included shift dresses with draped backs and huge fabric roses, jackets with capelet sleeves and 3 piece suits – matching jacket, slim top and pencil skirt. Loved the 40s vibe and attention on the sleeve (shaping up to be a leading trend). A standout was the fur jacket with puffball sleeves. The audience loved fur too – especially Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue, who showed up swathed in fur with a bodyguard at her side.

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Feb 10Feb 9Feb 8Feb 7 Feb 6 • Feb 5 • Feb 4

Saturday, February 4th

I’m in New York for Olympus Fashion Week – my first look at fall ’06. The 8 day event officially started yesterday but a crazy week starting our April issue kept me at the office and I missed the Baby Phat opening night show. The majority of the shows are held at Bryant Park in mid-town at W 41st and 6th. Here you’ll find 3 tents – huge, mid and small – where designers from Oscar de la Renta to Zac Posen are presenting before an audience of international press and a handful of celebs.

I took the afternoon to sort out the week’s invites and now I’m at Sass and Bide, an Australian-based collection. I expect, like most of the other shows, this one will start an hour late.

Just two shows tonight and no major celeb sightings. The closest would be Mary Louise Parker (winner of a Golden Globe for Weeds) at Lacoste. Sass and Bide was a mix of boho and Victorian – perfect for the laid back Aussie lifestyle. Lacoste reminded me of the Beastie Boys and early hip hop with a nerdy mix of old school silhouettes and bold colours.

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Check out Lisa’s 2006 Golden Globes Diary