I recently received word from the Vanity Fair and Estée Lauder contest team of which New York fashion week show I will be attending as part of the Camera-Ready Style Contest prize package! Drumroll, please… Are you ready?
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to witness Derek Lam’s Fall 2012 fashion show on Sunday, February 12! Below is a little information about the renowned designer. I also put together a “Wish List” of a few other New York shows I would be overjoyed to see, although any would be amaaazing.
Show: Derek Lam
Hometown: San Francisco, California
Background: Graduated from Parsons School of Design in 1990 then worked as an assistant for Michael Kors for four years. After working for a large retail brand in Hong Kong, Lam returned to New York and became President of Design of Michael Kors’ Kors label. He debuted his first collection at New York fashion week in the fall of 2003. Since 2005, Lam has also been the creative director for ready-to-wear and accessories at Italian luxury house Tod’s.
Style: American sportswear characterized by pretty fabrics, clean silhouettes and signature pieces like sheath dresses, trousers and trench coats. According to the trusty style.com, “Lam excels at updating looks from other eras, be it a seventies-style silk romper or drop-waist shirtdresses inspired by hippie California beach towns of the late sixties.”
Inspirations: Derek Lam said he learned “American classics 101” by working as a designer at Michael Kors for 12 years, which is made evident in his elegant approach to well-tailored, contemporary pieces. His pre-fall 2012 collection was inspired by Scott Schuman’s street-style photos of Japanese guys from Pitti Uomo, the seasonal menswear shows in Florence, Italy. Lam’s spring 2012 line was representative of “mid-century louche and luxury” set in Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House of the 1960s in Palm Springs, California. Imagine “Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack crooning by the piano and Angie Dickinson lounging by a crystal-blue pool,” said Lam.
Famous fans: Kate Bosworth, Leighton Meester, Kate Beckinsale, Rachel Bilson, Rihanna, Eva Mendes, Nicole Richie, Olivia Palermo, Kirsten Dunst, Emmy Rossum
My take: I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the Derek Lam show! I can’t wait to see what his inspiration will be behind his latest collection. I’m also looking forward to see who will be in attendance.
Kate Beckinsale photo courtesy of John Shearer/WireImage, Eva Mendes photo courtesy of Galactic/Star Max, Kirsten Dunst photo courtesy of David X Prutting/BFAnyc/Sipa Press
Show: alice + olivia by Stacey Bendet
Hometown: New York, New York
Background: Bendet graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and launched alice + olivia in 2002. A children’s line was added in 2008 and a shoe collection in 2010. She has collaborated with MAC Cosmetics, Keds and Payless.
Style: Eclectic, playful and feminine full lifestyle collection
Inspirations: Culture, music, art, vintage fashion and the women around her. Bendet’s pre-fall 2012 collection was inspired by Parisian allure and retro looks from the sixties and seventies. Her spring 2012 collection included floral prints, bright pastels, the combination of black and white and more sixties flair.
Famous Fans: Anne Hathaway, Fergie, Jennifer Lopez, Blake Lively, Kristen Stewart, Nikki Reed, Ashley Greene, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, Dakota Fanning, Mena Suvari, Sophia Bush
My take: I adore the polished, yet fun and youthful style of Stacey Bendet. While she’s not heralded for being fashion forward or inventive, I would definitely wear many of her pieces. As a big fan of designs from decades past, I really like her updated interpretations of vintage fashion.
Show: Porter Grey, by sisters Alexandra and Kristen O’Neill
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Background: Alexandra and Kristen were both Art History majors at NYU and Harvard, respectively. They launched Porter Grey, named after their great-grandmother, in the fall of 2006.
Style: Fresh, crisp, and classic sportswear for the modern American woman
Inspirations: Simple and classic American style peppered with nostalgia for vintage fashion. The inspiration for their spring 2012 collection was garden parties at their grandparents’ house in Long Island in the fifties and sixties. Their fall 2011 line was influenced by the seventies’ Ali MacGraw and Shelley Duvall.
Famous fans: Rachel Bilson, Jessica Biel, Blake Lively, Malin Ackerman, Elizabeth Olsen, Whitney Port
My take: While I’m drawn to slightly more flamboyant designs, Porter Grey’s well-crafted, simple pieces are timeless additions to any woman’s wardrobe. I hope to invest in more quality and classic staples like these when my budget allows it.
Show: Michael Kors
Hometown: Long Island, New York
Background: Kors dropped out of the Fashion Institute of Technology after two semesters and launched his first women’s collection in May 1981. His labels include Michael Kors, Kors Michael Kors and MICHAEL Michael Kors. He is a recurring judge on Bravo’s Emmy-nominated Project Runway.
Style: Simple, elegantly tailored American sportswear
Inspirations: American themes like Hollywood, the military and vintage fashion; American sportswear pioneers like Norman Norell and Bill Blass and American thoroughbreds such as Lauren Bacall, Ali MacGraw and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis influence Michael Kors’ style. Kors’ latest muse is, Ann Bonfoey Taylor, who was voted one of Harper’s Bazaar’s 100 Great Beauties of the World in 1967. Taylor, a very interesting character herself, was a Colorado aristocrat who enjoyed skiing, hunting and flying planes. She also loved clothes, collected couture and designed a line of skiwear. However, for the Spring 2012 “Afriluxe” collection, Kors took inspiration overseas by using khaki, cargo pockets, animal prints and hand-dyeing techniques.
Celebrity fans: Who doesn’t wear Michael Kors? Fans include Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Angelina Jolie, Heidi Klum, Barbara Walters, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Alba, Zoe Saldana, Miranda Kerr, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and many more.
My take: It’s Michael Kors, an American fashion legend. Enough said.
Heidi Klum photo courtesy of George Pimentel/WireImage, Angelina Jolie photo courtesy of Jason Laveris/FilmMagic, Rosie Huntington-Whitely photo courtesy of Alexander Aleshkin/Epsilon/Getty
Show: Marchesa by Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig
Hometown: Chapman was born in London, England and Craig was born in Lucerne, Switzerland
Background: Chapman and Craig met while attending Chelsea College of Art and Design. Later Craig graduated from University of Brighton and worked in print and embroidery design, while Chapman graduated from Wimbledon College of Art and became a costume designer. In 2004, the pair created Marchesa in Chapman’s London apartment. Now based in New York, the label was backed early by several A-list celebrities and the late English stylemaker, Isabella Blow.
Style: Intricately crafted, feminine and ethereal eveningwear perfect for the red carpet. Voguepedia describes the dresses as, “Dipped in fairy dust and edged in embroidery, they could be the handiwork of those nimble-fingered mice of a certain Gloucester tailor’s shop.”
Inspirations: The label is named after and inspired by Marchesa Luisa Casati, the legendary European socialite and fashion icon of the early twentieth century, known for her eccentricity, lack of inhibitions, menagerie of exotic animals and striking eyes. She is reportedly the most artistically represented woman throughout history, after the Virgin Mary and Cleopatra, due to her quest for immortality through art. Marchesa’s spring 2012 collection was influenced by an 1876 painting, Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom by Ilya Repin. The gorgeous gowns of pale blue, lilac and platinum were embellished with flapper-style fringe, crystal beading, embroidery and tulle. The “toned down” resort 2012 line was inspired by celebrity photographer Slim Aaron’s book A Place in the Sun.
Famous fans: Again, who doesn’t wear Marchesa… on the red carpet? Renée Zellweger, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lopez, Blake Lively, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Olivia Wilde, Sandra Bullock, Kate Hudson, Rihanna and many more have strutted in Marchesa.
My take: To see a Marchesa show would be to witness the prettiest gowns before they hit the red carpet. I would be delighted to see such beautiful creations in person.
Lea Michele photo courtesy of Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Sofia Vergara photo courtesy of Kevin Mazure/WireImage, Madonna photo courtesy of Janet Mayer/Splash News
Show: Badgley Mischka by Mark Badgley and James Mischka
Hometown: Mischka was born in Burlington, Wisconsin and Badgley was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, but grew up in Oregon
Background: Mischka studied biochemical engineering and then majored in art history and managerial studies at Rice University. Badgley studied art at the University of Oregon and business at the University of Southern California. The pair met while studying at Parsons School of Design in Manhattan. Mischka went on to work with WilliWear WilliSmith’s men’s collection, while Badgley joined Donna Karan. In 1988, they created Badgley Mischka and started collecting awards. In 1996, they added bridalwear and in 2009, they established a more affordable collection that’s fresh, modern and sexy for the young yet sophisticated woman.
Style: “Simple, streamlined and thoroughly elegant,” said Mischka. The sexy eveningwear line is perfect for brides (Jada Pinkett Smith, Trista Rehn of The Bachelorette, Charlotte York on Sex and the City), A-listers on the red carpet or magazine covers (see “Famous fans”) and even twins (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Barbara and Jenna Bush.)
Inspirations: Mischka said “Our style harks back to the glamorous Hollywood of the forties.” However, the spring 2012 bridal collection takes it back even further to the 1920s of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The opulent line, influenced by Art Deco, features embellished belts and sleeves and slinky silhouettes. The focus was on structure for the spring 2012 ready-to-wear line, which manifested in peplum skirts, oversized bows and even a leather jacket. The duo went a little more demure for their pre-fall 2012 ready-to-wear collection. Fluid long gowns, midi length skirts, minimal glittering embellishments and more high necklines kept it simple, yet classy.
Famous fans: Winona Ryder, Jada Pinkett and Will Smith, Madonna, Catherine Zeta Jones, Jennifer Lopez, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Garner, Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet, Taylor Swift, Sarah Jessica Parker, Carrie Underwood, Helen Mirren, Queen Latifah, Jayma Mays
My take: Badgley Mischka can be sophisticated and understated or lavish and sexy, but almost every piece is undeniably classy. This is another show that would be a special preview of the dresses during awards season.
Katy Perry photo courtesy of INFevents, Taylor Swift photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage, Kelly Osbourne photo courtesy of John Shearer/WireImage
Just a few last mentions… I’d also love to see Monique Lhuillier (she designed Sarah Michelle Gellar’s blue and white watercolor ballgown, which her daughter selected for the 2012 Golden Globes, that was anything but boring in a parade of mostly typical eveningwear); Honor by Giovanna Randall (the up-and-coming label is feminine, hip and definitely something I would wear) and Betsey Johnson (she’s had me enthralled with her over-the-top, flirty and fun style for ages!)
10 more days until I’m at the Derek Lam show!