Guess who’s going to New York Fashion Week! That’s right. This girl! Eeeeeeeee!
Thank you to the wonderful people at Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair for selecting me as the winner of the Camera-Ready Style Contest! I won a trip to New York, NY, tickets to a Fall 2012 New York Fashion Week show, a makeup session with an Estée Lauder makeup artist and a photo shoot with a Vanity Fair-caliber photographer. I am beyond excited for this incredible opportunity that I will never forget.
Some of you who know me may be thinking, “Didn’t she go to fashion week last season?” Yes, I went to New York during fashion week and attended a few shows of up and coming designers at Nolcha Fashion Week. It was an amazing experience and I met some very talented people, who are in the beginning stages of potentially launching their brands. New York Fashion Week is a time when across the city designers new and experienced showcase their next season’s designs. Many of the “big” shows, of highly anticipated collections from famous designers, are at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Lincoln Square. Which show am I attending? I’m not sure yet… The contest coordinators will choose. I’ll let you know who I’m hoping for soon.
First, let me tell you about my first trip to New York Fashion Week in September of 2011…
I arrived on Thursday, September 8 just in time for Fashion’s Night Out (FNO), a worldwide celebration founded in New York of fashion, designers, retailers and most importantly, shoppers. FNO, hosted by Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and NYC & Company, is the industry’s way of connecting fashion, especially luxury brands, to the average shopper. Stores entice guests with free drinks, deals, celebrity appearances and unique experiences. I planned my attack on FNO based on who I wanted to see, knowing I would absorb the scene of chic shoppers on the way. Since my flight was delayed, I scrambled to get ready when I arrived at my apartment for the week and threw on a red dolman-sleeve top, dark skinny jeans, a statement necklace of silver chains and large black beads and black slightly pointed flats. (I was properly warned that it’s all about flats when you’re walking all over the city!) Then I was off to Manolo Blahnik with hopes of seeing Sarah Jessica Parker. I had big city aspirations before Sex and the City debuted but it was Carrie Bradshaw who convinced me that living in New York can be glamorous and attainable.
My mom and I jumped on the subway, pretending like we were pros except for the MTA map I triple checked, and headed to Midtown. There was a crowd of fashionably dressed women standing outside the large window next to a plate that read “Manolo Blahnik, Office Entrance.” Just as we arrived, a silver sedan paused and Sarah Jessica Parker stepped out wearing a leather Prabal Gurung dress and white pointed-toe Manolos. She briefly paused for photographs and then entered the discreet brick building to celebrate her collaboration with the legendary shoemaker, a redesign of the Carolyne. My goal was achieved – to see SJP in NYC. Next stop: Tiffany & Co. to see Leighton Meester, star of Gossip Girl, perform with Check in the Dark.
Meester, dressed in a cloudy sky printed Carven maxidress, jammed with the folk rock band under the disco balls on the fourth floor. From Tiffany’s we took a stroll down 57th Street past Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry, Miu Miu, Chanel and Dior to the subway.
We arrived at the door of Jeffrey New York shortly after 10 p.m. and with ample time to wait for Harry errr Daniel Radcliffe to arrive. We waited impatiently while only certain people on an enigmatic yet dogmatic list were permitted inside and a few privileged early arrivers made their exit. One of the guests leaving early was hip hop mogul, Russell Simmons. Finally the doorman turned away a hopeful with an unconvincing story and announced that no one else would be let inside unless he or she was the editor of a fashion magazine.
“What about a fashion writer from far away?” my mom shouted.
“How far?” the doorman asked.
“Toledo, Ohio,” she replied with a smirk.
I think he was so amused that either this lady had the gumption to yell this at him or that she replied with a place like Toledo, Ohio, but either way he said with a smile, “Come on in.”
I hadn’t even heard what happened but as my Mom pulled me toward the door I asked, “Can my mom come with me?” I asked.
“Of course,” doorman said.
Miraculously, we were in, both doubled over with laughter, and just moments away from seeing Daniel Radcliffe! As we waited, a well-dressed woman wearing sunglasses and a short bob brushed by me and after she passed I realized it was Anna Wintour, the legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue. Jeffrey New York was the place to be. Moments later the stars of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” Mr. Radclife and Rose Hemingway, swept through the crowd. The grinning, fair-faced actor, who I fell in love with as a wizard, greeted the long line of fans, giving me ample time to take more than enough pictures. We also got a taste of the renowned excellent customer service from a very kind salesman as we browsed the Manolos and Louboutins.
Carrie Bradshaw, a Gossip Girl, the pioneer of hip hop, the Devil (who) Wears Prada and The Chosen One… and that was just my first day in the Big Apple.
Monday came the reason for my trip: fashion week. I awoke early, ate my breakfast, put on my perfectly planned ensemble – a brown dress with pink metallic ballet flats and a thrift store find choker of pink and gold – and headed to 18th street. Being from Ohio I was one of the first to arrive at Nolcha Fashion Week, which gave me time to browse the exhibition prior to the show (get fake nails applied thanks to the ladies at Kiss) and mingle with the designers. The agency behind this event is an award-winning global platform advancing the business of independent fashion, beauty, consumer and lifestyle brands through ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, industry connections and event production.
I took my seat next to a distinguished gentleman named Frank, who thought I was just perfect for his son, and waited for the lights to dim. My first fashion show in New York began with Carlos Luna, a Columbian born designer who began his label this year. His line was characterized by sheer panels, color blocking, excellent tailoring and light weight fabrics that moved and draped beautifully. The palette of the silk garments included aqua, royal blue, red and coral. The high-necked, sleeveless, floor length gown with high slits in either coral or aqua is something that I would wear to a black tie affair this spring.
One of my favorite lines was presented by Eredappa Hart. From Nigeria, Hart combined African Ankara fabrics of intricate and vibrant patterns with beadwork and classic European lines. The result was an exquisite collection of cocktail dresses and suits completely covered with beads that shone brilliantly under the lights of the runway. The feather-like patterns of green, blue and pink added welcome variety to the sun-inspired collection comprised mostly of bright yellow, white, black and brown. While tribal prints are presently on trend, the authenticity and beautiful intricacy of the beaded African patterns make these pieces continually unique and stylish.
The fashion forward style of Zula Studio was one of the most memorable of the day. Russian designer Zula Khramov, inspired by the movie Avatar, used woven fabrics, unconventional shapes and bondage elements. Contrasting soft, shiny, sheer and reptile-inspired textiles made the collection even more eccentric. From stilettos to skirts and neutrals to neons, snakeskin made a major comeback this fall.
Amelia Boland, a young designer from New Zealand, unveiled a feminine collection inspired by the clothing of children and dolls and the effect that their proportion has on the womanly shape. The sheer fabric, high stockings and baby doll shapes gave the whimsical frills, oversized bows and velvet an edge.
Most of the designers at NOLCHA fashion week are just beginning their fashion careers. “This is a stepping stone for me,” said Devon Thomas of presenting her second collection. For Thomas, it’s a stepping stone for her dream of becoming a fashion icon. For me, this experience was an eye-opening milestone toward many goals, some of which I just discovered in the fashion capital.