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Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012, Day One

DAHLINGS –

Last Thursday kicked off the festivities for Mercedes Benz Spring/Summer 2012 Fashion Week, held in the tents at Lincoln Center. The lobby tent resembles a car dealership more than anything else. The impression is reinforced by the two Mercedes Benz automobiles parked on either side.

In keeping with the new austerity, the sponsors had drastically cut down their offerings. Chambord was no longer. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the loss of the bar and consequent free drinks.

Frappucino was also not to be found. That sat well with moi. I missed the McCafe at Bryant Park, where huge sweet coffee drinks with whipped cream and chocolate sauce kept me going throughout the day. Tresemme’ is still there. But instead of shampoo and conditioner, they are offering dry shampoo. Pardon my lack of excitement. The Maybelline stand, formerly generous with its offerings, allowed you to pick one item. I remember two seasons ago running in without my lipstick. The lovely lady there gave me two, one for before and one after 5 pm. No such luck now. However, I did choose the Maybelline Falsies mascara. The two lipsticks offered were coral and fuchsia, the two colors I cannot wear.

Arizona set up large coolers of various tea drinks and the most nauseating virgin pina colada I have ever gagged down. There is never free food (nobody eats at Fashion Week), but there was a café at the perimeter where one could pay ridiculously huge amounts for a salad.

The tone was muted as well. Most of the female attendees wore little black dresses. Only the very young women wore bodycon dresses in garish colors. While waiting online for the Tadashi Shoji show, I noticed a beautiful young woman wearing a 1980s Tadashi blue ruched Qiana dress.

Pardonnez moi, but is that dress vintage?”
She turned and gave me a condescending look. “You don’t know Tadashi’s design history, do you?” And turned back.

Two Tadashi dresses from the 1980s

No, I suppose I don’t. Strumpet.

The runway show itself? Terne, terne et morne. I was oft reminded of Laura’s dress on Ep. 6 of Project Runway.

Yes, Tadashi was out of his comfort zone. One wishes he’d stayed put. Many dresses were ombre’. As some interstitial idiocy during Project Runway put it, “Ombre’ is the new black!”

You know a show is not going well when the photographers’ “pit” barely flashes a light, and the audience sits quietly until the end. I would write more but thinking about that show causes my narcolepsy to kick in.

Ciao,
Elisa

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New York Fashion Week Spring 2011, Day One

DAHLINGS –

So, yesterday was the first day of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week* in its new location at Lincoln Center. In the service of the God of Retail, most of the trees in Damrosch Park were chopped down, lest someone important in peeptoe platform boots trip over a root or something.

In any event, the main impression the central gives is HEIGHT. There is no central organizing entity, such as the Bryant Park fountain. So the room sprawls quite a bit. But it’s a comfortable, well-lit sprawl. Your faithful correspondent was suitably impressed.

AND THEY HAVE FINALLY ENTERED THE COMPUTER AGE! NO MORE AGONIZING WAITS WHILE SOME POOR INTERN THUMBS THROUGH PAPER SHEETS TO FIND YOUR NAME! Some may think that barcodes render the event less human. Dahlings, it cuts down the amount of time and pretentiousness (“Don’t you know who I am? I’m on the list!”) by at least half.

The first day, I was more interested in exploring than in attending the shows. However, the Christian Siriano show was a MADHOUSE! I couldn’t even locate my BFF, Tim Gunn! Some of it must have been spillover from the Project Runway show earlier.

The Project Runway show, for the record, showed TEN designers! That means TEN runway shows, and ONE HUNDRED LOOKS! I think I would have crawled out on my Max Azria clad knees, babbling incoherently.

In any event, after the spectacular show Christian put on last year, this one was a slight disappointment. From a young new designer, one hopes for a new young point of view. But this collection was rather safe, playing to well-worn fashion tropes and sillouhettes.

For instance, this lovely evening gown bears an eerie resemblance to the evening gowns he has done before, both on the runway and the red carpet.

This white dress is pretty, but a tad ho-hum.

However, I did rather like this suit. But if you look past the material, the construction is quite conventional.

It is this writer’s guess that the reason Christian’s clothes are so popular is that they are so wearable. For this collection, what it lacked in inspiration it more than made up for in “hanger appeal.”

Speaking of Project Runway:

I CANNOT BELIEVE THEY GOT RID OF CASANOVA! I HAD FINALLY BEGUN TO STAND HIM!

Why not that annoying, bossy little Ivy?

And I cannot remember who won; only that it wasn’t Andy or Valerie, who should have.

Until tomorrow,

Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

* If they hear you calling it New York Fashion Week, you are severely punished.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Tim Gunn Takes Us Behind The Scenes of Ep. 3

DAHLINGS –

Here is Tim Gunn opining about the “Unconventional Challenge,” Casanova, and so much else. He is a true delight, and I cannot BELIEVE he will be going on hiatus until the Emmys!!!

I would have very much liked to write up a review of Episode 4, but to honest, it’s beyond me right now. However, I am certain many other bloggers have interesting things to say.

Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Infinity And Beyond: Project Runway, S8, Episode Two

DAHLINGS:

Bloated, long-winded, and faintly aggravating; no, I do not mean Rush Limbaugh. Rather, the new format of Project Runway. The ninety-minute episode.

What do we get for our additional half-hour? The only good thing I can think of is no more Models Of The Runway. Instead, we get more of the designers talking trash about each other, * footage of them in their rooms at the ATLAS (as is constantly pointed out), extended footage after the aufs, and most important, many, many more commercials. Second in importance is that none of the designers are particularly interesting people. A message to Bunim/Murray: Absence of footage makes the heart grow fonder.

There is little that can keep my attention for ninety minutes other than fantasizing about Alec Baldwin naked. However, I threw myself on the sword for you, my darling readers. Here is my “recap” of Episode Two.

Another change is that the Bluefly Wall (“Designers, use it very thoughtfully”) has been replaced by the Pipelime.com Wall. At least Tim Gunn doesn’t have to choke out “Macy’s” any more.

Right off the top, one of the designers nails the essential paradigm of the show: “Public torture of designers on television.” I hadn’t thought of the program that way, except for Heidi Klum’s new vampire teeth. (I still maintain she tortures small animals in her spare time.)

This week’s challenge is to create a look for a Marie-Claire Times Square billboard. Joanna Coles, an editor of the magazine, reels off a series of meaningless adjectives to describe “the Marie-Claire woman.” As opposed to the “Marie-Claire bedroom set” or “Marie-Claire baked beans”. I can’t remember them, but I’m certain they were along the lines of “strong, modern independent, feminine, has a vagina,” etc.

A.J., who obviously has his pulse on what the strong modern independent woman of today wants, decides to devise a “grunge/punk Courtney Love look”. Okaaaay.

Would Courtney wear this? Probably. She is on drugs.

Jason, wearing his bowler as per his persona, wants to create a dress of “infinity.” Because, really, what’s better than infinity? It left his peers shaking their heads. Throughout the program, the contestants in short interviews continue to tear apart everyone else’s designs. It gets as tiresome as one of those “Real Housewives” things, except less Botox and false breasts.

Mondo, despite having possibly the most irritating personal style, turns out to be extremely shy, so my viewing party didn’t have to hate him after all. (They get vociferous when the gin reaches its level.) Christopher, despite or perhaps because of being from San Francisco, looks like a Chelsea Boy clone through and through. Sweet little A.J.’s claws come out when Casanova asks him for help. If the tension level is this high on Episode Two, there will be blood on the workroom walls by Episode Five!

When Tim (God) Gunn, my BFF, enters the workroom, as per usual they skip some of the finale garments. Casanova has gone from stripper un-chic to country club matron, with a puffy black jacket and conservative white skirt that would not look amiss at the bar of a restricted private golf range.

“Henry, I think there’s an octoroon in the woodpile.”

Apparently when Casanova is alone with the other designers, his English is perfect. But let Tim or the judges be present, and he pretends to barely speak the language! One admits, the moment he’s “outed” this season should be well worth it.

Jason baffles Tim with his “infinity” dress, a gray-green thing with a lot of large curves that are safety-pinned together. For some insane reason known only to the denizens of his universe, Jason feels that safety-pins are excellent closures. As opposed to, say, buttons. Or hooks and eyes. (Has no one told Jason about the 80s?) In an interview shoehorned in, Jason feels that he is being punished for being a straight man, that Project Runway is heterophobic. No, Jason, you’re just an idiot.

Inevitably, as the designers rush to complete their garments, the Twist comes. The Twist has become such a PR trope that I simply can’t believe the designers have the capacity to be genuinely surprised. This week’s Twist is that all of the clothes will be part of a photo shoot. The designer’s choice of shot will also influence the judging of his design. As Karl Lagerfeld is the only designer who is also a photographer, I’m not sure I trust this batch’s judgment.

My guests cannot decide if Valerie looks more like Tracey Ullman (in which case the wig-like hair is appropriate) or Juliette Lewis (ditto). Peach made an unfortunate choice of fabrics at Mood and she knows it, ending up making three dresses in the time allotted. The final product is uninteresting, but at least it doesn’t get her booted off.

By the time my viewing party is quite ready for the show to be over and the serious food to be served, the guillotine/runway show begins.

Heidi again appears in age-appropriate attire. Is this a sign of the end of days? Blood trickling from her fangs, she runs through the usual opening, and Joanna Coles is this week’s guest judge. The models have either been swapped out or mercilessly drilled in how to walk. They do a far better job than Episode One.

Nicholas’s design is, as they say, a “hot mess,” but very well made. What was he thinking draping that circle of heavy cloth over a backless silk blouse?

Jason’s satin dress is the disaster we all thought it would be, both in the photo and the runway. If a “modern, strong, independent” woman wore this, it was probably because she had been unexpectedly been struck blind.

Ummm…er…yes.

Gretchen’s jumpsuit, while not my cup of tea, is extremely well made. I liked the shoulder and neckline the best. As a very tall, long waisted woman, I can tell you that jumpsuits are one of the banes of my fashion existence. I pull one up to my waist, then pull it over my shoulders and…

Ouch does not begin to describe the sensation.

Kristin sends down a strange mess of fabric that is gathered, bunched and draped, but does not resemble anything your faithful correspondent would call “clothes.”
Mondo’s creation is a bizarre combination of black and tweed with a pink lobster bib.
“For the seafood lover in you…”

Despite looking like an 80s prom dress made of upholstery fabric, I rather like Michael’s garment.

It is a considerable surprise when Mondo’s blob of stuff makes the top three. To cut to the chase (which the show seems unable to do), Gretchen is again declared the winner. This time, two designers are “auf’d”: Jason, who deserves it, and Nicholas, who does NOT. Nicholas breaks down in tears. His outfit, while badly styled, was finished and creative, if a bit on the not-well-thought out side.

This was the weekly “WTF?” moment in which all of my guests scream and throw things at the flat screen. (To guard against an onslaught of deviled eggs, I cover the flat screen with a thin layer of plastic before my viewing parties.)

Jason did not stick around to have Tim see him off, but Nicholas did. The other designers were stunned, as were all of us.

At the end, we watch Gretchen squeal at the billboard, which has Coco Rocha capering in the jumpsuit.

I’m guessing Ms. Rocha is short-waisted.

* This footage will be very useful for the “reunion” show.

Ciao,

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Project Runway Season Eight Premiere, Part Two

DAHLINGS –

There is simply so much to cover in this season premiere, it had to take two posts!

When we last heard, there were 17 designers instead of the usual 16, and they had five hours to create a garment out of someone else’s piece of clothing. And this was considered an audition for the show itself; it was guaranteed that one or more of the contestants would be going home. And you just finished packing and had that big going-away party. Bummer.

We watched them sweat, freak out, etc., the usual workroom scenes, except for the small amount of time. I’m guessing that Jason isn’t going so much for a signature look with that idiotic bowler, he’s probably bald.

Now to the interesting part: the runway. What a delight to see that the Bright Orange Oracle of Fashion, Michael Kors, was in his rightful place! Next to him was Nina Garcia, who has actually started to sprout a personality. (I love how Heidi pronounces her name with a heavy inflection, the way politically correct folk in the 80s used to pronounce Nicaragua “Nee-haw- wagrah”.) Heidi was actually wearing an age appropriate dress for a change. Are the Four Horsemen here yet?
The special guest judge was actress Selma Blair. Not to worry, nobody in our viewing party could place her, either. She resembles a squinty Katie Holmes.

When Heidi came out and greeted the designers before the execution–er, runway show–the contestants were wetting themselves even more than usual. She rattled off “you’re in or you’re out” in rote fashion before the show began.

A side note: the models tonight were terrible. The way they clumped down the runway, they would make a Dior look bad.

Valerie made this eye-bleeding monstrosity from, I believe, Casanova’s Dolce & Gabbana trousers.

Afghanistan hooker dress, made of combat material w/ false blood for added piquance.

McKell fashioned a cute little number from a blue button-down shirt.

Ivy took a pair of flowered, matronly pants and transformed them into–flowery, matronly capris! Along with a sloppily made silk top that was supposed to match in some way not meant for this universe.

“Oh my God, there’s a sale at Pathmark!”
Unlike the judges, I liked Nicholas’s long gown, made out of a pleather bomber jacket, using the bottom rib trim for the neckline.
April “deconstructed” a tuxedo jacket by…well…deconstructing it, which consisted of turning it inside out. Mighty Goth there, dahling!


This dress is for when Wilma Flintstone wants to get down with her bad self.

Gretchen sent out a glamorous dress that moved well on the runway, with small beaded fringe on the shoulders. Don’t ask me what she made it out of, because I don’t care.

Jason’s dress was made from a black kimono. Although impeccably styled, the actual garment looked like a monk’s habit hastily pulled on backwards by a monk fleeing a medieval monastery.

Casanova’s “dress”, if you can call it that, was made out of a small blue blouse. Tim had tried to talk him into making something halfway less acceptable. But Casanova stuck to his guns, describing his creation as “sexy but not vulgar.” According to my notes, my first reaction was: JESUS!

Since I usually only use that word when I am actually addressing Jesus when he stops by, you can see how shocked I was. The judges agreed, and I simply cannot top the Duchess’s assessment: “a pole dancer in Dubai”. I love that neon orange bitch! Casanova’s English is terrible, so we actually got the treat of listening to Nina speak to him in Spanish. I wish she would do all of her critiques in Spanish, it’s so much more expressive. Then we wouldn’t have to hear “questionable taste” and “chic” repeated in every show.

During the commercial break, I knew that Bunim/Murray had calculated who would not go home, regardless of talent, because they are perfect reality television personalities.
Casanova ? Check. He won’t get the boot if he sends a dress made of cat turds down the runway.
Peach? Check. Not only did she make a lovely dress but she is also a lot of fun, rather like Paula Deen would be if she were sane.
Jason? With that hat? Of course. Check.
In the end, Gretchen won.

“I won, bitches!”

Poor little McKell was auf’d. But at least I don’t have to look at those dreadlocks any more.
One more thing to be grateful for: no more Models Of The Runway! If I wanted to listen to skinny ninnies babbling about nothing, I’d watch Kathie Lee and Hoda.
Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog
(all images courtesy of mylifetime.com)