It all started with New York Giants wide receiver and Super Bowl champion Victor Cruz cutting the ribbon to officially open the new season of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. The ceremony took place at the entrance of the venue at Lincoln Center, during an intimate, early morning gathering. Cruz told the guest media: “It’s an honor to be here to help kick off Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. It’s been quite an incredible week for the city – our Super Bowl win, the great home coming parade yesterday and now the beginning of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. I’m very grateful to my fans that came out to support us yesterday and here today. I always wanted to see Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and to be at the shows, so, now I have the opportunity and I am looking forward to checking out some shows this week.”

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG named her collection

‘Rendezvous.’ It was a chic, effortless parade of lady like clothes, which Diane described as “glamorous at a moment’s notice…It’s all about seduction,” said the designer backstage after the show.  The elegant Parisian flare of the garments probably had a lot to do with Diane’s Creative Director Yvan Mispelaere who is French. The elaborate collection featured tight pencil skirts, long satin opera gloves and tiny clutch purses. Lots of red, Diane’s signature prints and lush color combinations like the Chartreuse boucle’ coat over a yellow top and raspberry pants were among the designers ode to a glamorous fall season.

 NAUTICA showed the most comfortable clothes for modern men on the move. Their fall 2012 presentation was inspired by the iconic watermen of America. According to the program notes it referred specifically to: ‘the watermen of American northeast coast: Sailmakers, Dockhands and Coastal Prepsters.’ They all were well represented on the pedestals in the second floor lounge of the Edison Hotel where the Nautica presentation was held. In the Sailmakers section, a cream cotton fully zipped sweater jacket was shown with an Atlantic blue twill cargo pants. Michael Ayeboua modeled the orange Shetland wool gear-jacket with classic corduroy flat front trouser. Travone Hill was decked in the Red marked wool shawl collar sweater, red cotton tartan plaid button down shirt and gray corduroy five pocket trousers. Anderson Noel modeled the indigo heather wool fair-isle half zip sweater. These were the highlight looks in the ‘Coastal Prepster’ section. Black wool toggle coats, a wool Tisbury pea coat, black wool blazers and wool trousers were all showed in the ‘Admirals’ grouping.

EMILIO SOSA is the young designer who was a finalist in ‘Project Runway’ and launched his ‘Esosa’ line for fall at an installation held at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater School in Manhattan. ‘Urban Geisha’ was the title of his opulent collection, which was awash with bright color and drenched in originality. “I began designing the collection while researching the costumes for my current Broadway show, Porgy and Bess. As I rode the subway to see my family in the Bronx, I discovered Arthur Golden’s novel ‘Memoir of a Geisha’ and began to read it. I was instantly transported to a completely different world from Catfish Row. Both stories are set in the 1930s but are a world apart” noted the designer. The result was a collection rooted in classic American sportswear silhouettes, joined with Japanese references, but created with a modern edge. Emilio’s timeless fall fashions were visually stimulating and totally wearable. Vibrant colors in varying shapes made for a cohesive collection that spoke to a spirit of strength and courage.

 CAROLINA HERRERA orchestrated a parade of sensible fall dresses and coats that were all linked by her unique plaited belts that drew attention to the waistline. Basic black dresses opened the misc-en-scene followed by Carolina’s big pouf skirts with what looked like subtle ink splashes. With six of the leading Black models all in her cabine’ Ms. Herrera speared nothing in terms of opulence. She lavished in some sleek wool dresses peeking out under lush boucle’ mélange coats. Crop tops were shown over high waist bottoms, from knee length to floor length gowns that certainly had ‘red carpet’ appeal. WWD touted the collection as “a beautiful display of regal elegance.”

 MICHAEL KORS is definitely on a positive trajectory with his company’s shares up by 27.5%. He said for Fall 2012, he wanted to present the warm and beautiful Tartans, tweeds, ski wools and knits and show how you can take them to the city. Like: ‘Ski slope meets New York city girl.’ His collection was entitled, `Rugged Elegance’ with reference to Shanghai, not just Shanghai itself, but as a point of call for a woman who travel all over the world. Michael said the garments were like things you just wanted to touch. There were red-fringed ponchos, Mongolian lamb coats, raccoon furs, Chesterfields and stripped blanket ponchos with fringes. Probably, the fashion and Hollywood celebrities present, best summed up the collection. Actress Debra Messing said: “He makes me feel like he designed the whole collection just for me.” Legendary Hollywood actress Angelica Houston described Michael’s collection as; “Classic, smooth, wearable and easy.” Actress Jessica Alba said: “He knows how to dress a woman. I always feel beautiful in his clothes. Its like timeless elegance.” Stefano Tonchi concluded: “He is the Ambassador of American style.”

 OMAR SALAM is the breakout designer of the season. His premier collection entitled `Sukeina’ was a wonderful, fashion forward collection that oozed originality. Shown at the luxurious Four Season’s Patio Garden in New York City, Omar’s craftsmanship and his fascination with the movement of the female body was magical. His luxurious fabrics and unexpected interpretation of fall and winter coats were perfectly proportioned to create sleek feminine silhouettes. Born in Dakar, Senegal, Omar came to the USA at a young age and attended the Parson’s School of Design. He decided to launch his own line after years of professional employment with top Parisian design houses. He was the Visual Merchandising Director at Sonia Rykiel’s flagship store in New York, and then became design assistant for Christian La Croix. “I don’t do clothes but I let them talk to me. I am not, and never will be a creator – it comes from the woman and the rhythm of her body, the motion of her body that we no longer see…I am not there to create, but to uplift. I’ll frame and emphasize,” said the designer. Stay Tuned! This is a designer to watch, one that we will hear a lot more of in the coming months.

 TRACY REESE was all about colorful, confident attire for navigating the urban landscape. Her bold patterns and graphic embellishments, along with rich textile mixes made her Fall 2012 collection one of energy and optimism. Tracy showed the best cowl neck sweaters, sweet sharp peplums and dramatic skinny trousers, all for the young at heart. Never one to follow trends, Tracy dances to her own amazing beat and her catwalk was flavored in bold colors like Violet, gold and tomato red. A Navy neoprene ponte beaded shift and a gold medallions shift with a tomato shearling trimmed duffle coat on model Shena Moulton was simply gorgeous. “Shortened skirts, tailored coats, slim pants and cozy sweaters completed a look that was sharp, feminine and empowered,” noted the designer.

 ZANG TOI always does a grand fashion show and received a rousing standing ovation as he took his bow with muse models; Sigail Curry from Jamaica and Georgie Badiel from Burkino Faso at the finale’ of his exquisite presentation. Entitled `Glamour At Gstaad’, Zang Toi spared none as sweeping opera coats in the basic color scheme of black, ivory and red came down the catwalk. From his opening garment: an Ivory saga royal fox mini coat lined in French lace over an ivory re-embroidered French lace mini dress to his closing piece: a lavish brush stroke silk organza Gstaad ball gown, with a crystal encrusted one-shoulder trail, it was a study in exquisite craftsmanship via fine tailoring in all luxurious fabrics. It was Zang Toi at his best.

 STEPHEN BURROWS is celebrating his partnership with the leading denim company, Raven Denim and took the opportunity to show his Fall/ Winter 2012 collection alongside the new denims in a capsule collection. The Audi showroom on Park Avenue with its large glass windows and cars on display, served as the perfect backdrop for Stephen’s body hugging knit dresses, floaty print blouses, some swathed with fur throws by Adrienne Landau. The room was filled with fashion celebrities including: Bethann Hardison, Audrey Smaltz, Mary Lou Luther, Jay Alexander, Pat Cleveland, Constance White, Tyson Beckford, Carol Alt, Tricia Jean-Baptiste, Robin Givhan, Lola Ogunnaike, Renauld White, Charles Tracy, Elena Placas, Joy Adaze, Geoffrey Banks, Marcia Cole, Liris Crosse, Alva Chinn and Toni Spinelli.

SON JUNG WAN in her second showing at New York Fashion Week proved that she has staying power and is poised to be a fashion force to reckon with. Using ‘The Oriental Winter Garden’ as her source of inspiration, Son Jung Wan manipulated motifs from fadeless flowers and frozen garden twigs into her various shades of gray and khaki colors tinged with orange, brown and teal. A faux leather dress with mink sleeves and a white leather jacket with fox fur shoulders; over white leather shorts were welcome treats on the catwalk. Wool blend jackets with raccoon fur linings, a crochet wool dress with cream chiffon trims and a gray striped wool coat was among her mixed fabrics of opposite textures shown on her catwalk.

 NAEEM KHAN was beaming with the honor of being named the ‘Presenting Designer’ by the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America). He was the only designer present at the ribbon cutting opening ceremony, His collection started with a dot, according to him. The dot called ‘Bindi’ is worn as a decorative mark or jewel on the forehead of Indian women to ward off evil or to signify marriage. That was the nucleus of his exploration of Indian body art that inspired his Fall/Winter 2012 collection. Naeem opened his collection with three stunning Black models and continued with multi cultural cabine’ of models. The dot came in stark prints and swirls; silk faille was decorated with applique or small-mirrored discs. Colors of taupe, sand, black with gowns of shiny silver and gold ideal for the red carpet entrance makers…. Low backs, plunging necklines and dazzling adornments were key elements in this romantic collection.

By Walter Greene | Published in Profiles98 Spring Issue 10 2012 | Photos by: Froylan Flowers & Steve Thornton



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