I am writing this post at my desk in slippers and sweatpants (my favorite Nightcap Clothing ones!), with my dog in my lap—a much-needed dose of cozy comfort after a high-strung week in painful platforms. But the good news is after the whirlwind of shows, late-night after parties, and exclusive interviews with New York’s top designers, I am happy to report that this fall the focus is back on fashion and optimism is definitely in style.
Marc by Marc Jacobs
Oh Marc by Marc, how I love thee and still cherish my first pair of your red Minnie Mouse round-toed pumps! Please just let my crew backstage! Marc runs a tight ship and I was a little anxious when I arrived at the side entrance of the New York State Armory. As I approached the check-in desk, my good friend from KCD who runs the show, Matthew, walked past and yelled, “Let Elle in!” Thanks, Matthew, and I promise to forever return your samples when they are due! I swear!
Backstage at the Marc by Marc Jacobs show. Photographed by Kevin Keiser for ELLE.com
Backstage at the Armory is seriously freezing and models are standing under heating lamps while smoking cigarettes. (Fire hazard, anyone?) I grab a slice of pizza with Mark Leibowitz, my photog friend from my days at Glamour, and we both get a kick out of the pizza boxes advertising the Ab Rocket and promising rock-hard abs in just five minutes a day. Come to find out the pizza joint is really called Ab Rocket—leave it to Marc to incorporate humor in the catering. Orlando Pita, lead hair, tells me this season is just another super-cool take on the classic Marc by Marc girl, messy undone ponytail prepped for bowler hats. Love it. Need it. Also need the mad mix of sweaters, jackets, and mountaineer accessories this Marc girl was rockin’.
“Ab Rocket” pizza boxes. Photographed by Kevin Keiser for ELLE.com
My incredibly brave cameraman, Kevin, tried to get a shot for you guys of Marc watching the run-through but got kicked out by two huge security guards. (I had no idea and was watching it while salivating over all the “great shots” Kevin was surely getting of Marc.) I will try to create a mental image for you: Picture a bronzed, buff, and tattooed Marc sitting cross-legged in his uniform (white button-down, black kilt, black combat boots), picking his teeth with at least four to five toothpicks, all carried in a chic toothpick holder he pulled from his eggplant leather Birkin bag. Either Marc has an oral fixation or just had popcorn for lunch. Either way, his face showed no emotion, but all the models (even the confident Jessica Stam) got a little nervous when they sauntered past him. Wouldn’t you if you had to strut your stuff in front of fashion’s leading man?
P.S. Kevin, sorry for leaving you out in the cold for so long. You are a trouper!
A patchwork of fur—signature Derek Lam luxe. Photographed by Kelly Stuart for ELLE.com
Derek Lam, my favorite luxe sportswear designer, knows chic. Head backstage where an all-white maze of corridors and staircases makes Derek a shoo-in for the Most Confusing Backstage Ever award. Once I squeeze into the teeny tiny hair and makeup room, I’m given a quick lesson from lead makeup, Tom Pecheux of MAC, on how to make a purple shadow rock star-worthy with a creamy liner of orange shadow. The trick is to wet your brush so the shadow paints on linear. I know it sounds a little Boy George, but it is très chic and besides, Derek Lam would never promote clown eyes!
When the plastic bags came off and I got a sneak peak at his collection, I spied some fall essentials in the making—skinny black leather pants, tailored jackets, draped dresses, and not for the faint of heart, coyote patchwork furs! Derek shuddered when I mentioned the word luxe (guessing the economy has made it a dirty word in fashion?) but it is clear he didn’t sacrifice richness just to make the sell.
Derek describes his years designing under Michael Kors as “American Classics 101,” and his deliverance of this aesthetic has top editors packed tight at his shows, and this season was no exception. The street style of the editors arriving was some of the most inspiring I have seen this week—a montage of harem pants, fur chubbys, sky-high platforms, bold jewelry, and black, black, and more black. Check out Elle.com for my Fashion Week Street Style video to see what I am talking about. Don’t miss the appearance by one of my most fashionable friends, shopbop’s own Fashion Director Kate Ciepluch!
Photographed by Kevin Keiser for ELLE.com
BEAUTY TIP: Channel rocker chic in purple eyeshadow offset with orange liner.
Mr. American Classic and lover of all things publicity, backstage at Michael Kors is a circus of fun—more cameras than a movie set, gorgeous Upper East Siders air kissing, and Coco Rocha and yours truly reporting live on all the action. Michael dubbed his collection “neo classics” and said he thinks “Americans are eating too much pizza!” Fashion interpretation—don’t buy something just ’cause it is cheap, that doesn’t make it good for you. Enter boardroom-worthy tailoring, neon furs, and matte sequined dresses—not a $2 slice in sight on these racks! As Michael says, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets tougher!”
Neon is here to stay. Photographed by Kelly Stuart for ELLE.com
You can imagine why Michael is my favorite interview. I always save a silly answer-provoking question for the self-described loudmouth. This year I asked Michael what fall trend he simply could not wait to be rid of. His answer? “Shorts in the winter have to go. I see too many girls with fat legs wearing these with tights and boots, and they really need to get a three-way mirror!” Was obviously said with a grin, but point taken, Michael!
As everyone filed in for the show, I found myself front row, in between celeb stalking Molly Sims and Jane Krakowski, chatting with this incredibly friendly white-haired women in circular frames. She was giving Kevin and me tips on what other celebs were confirmed for the show and where we should stand so we could grab the interview. I glanced down to see the name of this fashion angel, and her seat said “Joan Kors.” It was Michael’s mother! Now we know where he gets his gorgeous personality!
Photographed by Kelly Stuart for ELLE.com
BEAUTY TIP: Smudge grey shadow around eyes for a tough look like model Carmen Kass.
I am headed to the tents to shoot my final wrap-up video featuring trends, designer interviews, and beauty tips from New York Fashion Week, so be sure to check out ELLE.com!
--Joyann King, Elle.com