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Monday, February 16th 2009

notes from ny: fashion week fall 09

Day one of our Fashion Week coverage gets underway with shows from two perennial fashion editor favorites: Rag & Bone and Vena Cava.

Shopbop Fashion Director Kate strikes a pose during an interview with Elle.

Kate at Rag & Bone:
There was chaos at the door of the Rag & Bone show, with everyone pushing so hard at the doors of the Cedar Lake Ballet Theatre I thought there might be a stampede! I met up with my friend Joyann (she’s reporting on Fashion Week for Elle.com—that’s us in the pic above) and went backstage. You’d think it would be mayhem back there too, but it was completely chill: Jessica Stam was boppin’ around and Lily Donaldson was on her Blackberry, the male models were smoking. David Neville and Gucci Westman's little boy was adorable in a mini grey felt hat. (Of course their toddler manages to be more stylish than most men I know.)

I spotted Rachel Zoe, Anna Wintour, and Jimmy Fallon as I made my way to my seat and instantly made friends with an adorable British actress who inquired about my Leyendecker leggings! I tell her about shopbop. (New customer—yay!)

Two leather-edged looks from Rag & Bone.

And speaking of leggings (nice transition, huh?), I saw some amazing ones in this show: riding pant-inspired (with and without leather), leather, and sheer knit. Leather showed up in lots of other interesting places at Rag & Bone too: a tweed dress with subtle leather insets and a jacket with a leather bodice were major standouts, and I loved the leather-collar dress that closed the show. Their palette was characteristically dark with pops of red here and there (which fit the edgy-collegiate vibe to a tee), and the styling was particularly inspired (thanks to Tabitha Simmons) with coolly unexpected pairings of textures and proportions. A really strong collection overall. I’ve got lots to think about, but suffice to say you’ll be seeing some amazing stuff from this line on shopbop come fall.

Anna Wintour likes what she sees at Rag & Bone.

Maureen at Vena Cava:
Fresh off their recent CFDA triumph (they were runners-up for the award that Alexander Wang walked away with), Vena Cava’s Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai showed a fresh interpretation of the art-school femme fatale aesthetic they’re known for. Kate and Morgan both commented on how these designers clearly have a point of view but always manage to do something unanticipated.

At Eyebeam the models gazed out from raised platforms in the middle of the room, while little kids (a fashion education starts young in this city) and downtown cool kids mingled in a cement-floored space pulsing with bass. Andrew Rosen of Theory fame was in attendance: he’ll be mentoring the designers as part of their award winnings.

The models didn’t stare off into the middle distance, as they are so often instructed to do in such situations, but instead made eye contact on occasion, unsmiling: a gesture at once challenging, unexpected, and irreverently flirtatious, much like the line itself.

Kate and Morgan at Vena Cava:
With their greased-back hair, orange eye makeup and green nail polish, the models looked like a feminine version of the guys in S.E. Hinton's "The Outsiders.” Cool!

Tie-dye leggings, denim leggings, and a floral maxi steal the show at Vena Cava.

We loved Vena Cava’s inspired take on what we’ve dubbed “mixed media,” an emerging trend for fall. Here it took the form of a knit wool skirt paired with a floral blouse and a metallic jacket. Tie-dye tights in neutrals felt innovative yet totally wearable, something this label is known for. The sheer top with skinny high-waist denim-colored suede leggings was a popular look in the shopbop crowd, as was a tiered maxi dress in a moody floral, and all of us were transfixed by a faux jacket that appeared to be made out of shredded feathers—ethereal and fashion-forward at the same time. Another standout: an emerald-green mini-dress with a plunging U neckline that Kate stood before and said: “That’s so shopbop.”

Even with so many different elements—studs, tinsel metallic thread, sequins, faux fur—the look is somehow unified. We’re impressed!

--Kate, Morgan, Maureen

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