Organza Bonanza

BEING a fashion editor isn’t always easy. Sure, the preview sales and fashion shows’ freebies are nice, but being in the scene can also be very hard work. You have to be dressed to impress at all times, which translates into painful — but hot — heels and flawless manicured hands! And they need to be polished in whatever color is currently the trend.

FYI: This fall, it’s understated neutrals, deep purples, and rich gemstone colors. But, the payoff is fashion in its purest form: Fashion Week. And, New York City hosts the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, considered one of the premiere events in fashion. I got to attend the shows to see firsthand what’s in style for Spring/Summer 2011 and let’s just say the designs on the runway were hotter than an August day in Riyadh! Yes, that hot!

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Check in with Life & Style throughout this month for backstage interviews with designers, behind-the-scenes gossip, and exclusive after parties! But, for now, here are some juicy highlights of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and other notable fashion events from the Big Apple!

THURSDAY: Fashion week kicked off with extravagant organza evening gowns and sexy cocktail dresses in colorful silks from season 4 “Project Runway” winner — Christian Siriano. His show seemed to be the talk of the town, with rave  reviews from all industry insiders and a standing ovation from the entire audience, including front-row celebrities: Alan Cumming, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Maggie Grace. Project Runway also had their finale but we’re sworn to secrecy. Guess you’re going to have to wait and see who debuts their collections for final scrutiny by famous judges: Model Heidi Klum; American designer Michael Kors; Marie Claire Editor, Nina Garcia; and the surprise guest judge — singer Jessica Simpson!

FRIDAY: I re-fell madly in love with Lebanese couture master George Chakra. His designs are all stunning with a linear aesthetic based on architecture from Toronto. Yet, despite this rigid inspiration, Chakra is able to transcend the laws of physics and miraculously have these lines bend and hug the contours of the female body in his signature sensual femininity. We went backstage to interview the designer, and saw “America’s Next Top Model” season eight winner Jaslene Gonzalez busy praising the designer who is behind some of today’s hottest couture on the red carpet. After the shows, it was time to hit Fashion’s Night Out! Stores stayed open up to around midnight and midtown was filled with shoppers and fans waiting to meet Sarah Jessica Parker, Tom Ford, Naomi Campbell and many, many more. Many designers went to their flagship store to mingle with their clients, while others had dance-offs and played Pictionary. The night was filled with designers, celebrities and even celebrity-designers such as Sean “Diddy” Combs at macy’s and Mary-Kate & Ashley Olson at Barney’s!

Reem Acra


SATURDAY : Vienne Tam got inspiration from the “Silk Route,” which manifested itself into beautiful khakis and camels juxtaposed with denim. The line was very casual chic and perfect for jetsetter traveling across Europe. Zac Posen showed his lower-end line Z Spoke that had a schizophrenic mix of alluring prints and fabrics. From plaid and prints to silk and  denim, Posen was able to create an eccentric collection that was fun and youthful. Watch out Marc Jacobs! Looks like you’re not the only designer feeding fashion candy to the little girls inside each one of us!

SUNDAY : The day was filled with big names such as Donna Karan, MaxAzria and Diane Von Furstenberg. But, if anyone
knows how to steal the limelight from anybody, it’s Tom Ford! And, he did it with style and panache and, of course, a  super exclusive presentation where only an elite group of fashion editors and one single photographer (under Ford’s  direction, naturally) was admitted for the launch of his female line! Ford had, as he described, “women that inspire me,” as his models. They included A-listers Beyonce, Julianne Moore, Lauren Hutton, Daphne Guinness as well as other  celebrities. In the evening, I headed over to Couture Week at the Waldorf-Astoria to support Saudi designer Siraj Sanad, who showcased his thobe collection, including an abaya with the Statue of Liberty hand painted on it! People in the front whispered compliments over his wedding dresses that were adorned with pleats and crystals.

MONDAY : In line for the Betsy Johnson show was like waiting for a ride at Disneyland without any fast track, and after the show — or ride — you were left with an adrenaline high! That’s because the 68-year-old energetic designer has confessed she’s really a 23-year-old inside, and she proved to be that on the outside as well as she performed her famous cartwheels down the runway! Her collection’s theme “The Tour de Betsey” was more a tour de force of fantastical fashions that included tulle tutus and neon prom dresses. Johnson has always been able to conjure the secret ballerina in us all, and during her Spring 2011 show — she put that ballerina on wheels. Later, I attended her exclusive after party  where Kelly Osbourne along with a ton of Betsy-crazed devotees showed up. Everyone that night dressed like an East End London ballerina wearing lots of colorful spandex and exaggerated tulle tutus.

Betsey Johson

TUESDAY : Tibi was definitely the highlight show for Tuesday. Extremely wearable, make sure you include Tibi in your
Spring/Summer 2001 wish list because trust me, this collection is a classic. “Spring is about beauty and classics with a thoroughly modern twist and styles that are simple with ease,” stated Tibi designer, Amy Smilovic. With muted, tone  shades with pops of color, the collection is the epitome of flirty femininity. Beautiful silk maxi dresses and neutral eyelet concoctions are must-haves. “Spring is all about head-to-toe dressing,” stated Smilovic who included footwear for the first time. “Pieces that are meant to be worn together as a set, but can also be worn with other things.”

WEDNESDAY : No surprise, Tory Burch was a favorite among fashion editors whose presentation was an ode to the 1970s and was a refined casual chic. With clean cuts in muted, warm colors, the Tory Burch collection appeared more like a resort collection. Middle Eastern favorite Douglas Hannant helped satisfy every fashionista’s sweet tooth with his candy-inspired collection that included vibrant colors and his signature tweed. The color palette was light and colorful — “like a bag of jelly beans dumped on a white tablecloth,” explained the designer. Hannant also went on to confess that he doesn’t have a sweet tooth although most of his designs this spring were so fresh and sweet that they looked almost edible walking onto the runway.

THURSDAY : Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein closed off fashion week with their off-location shows. Calvin Klein’s Francisco Costa showed off his knowledge of fabrics through monochromatic minimalistic designs that redefined sexy as conservative coverage via long sleeves, dropped waists and long maxi dresses. Julianne Moore, Katie Holmes and Kerry Washington lit up the front row delaying crowds at the 39th Street location before eventually returning to the Lincoln Center to see our favorite hollaback girl, Gwen Stefani and her print-heavy designs from the L.A.M.B. show. It’s the end of New York Fashion Week, but just the beginning for SS2011 fashion. Now fashion editors head back into our stuffy offices and begin to discuss and plan spring and summer editorials. Bloggers type away on their sites, while buyers schedule appointments with the designers’ sales agents in order to score the fresh product!

And finally it’s a time to rest my blistered feet back in flats and give my face a much-deserved detoxifying facial! I told you it was hard work!


Article by Marriam Mossalli – Arab News