Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2014, Part 1: What Looks Really Rocked The Runways?

By:Anne M. Raso

Any fashion journalist/blogger will tell you that Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is more than just overwhelming. It's like being in the center of a fashion hurricane. It's physically impossible to attend all the shows and many attendees are running to cabs or shuttles in front of Lincoln Center in order to make shows "off-campus" (the "second home" of Fashion Week this season was the studios at Pier 59, way down on the Hudson in the West 20s, so it was not a very quick "schlep")!
Daisy Fuentes and Models
I have my five or six fondest fashion week show memories that stand out as I look back. I started out my Fashion Week a day early as I was invited to the Daisy Fuentes Intimate Apparel Launch & Show. The backstage area was not secluded from the show so anyone could go and speak to Daisy or watch the models getting ready. They are very reasonably priced pieces (including $10 for pretty much every style of panty offered). There truly is something for everything in the line, whether you prefer the tomboyish or total out and out "va-va-voom" look and we wish Daisy the best of luck with it! Daisy admitted that her favorite items where the racy red lace teddies and corsets modifying for more comfortable wear.
Tocca represents sheer elegance in my book and I thoroughly enjoyed their fall show at Pier 59. It was well worth the schlep as the looks were some of the most wearable for the "real women" in all of fashion week. Tocca can best be described as "edgy classics" and for fall, there was something for every taste. The color palette was deep reds and navy with the occasional splash of a bright color. There was the occasional floral print, highly reminiscent of Marimekko. For the most part, I would describe Tocca as "understated elegance" with pieces so timeless that you can wear them for 10 or 20 years and no one will have a hint when you actually purchased them. Tocca works for all age groups, something that a lot of popular designers can't live up to. Tocca lets one look chic without "trying too hard."
End of BCBG Show - Model carrying heart that says "I Love You"
BCBGMAXAZRIA is a line that tends to cater to fashion forward twenty-something’s in great shape, but the line has great diversity in shapes and styles. There's always an element of surprise in this mid-price point line. I notice that this line always manages to bring back one or two items of clothing that fashionistas have long forgotten about and recreates them for modern everyday wear. I noticed in the most recent line, overalls were brought back, as were caftans, especially as swimsuit cover-ups. The Fall 2014 line of BCBG includes "school girl dresses" done in unexpected fabrics, elegant halter dresses for cocktail hour and simple black dresses that go from day to evening with maybe just a change of accessories.
Dore is the top ballroom dancewear maker in the country; many of the professional dance world's top competitors will only get their costumes made by this veteran designer brand, currently spearheaded by Dawn Smart. It's not only fashionable but also stands up to the severe movements of the dance world. The formal wear shown by Dore during their fashion week show was strictly for "regular people" to wear--well, regular people who love classic looks. The sumptuous silks, velvets, chiffon and lace were something from a fantasy world but still entirely wearable. Some gowns and cocktails dresses were bare while some were nearly full coverage making this line work for bridal attendants as well as women looking for a sexy charity ball gown. And of course, this is formal wear that you will want to dance the night away in. The oohs and aahs from the crowd never ended. If Cinderella were a real woman, she would be enamored of Dore's designs.
Parkchoonmoo's Winter Whites
Parkchoonmoo favors separates that mix the avant-garde with the classic. Every piece (especially the coats and blazers) seemed oversized for dramatic effect. There are also classic Asian lines to some of the pieces by this edgy designer from the small South Korean town of Kimje, but for the most part she loves a giant collar and to mix pieces a non-fashionista would never think of putting together. She has a love of filmy sheer fabrics, uneven hemlines and lots of layering. The textures of the fabrics are almost as important as the cut of the clothes! Lace is used in expected ways--such as for the full length of a pair of otherwise classic slacks or as just one arm of a blazer. The Parkchoonmoo separates can be severe with just a little feminine touches or two to soften them out "around the edges."
Models holding red mylar balloons at the end of Betsey Johnson
The Betsey Johnson show is my Fashion Week tradition as it has more neon, glitter, glamour and rock 'n roll than any other show; she's the eternal teenager of fashion. She teamed all her looks with over the knee socks (strangely enough) and wasn't afraid to mix seven or eight textures including sequins, fake fur, spandex and leather. Half the fashionistas at fashion week come to see the 71-year-old Betsey do her famous split at the end of her show. This time she came out with her daughter Lulu and granddaughter Layla at the end and I kind of chuckled when I noticed that Layla was the more conservatively dressed than mom, grandma or any of the models. This show always starts a bit late but it just builds up the anticipation even more!

Check back for Part 2 of our Fashion Week coverage: The Parties! 

All photos by Anne Raso

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