Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2014, Part 2: Lounges & Parties!

By: Anne M. Raso

Wow, there are nothing like fashion week lounges and parties even if the dim economy has put the kibosh on companies who previously had events at past Fashion Weeks and had to pull the plug this time around. I started out the partying early by checking out hot food, clothing and accessories at the GBK Super Bowl Direct TVLounge at the Gansevoort Hotel. In the past, GBK did a Fashion Week Lounge but this time they opted for a Super Bowl-themed one because so many athletes were in town--and celebrities who flew in to watch the Super Bowl. I got to hang out with Charger Dwight Freeney as we both checked out every booth--and he seemed to have the same "sweet tooth" as we both devoured cupcakes from Cake That! In Manahawkin, NJ and SAAS Hot Sauce of Upper Montclair, NJ. As the smoke cleared from our ears and we took away bottles of both types of SAAS, we headed to the Promax table to check out the new Promax LS (Lower Sugar) Peanut Butter Cookie Dough bars--it's the latest flavor and it's gluten free!
IRC New Roots Popup
I also did some munching down at the IRC New Roots Popup with Chef David Burke set up in the storefront area of the Empire (all food served to editors was farm to table). The chicken salad made by Mr. Burke was anything but ordinary—it was the most tender chicken I have ever had on a sandwich…and I felt guilty asking for a couple more of his extra creamy cheesecake pops. The popup also taught editors the importance of the IRC (International Rescue Committee) which hooks up refugees with community gardens and farms in 15 American cities and even in obscure places around the world.

I also spent a bit of time in the Empire at the Refresh Lounge Two, where I previewed gorgeous jewelry from Alessandro Vitalle and got a hair touchup from Gloss And Glam. I also admit that I tried on some of the megaglam Shoes From Last Night pumps. I don’t think I will ever be able to wear six-inch heels but I sure felt like a diehard fashionista for a New York minute!

Shortly thereafter, I checked out all the new products at a luncheon at Tipsy Parsons in Chelsea. It was the perfect way to ease into Fashion Week by learning the makeup looks the models would be sporting with some of the wonderful, innovative products on display. I enjoyed the demo of the new Anastasia brow products including their Dipbrow Pomade, which is currently being raved about as the longest lasting brow color currently available by many beauty writers.
Dr. Steven Pearlman with Angelina Pivarnick of The Jersey Shore and Gina Marie Zimmerman of Big Brother
I also had a wonderful Fashion Week "beauty break" with Dr. Steven Pearlman at his Park Avenue office; he had a big shindig for beauty press to talk about the latest in anti-aging procedures including the highly praised Pearl Lift which lasts an incredible one to two years (and in some cases even longer) without any invasive surgery! Dr. Pearlman is a sweetheart--he's a Park Avenue doc without the Park Avenue attitude and he really listens to what a patient feels are the "weak" areas of their face and suggests the procedures that would really make a difference (often very different than what the patient thinks). His office also does highly effective laser hair removal, dermal fillers and Ultherapy--the most effective procedure we have found for "turkey neck." While munching on fruit and drinking Passione de Fiore Prosecco, I was able to casually take in a patient getting Ultherapy and was able to see that not only was the patient not in discomfort of any time, but it was truly a "lunch hour" procedure with no discomfort involved. If anything, it seemed relaxing! Celebrity guests include Angelina Pivarnick of The Jersey Shore and Gina Marie Zimmerman of Big Brother: Season 15.

Another great break came on February 9th when the Visit Liverpool PR folks invited me and about 40 other editors to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the four mop tops coming to America and amazing the world via the Ed Sullivan show. A lot of the fashion week writers from out of town turned up and the Lord Mayor of Liverpool Gary Millar greeted us all on the way in. During a performance by The Liverpool Beatles, guests got to hang out with John Lennon's half-sister and author Julia Baird and longtime fan club secretary Freda Kelly, who worked for the Fab Four from 1962 to 1972 and is the subject of the 2013 hit documentary Good Ol' Freda. Plenty of Liverpool natives who have since been transplanted to the New York tristate area were also in attendance.
Iris Apfel interviewed at HSN Fashion Week Lounge 
The HSN Spring Fashion Week Lounge was the most over the top lounge for Fashion Week. Held on the mezzanine of the Empire Hotel, all the HSN "stars" were there including the legendary stylist Jose Eber, 92-year-old fashionista and jewelry designer Iris Apfel and "Hanger Queen" Joy Mangano. There were great nibbles as editors previewed about 50 lines of products being sold on HSN in the spring. We got to see a demo of Joy's new colorful steamer as well as Mr. Eber's wonderful new folding flat iron for travel and we just might reach into our pocketbooks to try them. They were both amazing!

The Panasonic Beauty Bar was two days of non-stop services for editors at the Upper West Side's SCK Salon. Lots of teen stars came through including Zendaya and best bud Bella Thorne. I spotted Angela Simmons as well...not to mention Kelly Rutherford and countless models. Bondi nail polish was applied to all the editors’ pretty fingertips while hair stylists used products from Kerastase. The latest models of Panasonic Lumix cameras were scattered about the different hair stations so that visitors can post selfies after their makeovers. This was one of the most popular lounges and the kind of place you could plotz on a couch in the back and just check your emails or have a yummy Skinny Girl Sparkler with a frozen Kefir and get away from the rush of Fashion Week.
Vogue Runway Retreat
For those wishing to get makeovers and manis, the Vogue Retreat downstairs at Bar Boulud proved to be one of the quietest lounges despite great attendance by editors. On display were wonderful Brahmin handbags, plenty of eats from Bar Boulud. It was wonderful that there was a conference room set up for editors with ten laptops they could use at leisure; it was certainly a better place to get work done than in the press lounge set up in the middle of the noisy Fashion Week tents in Lincoln, some of the most delicious French desserts were brought around on trays in mini portions as editor's typed away!
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week VIP Press Lounge
The Mercedes Benz Fashion Week VIP Press Lounge was a great place to hang between shows. It had giant comfy couches and was decorated like a chic writer's salon/loft. The chandeliers were something to behold not to mention the beautiful hanging glass art. Editors were able to juice up their phones and enjoy an all day complimentary bar and gourmet snacks including grilled shrimp and filet mignon on crostini. It was a great place to make new friends and swap opinions about the shows!

The Nolcha Fashion Week brunch is always fun and sponsored by Rusk, everyone's favorite hair products. Their event got kicked over to the next week due to snow and I was not available on the make up date, but thanks for thinking of me, guys! See you at the next Fashion Week...and until next Fashion Week, I will be resting as much as possible...because it just takes the wind out of your sails even though it is fun and glamorous!

Take a look back at Part 1 of our New York Fashion Week Roundup: The Shows

All photos by Anne Raso except shots of Dr. Pearlman with Gina Marie and Angelina at step and repeat courtesy Social Done Right.

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