The final day of Fashion Week started with three back-to-back Ralph Lauren Shows in an offsite venue near the Holland Tunnel. Taxi rides were long and tedious in a jammed up area that is mostly converging roads with, inexplicably no room to drive, most of it being an intersection of gargantuan magnitude. My fast driving taxi found it baffling as to why the roadway was blocked. I tried to explain that Ralph Lauren was causing all the fuss but he still didn’t see the reason for the choked streets. As soon as I arrived, rain started to sprinkle then drip, then pour, but not enough to soak me. I stood on the pavements and wondered just how I was going to get into the 11:00 show when the 10:00 started to break-up. The first person to rush out all in a dither was none other than Anna Wintour. Her driver and escort both trying to cover her with umbrellas slowed the process enough for me to turn on my camera, but try as I could, no picture would take until the formidable personality was safely tucked into the waiting arms of a Black BMW. The car neatly whisked her on to the next show, presumably to Calvin Klein at 39th. It must be tough to keep her impeccable hair neat with all that fuss in and out of cars to attend the shows, but we do what we must.
At Ralph Lauren, gone were all the sensational floral splashes of color that drip dropped down the runway of SS 07. This was all about “Recession Chic” which included alot of ripped jeans and hoboish clothing that I will not make you see. There are some stunners, thank you Ralph, of sumptuous satins and glittery gowns, understated, none the less. At least if we have to be hobos, we can wear satin. The more simple dresses are simply gorgeous in the detailing and lighter-than-air look. The designer did not leave us out of evening gowns but they were few.
Runway Photos: Marcio Madeira
Back at Bryant Park, where the lunch break was in full swing, burlies guarded the front and the rain relentlessly insisted on frizzing up my hair. I obviously do not have either Anna’s hair products or her umbrella-men. I gazed longingly at the HUGE tent covering more than every inch of the Park’s lawn and started to circle it looking for any other entrance. I saw a man leave a side door which I quickly tried to catch before it closed. Too late. But as I stood thinking my next move a woman sidled up to me and asked “if they were handing out the vouchers yet.” As I had no idea what she was talking about, but was not going to let that stop me, I merely replied that we should try the door. She banged importantly and I just stood mesmerized at what I could possibly be getting myself into. Opening the door and recognizing the woman, a man sighed and commended her on persistence saying that today they in fact did have the coveted voucher she had been seeking. She nudged her way in and took the voucher without so much as a by your leave. As I was standing beside her, having seen my chance to get in the Tent, he handed me one as well!
I followed Miss Determination around to another door as she asked me if I thought it to be the correct spot for the voucher redemption. By this time, not having any clue as to what the voucher was even for, I was determined to use the precious ticket to get inside that Tent. “I think we should try it,” I replied, with as much self determination as I could muster. She pushed her way importantly inside another side door and marched up business-like and collected a stuffed orange patent Mercedes Benz Fashion Week bag the size of a computer case. Nothing daunted, she took her party favor bag along with her dignity and marched back out into the drippy New York afternoon.
I, however, was not as impressed with the bag (that would come later) as I was with my whereabouts. I was IN THE TENT! The lights were dimmed, being lunchtime, not very many people were there but I edged my way up to the entrance to chat it up with the lounging security guard. We shared a joke but he warned me to keep silent as a commercial was being produced in one corner. He got a call to help elsewhere and I suddenly found myself IN. I wandered up to the TRESemme commercial and took a few photos of the models. Then I turned and shot the fountain in all of it’s Spring Glory (New York knows how to make Fall into Spring, just trust me). It ended all too soon when another security asked me if I had my credentials. “I was here to redeem my voucher, and was just curious. I am leaving now.” That said, I had to leave but not before another shot of a lovely ticket girl and one last look at the Heart of Fashion – the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tent Lobby.
There was nothing left for me to do but collect my party bag and continue on my adventure around the tent. I thought of getting an umbrella but the rain had stopped leaving everything wet on the Park tables. At the back of the tent I found not only a dry table but a group of photographers waiting for the celebrities and models to start showing up. They were friendly, if not a bit eccentric and all had personalities of their own. It felt a bit like being at the circus, there was a Tent after all. I did see some models and took a telling photo of Charlotte di Calypso. She’s on her way up, there is still such a little girl about her and it still is thrilling for her to be here. Since the runways are full of whatever the stylists want and emotion is not on that list, the rare smile was even more poignant.
The rain had definitely stopped and the 42nd Street side of Bryant Park was hosting small groups of lunch goers. The scene was one of quiet in contrast to the mayhem that would soon take over. There was a single photographer and model with designer in tow that were posing against the wall. Designer Jill Lindsey was delightful and offered her card and more poses for my hungry camera. Her collection for Spring 2010 is called Nautical Royalty and can be seen on her web page http://tinyurl.com/nydu7l .
At this point, things were going so well that I made my way back to the entrance to the Tent with a healthy dose of optimism. I was on the steps as the WWDaily girls began handing out the luscious daily magazine. I stood on the steps hoping that my bright orange bag would act like a ticket to get in. This little miracle not materializing, I just stood as a crowd gathered, waiting to catch a glimpse of some rich or famous Someone as they arrived via black car. You could always tell that when it was a noteworthy because the photographers, who now moved to the steps opposite me and set up camp, would start snapping away. They could spot them through heavily tinted glass. Glenda Bailey, Editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine made her stately way up the steps flanked by two assistants.
There were more models and more celebs and finally, realizing that I had nothing to eat or drink all day, knew it was time to go. But like a bee to honey, I knew the way to 5th Ave. and so to the shops. I certainly was not leaving New York without some delicious purchase and maybe even some lunch. Maybe due to Fashion’s Night Out on the 10th, or for whatever reason, the stores were briskly busy. Sales always help. BCBG was already featuring two of the runway dresses for sale. But I ventured into the cosmetics counters of the department stores to get my Chanel cream and face wash. Feeling rather decadent, I ran upstairs to see the new boots for fall. Of course I bought the cutest pair of booties by Via Spiga, black and cut low, easily worn with pants or dresses, the sales girl expertly assured me. By this time I was carrying three heavy bags so my little black pumps were replace with the ballerina flats that saved my feet in Paris, making it much easier to walk. And walk I did, all the way to Penn Station. I stopped at an Asian deli and got a California wrap with lots of veggies and a cup of watermelon. There was nothing left of the morning’s rain as the sun shone down cheerily soothing me and making me grateful for such an adventurous day. I ate my lunch in the sun and headed for the train.
It wasn’t until I found a seat and wearily, albeit happily, sat myself down that I opened up the Orange Party Bag. Unbelievably, there were sets of lipsticks, hair products (to control frizz, how did they know?), food gift cards, dinners for two in the city, luxury stain kits, a beautiful scarf, a week’s gym membership, a pouch for your (tickets?) from Mercedes Benz, and even a silver covered sharpie, assumably to sign autographs (am I famous now?). I was speechless. Someone (the Fashion Goddess) had left a brand new copy of Harper’s Bazaar on my seat so I settled down and read every last page, smiling to my satisfied self. Yes, it had been a very good adventure.