Saturday, as I headed to the Tent at Bryant Park for the Rosa Cha (Brazilian swimwear) show, kept looking up at the sky. Hurricane Hanna was due in New York — Fashion Week be damned! — and I was worried that my pink open-toed sandals were a bad idea. It was fairly sunny when I left my apartment, overcast when I got to 42nd Street, and once I got inside the tent it started raining so hard that people were looking up at the "ceiling" and saying things like, "How waterproof do you think this thing is?" For just a moment I thought about what would happen if the tent roof caved in and everything — the fashionistas, the Ruby Slippers on display, the plasma screens, the lights, the models, the runway, the editors, the free M&Ms — all got drenched in torrential rain. Needless to say, it'd didn't happen. But I did stand on line for 30 minutes to get the privilege of standing in the back row at the Rosa Cha show, where Noted Fashion Photographer Nigel Barker was in attendance!Actress Zoe Saldana was next to Nigel, wearing something shimmery. They were inundated by photographers and video cameras. I'd arrived at 2:45 for the 3pm show; it was 3:35 before two men in black t-shirts and black pants peeled back the protective plastic covering on the mirrored runway. Then: Darkness. The show started. Brazilian music, white bikinis, red retro one-pieces. Lots of red and white, then some green neutrals. Oh, and black models! I especially liked one white suit with a belt of bling; the hideous brown pirate sleeved cover-up that came later, not so much. In any case, if you're the beachy sort who has a swimsuit wardrobe, this show is for you. Gallery below. Rosa Cha:
Later that night, it was still pouring like crazy, but I was back in midtown for the Patricia Field show at the Edison Ballroom on 47th street. Her line is designed by David Dalrymple, and the scene in the ballroom was less stuffy fashion show and more fabulous downtown party. The music was loud, there was an open bar, and the crowd! It was a mix of club types, celebs and drag queens.
Andre J was there!
Also: The Legendary Lady Bunny! Seen here with an absolutely shocked Vanessa Williams. Also in attendance from Ugly Betty: Ana Ortiz and Judith Light. Project Runway's Jack Mackenroth was in the front row, across from Patricia Field herself, who was never without a drink in her hand. I arrived at 8:45 for a 9:00 PM show and at ten minutes after 10:00, I thought it would never start. Then Becki Newton, aka Ugly Betty's Amanda walked in and sat next to Jack Mackenroth, and the show started. While the clothes were hit and miss, the presentation — each model headed to a "destination" on stage: A cruise ship, a disco, a funeral, a car race — was pretty cool. Oh, and black models! Gallery below. David Dalrymple For Patricia Field:
Sunday morning at 11:30 AM, I was back at the Tent for the Tracy Reese show, but there were protesters outside shouting, "DKNY has got to go!" It was sort of early for blood-splattered bunny suits, but I took a picture anyway.
Tracy Reese is one of the few black designers at New York Fashion Week. Sitting in the first seat in the first row — his seat number was A:1:1 — was Andre Leon Talley. Also in the front row: Miss Jay from America's Next Top Model, wearing jeans with elaborately stitched back pockets, Fashion Week prez Fern Mallis, Sanaa Lathan, and some people I couldn't see from where I was sitting, boo. Okay, the clothes: Dreamy, romantic, soft, with sparkle and beading. The trench coats were beautiful, in supersoft-looking fabrics, and there were some dresses with delicate fabric flowers or frothy appliqués that just looked heavenly. Looking at the pictures later, not everything looks as good as it did in person, but I liked the overall feel and mood. Tracy Reese:
All in all, despite the weather, it was a typical fashion week experience: Lots of standing around waiting, some clothes, some booze, some celebrities. I don't know how the rest of the designers are faring, but I saw diverse runways at all three shows — Tracy Reese has always used Asian, black and white models. We'll see if this first weekend was a sign of things to come or if it all goes downhill from here.