Saturday, February 11, 2012

All the Way from New York!

Hello, friends!  I’m currently in New York for fashion week, thanks to Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair!  Here’s an update of my trip:

I made it to New York on Thursday, February 9, the first day of New York Fashion Week, just in time for the Nolcha fashion shows!  I have to say, I was tickled to get off the plane and see a driver holding a sign with my name on it!  He drove us to the Hudson Hotel at 356 West 58th in a black sedan with plenty of leg room.  The Hudson Hotel was made for the chic.  I would not have noticed the discreet entrance if it wasn’t for our car stopping and our driver saying “Yes” when I asked him if we had arrived.  The clear automatic doors slid open and past the small entryway was an upward escalator illuminated with lime green.  In the dimly lit lobby hung a classic grand chandelier, except for the images of light bulbs hanging among the crystals.  Our room has wood floors, wood paneling and two low beds with a single mattress and a single duvet.  It is also dimly lit.  The funky bedside lights have faces and there are mirrors on opposite walls that create infinitely repeating reflections.

The first group of Nolcha fashion shows begins in an hour.  I changed (into a carefully pre-planned ensemble, of course) and headed out the door to the Alvin Ailey Studios a few blocks away.  I found my seat, second row, not bad, and waited for the show to begin.  A fashion show is one of the best places to people watch.  The two fabulous ladies sitting in front of me, Cognac Wellerlane, a personality of the Long Island Exchange, and Patricia Parenti, stylist and owner of Tender Gloving Care, are fixtures of the New York fashion scene.

Headed to Nolcha
At Nolcha

The 12:30 line up (which means it actually begins at 1:30) included Farasha, Megla M, Carlos Luna, Teresa Rosati and Vassilis Zoulias.  I was really looking forward to Carlos Luna’s latest collection because I saw his spring 2012 line at the Nolcha Fashion Week in September.  This time I happened to sit by one of his friends and we both oohed and ahhed during the show.  He presented a handful of pieces I would love to add to my repertoire.  I feel the same way about a few evening dresses from Teresa Rosati.  My heart skipped a beat when the last show from Vassilis Zoulias began and I saw the dresses, outerwear and bird-adorned hats inspired by the 40s and Christian Dior’s “New Look.”  I’ll give a trend report and more detailed reviews on my favorite collections soon.

Afterward I met Kia, who is beautiful, funky and a huge fan of leopard print - we both agree it should be used as a neutral and can match anything.  She’s the one who fills me in on Cognac and Patricia.  Oh, the stories she could tell about the BFF’s antics...

Kia and Cognac

The 3:30 lineup included Antonia, Castro-Rojas, Riza Manalo, Rebeca Tiago and Baruni.  For me the standout designer was Rebeca Tiago.  This smart cookie had beautiful young women dressed in her designs in the audience.  One of them was the beautiful Adrienne Bailon of The Cheetah Girls and 3LW.  She looked beautiful.  With her was the gorgeous Julissa Bermudez, best known for co-hosting BET’s 106 & Park.  Tiago also sent some models down the runway wearing necklaces with her name on them, further cementing her brand into the minds of the audience.

Julissa Bermudez, left, and Adrienne Bailon, right

Girls in Rebeca Tiago designs
Rebeca Tiago, Adrienne Bailon & Charlyn Castro-Rojas - Photo courtesy of Adrienne Bailon

The last Nolcha show I attended was of Danilo Gabrielli.  As I entered the event, I had to walk around two cameramen filming four women sitting in the front row.  After I sat down I realized that they must be the Real Housewives of New York.  More cameras joined as they talked animatedly with one another and occasionally greeted a friend.  When the show began, I was pleased to see that Gabrielli’s collection also took inspiration from the 1940s.  I later learned that LuAnn de Lesseps, one of the cast members, is an old friend of Gabrielli.

The Real Housewives of New York
Gabrielli greeting LuAnn de Lesseps after the show
The Real Housewives of New York with Gabrielli - Photo courtesy of Major Dilemma

After the show I grabbed a quick (read: free) sip of champagne mixed with Cavoda Pink vodka (read: yum) and stepped into the elevator with LuAnn de Lesseps entering after me.  When she wished aloud that she had grabbed a bottle of water, I gave her mine.  She thanked me, we laughed and that was my brush with a New York celebrity.

Some of the things I heard people say on Thursday really made it clear to me that I was truly in New York for fashion week.

“That collection was not cohesive.  I wonder if anyone ever taught them how to put a collection together.”

“Just beautiful!”

“Oh my God, the models were too skinny!”

And my favorite…  Said to me: “You were awesome in the show!”  Oh, that one made me laugh!

A girl can dream… But these days I’d rather be on this side of the runway.  Front row.  Wearing a piece from the presenting designer’s latest collection.

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