The Best of Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week F/W 2011 (Part 1)

Hello my little fashion darlings!

As I write this post, I am just on my way to recuperating from what has been a full on sprint to the fashion finish line of the designers collections for this upcoming Fall.  Let me just say that of the 12 shows I attended, there were extremely high moments (Maison Martin Margiela for Opening Ceremony), low points (Tory Burch’s wide leg pants are the single most unflattering garment I have ever seen, and this is on rail thin models), common points (70’s still reins supreme) and just a bit of insanity (note to designers: models have a hard time walking on 7in platforms when there dress is fitted to the ankles. Wake up and restore the sanity! I was determined to fit in Jon Stewart somewhere).  So, as usual, I have put together some of the highlights from my favorite shows to show you the trends you need to pay attention when Fall shopping seasons begins!

Menswear: Oh if only Aerosmith had reversed its lyrics from “Dude (Looks like a Lady),” how appropriate it would have been for Fall/Winter 2011 collections.  For years- decades even- androgyny has walked its way down the runways by the likes of Akris, Jil Sander and at times, even Prada.  However, fashion strives for nothing if not reinvention, so how did designers go about making Menswear tailored pieces new again?  Tommy Hilfiger (always one of the best shows as his passion for rock and roll always lends itself to the best soundtrack), produced pieces that were literally menswear. Save some darting and nipped in waists, I felt like I was watching the cast of Boardwalk Empire stomp down the 90 foot long runway.  Check:

I mean, come on. Could that not be Steve Buscemi in that last look? Tommy is the best at American preppy and I love that this season he went back in fashion history to make things new again (a definite feel of the 1970’s in both color palette and silhouette). For us girls who may not be blessed with statuesque 6’0 frames and long skinny legs (so few of us, I know), there is going to have to be significant adaptations to make this look actually wearable.  Somhow the full suit, vest, tie and white shirt is a bit much for any city that isn’t NYC.

Donna Karan can sometimes go off the beaten path with her DKNY collection which was inspired in the urban New York City woman (I ambulated about taking the credit for this one for quite a while), and let me say that I loved EVERY SINGLE look from this show.  As my seat didn’t provide for the best viewing, I only got a straight on look of every piece for about a nano second, but even in that minute time frame, it was obvious that Donna hit the nail squarely on the head by delivering wearable menswear inspired, chic and even luxurious looks for the younger, hip woman, without the literal over-handedness of Tommy.

Photos courtesy of

Let me just say that people LOVED this show. You could feel it in the stomp of the models, the murmuring of editors to one another and the unusual, yet refreshing interest/approval by fashion’s newest darling Emmanuelle Alt, French Vogue’s new editrix.  Not only do I love her because she seems younger than she is (recently turned 41), approachable and cool, but she comes from a styling background having been responsible for creating the image of both Balmain and Isabel Marant (can you get any cooler or chicer than that?).  Long story short- Donna zeroed in on her like Jessica Simpson to ill fitting garments after the show.  I didn’t listen to the conversation (I did photograph it as seen below), but Donna hasn’t gotten to where she is but not being smart and strategic, so something good passed between these heavy hitters:

Finally, if you are a girl who loves Menswear but doesn’t want to look like she shopped in her boyfriend, husband or lover’s closet (don’t want to leave any kind of sentimental relationship out….), you are going to love Carolina Herrera’s proposal for September.

What can I say, Carolina is the queen of sophistication, in the same way Oscar de la Renta is the king of class.  In fact, I wouldn’t mind moving into a kingdom where they reined, then again it would just look like a fusion of Renee Zellweger and Sarah Jessica Parker’s closets.  Yet I digress.  Carolina gave us tailored business suits with quite masculine and unexpected accessories, like these gauntlet gloves:

I absolutely adore the caplet collar and strong, don’t-mess-with-me-or-I-will-finish-you-superhero look of this outfit. Plus, girls with short hair usually get the shaft when it comes to necklines. Not the case here.

She can also do color in a fantastic way to make even this conservative and straight-forward look seem indulgent and appropriate for a woman still starting her career and not accompanying her billionaire husband to a power function:

Photos courtesy of

Oh the power of color! Here is the final walk from the show and excuse the poor quality- Blackberry isn’t the Cannon G12:

I actually find it humorous that Ms. Herrera never actually wears color herself, just black pants with a black or white blouse as evidenced once again during her bow:

I heart her. However, even better than the collection is the fact that Herrera opens backstage after the show to all the journalists or friends whom want to speak with her.  This is very rare; generally there is a who’s who list with big surly men blocking the entry of those poor souls who either don’t have a short enough skirt on,  star in a TV show, or at least have notoriously slept with someone who does.  Backstage is so great because you see the innards of the industry, the thousands of people who make a runway show happen- the stylists, hair and makeup,  the AV team, the prep team who unpack, steam and repack the clothing immediately after the show, the PR people running around in nothing less than unadulterated panic (this really is the most fun to observe). More importantly, you get a candid moment with the models that so many of us admire.  Here is a great one with the wonderful Karlie Kloss, recently anointed American’s newest supermodel (Tyra, learn what this title means, I BEG you):

All in all, let just say that I adored seeing the menswear (and a bit of British tendencies) in all of these shows.  How will this trend translate to the collections in the department stores in your neighborhood? Look for wide leg, structured trousers, fitted vests and tailored blouses.  Go for leather and or suede accents- its finishes the look in a strong and decisive manner.  It tells people that your styling was a deliberate choice and not simply that you were too lazy to do laundry and therefore ended up wearing what was clean in your husbands closet.  Now in closing, I would like to nominate the following individual for the most needing to adopt this tailored, menswear trend:

Oy. Words fail me.  Stay tuned for part 2 of my “The Best of Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week F/W 2011”.



One response to “The Best of Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week F/W 2011 (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Best of Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week F/W 2011 (Part 1) | Up My Ali --

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s