Rachel Zoe and DVF Go Disco: NYFW Show Reviews
Rachel Zoe by Tim Teeman
Two seemingly straight male photographers were chatting as Rachel Zoe’s presentation was winding down Sunday.
“Pretty girls, huh?” one said of the models they had been snapping.
“Fashion Week always makes me so horny,” said the other, laughing. It didn’t sound as creepy as it maybe reads; in fact they both went a little quiet afterward.
Horniness seemed like a luxury concept at the beginning of the show, when fashion’s finest were made to queue, Disneyland-style, for entry into Zoe’s show.
The theory, as explained to the restless fashion folk—who like to wait even less than they like to be photographed in last season’s tapered trousers—was that they were going to ferry people out, so we could see the presentation of Zoe’s designs “fresh.”
But the last batch of people didn’t leave.
The other slight issue was the photographers. Their horniness was neither a problem or benefit.
We and they were all vying for the same space to see the models wearing Zoe’s clothes. Gone was a dedicated area for the snappers: We were all roaming and getting in each other’s way.
This was a “presentation” that was also a scrum, its own (very fun, actually) fashion frenzy, where one false move could see the unfortunate fashionista felled by a photographer’s (horny) lens.
No-one wanted to be fashion roadkill, but there were also invisible cordons sanitaire being set up by zealous security guards around Zoe and her entourage.
The only thing to do was dive in, try to work around the madness around Zoe and her husband Rodger, and former Miss USA Olivia Culpo, and the ever-present other ubiquitous Olivia (Palermo)—and hope for the best.
This paid dividends: Zoe’s brilliant, dramatic collection was its own successful collision, and slightly less messy than the one unfolding in the room.
The collection married hippy and sharp, vintage and contemporary—a perfect encapsulation of Zoe’s design sweet spot.
The designs, Zoe's press notes said, was “inspired by the glamor of the 1930s and the deviance of the 1990s,” embracing both Marlene Dietrich’s confidence and sexiness and the “iconic supermodels of the 1990s.”
The 1970s seemed to be making its presence felt too, with Zoe designing an impressive series of shimmering, and wittily gussied-up gowns and trouser and lounge suits, featuring clashing designs and materials including silk, velvet, lace, and pearls.
One of the memorable trouser suits came in soft black leather, the trousers flared, while Culpo looked stunning in a long white coat over flared white trousers and white chemise.
White also found itself the signature of a lovely snowball of a furry, feathery coat, and a deliciously warm-looking lounging sweater, with pearls sewn on to it.
A slim white blazer was paired with a shredded-silver dress; a boxier white blazer, buttoned at its top, came atop a tiered white long dress.
Darker colors bought drama: Zoe likes jackets cut tight in a traditional shape, then cut away from being straight as the garment heads toward the knee.
Another gorgeous coat—longer, with black and gray stripes—was both glamorous and casual.
The glitter and shimmer came in dresses long and short, some sleeved, others with spaghetti straps. A longer flared silver trouser suit was cut severely in a V-shape across the chest, and felt like it had beamed directly in from Studio 54.
A blouse and flared trousers in black and gold silk also shot us back decades, although a woolen coat using the same colors, although in muddled and clever grid design, felt utterly of the moment. A tight black coat, cut again in and out to the knee, overlaid a filmy long black skirt.
Breaking away from disco, a leather jacket came with seams bursting with white fur, and there was a gorgeous burgundy, yellow and swirly patterned longer coat—next to it a tight long dress with a black base color, and more swirliness all over it.
If not Studio 54, this felt more a nod to the world of legendary ’60s design house Biba. Zoe’s accomplished collection moved as fluidly between day and night as it did between decades.
The mood in the room, with little children also running about, was so vibrant, the crush of people soon found the best way round each other.
Wherever Zoe walked, a circle of admirers surrounded her, like its very own moving spotlight. It may not have made you horny, but the hullabaloo certainly raised a smile.
DVF by Tim Teeman
And this was another “presentation,” so no runway, but a series of areas, with models popping in and out of view from closed doors, halls of mirrors, and a mockup of an office.
Von Furstenberg (disclosure: the designer is married to Barry Diller, who is chairman of IAC, the parent company of The Daily Beast) had called the collection “Love Power.” It was, she said inspired by the movement of dancing, its wearer “graceful and strong, empowered by love.”
Von Furstenberg, as other designers are doing this season, has made some of the dresses immediately available—no waiting till the autumn. The economics of fashion don’t respect the traditional nine-month wait between show and sell.
Upstairs was disco central: von Furstenberg sat on a lips-shaped sofa, surrounded by supermodels involved in a dance-and sing-off, including Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss, Jourdan Dunn, Lily Aldridge, and Irina Shayk.
It was quite the performance, made all the cheerier by the copious champagne.
A thrilled audience watched the models—"Is that Irina?"—serenade von Furstenberg herself, who when this correspondent alighted upon the scene was joyously mouthing the words to “We Are Family,” culminating in her throwing flowers into the audience. Morrissey had nothing on her.
On the ground floor, the redoubtable New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham was catching the prettiest guests as they descended the staircase.
The clothes matched the mood: If von Furstenberg will be forever known for the wrap dress, it was present here too, updated, redesigned, and as assertively sexy as ever.
Appearing from in and out of doors the models came in black (a long shirt-dress, flared trousers, a short jacket, tight patterned jersey, cute hat, a spaghetti strap dress with slashes of white). A short blue patterned dress came with high black boots, a gorgeous short patterned jersey dress with ankle boots.
Layering, clever styling (chiffon embroidered in metallic jacquard) and witty clashing played their parts too, as with a black patterned short dress, featuring a warm-looking striped coat draped over the shoulders. There was custom dyeing, hand beading, bustier tops, and leather skirts.
In the hall of mirrors the boho-styled models were weaving in and out in dresses of indigo, blue and aqua stripes (a variation also came in black and gray), with black leather jacket furnished with a rust-red fur stole. A purple patterned shirt was partnered with a gray jersey, and black lounge pants.
In the DVF “office space” were sharper silhouettes—short trousers, short skirts, and tight leather jackets—while in two more halls of mirrors darting models wore ensembles with the best kinds of material and color clashes: sleeved dresses with geometric designs; brown suede skirts and boots; a peasant dress that was both fitted and flowing; and a light brown and blue woolen skirt paired with a chiffon blouse.
The supermodels serenading von Furstenberg had, of course, the most gorgeous disco-era tribute dresses: in red glitter, gold glitter, sheer black pantsuit, black and white short evening dress, and a black and gold halterneck.
Impressively, the songs and dancing didn’t slow—and it was a nice touch to have two handsome waiters with trays standing sentry. Every disco night at home should have them.
Another unexpected treat was seeing Cunningham in his natural habitat, in blue anorak, darting here and there, to get the best pictures of the party guests.
Outside were hordes of onlookers and paparazzi: a jostling, chaotic Fashion Week scene utterly in keeping with the “happening” happening inside.
Somewhere, hopefully, Warhol, Halston, and Elizabeth Taylor were watching and smiling.
Lizzie Crocker at Noon by Noor
The mood was all romance at Noon by Noor on Sunday, where Bahraini designers (and cousins) Shaikha Noor Al Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al Khalifa sent soft, fluid shapes in luxurious textures and a warm autumn palette down the runway.
The show opened with a long, robe-like wool bouclé coat in winter white (it showed up again later in taupe, worn over shimmering black silk pajama pants). Then came caramel and gray fur stoles and coats with whiskery patchwork details.
The colors and mood darkened as wool and fur gave way to fairy-tale silk gowns in various shades of gray, featuring English rose prints or metal embellishments; midnight blue and black dresses, pants, and jackets—including one edgy bomber style—in floral jacquard. It was a collection of dreamy, feminine silhouettes. Fittingly, the models emerged from a Midsummer Night’s Dream-esque backdrop of (fake) birch trees.
It was all very pretty, but frankly, the most exciting part of the show for this attendant was the sight of the brogue-babouche hybrid “it” shoe—the shoe of the season! Apparently it made an appearance at Victoria Beckham’s show, too, and on Mary-Kate Olsen’s feet earlier in the week. It’s only a matter of time before another talentless celebrity adopts the trend.
Allison McNearney at Jenny Packham
If you’re the type of person who lives on the red carpet, who sees by the light of paparazzi flashbulbs, who is ready to answer “who are you wearing?” before it’s even asked, then Jenny Packham has some new duds for you!
Inspired by the nightlife and “insatiable appetite for decadence” of the ’80s and ’90s, the runway show was full of glitz and glamour, and some of the most intricate beading I’ve ever seen.
Classic black-tie gowns came in hues of gold, black-and-silver, shiny metallics, blush, and bright pinks, all with their own distinctive patterns o’ bling.
Packham threw in some funkier looks (multicolored gowns with kaleidoscopic patterns and a fringe coat made entirely out of long, bright red sequins that sashayed down the runway), some that were very elegant (a long-sleeved, rose pink ensemble made of a soft fringe and a plush ivory faux fur coat), and the obligatory red carpet nearly nude.
While a few of the looks tread the line of taste when seen up close (for me, a duo of ochre gowns decked with multicolored jewels), they all photographed spectacularly well, showing Packham clearly knows and designs to her red-carpet strengths.
In a recent article, The New York Times noted that, despite being so beloved on the awards circuit, Packham doesn’t generate the front row love from the top fashion brass that one might expect.
While that largely held true this season, a gaggle of stars including Jennifer Morrison, the sisters Duff, and Scream Queens' Emma Roberts were clearly enjoying the show.
When a showstopper of a long-sleeved, high-slitted, hip-hugging red ombré sequinned gown rounded the corner, the normally cool front row collectively raised their phones to capture the look, impersonating the lowly fashion editors and social media addicts around them.
The question is, who will win the honor to wear Packham come awards season?