Style Preview

New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2012 Preview (PHOTOS)

From a shape-shifting new label to the cavernous space du jour, a preview of New York Fashion Week.

New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week begins today. From Karlie Kloss’s controversial figure to Barbie and streaming shows, Misty White Sidell on what not to miss.

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Reality TV Continues Its Rule

Whitney Port, a product of MTV’s early-aughts’ parade of girlish reality television, will present the first fashion show for her label Whitney Eve inside Lincoln Center’s tents. While the one-time Teen Vogue intern and Hills star has hosted presentations for her flirty, print-heavy label, this is the first time her designs will hit a runway of their own in a procession that is sure to attract plenty of Port’s fellow starlets.

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New York’s Slice of Paris Haute

The highly anticipated boîte Le Baron has finally opened its doors in Chinatown, just in time for the Champagne-craving, party-hopping fashionistas who flock to New York during the shows. The club, owned by French graffiti artist André Saraiva (pictured at left), is the fourth installment in what’s become a nightlife franchise, following extremely successful ventures in Paris, Tokyo, and London. Undoubtedly the cavernous space du jour, Le Baron will host a bevy of parties throughout the week, each lit by the club’s signature scarlet glow.

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Karlie Kloss—Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman

Following a record year of controversy and triumph, newly minted supermodel Karlie Kloss will walk her first major season of shows following a much-publicized ascent toward womanhood. In the six months that have passed since New York’s last round of shows, the 19-year-old has visibly changed, notably in preparation for November’s Victoria’s Secret show. Though her noticeably slimmed-down frame caused a stir as she pranced before the cameras in VS lingerie, Kloss’s chiseled form elicited the most criticism after an Italian Vogue photo spread shot by Steven Meisel, “Body by Kloss.” The model insists she lost weight in a healthy way, but a pictorial of her jutting bones and muscular tendons was too much for viewers, prompting the magazine’s editor, Franca Sozzani, to remove this image from its site. What’s next in the saga of Kloss domination? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Fashion’s Ruling Court Celebrates Its 50th Birthday

The Council of Fashion Designers of America is celebrating its 50th anniversary with Impact, a book and corresponding exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s museum. Overseen by FIT’s well-regarded curator, Patricia Mears, the book and exhibit will be celebrated on the school’s campus with a bash that’s expected to draw some of the industry’s A-list, including Vogue’s Anna Wintour and the CFDA’s president, designer Diane von Furstenberg (captured at left with the organization’s CEO, Steven Kolb).

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Streaming Shows Goes Mainstream

Fashion’s foremost production and public relations mega-house, KCD, is taking the widespread practice of streaming shows to the next level. A technology that was initially popularized by the firm’s client Alexander McQueen, prior to his 2010 death, will be expanded upon with a platform designed to accommodate the needs of buyers and editors. Each of the pre-taped shows enables invite-only “attendees” to view behind-the-scenes content and “favorite” individual looks—the results of which will be reported back to designers, providing them invaluable information ahead of buyers meetings and editorial pulls. The first show on KCD’s lineup, which will screen at Digitalfashionshows.com, is ICB’s return collection, designed by Prabal Gurung. The firm also has announced that industry personalities and fast friends Lauren Santo Domingo and Derek Blasberg (pictured at left with actress and designer Chloë Sevigny) will narrate Olivier Theyskens’s fall outing for Theory, further democratizing a once-tight-rope show policy in favor of sporting-event-worthy coverage.

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Doll-Mination

Barbie was celebrated in a big way during the fall 2009 shows, a time when Fashion Week was still held in Midtown’s Bryant Park and the tents’ foyer was enveloped in Barbie memorabilia—a stark contrast to today’s penchants for fiber bars and liquid yogurt. Now the world’s most famous doll has returned. She’ll presumably appear at a series of blowout events to be held in her honor, including the very secretive fete for “Barbie’s Dream Closet,” whose fabulousness was conveyed with a pink rhinestone-capped invite. Stay tuned for more on that one.

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Juicy Couture Reemerges From Its Velour Den

In 2001, logo mania was in full thrall, and a sweat suit by Juicy Couture represented the epitome of leisurely chic. Sadly that moment has since passed, something J.C. founders Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor (pictured at left) have picked up on; they present their new label, Skaist-Taylor, this Sunday. Designed and produced independent of their flagship brand, which Liz Claiborne now owns and operates without their involvement, the duo’s new line is expected to make a welcome departure from their celebrity-popularized originals while providing an updated look to those who like to lounge.

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Glamour Magazine Wants to Take You for a Ride

Following a redesign of both its print and online outlets, Glamour will launch a fleet of mobile commerce taxi cabs that will descend on some of Manhattan’s Fashion Week hotspots, including The Standard Hotel, Lincoln Center, and near the publication’s Times Square headquarters. After downloading the magazine’s “friends & fans” application, riders will be able to electronically purchase YSL and Lancôme beauty products for home delivery by hovering their phone over “Shop the Look Snap Tags” inside taxis, all while listening to Glamour’s fashion development director, Susan Cernek, speak on the season’s must-have fashion and makeup trends.

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Tavi Gevinson

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tavi Gevinson—the child-blogging prodigy and lover of ostentatious hats—will sing a live cover of Neil Young’s Heart of Gold at the premiere of an animated short film that she’s created with Christopher Lloyd and Kathy Bates. Young himself reportedly gave Gevinson the permission to cover his song—which is uncanny considering that this project marks the 15-year-old’s first stab at singing. The Rodarte-sister-acolyte will croon at The Standard, East Village into the wee hours of Feb. 12, followed by a screening of the film, whose trailer can be viewed here.

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Models Get Their Righteous Voice

Sarah Ziff, the young model and filmmaker whose 2009 documentary, Picture Me, exposed the harsh truths of the modeling industry, has teamed up with a legion of lawyers, activists, and fellow models to create The Model Alliance. With ordained blessings from the CFDA and Fordham’s Fashion Law School, Ziff’s organization is working to regulate and secure a business that does not often provide much protection to its employees. So far, she’s campaigning for equalized health care and industry-wide age limits, while providing hotline services to those who experience sexual harassment. Judging from the Alliance’s launch party earlier this week (at which Ziff, at left, is pictured among fellow model activists), the organization is off to a running start.

Portrait credit: Anthony Tahlier; Clothing Image Credit: Courtesy of Creatures of the Wind

The Ones to Watch

The emerging Chicago-based label Creatures of the Wind has proved to be the ones to watch this Fashion Week. The shape-shifting brand is a collaboration between onetime classmates Shane Gabler and Christopher Peters, whose work has earned them repeated rave reviews, and this year a prestigious honorable mention at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards. While Peters was trained in artist Nick Cave’s studio, creating his lauded “Sound Suits,” Gabler continues to teach at the duo’s alma mater, The Art Institute of Chicago. Together they create brilliantly patterned looks composed of clashing colors, assorted prints, and varying textures that come together to create a vision of what’s attainably in our aesthetic futures.