It’s Fashion Week here in New York—again! I say again because it seems to come around so quickly. I’ve been behind the scenes at the Anne Klein and Perry Ellis design house fashion shows as a design studio assistant since 1987 so I’ve seen it all, and from all angles. I used to help confirm and schedule the fittings of the models for shows, and then be part of the team assigned to a model (think the fabulous Cindy Crawford or naughty Naomi Campbell—the first REAL supermodels, and hello they had curves!) to furiously fuss and “primp” them before they hit the catwalks. Today I’m sitting in a tent on Bryant park—the hub for Fashion Week, though I remember when many of the catwalks took place in the Parsons School Auditorium (now famous for the hit show Project Runway).
Time flies in the fashion industry. In fact, I think we live in a different time zone! We are always six months ahead of everyone else. I dream of fur coats in spring, and look for sundresses and bathing suit directions after Labor Day. Weird huh? Now, imagine not just interpreting the trends for any size, but interpreting the latest trends for the most popular sizes—the “double digit” sizes 12, 14, 16, and up. That’s my job. I look at what’s sashaying down the runway on a not-so-curvy body, and I translate the trends for us real women. I also check with store buyers to find out what designers are sizing up for us—those are the department and specialty stores I’ll want to spend my money in!
American designers (though, still not enough of them, mind you) are embracing more of us in their size range for a collection. Who, you ask? Well, the diffusion lines of Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Anne Klein, Ralph Lauren, Kimora Lee Simmon’s Baby Phat line, and Carmen Marc Valvo’s evening wear are all available to us now. There is also Vera Wang’s Simply Vera line for Kohl’s for size 16 women—that’s BIG for Vera! Disappointing was the momentary blip of DKNY and Oscar de la Renta being more inclusionary. Sigh.
I’m here for the week and I’m going to guide you through some of the ninety plus shows and myriad parties and presentations. I’ll grab the best of the trends for the majority of us: boobs, booty, and all!
For us women wearing those double digits, who actually eat the goodies at cocktail hour in the tents, color is always important. My designer friends say that we will see a more muted Russian jewel-toned palette, continuing the feminine shapes in deep rich tones, and of course, the venerable black. I’m excited to see for myself!
I’m also excited to see how the world’s most fashionable fashion-lovers strut their own styles on this rainy and miserable February Friday in Manhattan. I’m wearing my usual uniform of a narrow leg trouser and a short-sleeve turtleneck. I’ve added seasonal toppings with a red cashmere sweater from Marina Rinaldi, a pair of patent black ankle boots for the rain from Issac Mizrahi at TARGET (I love them and they were only $39.99!), and a new black shimmer coat from EvansLondon. I’ve also got the most fabulous wine-colored satchel handbag from Maxx New York that I picked up for a song at Bloomingdale’s. I love mixing it up and playing with all different price points!
First up, I get to see my special curvy actor friend, Camryn Manheim, walk the runway for the Heart Truth’s show at the tents! Then I’m off to BCBG for some contemporary direction, Yeohlee for the most dramatic coats that also work on curvy bodies, and Nicole Miller for color, pattern, and fun.
It will be interesting to see who is not in their gilded seats for the Sunday evening shows: like designer to the stars, Tulah, and contemporary retailer, Miss Sixty. I mean, football with the Giants and Patriots over the drama and competition of Fashion Week? Come on!
Trend Tip: Don’t forget to note the accessories and footwear when appreciating the latest fashions from the runway. Whether it’s a platform shoe or ankle bootie, the newest lipstick shade, or a clutch bag versus a hobo handbag in the newest silhouette, the accessories are key and often easier to incorporate into your own look.
Camryn Manheim and Liza Minnelli at Heart’s Truth Show, courtesy of the author