NY Fashion Week: Carrie Underwood, fur, feathers

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — Singer Carrie Underwood and "Pitch Perfect" star Anna Kendrick were among a slew of young celebrities who popped up at Rebecca Minkoff's show Friday during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. It was Underwood's second show of the day as she'd earlier made an appearance at Peter Som's show.

Underwood said she loves fashion shows, but doesn't have much time to attend them. "I just thought I'd come in for the day and go along for the ride," she said.

Meanwhile fall-winter collections included feathers at Nicole Miller and fur on many runways, with designers claiming muses ranging from North Face parkas to Jane Birkin's Swingin' '60s peacoats.



If you ever needed proof that designer Rebecca Minkoff is much loved by young women, you had only to look at the celebrities sprinkled in the audience at her runway show Friday.

There was Carrie Underwood, the country superstar. There were movie actresses Anna Kendrick and AnnaSophia Robb, and TV actress Zosia Mamet from HBO's "Girls." There was Victoria Justice, of Nickelodeon's "Victorious," and from the teenage set, Bella Thorne, best known for the Disney Channel's "Shake it Up."

They all came to see what Minkoff reliably delivers: a casual, upbeat collection of mixed patterns and textures, with some killer shoes and bags. Not to mention another hallmark of Minkoff shows: live music. This time the performers were AlunaGeorge, a British electronic music duo.

The show opened with a luscious-looking shearling coat in oatmeal. Attention soon was drawn to the models' feet, with Minkoff introducing a series of cute, two-toned leather booties with colored tassels. Some of the footwear had stiletto heels, and some had chunkier heels. There was an eye-catching pair of over-the-knee boots.

Minkoff mixed soft with strong and light with heavy, as in a chiffon skirt under a big overcoat.

"I've worn Rebecca for a really long time," said actress Kendrick. "She does such beautiful shapes. They're all kind of edgy, you know? But she (also) does these kind of feminine shapes. I'm wearing this kind of feminine dress, but there is a tough bag and a tough shoe, you know?"

Kendrick, the star of "Pitch Perfect," said she was enjoying Fashion Week — but cautioned it was only her first day.

"If I have a nervous breakdown by the end of the week I will let you know," she advised.

—Jocelyn Noveck, http://www.twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP and Nicole Evatt, http://www.twitter.com/NicoleEvatt



Jason Wu says the weather is on his mind a lot. Maybe that's why his clothes have a moody feel this Fashion Week.

His colors were muted; black, eggplant, evergreen and silver. There were mixes of textures, with embroidered gowns and shiny slip dresses — some with tiny spaghetti straps — among the most successful pieces. Coats were big and boxy; it felt like you could disappear into them.

"I was going for something darkly romantic, something quite, you know, very cozy," Wu said backstage at the show Friday. "There is something very cozy about this outerwear."

Wu said he'd come up with the term "unflustered beauty" to describe his collection.

"I kind of woke up with those two words," said the designer, who became famous when Michelle Obama chose him for her inaugural gowns — twice. "Those are good words for the collection because underneath the really luxurious furs and cashmeres come slip dresses that are held together by spaghetti straps made from the most luxurious fabrics, that move around the body."

Like many designers this week, Wu was asked about the frigid weather. He said he'd been thinking about it a lot.

"Definitely," he said. "It's very cold and it's about taking those sporty elements, as always those American sportswear elements, gone luxe. You know, very North Face-inspired, in the parkas, the furs, and then (you) really elevate it. Elevated sportswear."

—Jocelyn Noveck, http://www.twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP



Winter weather is going full-blast in New York City, but Underwood popped into Peter Som's runway show Friday in a summery pale pink dress — actually by designer Ted Baker.

On the runway, Som showed an appealing mix of smartly tailored coats and interesting graphics on dresses short and long.

The most interesting print: a pretty blurred floral that could make you feel a little dizzy.

"I love florals," Som said. "These are all roses. I was trying to give things a bit of mystery."

Also attractive were Som's tailored short coats. He said they were inspired by looking at photos of "Jane Birkin and her peacoats." Birkin, an English actress and singer, first became known for her free-spirited style in the 1960s.

As for Underwood, she said she is writing for a new album. She doesn't have any immediate plans to do another televised musical like "The Sound of Music," which she starred in last year.

"I'm excited to get back to the things that I know!" she said.

—Jocelyn Noveck, http://www.twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP



Red-carpet designer Carmen Marc Valvo has been dressing the rich and famous for decades, including Queen Latifah and other notables with curves.

Does that make him a rarity? "I think the Europeans are more at fault," said one of the nicest guys in fashion in a backstage interview before his New York Fashion Week show Friday.

"The Americans are larger than the Europeans. They just are, so I do embrace that. I think a woman should be sexy and just be who she is."

This time around, Valvo turned out a woman warrior in armor-looking gowns, down to the ground, some with chain-link accents and metal beads inspired by a recent trip to Turkey.

There's a certain life cycle when you've been in the business as long as Valvo, who's 60.

"Who's my customer? I grew up with some of them," he said. "I made their wedding gowns and now I'm dressing their daughters."

—Leanne Italie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/litalie



Sure it's winter, but summer is year-round on the Instagram feed of Terry Miller in itsy bitsy bathing trunks designed by Mr. Turk.

We caught up with Mr. Turk, aka stylist and photographer Jonathan Skow, aka the husband of designer Trina Turk, at their mixed men's and women's New York Fashion Week presentation for fall Friday.

The coats and sweaters, skirts and trousers on the models were inspired by a drive west on Sunset Boulevard through Los Angeles to the sea, which is where the tiny guy swim gear by Mr. Turk comes in.

Swimsuits weren't part of the show, but Skow was happy to share his chance encounter about two years ago with Miller, aka the hunky husband of gay activist and writer Dan Savage — and the fact that Miller's rockin' hard body on Instagram has produced a bump in business for Mr. Turk.

With Savage, Miller co-founded the It Gets Better anti-bullying project, putting up the first video on YouTube.

Skow and Miller met in Palm Springs, Calif., where there's a Mr. Turk boutique. Miller was a shopper there.

"I didn't even really know who he was, and then Dan took some pictures of him and posted them on Instagram and tagged me and we started seeing that suit selling online," Skow explained.

The suit in question is the Mr. Turk Lagos swim brief — make that very brief. Soon Miller, who had spent years at home raising the now-teen son he adopted with Savage, had a growing Instagram following. "He's just a friend of mine," Skow laughs. "I pay him in clothes. I say whatever you want I'll send you as long as you Instagram it."

—Leanne Italie, http://twitter.com/litalie



Sochi is a world away from the runways, but New York Fashion Week managed a connection or two to the Olympics.

Ralph Lauren's runway show in New York won't take place until next Thursday, but Team USA was outfitted for the opening ceremonies in Sochi in Lauren's red, white and blue designs, including sweaters bearing stars, stripes, a flag and Olympic rings.

And Skier Lindsey Vonn, the 2010 Olympic gold medalist, and figure skater Sasha Cohen, also an Olympian, helped kick off the shows in New York by attending the Red Dress Collection Thursday night, an annual Fashion Week event that draws attention to heart disease.

Vonn, who had to forgo the Sochi games due to a knee injury, raised the crutches in the air triumphantly at Red Dress and got the same kind of cheers she might have gotten at the bottom of a mountain, after a victorious ski run. Even if this wasn't a ski run but a runway.

Vonn joined some 20 other female celebrities on the runway at the Red Dress Collection Thursday night.

The first Red Dress show was held in 2001, part of an effort by at the beginning of the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute's campaign to reach out to women. This year younger celebrities were helping to get the word out to younger women.

Bella Thorne, 16, best known from the Disney Channel series "Shake It Up," sauntered with aplomb atop her gold heels in a long Badgley Mischka number.

Thorne, who has experienced heart disease in her family, said before the show that she was excited and a little nervous, but also looked forward to "that feeling you get when you know what you're doing is making a difference."

Vonn, 29, wore a short Cynthia Rowley dress, the better to navigate those crutches. Fellow Olympian Sasha Cohen, the figure skater, also 29, wore a sleek Mark Bouwer gown.

Rock singer Joan Jett, 55, wore a Catherine Malandrino pants outfit.

Victoria Justice, 20, best known for starring in the Nickelodeon TV series "Victorious," said it was her first experience on the runway (she got to wear Oscar de la Renta). "I'm young, but I know it's something you have to be on the lookout for," she said.

Actress AnnaSophia Robb, 20, ended the show in an Alice + Olivia strapless gown. "It's important to be aware of your family's history, and to be cautious," she said.

—Jocelyn Noveck, http://www.twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP



The feathers were flying at Nicole Miller's Fashion Week show — on vests, fur skirts and mixed with mirrors, leather and beads.

And they included peacock feathers hanging from a sweatshirt and dress.

The usually edgy Miller was heavy on the black, studs and neoprene. She sent out prints she described in her notes as "tribal tree" and "force field."

Actress-model-business mogul Daisy Fuentes was on the front row, along with True Blood's Carrie Preston.

—Leanne Italie, http://twitter.com/litalie