Fashion Week: His and Hers at Calvin, Riviera at Lauren

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — The Associated Press is all over New York Fashion Week, from the runways to celebrities as eight days of spring previews entered their final day Thursday.



A woman wakes up and goes out to buy a pint of milk. Still in her slip, she throws on her boyfriend's coat to run out the door.

That domestic scene, says Calvin Klein designer Francisco Costa, was an inspiration for the new collection he showed on Thursday: an ode to the slip dress and the coat. "His and hers," Costa said. "His coats, her dresses."

The dresses were silky and satiny and smooth, in neutral colors like eggshell, ivory and gold taupe. And they were different: Many bore double straps — a pair on the shoulders, and a pair off the shoulders. There were also leather apron dresses — deconstructed aprons — also adorned with extra straps.

The coats were roomy; a highlight was one in a bouquet print, covering a print slip dress and paired with platform sneakers.

Some of the nicest items in the collection, indeed, were these floral prints, meant to add a strong dose of femininity.

"We played with a lot of prints this time, which we never do," Costa said. "It was so much fun." For footwear, a number of the models wore sneakers, continuing a trend this Fashion Week of casual, comfy footwear.

Front row guests included Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Kendall Jenner.

—Jocelyn Noveck and Nicole Evatt



If there was one defining concept for Proenza Schouler's latest collection — and don't call it a theme, because the designers eschew themes — it was the peeling of a banana.

Yes, a banana. "The idea of peeling away layers," Lazaro Hernandez, half of the designing duo, said backstage. "So we were looking at these traditional shirts, and then unbuttoning it, and peeling it over the shoulders, and inserting straps. These clothes were sort of falling off their bodies. Unraveling."

Indeed, many garments did lack shoulders. And they were tied together with ribbons, not buttons. "We got rid of all the buttons," Hernandez said; the designers wanted it to feel like "you pull a ribbon and the whole garment falls to the floor."

Fashionistas left the show positively raving about what they had just seen, and that's hardly surprising: Hernandez and partner Jack McCollough are true darlings of the fashion world, and this time they delivered yet another hit.

Though many saw a clear Spanish influence in the innovative collection, the duo shied away from attaching a clear label. Still, Hernandez, who has Cuban roots, noted that their inspiration came from examining his own personal background.

"We wanted to look at my personal history somehow," he said. "We've never really done that. So we were like looking at pictures of family, and there was a heat and a sensuality, all those cultures that felt sort of right and powerful and emotional."

One obvious Latin accent was a ruffle — not a typical element for these very contemporary designers, famous for introducing new shapes and using cutting-edge technology to create new fabrics.

"A ruffle's kind of weird," said Hernandez. "A ruffle feels so WRONG. We like things that feel wrong, first of all, and (figuring out) how to turn that into something that feels kind of great. So we were like messing with ruffles, and I guess a flamenco reference comes from that."

For these famously inventive designers, in sum, there was less invention this season — on purpose. "Less science, less technology," Hernandez said. "More traditional craft. And then when it's perfect? Breaking it down. Creating something beautiful, and then destroying it."

—Jocelyn Noveck



In a tan leather double-breasted traveling trouser suit and beachy blue-and-white stripes, the Ralph Lauren Collection served up a trip to the French Riviera.

Lauren wanted to capture the rustic romanticism and the glamorous, sporty spirit of the well-heeled who flock there, he said in a statement after the show. The looks express a "cool insouciance and understated style," he explained.

There was linen and crepe, cashmere and silk, organza and saddle leather for this woman on her way to her favorite vacation playground. She had towering high cork wedges on her feet in navy alligator, chic totes and leather bags, and plenty of loose, flowing jumpsuits and dresses for evening.

Her pop of color included bright red in tops and dresses. And she's prone to ultra-wide trousers navy with white side panels, worn with striped button-down shirts.

For the fashionista not afraid to make a BIG statement, Lauren spoke at high volume in a geometric print of cobalt, bright yellow, red, white, orange and neon green (you read that right) for a trench coat, strapless evening dress and other pieces. He carried over the pattern in a large traveling luggage bag.

But much of the collection spoke to the label's heart: a classic, elegant, belted day dress with short sleeves and a feminine ruffle at the neck, worn with a medium-wide brown belt, for instance. It was a look many kinds of women would enjoy, unlike some voluminous print evening looks loaded down with ruffles, slits and draping below the waist

Are cutouts below the breast and at the midriff still happening? They are here, in red and navy for evening.

Julianne Moore, Jessica Chastain and Alec Baldwin were among the celebs on Lauren's front row.

—Leanne Italie



Along the fancy stretch of Fifth Avenue, near the Harry Winston and Gucci stores in Manhattan's East 50s, is the penthouse showroom of Helen Yarmak in the legendary Crown Building.

Yarmak is a fur designer whose creations are often dyed and have been worn by the likes of Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and the late Whitney Houston.

On the last day of fashion week, she presented a small, limited-edition collection of furs in her cozy space, including ombre blues and stunning reds and yellows, some adorned with tulips and others with matching hats.

The Russian with a Ph.D. in mathematics and decades in the fur and custom jewelry business is outside the box when it comes to her skins. She worked in fox, mink and raccoon. There was also lamb, ermine and her favorite, sable.

She calls her fur coats, skirts, shorts, jackets, ponchos and vests "wearable art." Some were reversible and one, a blue-dyed fox coat, had detachable sleeves and yellow tulips.

Servicing private clients and collectors, and selling from flagships in New York, Moscow, Milan and Kazakhstan, Yarmak's work ranges from $1,500 in rabbit to $400,000 for custom sable.

"The colors in our furs repeat our colors in the jewelry. Every piece you have like fairytale," she said in heavily accented English. "I started in underwear because in Russia there were no jobs for mathematicians. I love fashion."

Yarmak's fondness for Russian sable extends to her surname. It's the same as the Cossack who discovered Siberia, known for its sable.

While her furs in this collection reflected the emerald greens, tanzanite blues and purples, and Paraiba tourmaline in her rings, earrings and other jewelry, her spirit for design goes beyond the fashion elite.

"What inspires me? I'm inspired by life," she said.

—Leanne Italie