Fashion Week: Really big band, really big show for Jacobs

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.



After a week of fashions that seemed designed for impossibly thin models, red-carpet celebs, heiresses or museum mannequins, there was a runway show for the regular folks, courtesy of Macy's.

The department store staged its first fashion show during New York Fashion Week on Thursday night, the closing night. Hosted by E! hosts Giuliana Rancic and Brad Goreski, "Fashion Front Row" featured models showcasing the chain's wares, from its own brands like INC to celebrity lines such as Sean John and Jessica Simpson. Neither Simpson nor Diddy were on hand, but Tommy Hilfiger was, along with Thalia and Heidi Klum, each making a brief appearance after their lines were presented. Diane von Furstenberg's clothes weren't featured, but she spoke on behalf of the Council of Fashion Designers of America Foundation, to which Macy's made a donation.

The show also featured musical performances by Jason Derulo and Nate Ruess, who gave a shout-out to his fashion-designer girlfriend Charlotte Ronson.

Besides Hello Kitty and the troop of kid dancers with the character, the night's biggest ovation came when the Village People led the audience and the beefcake male underwear models in a rendition of "Macho Man."

The event will be broadcast later on E!.

— Nekesa Mumbi Moody



Fashion Week in New York always goes out with a bang, thanks to Marc Jacobs, who always shows at 6 p.m. on the final day.

Fashionistas are usually flagging by this time, but Jacobs tends to pull them out of the doldrums with a lively production. This season, Jacobs put on even more of a show than usual, taking over the Ziegfeld Theater in midtown Manhattan, home to many a movie premiere, with a Hollywood-style extravaganza of his own.

The high-voltage show began with models walking their own red carpet outside the Ziegfeld, delighting fans on the street who surely didn't expect to see everything so up-close. They posed for photographers as the audience inside — many munching on popcorn or M&Ms and sipping sodas — watched the goings-on on a giant screen.

Finally, the models entered the theater and made their way to the runway inside, as a big jazz band led by bandleader Brian Newman — and we do mean big — provided live accompaniment.

The mood couldn't have been more different from Jacobs' last show in February, which was somewhat dark and moody and seemed to channel the Victorian era, with floor-length gowns and calf-length coats over them. The vibe here was jazzier, more upbeat, more glittery and way more red-white-and-blue.

The first item set the tone: a shimmering, sequined floral skirt in red-white-and-blue, with a huge slit revealing short shorts, all topped with a roomy athletic-type sweater saying "Concert Band." Like those who followed her, the model wore her hair up in a messy bun, a big tuft hanging over the eyes. Eye makeup was smudged, and faces were glistening with sweat.

Lots of big sweaters and long gowns and short shorts and trousers followed — in sequins and stripes and prints and plaids — a huge variety that defied attempts to discern a real theme. There were bold prints of all kinds — sometimes three or four in one outfit — and every level of dressiness, from very casual to quite fancy (but still whimsical).

Getting delighted cheers was musician and plus-size model Beth Ditto, who wore a plunging strapless white gown and carried, for extra panache, a white feather boa.

Celebs on hand included Bette Midler, who undoubtedly had a divine time, like all the other guests who surely needed a late-week pick-me-up. Jacobs certainly delivered on that front.

—Jocelyn Noveck



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



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