MARC JACOBS GETS A LITTLE HELP FROM GAGA
It would have been a pretty fine Marc Jacobs fashion show by virtue of the clothes alone, but the designer who closes out New York Fashion Week every season had something else up his very voluminous sleeves.
Wedged into his lineup of models Thursday evening was none other than Lady Gaga, unheralded and apparently little noticed as she put on the blankest of model expressions and strutted the runway in platform boots, a huge black coat with green-tinged fur sleeves, and a big bow at the neck in pastel green, with matching purse.
With heavy black makeup on her eyes and lips, and platinum blonde hair in finger waves, Gaga blended in exceedingly well. There was no applause or audible sign of recognition from the crowd in the cavernous Park Avenue Armory.
As for the show itself, it had an austere, Victorian or Gothic feel -- with no music on the soundtrack, just the sounds of bells pealing -- and featured mostly long, grand coats and gowns in black or dark hues, with occasional pops of color. While some of the garments seemed perfect for, say, a stroll in a 19th-century London park, others had a more otherworldly feel, such as a huge, feathery concoction worn by model-of-the-moment Kendall Jenner.
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And the shiny, laced-up, very high platform boots added a comic-book feel to the proceedings.
Jacobs, who rarely does much explaining of his shows, did include a note in his program referring to Keiji Haino, a Japanese musician who uses a concept of "ma," described as "the haunted spaces between the notes" -- which may have explained the soundtrack.
Among the front-row guests was Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who wore a Jacobs-designed Hillary Clinton 2016 T-shirt. (The designer himself also wore one of the sequined tees.)
Also there: actresses Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci, Sandra Bernhard and Debi Mazar, among others.
"Is that her? The blonde?" Bernhard asked about Lady Gaga after the show. "OK, I honestly didn't know it. She is unrecognizable! She's a chameleon. But yeah, she looked great now that I know for sure it was her."
Bernhard's verdict on the clothes: "Really great. It was romantic and out there and it was just inspiring."
--Jocelyn Noveck and Nicole Evatt
RALPH LAUREN TURNS TO ROCK
Parading impeccable models down the runway in taupe cashmere and men's ties may not sound all that new, but that's where Ralph Lauren went for fall, until he took a turn to rock 'n' roll.
There were "cool rocker" coats and jackets of blue and black in equal parts pirate and Sgt. Pepper. Large ruffles were abundant along the fronts of white blouses -- and slightly smaller ones for a curious winged effect on a backless black jumpsuit.
There was requisite fringe in black, and rocker pants as well.
Ralph Lauren using the term "cool rocker" is just plain cute. So was a brown tweed patchwork coat that had large, highly useful pockets sewn on. It was worn with a wide leather belt over a cashmere red formal dresses and mocha suede boots.
Other standouts: velvet embroidery on a black suede dress, some of that rocker fringe on a black suede motorcycle jacket and an unusual liquid gold fabric for a long, free-flowing pleated skirt paired with a black belt and cropped black top to expose a sliver of midriff. The same gold fabric was used for a couple of fitted evening dresses.
Forget rock. Disco anyone?
BACK TO SUITS AT CALVIN KLEIN
After a season focusing on the slip dress, Francisco Costa brought the Calvin Klein label back to basics: Suits.
"It's a very exciting season because I decided to play with suits and tailoring, which is a staple of the house," Costa said in a backstage interview. "Suits are an expression of urbanism, I think. We haven't seen much out there. And bringing it back I think is great."
Costa showed a lot of suits in black wool, some in pinstripe -- very classic-looking except for the ubiquitous straps and suspenders hanging from many of them, intended for style rather than function.
But Costa needed some softness, too, and so he went for black formal dresses that were -- intentionally, of course -- falling apart somewhat.
"For soft we have deconstructivism around the dresses," he said, "so that she (the woman) isn't so suited -- she has another side, which is an undone side, which is great." And finally, he went for some faux fur, in collars. "I love the idea of fur! We've never done fur, so to play with faux fur was fun. "
Calvin Klein often brings in a celebrity-filled front row. Watching the show on Thursday were model Kendall Jenner and actresses Margot Robbie and Zoe Kravitz.
Kravitz especially liked the faux fur.
"Very simple, very sexy, good for winter," she said. "There were a pair of gloves that I definitely want."
--Nicole Evatt and Jocelyn Noveck
GAS MASKS WITH A FASHIONABLE TWIST
While most New York Fashion Week shows focus on clothes, emerging Chinese designer Chi Zhang had a whole different spin.
Zhang, who has collaborated with Marvel Comics, showed off bold colorful designs including fashionable gas masks.
"My main focus is China, but here is a good opportunity for me," Zhang said backstage, referring to the U.S.. As for the fashionable gas masks, he says they're doing well. He also incorporates gas mask designs in his clothes. He started to sell them six years ago, two years before pollution became a big problem in China.
"Everybody thought I was crazy," he said. "Now, it's becoming true."
Zhang was among five emerging Chinese designers that JD.com, China's largest online direct sales company, showcased for its first runway show during New York Fashion Week.
The Beijing-based company highlighted the creations Wednesday night at a space near the Hudson River.
"These designers are all very talented and have unique expressions and styles," says Lijun Xin, president of JD.com's apparel and home furnishing business. The clothes are priced $100 to $300, JD executives say.
Just like the Milan show, the designer roster was chosen in collaboration with the Milan-based Europe Design Center.
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