While New York City itself is chilled-to-the-bone cold, you would never know it by the scene inside Lincoln Center. Seasonless fashionistas took to the tents in mini skirts, high-heeled sandals and flouncy dresses to find out what everyone will be wearing in fall 2011. I, on the other hand, took the Midwestern approach: weather-appropriate, functional fashion. The first day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is always a grab bag of emerging trends. The trick is to realize which ones have staying power, and which were designer disasters. Today's shows proved to be no exception.
The shows: The Heart Truth Red Dress Collection, Duckie Brown, Tadashi Shoji, Eva Minge, Christian Siriano
The celebrities: Several celebrity models hit the catwalk Wednesday night to raise awareness of heart disease in The Heart Truth Red Dress Collection show: Ann Curry, Audrina Patridge, Camila Alves, Denise Richards, Dita Von Teese, Eve, Gayle King, Giuliana Rancic, Julianne Hough, Laila Ali, Linda Gray, Natasha Bedingfield, Patti LaBelle, Suzanne Somers and more strutted their stuff in red dresses created by top designers. In the crowd? None other than A-list hunk Matthew McConaughey. On Thursday, hot-to-trot figure skater Johnny Weir was all smiles at Tadashi Shoji, while Mena Suvari with a bevy of young Hollywood beauties ( and a few reality "Housewives") sat front row at "Project Runway" alum Christian Siriano's show.
The trends: High highs (Siriano) and low lows (Minge) made for an interesting day in fashion. Duckie Brown fell somewhere in between. While the line's cashmere overcoats and jackets were everyday elegant, the textured versions bordered on gaudy. The oversized sportswear mirrored pajamas as daywear. Men, look for longer lengths in coats for fall 2011, as well as integrating white into your post-Memorial Day wardrobe. Tadashi kept the Grecian theme alive with goddess gowns and bold neckwear. Look for more feathers and candy colors, as well as flouncy touches on eveningwear. Eva Minge presented a collection that would make any woman fashion roadkill: red fur legwarmers, velvet hotpants and poorly constructed sequin dresses. I wish I could have that hour back. Luckily, Siriano lifted my spirits with — believe it or not — a primarily black collection of menswear inspired pieces. But where he really shines is in playing with proportion (a figure-hugging blouse with a ruffled ball gown skirt) and delicately balancing tough girl chic with the chiffon-loving princess that lives in us all.
The bonus: Fashion stylist Tony Chakonas and I dropped by the fragrance launch of Douglas Hannant de Robert Piguet — the first fragrance created by the dapper designer, who is favored by the upper crust set. The exclusive party was held at The Payne Whitney Mansion, which overlooks Central Park on the Upper East Side. Tuxedo-clad male models served champagne to guests, while a duo of female models in Hannant gowns displayed larger-than-life bottles of fragrance. Hannant, nearly as bubbly as the champagne, is gearing up for his Feb. 16 show at the historic Plaza Hotel.
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