My First Time: Last Night At Beauty & Essex

Beauty & Essex is one of those places that fell into my social cracks. Believe me; there are many of those and other categories of cracks and, yes, I’m starting to see wrinkles around my eyes. My birthday (Feb. 2nd) is coming up and, well, it’s just starting out to be one of those days. Probably because it was just one of those nights. Anyway, before last night, I had never been to Beauty & Essex. I’ll let the "what kind of nightlife writer do you pretend to be?” lines get out of the way and just say… "it happens.”

Chris Santos, the owner/operator, has invited me a zillion times, and I adore him and respect the brand a lot but…it happens. So last night, I finally went to Beauty & Essex, and it was for bon vivant and scallywag Dave Delzio’s birthday bash. He was there – a hundred familiar people told me – but, alas, I couldn’t find him for an hour. As I was leaving, I finally spotted the rock and roll-club promoter. Dave showed me his new neck tattoos and I asked him a few questions about growing up.

How old are you and what do you have to be most proud of on this day?
I’m 38 and I’m dating the most beautiful girl in the world and I couldn’t be happier?

Why do this party at Beauty & Essex?
Chris Santos is my best friend and it always feels like home here

What do you want to be when you grow up?
You !!

One of the attendees at Dave’s birthday bash was the charming and disarming El (Lindsay) Grace, a beautiful, fresh, up-and-coming model/photographer. Her band, El Grace, will be performing its new age, ambient, psych folk offerings at The Delancey this coming Monday at 10pm. She will be celebrating her birthday at the gig. I would be there but I’m DJing at the new Passenger Bar for Sailor Jerry’s Birthday. Unfortunately, Sailor Jerry will be a for sure no-show.

Speaking of, Charlie Sheen was a no-show at the New York screening after-party for A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III at Hotel Chantelle. Still, there were plenty of celebrities to gawk at from Chantelle’s roof. I arrived as it was winding down; the staff was abuzz about the likes of Swan III director Roman Coppola’s clan which included Francis Ford Coppola, Sophia Coppola, Eleanor Copolla, Jason Scwartzman, Sean Lennon, Anna Sui, Fred Armisen, Alan Cumming, Tennessee Thomas, Alexa Chung, and someone said Bill Murray attended as well. 

Note: today is Pat Benatar’s birthday…she’s 60! And I’ll be honoring her in my set tonight at Hotel Chantelle.

Ready To Wear: My Fashion Week Rundown

What follows is a recap of my modest Mercedes Benz Fashion Week experience. Far from a fashionista, I tend to dip my toes into this frenzied eight-day-or-so scene, rather than diving in and drowning. I respect quality designs and am confident my personal style is in step, but this subject doesn’t occupy my mind 24/7. Indulging in the art of clothing is a guilty pleasure, a hobby of the highest order, but there’s only so much strutting I can manage (even on the observing side). I made it to six shows (fewer than usual due to an absence of ambition), the highlights of which you’ll be briefed on below.

Bright and early Saturday morning at Lincoln Center’s Studio was Ruffian, which didn’t disappoint. To begin, models rocked Converse high tops, lending the looks a carefree flair, some sporty to complement the oft twee toile prints in (independently) pink, blue, and yellow on white. Pants, skirts, dresses, blouses, and blazers all received the delicate treatment, intricate imagery that, as it happens, was influenced by Brooklyn. In the program, the designers explain that they sought “to explore our love of couture within the context of Williamsburg,” the neighborhood they live in. How very hip (hipster?) Victorian, no?

A foil to girlie girls, tomboys also showed off overalls, a welcome contrast to ruffles, lace and other über-feminine details, which undeniably dominated. Cotton ticking stripes and silk iridescent brocade also made memorable impressions, applied in various forms, sometimes from head-to-toe. I was especially taken by a tailored metallic boucle crop jacket. At times precious, the collection proves not only eye-catching, but also super wearable. The entire line left me with a sense of sophisticated-meets-street. The tees and lingerie, too, were fun and flirty, respectively.

Speaking of lingerie, Victoria Bartlett unveiled her VPL (Visible Panty Line) SS13 styles at Pier 59 Studios in Chelsea later the same day. Loosely based on the theme of exertion, her vision was a bit more meta. Bartlett is adept at thinking outside the box, refusing to be pigeonholed, and her latest iteration is no exception. The look and feel this season was one of subdued elegance. Models breezed by in attire that achieved the effect of graceful athleticism, the ladies like Olympic nymphs, unsmiling but absolutely alluring.

From voluminous free-flowing floor-length skirts billowing with every stride, to midriff-bearing knits; from opaque anoraks to sheer onesies; from parachute harem pants to angular and often boxy tops and dresses, Bartlett introduced a number of nuanced silhouettes. Her aesthetic straddled masculine and feminine sensibilities with an evident tilt towards the latter, despite the sharp geometric cuts. Fabrics clung in all the right places when necessary, but deliberately draped and obscured definition at times, too, igniting our imaginations.

Something standard photos of the runway won’t adequately reveal is the movement of the garments, as well as the peek-a-boo backs a lot of the articles possess. Cutouts were all the rage, hinting at (or explicitly exposing) the human canvas beneath the cloth covering. The color scheme stuck to a specific palette, highlighting bright oranges and yellows, mint and lime greens, and powder pink in addition to more monochromatic black, tan, gray and white. Bartlett also got girlie with sequins, distressed and otherwise, offering still more evidence that the woman within wins out. In sum, Bartlett’s forthcoming collection is remarkably strong.

Classic beauties sashayed along Reem Acra’s Lincoln Center Stage runway Monday afternoon, tresses swept into sleek ponytails, lips cherry red. It’s been ages since I last attended one of her shows and I forgot how magical they can be. Embellished and beautiful, this season she pared down her great big gowns, opting instead to introduce a few fairytale looks at the very end. I was pleased as I was partial to the edgy daywear, though I’ve no doubt I’m in the minority. (However, I caught up with stylist to the stars Robert Verdi at the end and he agreed, referencing the pervasive “Glenda the good witch trend” he’d been encountering all over NYFW.) Not to say those eveningwear wonders weren’t magnetic!

Acra’s openers were winning, featuring several sharp looks that could easily enable ladies to slip seamlessly from day to night without missing a beat. The motifs that stood out to me were sexy suiting, a tire-tread laser-cut pattern, an appreciation for varied necklines (bowed, peter pan, plunging, strapless, etc.), cutouts running from armpit to ankle (or knee), and navy, ivory, vermillion, and green. Despite taking cues from “Aaron Young’s famous series of motorcycle inspired works,” per the program, everything was fiercely feminine with an emphasis on fierce. Drenched in attitude, the everywoman could conquer the world in these spectacular pieces. Beyond silk, she did indeed hark back to testosterone with the incorporation of leather. Best in show? I fell for the two fil coupe dresses, as well as the midnight navy silk satin bomber jacket. Overall, it was a show worthy of the goddesses. A sheer success in my book.

On the topic of sheer, Milly by Michelle Smith didn’t shy away from mesh when she presented Wednesday afternoon also at the Stage. A departure from past presentations, SS13 sees her Upper East Side prep aesthetic receive a seductive-meets-sportswear overhaul. Cool (in both personality and tonality) the palette consists of black, optic white, silver and neon-meets-pastel coral, mentino, lapis and citron. Reflective tape accents add to the icy but mesmerizing modernity. Far from stark, however, the futuristic-looking line has heart.

According to Smith, with whom I spoke post-show, “I started off thinking about surrealism. I took a trip to Brussels and went to the Magritte Museum. Then, I spent time in Spain and the friends I was staying with had drawings by Dali. [Surrealism] was stewing in the back of my mind and I thought about what [the Surrealists] would be like today.” She added, “The use of reflection and a lot of the prints were reminiscent of dreams.” For instance, the digital smoke print, which she employs in two of her 42 looks.

So, there you have it, she re-imagined an art movement and applied it to her wares. Akin to VPL, she also showcased opaque anoraks (and transparent ponchos). This see-through idea sprang up amid the ample mesh she incorporated, as sleeves mainly, but also as tops to shirts and dresses. Bows were nowhere to be found this go around, ladylike qualities paid homage via heavy contour hugging. Belts were big, because bringing it in at the waist never goes out of style, even for the hypothetical Surrealists of 2012 (2013?). Maybe most fabulous, though it’s tough to pinpoint, were the black laser-cut chiffon on mesh racerback dress (with an eye-catching pop of neon green) and the silver reflective tech nylon cascade corset dress paired with the white power mesh elbow sleeve tee. As P’Trique would say, #TotesAmaze!

While Smith focused on the future, Anna Sui glanced at the past. The foremost eras rearing their heads at Lincoln Center’s Theater early Wednesday evening were, to my mind, punk and grunge. Leopard print partnered with black fishnets (often heavily holed), clashing patterns like floral and flannel/plaid, floral gone noir with black background worn with black lace cutoff tights, pants beneath dresses and so on. Sitting in my seat, my memory would whoosh back to the nineties TV show My So-Called Life, my eyes searching the front row for Jordan Catalano.

Here we witness sheer again, but black rather than white (hello, it’s Anna, the dark angel), as well as jumpsuits and jacquard and jarty parties (oh my!). Karlie Kloss herself strolled down the aisle in a full on Indigo Denim Dress with Baroque Pearl Beading. Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan. Several ensembles shined, like her Black Neoprene Motorcycle Jacket, Black Arabesque Lace Dress with Stripe Lining, Black Tulle Petticoat, and Black Neoprene Leggings. Though it isn’t something I would wear, it’s visually compelling. It works. On the whole, I wasn’t terribly moved by the collection. I want to fawn over it like many a critic did but I found it revisited fashion statements that should never have been made in the first place. Sui is owed a round of applause, however, for her use of faux leather as opposed to genuine animal hides. That’s always admirable in my book.

Of them all, I’m most apt to be seen sporting Milly, but I fantasize about Ruffian and Acra. VPL was something special, too, though less suitable to a frame like mine. Mad props to Bartlett for giving guests a great gift bag, which, in addition to containing nail polish from my favorite beauty brand, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, included a heart-shaped anti-fur pin courtesy of the Humane Society. Kudos to VPL and co. for drawing attention to this significant but often overlooked issue.

Anna Sui, Eugenia Silva, & Whitney Port at the Second Annual WSGN Global Fashion Awards

Last night, fashion elite from across the globe came together for the second Annual WSGN Global Fashion Awards. Honoring everyone from established designers to marketing to teams to design students, the black tie affair was held at breathtaking Gotham Hall in New York City. Sponsored by Swarovski, the Global Fashion Awards have already picked up momentum since their inauguration last year. With over 2,000 submissions from all over the globe, new and established talents alike were reviewed by a panel of 35 influential fashion experts including June Haynes (Senior VP of retail Valentino USA), designer Lisa Ho, Simon Keen (Executive VP of Design, Banana Republic), Dolly Jones (Editor, Vogue.com), and Graeme Fidler & Michael Herz (Creative Directors of Bally).

The night began much like another awards show I attended in April — by interviewing Robert Verdi, who was emceeing this show as well. Robert has been up to a lot since we last spoke. He’s still hosting his radio show, but confessed, “I’m very jealous that I’m not on the Studio 54 Channel.” However, he did get a chance to attend the coveted Studio 54 party this past Wednesday night, and confirmed it was as wild as expected. “It was a fun party. Such a disco. One night only!” Additionally, he’s working on his own accessories and sunglasses line: “I’m launching a jewelry line on November 17th and I’m also launching a sunglasses collection on HSN in February.” We then discussed his amazing spiked Christian Louboutin shoes and how he stalks the hors d’oeuvre trays at parties, of which he said, “I’m a tray chaser. Not a tranny chaser. A tray chaser.” Thanks, Robert, you win the award for Most Outstanding Quote of the Night!

Next I got to chat with Anna Sui, who was presenting an award to Barbara Hulanicki, winner of Outstanding Contribution to Fashion. “I just got back from Toronto from touring for my fragrance and makeup line,” she said. “I just introduced a bedding collection which will launch next year for exclusive accounts and I’m working on my collection for next year.” Where can we find the collection? “I can’t say yet, but it will be for exclusive accounts.” Naturally, Anna travels a lot, so we discussed some of her favorite and most memorable travel experiences: “I work a lot in Asia and Europe, so I travel back and forth a lot to those places, so I like more exotic places [for vacation]. This summer I went to India. I’ve traveled to Egypt and Russia. I just like going to places that are more historic and exotic than just the regular capital cities. At one point I only went to London, Paris and Tokyo and now I like to travel to less expected places.” So what new designers does Anna like? “I’m waiting for the big change. I think [the industry] is changing right now and I think there’s someone who is really going to break through and really knock everyone’s socks off.”

One of the best dressed attendees of the night was Spanish model Eugenia Silva, who graced the room in a muted mint green Gucci dress with asymmetrical sleeves, a Giorgio Armani metal box clutch, and gold Jimmy Choo stilettos. If you thought Eugenia was beautiful externally, she’s also an active philanthropist. “Right now I’m working on the worldwide A.I.D.S fight and a benefit gala on December 1st,” she said. “We are becoming the biggest event in Spain. It’s the third year we’re organizing the event. Last year we got more than 700 thousand dollars. You know, in America, it’s very easy to do, but in Spain it’s very hard, so we’re proud that it’s growing so much. I’m also working to benefit kids in Mexico with Eva Longoria and Antonio Banderas for a gala in Spain. It’s called the Star Light Gala. Last year we got a lot of celebrities to donate money and it all goes to schools for kids in Mexico.” On the modeling end, she works every day and has a blog on Spanish Elle.com. She also dabbles in film: “I have a production company here in New York. My partner is Frida Torresblanco, one of the producers of Pan’s Labyrinth. We’re starting to shoot our first movie in Chile in January. Right now, I’m behind the camera, but you never know.” Given Eugenia is a blogger now, I wanted to know if she was on Twitter: “I don’t want to show too much. I am tweeting. I like it. I think it’s useful but people also get really addicted and also say things they shouldn’t!”

Lastly, I found my way to Whitney Port, who was there to present the Most Influential Designer in Footwear and/or Accessories. Port has launched her own clothing line and is enjoying a successful career in fashion since bursting onto the scene via MTV’s popular reality show The Hills. She wore a stunning floor length cobalt blue Matthew Williamson backless dress paired with Marc Jacobs heels. She accessorized with a crystal encrusted box clutch. In regards to her clothing line, she said, “I just launched my Spring/Summer 2012 line. It’s a lot of florals. Cute, feminine, funky. My favorite piece is an oversized boxy sweater.” And what about having her own accessory line? “Yes, I would love to! That’s definitely something I’d like to do in the future” So how does the jet-setting young designer handle her busy schedule: “I have an amazing support system. I have a big family and great friends who keep in check. I guess I’m a hard worker by nature so I sort of thrive on it and enjoy it.”

With that, we were all ushered into the main ballroom for the awards ceremony, where we were treated to a three course dinner and plenty of wine. Gift bags were stuffed with a We <3 WGSN bag, a Swarovski crystal encrusted flash drive, nail polish by Butter, a giftcard by LDF Floral and Event Design, a Pantone notebook, an Anisa makeup brush, and a copy of Salt Magazine by Swarovski. And like every good award show, charity was present. Trekstock was there to bring awareness to young people with cancer. The charity fundraises through music and fashion to raise awareness and help fund research for youth suffering from cancer. Other sponsors included Lycra, Drapers, TNT, Gerber Technology, Fashion Monitor and World Retail Congress, amongst others.

Net-a-Porter won big, taking home both Best Etailer and the Swarovski Elements Winner of Winners ultimate prize. Breakthrough winners included Michael Cinco and Pretty Green. Favorites like TopShop, H & M,, and Opening Ceremony also won their categories. See the full list of winners and categories here.

Anna Sui Fall 2011 RTW Takes Cues from Mod, Dandyism, & Ballet Russes

Anna Sui’s Fall 2011 runway show at Lincoln Center Wednesday evening took its cues from colorful cultures and daring eras, making for a lively and feminine vibe. Last month, during a panel held in her honor at The Metropolitan Museum, Sui said she was inspired by “an amazing exhibition in London about Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes.” She also spoke about her mood board: “There [are] lots of pictures of Ballet Russes costumes, lots of Léon Bakst drawings. There’s a mixture of Mod too. I’m trying to overlap it. Hopefully the collection will capture that.” For her presentation, Sui also referenced dandyism and romantic dress, feathers and velvet.

While there were no feathers to be found at yesterday’s presentation, there was burnout velvet and nods to mod, as well as Art Deco and Art Nouveau flourishes. A favorite was a jade Deco butterfly-print crepe tunic, with tights to match and an elaborate wing adorning each shin. Sheer schoolgirl knee-highs also made an appearance.

Sui incorporated colors like olive, navy, magenta, and electric blue with several staple black-and-white and cream pieces to round out the collection. Of particular prettiness was one of the last looks, a delicate cream woodcut rose pattern velvet and striped mesh babydoll dress — though on the shorter side, expect dresses and skirts of all lengths courtesy of Sui come fall.

Some models donned both real and faux fur coats, stoles, and capes, while others wore whimsical cat hats with whiskers. Still others sported dangling resin chain necklaces and low slung belts, lending a tasteful ’70s boho-chic style.

Perhaps Sui’s biggest misstep were her indigo denim numbers and a particular pair of black cross-hatch rubber print shorts.

Notable attendees at the Sui show included Sofia Coppola, Fergie, Vanessa Hudgens, Karen Elson and The Veronicas.

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Photo Credit: Cindy Ord

Hot Hosiery That Makes Spending New Year’s Eve Outdoors Less Hectic

Now that you have a few NYE outfit options and party plans, it’s time to think about the little things, like what accessories to bring that will make you feel prepared for anything. You know that at some point in time you’re going to be outside, which means enduring the freakin’ freezing cold weather in your little dress and heels, secretly resenting all the boys walking around in their warm pants without a care in the world. The thought of getting really, really drunk to warm up crosses your mind, but remember what happened last year? You do not want to repeat that midnight kiss ever, ever again. So, what are your options? You could wear pants, but those Camilla Skovgaard heels you really want to wear look so much better with a dress. Hosiery is the next best thing, and although they’re not quite as supportive as pants, the thin layer of warmth really does make all the difference. See a few favorites after the jump.

From left: ASOS Lace Over-the-Knee and Sheer Tights, $17.24; House of Holland For Pretty Polly Super Suspender Tights, $20.69; Grey Antics Shirred Mesh Leggings, $78; Anna Sui Black Crochet Sweater Tights, $19.99; Anthropologie Daisy Chain Tights, $9.95.

Do Get Your Panties in a Ruffle

This spring it’s okay to get your panties in a ruffle—in fact it’s trendy! Well, at least for your outerwear. Spring/Summer 2011 brings us all the fun flirtiness of ruffles and frill. Expect to see lots of tulle, ribbons, and lace. Spotted on runways for Valentino (pictured), Anna Sui, Azzaro, Emilio Pucci, and D&G, feminine ruffles will be all the rage this upcoming year.

You’ll see plenty of ladylike styles in neutral/pastel colors with tiered ruffles, floral prints, delicate lace on chiffon, and flowing fabrics. Girly girls unite—this is our season!

You Are Cordially Invited to Anna Sui, Tonight!

Anna Sui’s new fashion tome, Anna Sui, was recently published, with a shimmering foil-stamped cover and 400 photographs spanning Sui’s 20-year career. In honor of the book, she is hosting a winter wonderland holiday bash tonight that includes free gifts with purchase of the book and the priceless opportunity to meet the designer herself. In keeping with Sui’s signature rock and roll style, the book is not only a visual retrospective of her career, creative process, and inspirations—it defines Sui as the design icon and global fashion influence that she is. More details after the jump.

Anna Sui’s book launch/holiday bash will take place tonight, Thursday, December 16, from 6pm to 8pm, at the Anna Sui store. 113 Greene Street, NYC; 212-941-8406.

Anna Sui, Jil Sander, ‘SATC2’ & Williamson Spawn Fashion Reads

Fashion’s literary fetish is anything but waning these days. While street-style bloggers have released a slew of tomes in recent months (The Sartorialist, The Selby and the Facehunter included), so have the likes of unemployed sartorial icon Olivier Theyskens and former employees of both Miuccia Prada and Karl Lagerfeld. Now comes news that Anna Sui, Jil Sander and the Sex and the City engine will release their own publications in upcoming months. Notoriously shy Sui is about to go “very public about her 20-year career,” says Women’s Wear Daily. Come fall, Chronicle Books will release a retrospective that will “recount her working with practically every supermodel around, dressing rock sirens and bohemian chicks and giving the baby-doll dress a lease on life.” Although Sui herself can’t be credited for actually penning anything more than the book’s forward; contributors Jack White (hubby to longtime Sui muse Karen Elson), the Costume Institute’s Andrew Bolton and photog Steven Meisel take care of the rest.

Jil Sander, who recently returned from a fashion hiatus to team up with Uniqlo for a heralded ongoing collaboration, is following suit. “The reclusive German designer said she wants to produce a book … ‘some kind of resume of my work in the past and the ideals that stand behind it’,” Sander told Women’s Wear Daily. She has yet to decide on the publisher, but given her larger-than-life sartorial reputation, finding interested parties isn’t likely to be much of a struggle.

A significantly harder pill to swallow, however, is the latest extension of the Sex and the City empire. In anticipation of the sequel to the ongoing Carrie Bradshaw saga, SATC is releasing its own style guide. Slated to hit shelves May 18, the paperback is a “mammoth 500 page fashion-focused book” that breaks down outfits from the film as well as offers up behind-the-scenes, “making of” magic. Fortunately for designers whose garb is featured in the film, every outfit’s various components are labeled by brand. As for the looks themselves, let’s just say that whoever released the preview image above might have been better of opting for something slightly more understated.

Speaking of Sex and the City, Bradshaw favorite, Brit designer Matthew Williamson is also getting into the literary game. “Yes, I’m working on a book,” he divulged to Racked LA this past weekend, before adding, “it’s going to be written by Colin McDowell, with an introduction by Sienna Miller. With a few more contributors, maybe. Anna Wintour possibly.”

Fashion Week School Daze

Fashion is going prep, and I don’t just mean the fact that Harvard is moonlighting as a fashion house. Just in time for “back to school,” collegiate nostalgia seems to be sweeping the fashion community here at New York Fashion Week. Saturday, Alexander Wang showed an entire SS10 collection whose inspiration was seemingly sourced from a high school football locker-room, albeit with looks intended for ladies only. (To boot, his after-party was held in a gas station on the West Side Highway — spending Saturday night partying at a gas station? Hello high school.) Meanwhile, both Opening Ceremony (via a collaboration with Pendleton) and Balenciaga are offering up varsity jackets for FW09.

Anna Sui finally launched her Gossip Girl-inspired Target line via a pop-up shop at the recent Fashion’s Night Out. Not to mention, making the rounds at NYFW Saturday were PAPER’s Mickey Boardman in a makeshift varsity cardigan (complete with his initials on the back) and Lynn Yager, the Village Voice alumnae who has been covering shows for New York, in a cardigan complete with “Baby Linnie” on the back. Both were captured on camera by Tavi (a.k.a. the Style Rookie) herself, who seems to be making a very serious case for this season’s most visible front-row-goer.