Carine Roitfeld, Opening Ceremony: NYFWeekend Party Recap

Thank (or blame) the unpredictable weather, but there’s something in the air this season that has triggered a delicious wickedness on the fashion week scene. The last 72 hours have been filled with both innovative fashion and late-night debauchery, which is always a welcomed mix in my book. From Maison Martin Margiela’s spacey sportswear presentation to Carine Roitfeld’s ultra elite magazine bash attended by fashion influencers like Karlie Kloss, Derek Blasberg and Karen Elson (pictured), read on for the weekend’s highlights.


Friday belonged to the It girls, and kicked off with Rebecca Minkoff‘s bash at Gramercy Park Hotel’s Rose Bar. Rowdy partygoers packed in like sardines to sip on custom Belvedere Vodka libations and sway to the sounds of celebrity mix master DJ Cassidy. Nasty Gal‘s fête at The Westway was equally electric, as notables like Theophilus London popped by to watch Blood Orange perform and to congratulate the e-tailer on the launch of their shiny new magazine, Super Nasty.


Saturday started with a next-level presentation by MM6 Maison Martin Margiela, chock-full of inventive (and, at times, intergalactic) garments with athletic influence. Speaking of space, 2011 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize winners Anndra Neen delivered an out-of-this-world collection of sleek geometric jewelry that paired well with the chic TOME pantsuits worn by the models (pictured). Watch a trippy Viddy I created for the show here.


While there were tons of parties on Saturday night, the party to be seen at was former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld’s CR Fashion Book bash presented by Mercedes-Benz. Held at the super swank The Frick Collection art museum, Ms. Roitfeld danced into her party with a hot male model in tow. To kick the exclusivity up a notch, a fleet of Mercedes Benz G-Class vehicles monogrammed with the CR initials transported guests to the event and were showcased in front of the venue. Advanced copies of the magazine, which will not be out until this Thursday, were available inside the cars for guests like Anna Dello Russo (pictured) to preview.


After the CR hangover subsided (the Roitfeld really family knows how to party), I stopped by the Illesteva presentation at Milk Studios, which included a lively jazz dance performance paired with the eyewear label’s covetable offerings. Then it was off to Asher Levine‘s show at Pier 81 to witness a range of exquisitely experimental looks with utilitarian appeal (pictured). Guests like Jared Leto and Dr. Lisa Airan enjoyed an on-runway performance by up-and-coming rapper, LE1F with Don Jones featuring Mess Kid. Designer-turned-pioneering unisex couturist Rad Hourani also showed that day, offering more of his signature transformative pieces with the cleanest of lines.


To cap an exceptionally wild weekend, Opening Ceremony threw a massive four-story rager at Webster Hall to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. Everyone from Erin Wasson to Paris Hilton partied down until the wee hours, taking full advantage of the SVEDKA Vodka flowing, as well as the retro club bangers and ghetto gothic beats booming on multiple dance floors. Monday never hurt so good.

Asher Levine Transforms Fashion at the Jefferson Market Library

Shape-shifting designer Asher Levine never ceases to impress us with his thought-provoking collections each season. From the biological kingdom to infection, his work is continuously fueled by a compelling theme that stimulates our senses and allows us to peer into the designer’s unique vision for both the sartorial world and humanity as a whole. For fall 2012, Levine develops a visual dialect using motifs and iconography to reveal a new layer of fashion’s future.

His NYFW presentation took place this past Saturday at the Jefferson Market Library—a fitting setting for a designer that is known for turning the page. In addition to offering new shapes, textures and even light-up helmets for his progressive armor, Levine introduced a new color palette, proving that his designs are not muted, but mutated. 


Another highlight of the show was when Makerbot’s 3D Printer, The Replicator, live-printed the sunglasses worn by models. Watch the presentation coverage edited by Matt Schaff here.

Photos: Kat + Duck, Ernie Green, and Patrick McMullan.

Asher Levine, Hussein Chalayan Offer Mind-Blowing Fashion for Fall

While some designers prefer to focus on designing for the nostalgic set (and don’t get me wrong; I love a good throwback), there are a handful of innovators out there who enjoy pushing the envelope in new and exciting ways. Last month, BlackBook favorite Asher Levine stole the show at New York Fashion Week with his unisex techy threads that offered two-way capabilities through embedded microchips. Just a few days ago, Hussein Chalayan shocked the Paris Fashion Week set with his ingenious collection of transformative, two-in-one dresses. This, my friends, is what I’m talking about.


"A software specifically developed by Phone Halo for Asher Levine, TrackR app, uses an audible alarm and a hot and cold proximity indicator to make it easy to find a lost item, including smartphones," says the brand. "It also can send out a separation reminder notification to let the user know an item has been left behind. A lost and found mapping feature records an item’s last known location and can send out GPS coordinates to any phone, email, or social media." Levine’s handy invention even got love from CNN

Though not as technologically advanced, Chalayan offered an equally useful service by created bang-for-your-buck garments. Thanks to a release-ready flap embedded into the famed designer’s luxe fabric, vibrantly patterned and textured dresses had the ability to turn into solid-hued styles at the wearer’s whim. Behold the transformation (at 2:37, 3:10 and 3:50) below.

Asher Levine Halloween Masks: Honey Boo Boo, Anna Wintour, More!

Asher Levine has really outdone himself with his latest project. For his third pop-up shop at Pop Souk’s bi-annual fashion market at the Standard Hotel Biergarten, the ever-innovative menswear and costume designer produced a set of creative Halloween masks inspired by a range of fashion and pop culture characters. From Honey Boo Boo to Karl Lagerfeld, each mask is as brilliantly crafted as his ready-to-wear collections and as out-of-the-box as his conceptual visions

Designed and manufacted in Levine’s downtown Broadway studio, each mask is $100 a pop and feature creepy versions of Honey Boo Boo ("Honey Boo Boo"), Anna Wintour ("The Editor from the Black Lagoon"), Karl Lagerfeld ("Count Lagerfeld"), Andy Warhol ("Andy ‘Were’hol") and John Waters muse Dawn Davenport. Intrigued? Buy ’em all before they sell out.


New York Fashion Weekend Wrap-Up: Part One

While non-fashion folk closed up shop on Friday night to enjoy 48 hours of R&R, the rest of us geared up for two days of back-to-back presentations and runway shows by trading in our 7-inch platforms for flats. You see, dressing cute the first few days of NYFW is fun and all, but after a few rounds of subway, taxi, and – yes – pedicab sprinting to complete an impossible schedule, comfort rapidly becomes key. Sure it’s stressful, but you know what? We love it. Read on for Part One of my weekend show and party highlights, including a chat with Jessica Stam and Terry Richardson–bonus Grace Coddington sighting–after the jump.

Friday’s first stop was the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge at Lincoln Center to catch Stam and Richardson (pictured above) as they unveiled the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week key visual, which features the supermodel posing on top of the Concept A-Class in Giles Deacon for Emanuel Ungaro. “I was inspired by Tom Cruise in movies like Top Gun and Mission Impossible,” says Richardson of the high-fashion meets high-action shoot. “I wanted something daring, and I knew Stam had the perfect energy for it.” When I asked Stam if, like Cruise, she did her own stunts, she excitedly responded: “Yes! Always.”

image Next up was the Mandy Coon show at the Metropolitan Pavilion, which featured liquid leather, jaw-dropping jumpsuits, and one of SS12’s top hues: white. Pattern play is another standout trend of the season – and no one did it better than Suno. The brand went all out for their first-ever runway show, which featured hypercolor florals mixed with bold stripes in dresses and separates. The VPL show at Chelsea Piers fittingly promoted a swim theme as well as spring’s high-flying sportswear trend. Models glided down the runway in damp, slicked-back hair and looks that featured neoprene and cleverly gilled accents. I call it extraterrestrial surfwear. Photos: image Friday night belonged to Nicola Formichetti, as Thierry Mugler Parfums celebrated their creative director’s body of work as well as the opening of his pop-up concept store. Guests like Visionaire’s Cecilia Dean, designer Richard Chai, and Elle style director Kate Lanphear (above, right) sipped on Belvedere Vodka as Nomi Ruiz of Jessica 6 performed a series of infectious party bangers. Formichetti kept the party going with his non-stop energy on the dance floor.

image Mega shows like Alexander Wang and Charlotte Ronson featured instantly covetable accessories, like Wang’s to-die-for supersized weekender bags and killer footwear. The brand took spring’s sportswear to the next level by introducing motocross-inspired pieces, fit for his ride-or-die chick muses. (By the way, the show’s attendees were major – I couldn’t leave without snapping Vogue’s Grace Coddington in all her flame-haired glory, pictured above center.) Ronson’s Western-themed collection was just as stellar and debuted my new must-have neckpiece: the belt-buckle choker (sported by Ronson’s sister, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, above right). Photos:

image Saturday culminated with BlackBook favorite Asher Levine’s mesmerizing menswear collection. While last year’s spring show was all about transformation, this season’s theatrics foregrounded mutation. In true Levine fashion, the production was dramatic and thought-provoking. Cleverly blending accessible pieces, like utilitarian pants, with progressive elements–tentacle masks and neoprene latex enamel gauntlets–it’s no wonder that Formichetti is one of the outré designer’s top supporters. It’s inspiring to watch this young designer grow and single-handedly lead fashion to uncharted territories.

Meet LA’s Avant-Garde Heroes

Every fashion city has its young designer rebels. In New York, there’s Katie Gallagher and Asher Levine. In London you have Gabriella Marina Gonzalez and Maria Francesca Pepe. And in Paris you have Rad Hourani and Raphael Young. What you may not know is that Los Angeles is also quite the innovative fashion incubator, home to a handful of designers making West Coast waves. We checked in with three emerging trailblazers to give you the scoop on their work and what’s next for LA fashion.


Designer: Allysun Maria Dutra of KITTINHAWK

Brand concept: “Local handmade love and crystalline magic for darlings and dreamers, inspired by geology, ancient cultures, the animal kingdom, minerals, philosophy, sex, fine art, and fashion.”

Upcoming projects: “I’m obsessed with French new wave and film noir, so I’m working on a short black and white film for the release of the next KITTINHAWK jewelry collection. I’m also working on a new couture collection of avant-garde dresses and headpieces for Concept LA Fashion Week in October.”

LA fashion, now and next: “I adore the fashion scene in LA; there are so many different circles of people creating their own aesthetics. I have no idea where the scene is going next, as everything I thought I knew about people, culture and fashion in LA has shifted dramatically over the years, but I like the mystery and the adventure of not knowing.”

Avant-gardey extra: The brand is available at Gather – a retail and creative space for “slow fashion” (a movement focused on design integrity over fame) designers in LA. Allysun works out of a studio above the store. Also, peep the KITTINHAWK’s eerie short film, A Season in Hell and Illuminations, here.


Designer: Shawn Owen of Shawn Owen Button

Brand concept: “A cosmic headrush mixed with a tidal wave of creative vomit inspired by David Attenbrough-narrated documentaries.”

Upcoming projects: “I’m getting ready for Concept LA Fashion Week.”

LA fashion, now and next: “Right now, LA fashion is like a ’70s tramp soaked in whiskey and smells like tobacco, but in the best way possible. In five years, hipsters will think segways are mad vintage.”

Avant-gardey extra: SOB’s earthy-futuristic promo video features a tune from the Swedish YouTube phenomenon known as iamamiwhoami. Watch the video here.


Designer: Amanda Thomas of Luv AJ

Brand concept: “One part feminine and one part bad-ass, Luv AJ mixes unconventional silhouettes and tarnished chains to give a look that extra little something. I’m inspired by materials, whether it’s an amazing chunk of crystal quartz or a spool of vintage chain.”

Upcoming projects: “I’m currently working on my next collection that will include pierced sheet metal, ombré fringe chain, cuffs, and charm necklaces with a twist. I’m also launching a diffusion line with Urban Outfitters, but more on that soon.”

LA fashion, now and next: “I think LA is filled with fashion-forward shoppers that are looking for something totally unique that won’t break the bank. Consumers are getting more creative with the way they wear their accessories, like rocking bracelets as armbands or bodychains as belts, so in the next few years, I think designers will step it up to match that versatility.”

Avant-gardey extra: Luv AJ is available in the new e-shop for DNA (designers+artists) – a collective of emerging avant-garde and contemporary designers in SF, NYC, and LA.

Checking in with Designer Asher Levine

We’ve been following the work of NY-based designer Asher Levine for quite some time. Known for his conceptual designs and inventive themes (his SS11 collection was inspired by the biological kingdom), this young talent is anything but predictable. And while we’ve learned to expect the unexpected from Levine, we couldn’t help but do a double-take when we saw artist Bruno Mars perform on Canada’s MuchMuch Music Awards in a surprisingly conventional AL suit. Here, the designer gives us the scoop on this new alliance, as well as the stimulating themes and images behind his latest collection.

How did the Bruno Mars collaboration come along? Stylist Enrique Melendez contacted us and said Bruno Mars and his band wanted to move into the realm of custom menswear. Perfect, I thought. Enrique was in town for the Black Eyed Peas, so I met him at the rehearsal space and we got some coffee in midtown. We went back and forth with ideas and agreed on a direction for Bruno.


The suits you made for him look more traditional than what we’re used to seeing from you. What inspired this new direction? I thought tailoring is a direction the brand would never turn, but after designing these initial styles, I now realize how important and sensitive the small details are with tailored menswear. For instance, when we were perfecting the collars, a half a millimeter makes an enormous difference. I get obsessed with fetishy details like this, and now I’m in love with these techniques. You’ll be sure to see more tailoring techniques not only on Bruno, but also in my upcoming collections.

What other well-known figures have you dressed this year? This year we’ve done more outfits for the Black Eyed Peas and their tour. We are also working with Jim Steinman as well, the writer behind all of Meatloaf’s hits and other iconic songs.

What can we expect to see at your SS12 presentation in September? There’s this infection people are getting around the city that starts like a cold. But I think there’s more to it. Just on Monday, I was cycling down the West Side Highway and when I got downtown, near the military base, and I saw people getting brought in by a bus and escorted by guys in hazmat suits. It looked just like a movie. I think the infection is connected to that, but I’m not sure.

That all sounds cryptically interesting, and classic Asher. What message do you want to leave your fans with? The infection has begun.


Shop Asher Levine here.

Fashion Wunderkind Asher Levine on Designing for Lady Gaga

There are moments in fashion when a new designer comes along to make waves in an otherwise becalmed and conservative industry. The names Thierry Mugler, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, and the late Alexander McQueen come to mind. More than just for shock value, avant-garde designers exist to challenge and broaden our tastes by introducing us to new silhouettes, proportions, and textures. They confront the perennial question: Has everything already been done? After meeting 22-year-old underground phenom Asher Levine and witnessing his debut show this past fashion week, I can say the answer is a resounding No. Levine, with his fascination with organic forms – nanomicroscopic images, cocoons – embodies newness. The designer took some time out from his ever-busier schedule – he’s in talks to take over a couture house – to discuss his inspirations, goals, and why he’s more than just the whiz kid behind Lady Gaga’s strait jacket.


I read that your SS11 collection was inspired by the biological kingdom. I’ve always been interested in science as a way of explaining our existence. Growing up, I remember spending hours looking at books on the animal kingdom, and continue to do so. During the development of this collection I researched nanomicroscopic images of elements and micro-organisms. I get pleasure looking at how beautiful the tiniest organisms are constructed. The clothing manifests this natural inspiration.

What was the idea behind your collection’s beautifully eerie promotional film? I travelled upstate during the development of the collection and I saw these amazing cocoons created by the local caterpillars. I thought it would be sexy to give birth to a new species myself, so I began developing a plotline around that theme.

What do you think the fashion industry is lacking and how are you filling that void? There is a lack in menswear development. Countless silhouettes exist that accentuate the male form and my goal is to unearth those styles.

Explain your process of creating a new piece, from idea to design. Each piece takes a unique path. Many pieces are a development from other styles, a kind of evolution, you might say. I prefer to design the eccentric pieces and use those as inspiration for the more wearable styles.


How did you get into fashion? Did you ever want to do anything else? I took a sewing class at a very young age and continued to make clothes through middle school and high school. When I moved to New York, I became involved in the underground club scene as an outlet to express my designs. I then started making designs for performance artists, and soon after, launched my first collection for Fall/Winter 2010.

At the show I noticed how tight you are with your family. I’m lucky to have a supportive family, I love them so much.

How were you approached by Lady Gaga to create custom pieces? Was it a collaborative process? Both pieces I made for Gaga, I was asked by her stylist Nicola Formichetti to design and make. Nicola is such a talent – his team would tell me what was on his mind, and I would make prototypes that satisfy both him and Gaga.

image Lady Gaga in Asher Levine’s oversize motorcycle jacket. Photo by Terry Richardson.

Who else have you dressed? I’ve dressed Sam Sparro, Dangerous Muse, Ebony Bones, and the comedian Pam Ann. I love to dress anybody who doesn’t have any limits.

Who are the people that inspire you? I am inspired by people who take risks and go against the grain of society. My network in New York encompasses so many influential artists that all inspire me collectively.

Where do you see your clothes being worn more – on the streets or in performance? Walking the streets is a performance.


You’re only 22 now. Where will you be at 32? I envision the Asher Levine line at a global level, continuing to influence contemporary menswear. I want to create an umbrella organization that encompasses both fashion and artistic expression.

Any plans to launch a womenswear line? I’m in negotiations to take over a couture women’s house, but I can’t say any more than that.

What can we expect next from Asher Levine? That I don’t even know, and it’s that unknown that makes me get up every day.


All photos and videos provided by the designer.