NYFW Day 2: Print Play at NAHM, Steampunk at Pamela Love

Fashion Week Friday kicked off early with two stellar shows at Milk Studios. First, I caught the NAHM show, designed by Nary Manivong and Ally Hilfiger—Tommy Hilfiger’s daughter. The legendary Mr. Hilfiger was there, too, and genuinely beaming like a proud father at his daughter’s school recital. But this collection wasn’t child’s play by any means—in fact, it just might be NAHM’s best range yet. All-over egyptian and floral prints had the cult capacity of a Prada collection, and the matching wallpaper was a genius touch. 

Next, I swung by the Pamela Love presentation, which featured four models decked out in unbuttoned overalls (a welcomed throwback) and drenched in more of the designer’s luxurious armor. While the collection definitely included Love’s signature tribal edge, the show’s fog-fueled setting and the subtle futuristic touches in the jewelry felt very steampunk, in the best way possible. Highlights included the stone-set chokers and geometric bibs:

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That Time We Got Our Portrait Taken by Rankin

The morning started like any other. Actually no, no it did not. I woke up and freaked out, examined my pores in one of those magnifying mirrors, debated whether or not to wash my hair while standing in the shower for nearly an hour, and actually called Nick Haramis to see what he would be wearing to work today, the day that we would be getting our portraits taken by the renowned photographer Rankin. Just so we’re clear, it’s the same Rankin that has shot The Rolling Stones, Queen Elizabeth II, Tony Blair, and was commissioned by Nike and Bono for their R.E.D campaign in the fight against HIV/AIDS. That Rankin.

image My portrait on the screen while being photographed.

The shoot was for Rankin Live!, the New York version of his successful 2009 London show, in which he brought a museum-scale retrospective of his photographic life, together with a live shoot of over 1,500 Brits. Rankin invited people over thirteen years old who had a distinctive style, sense of British eccentricity, and enthusiasm to have their portrait taken. The portraits produced on the day were hung as part of the ever-changing exhibition and uploaded to the Rankin Live! website.

Rankin and his team have taken up residence at Milk Gallery, where they will be for five days photographing a series of portraits of New Yorkers in the gallery. The images will then be retouched and exhibited on each shoot day. Obviously, getting your photo taken by someone who has shot Kate Moss can be unnerving (especially when said portrait of Kate Moss is hanging on the wall nearby), but I had nothing to worry about. I slipped into my favorite beat-up leather jacket (and brought a change of clothes in case Nick showed up dressed to the nines) and went to Milk with damp hair. The hair and makeup team worked some magic on each of us (Nick didn’t need as much magic as I), and Rankin photographed us as if he were photographing a friend. He has a fantastic manner about him—funny and flattering—and he can make anyone feel absolutely comfortable, perhaps to the point where they start to believe they’re pretty good at getting their picture taken. The info I’m sharing here can be considered helpful since he is still looking for New Yorkers to photograph for the series.

The photographer is looking for people aged 16 and over who can bring their unique personalities and style to his set. If you’d like to be considered, you can submit a photo of yourself, and a brief explanation of your intention to rankinliveusa@rankin.co.uk. The most original applicants will be selected and invited to the Milk Gallery to have their personal shoot. The high volume of portraits will be rotated and hung each day, as part of this original exhibition, and it will be streamed online. Each portrait will cost $100, with all profits from the print sales going to the charity, Oxfam.

Rankin Open Exhibition: May 24th—June 10th Rankin Live! Shoot: June 1st—5th Opening Reception: May 24th, 7pm – 10pm Conversation w the Artist: June 1st, 2011

The Full Fashion Report: Thakoon, Wang, Mandy Coon, & More

Only during Fashion Week do you see industry folk bright-eyed and dressed to the nines on sub-zero, it’s-so-early-it’s-still-dark-out weekend mornings — all in spite of hard-partying the night before. You can catch them dashing like trained athletes between shows at Lincoln Center, Milk Studios, and various other obscure venues for hours on end, fueled by copious amounts of caffeinated beverages (sometimes spiked – I mean, who’s really that chipper in the am?).

It’s all for good reason, though, since some of the most hotly anticipated FW11 collections showed on Saturday and Sunday, like Alex Wang (see the show recap here) and Thakoon. But in case you couldn’t bear to give up your sacred R&R for 48 hours of fashionable mayhem, me and my fleece-lined tights (they’re lifesavers, trust me) were there to brave all the shows, parties, and eerie doll encounters for you.

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Rachel Antonoff Stages the High School Dance We Always Wanted When someone invites you to a party that’s meant to remind you of being a teenager, your first instinct might be to cringe. Admittedly, I winced a few times before RSVPing, but only because I was jealous of the girls that have Rachel Antonoff in their lives to make them look way cooler in high school than I ever did. But unlike the lunch table-isolating mean girls from yesteryear, the designer filled her presentation in the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School gym with happy, cool kids that just really like to dance. And she covered every last detail to make it as authentic as possible, from puppy love slow dancers (inspired by a still from Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides), to shy students observing from the bleachers, to a live chick band – all dressed in Antonoff’s whimsy-prep collection. This has to be one of my favorite themes for a presentation yet.

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Alexa Chung (who’s good friends with the designer) and two adorable looks from the collection.

The band couldn’t have been a better fit for Antonoff’s retro theme: The Like. The ’60s-inspired pop band, who performed playful tunes that got even the most straight-faced editors tapping their feet, includes the designer’s friend and the face of her recent footwear collab with Bass, Tennessee Williams. Here’s a moment I really liked:

Mandy Coon Dresses the Futuristic Globetrotter Next up was Mandy Coon at Lincoln Center. It was a looping presentation like last year, so new guests were able to see the complete collection at various times. And each time, French singer and composer Émilie Simon was behind the piano, performing the same beautifully haunting song, causing me to stick around for a few encores. Just as captivating were Coon’s highly-structural designs, which reminded me of some kind of nouveau crusader, complete with outerwear for the sequel to Blade Runner that I really wish was happening.

image A corseted leather tank, a jacket for the hard-edged Eskimo, and a tie-dye-to-die-for maxi dress.

image As proven by last season’s vivid splashes of print, Coon has an eye for introducing color in creative ways. Here, she adds a burst of unexpected hot pink to an otherwise muted color palette – a major theme for FW11.

Charlotte Ronson Throws it Back Again No one does recent retro like Charlotte Ronson. Last season was straight out of an episode of My So-Called Life, and this season edges into the same ’90s territory, but with a dash of inspiration from the ’60s. In addition to flowers, plaid, and holey tights (sometimes found all in one look), the designer introduced a collection of oversized angora knits that would blend right in at any vintage store. Another throwback I was delighted to see was Irina Lazareanu’s return to the runway for two looks, even linking arms with Ronson’s half-sister and nightlife fixture, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, during the end parade. The designer again commissioned her twin sister, Samantha, to direct the music for the show, which started with a tune by Adele.

image Irina’s finale look—and I spy a Man Repeller!

Belve and Baubles with Bijules Although I was spent by the end of Saturday, I couldn’t miss BlackBook friend and fierce jewelry designer Jules Kim’s presentation at Gramercy Park Hotel. Her latest line of fine jewelry pieces, called “The Seize Kind,” were circulated throughout the event (more party atmosphere than presentation) on silver platters held by suited men. From single ear pieces to edgy-elegant pendants, designer Jules Kim delivered another collection of covetable accessories. Combined with an open Belvedere Vodka bar and a packed after-after-party at Rose Bar downstairs, I couldn’t think of a better way to unwind after a marathon day of shows.

image Kim and some of her designs.

Art Imitating Life at VPL Sunday morning started with a trip to Chelsea Piers to see the always innovative Victoria Bartlett’s latest effort. The collection was inspired both by progressive artists Piero Manzoni and Joseph Beuys, and by the human form, evident in her stretch-and-constrict designs that shift with the body’s motion. For fall, the VPL girl is wearing layers upon layers, wrapped in a plethora of textures in a range of neutrals and well-chosen hues like vivid orange and bordeaux. As each look came down the runway, myself and everyone around me was quite and focused—as if we really were at a sculpture exhibit. We all started to clap as the music faded and the lights dimmed out, until suddenly the loud beat returned, the room went bright, and out walked an army of latex-clad models in classic VPL cutout bathing suits, culminating with a primitive finale piece that was a nod to her interest in evolution.

image Layers, suspension, latex, and a furry close to VPL.

Timeless Thakoon at the Historic Plaza Although Sunday night was jam-packed with NYFW events all over the city, there’s no doubt that Thakoon was not to be missed. As I entered The Plaza Hotel for the show, I felt the history within those walls. After all, it’s one of two hotels considered a National Historic Landmark (the other is Waldorf-Astoria), and it’s where The Beatles stayed during their first visit to the U.S. As a designer with a deep respect for the past, it makes sense that Thakoon Panichgul would select such a venue for his show, which drew an equally historic crowd of fashion influencers, there to witness Panichgul’s designs.

image This collection felt very Baroque for its more regal details, but also had a cultural feel, especially with this yellow bustle skirt in an eye-popping floral batik print.

image There was also some heavy pattern-clashing, mixing stripes with plaid or paisley printed separates—or even more stripes. Cigarette pants were also a big focus for him, which just might be the next pant style designers will start experimenting with.

image And then there were Thakoon’s signature ultra-feminine dresses, like this delicately innovative silk taffeta tie-waist style.

Katie Gallagher Designs Life-Sized Voodoo Dolls Katie Gallagher has been a designer to watch for quite some time, due to her limitless creativity and no-boundaries design approach. Held at Milk Studios, her latest collection is called “Gris-Gris,” after the tiny doll charms meant to ward off evil in Voodoo culture. And her models definitely looked the part. In haunting eye makeup and witch-like hair, the mood was dark and a little scary, though the actual designs were beautiful. Gallagher’s signature leggings were back, sliced and diced in various styles in shades of grey, black, and nude, with an expected pop of color—another example of the season’s trend. I can only describe the collection, with its capes, cloaks, and tunics in moveable fabrics, as sporty witchwear.

image The voodoo dolls in action, which most guests were too afraid to look in the eyes.

Ken Doll’s Great Dream Date Debate My second encounter with life-sized dolls occurred at Christie’s auction house, which was quite a contrast from the doll situation earlier. In an event hosted by Mattel, Ken’s “Dream Date” party was part of the big PR push the brand’s been focused on as of late, themed around Ken’s desperate attempt to win Barbie back by reviving his wardrobe. All I can say is: It’s about freakin’ time, Ken! I mean, have you even seen the range of looks Barbie attempts while you’ve been wearing those same damn Hawaiian print board shorts? Believe it or not, the event drew a massive crowd of supporters thoroughly concerned with Ken’s heartfelt dilemma—or they just really liked the idea of Christie’s, free drinks, cupcakes, and music by Paul Sevigny. Either way, it was a perfect ending to my fantastic two-day NYFW bender.

image Designers like Billy Reid, Nicholas K, and Simon Spurr were commissioned to dress the new Ken doll for his big night.

image Ken can learn a thing or two from the always-dapper DJ Paul Sevigny. When in doubt, just throw on a suit and dance.

The National Plays Mac & Milk: A Chill NYFW Kick Off Party

With a PBR can in my pocket and a glass of DeLeon Tequila in my hand, I negotiated the crowd at Milk Studios, getting tangled in groups of familiar, bold-face names I only get to glimpse but twice a year (not including resort and couture week, if I’m lucky). Last night’s Mac & Milk Fashion Week FW11 kickoff party brought out fashion week friends like Josh Lucas, Liev Schreiber, Tara Subkoff, and Vogue’s Valerie Bolster, models like Le Call and Irina Lazareanu, and ShopBop’s Kate Ciepluch, all excited to catch a performance by The National.

The Brooklyn-based band—more or less virgins on the fashion scene—was an unusual, last-minute booking confirmed by MAC & Milk’s organizer, Jenne Lombardo, at around noon the previous morning. This by-the-seat-of-your-pants attitude, along with the National’s homey, worn-in sound, set the tone for the party, belying Fashion Week’s usually high maintenance temperament.

image The party started at 9PM, but the show didn’t start until 11PM, which left some antsy, and tipsy on DeLeon margaritas: @carolhan: If the national doesn’t go on soon, I may or may not keel over and fall asleep on the floor of milk.

image Although the scene was more on the chill side, the fashion get-ups were still cause for sartorial concern: @elvainadine Missed you Mac n Milk! Only place where my weird for the office leather leggings merit stifled yawns. #nyfw Likewise, I couldn’t help but think, “Are you fucking kidding me?” after looking around at some of these “fashionistas” get-ups.

image Ironic connection? Yesterday was “National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day.”

@casey_kettleson And now I really love The National. Thanks Milk. Good party.

Photos: Patrick McMullan (Main) and I Think You’re Swell

Fashion Week Live, Straight from Your Phone

Starting today, fashion fans across the world will be logging onto their computers to catch coverage of an increasingly digitized Fashion Week: livestreams of almost every major show, busloads of fashion bloggers writing up any and every event they can weasel their way into, and street snappers posting the best pics of NYC style icons hopping from show to show. But in all the comprehensive coverage, there’s one element missing, and that’s user-generated content.

Running under the radar last September, Milk Studios has partnered with The Standard to launch a microsite for Fashion Week featuring a section where anyone can submit cellphone pics or videos of their experience, which are quickly posted for the world to see. (Full disclosure, the company I work for built the site.) Along with user-submitted cellphone snaps, Tiny Vices will be contributing commissioned photography posts, as well as exclusive editorial posts on behind-the-shows gossip, model drama, and other sartorial shenanigans. And if nothing else, the Milk Made Live site has a handy calendar of events for both Milk and The Standard, so you can plan exactly how best to stalk Zac Posen and Alexander Wang. And if you do happen to spot them, make sure to send in your cellphone snap so we know you’re not lying.

Predicting the Five Biggest Showstoppers at New York Fashion Week

Another season, another Fashion Week. Starting tomorrow, Manhattan will be invaded by race-walking clothes-whores in tight pants, gaudy-chic eyewear, and fur that ain’t faux. Packed schedules and the scant number of cabs commuting between Lincoln Center and Milk Studios (where the greatest concentration of runway presentations will be held) make it necessary for designers to promise both steak and sizzle when battling for the attention of buyers, editors, and bloggers. Choosing which show to attend can sometimes be as much about the clothes as it is the spectacle. Herewith, five presentations upping the ante on hype this season.

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Thom Browne: Two weeks ago, in Paris, Thom Browne put on a delicious show—literally, it involved male models skirting the perimeter of a banquet table laid out with all manner of epicurean delights. Some of the models even came out carrying roasted turkeys. Expect something equally outlandish when he presents his new women’s collection at the New York Public Library.

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Elise Øverland: Elise Øverland, who once designed costumes for Aerosmith at the request of Steven Tyler, knows a thing or two about creating a scene, which she’ll do this year when she presents her fall/winter 2011 collection at the Standard. Well, it’s at the Standard’s ice rink. On the ice. With a performance by Johnny Weir! It doesn’t get much for fabulous than that. image

Ken: Perhaps you’ve been the billboards? This Sunday, Christie’s, the famed auction house, will be hosting a bash inspired by Barbie’s beau. Menswear presentations will include the latest looks from Billy Reid, Michael Bastian, Nicholas K, Robert Geller, Simon Spurr, and Yigal Azrouël, all of whom will, one assumes, be dressing the blondest, buffest male models in town.

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The Blonds: Speaking of blonde—Phillipe and David Blond, longtime purveyors of catwalk pizzazz (they’ve dressed everyone from Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, to Ke$ha and Katy Perry), have sent out movie poster-size invitations to their upcoming show, The Blond, requesting that we “witness the armies of the night… controlled by the forbidden city’s most dangerous matriarch.” Not sure what that means, but we’ll be there.

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Jeremy Scott: Finally, we have Jeremy Scott, who once sent a model down the runway in a two-piece outfit made entirely of prosciutto. We have no idea what he has in store for his next show, Candy Flip, but Nylon says it might have something to do with mixing LSD and Ecstasy, our two favorite things!

Video Exclusive: Die Antwoord Invades Milk Studios for Our September Issue

When Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er, two-thirds of the South African rave-rap group Die Antwoord, showed up to Milk Studios to pose for a story in our September Reinvention issue, we had some idea what to expect. Their “Enter the Ninja” video had already been viewed more than five million times on YouTube, and they were booking high-profile shows all over the place. Indeed, the unlikely pair did live up to their cartoonish hip-hop personae by mugging and thugging for the camera. What we didn’t expect, however, was that Ninja would insist on stopping the shoot midway through so he could skip over to the Ace Hotel and fetch his favorite pair of Dark Side of the Moon boxers. We’d say it was totally worth it. Check out the theatrics after the jump.

Video above.

Party Faces: The Best Looks From a Week of Parties

Spring is all about rebirth and growth and yadda yadda: for Manhattan scenesters it’s mainly about ending winter hibernation and hitting the social circuit in order to show off the latest looks. This week was chock full of winsome odes to spring in Manhattan: parties to remind New Yorkers that the High Line will soon be in bloom, events that celebrated spring fashion openings and new spring catalogs and parties that got people excited to shed leggings, overcoats and layers of stuffy winter makeup. Here were some of the freshest beauty takes from this week’s party scene.

image Fresh Face: Unknown Party Person Event: Just a normal Thursday night out. Venue: Avenue Notable Attendees: Wass Stevens, Genevieve Jones. Look: Bold brows get the Factory Girl pairing with a bleach-blond coif, both elements are tres spring, as they say and have been runway mainstays waiting for their springtime devotees. Otherwise, this chick was just trying to pull an Edie Sedgewick. Recommendation: Get heavy brows with a highly pigmented brow shaper like Jean Paul Gaultier Monsier Brow Defining Pencil.

image Fresh Face: Alison Brod and Jennifer Ruff Event: First Bloom Art and Photography Auction to Benefit the Friends of the High Line. Venue: Equinox on 10th Avenue Notable Attendees: David Patrick Columbia, Christian Simonds, Gillian Hearst Simonds. Look: Baring your legs for the first time after a long winter can be scary, but these ladies look as if they’ve been wintering in some tropical local with smooth and tan limbs. Recommendation: Exfoliate your winterized stems with a good body polish like Brown Sugar Body Polish by Fresh. Get glowing with an easy self tanner like Victoria’s Secret Flawless Instant Bronze Body Spray.

image Fresh Face: Ian Cuttler Event: First Bloom Art and Photography Auction to Benefit the Friends of the High Line. Venue: Equinox on 10th Avenue Notable Attendees: David Patrick Columbia, Christian Simonds, Gillian Hearst Simonds. Look: A bold pair of glasses are having a hay-day after dark. Recommendation: Tom Ford’s assortment of interesting frames. If you are bold, opt for the cat-eye cut and really walk with the trend.

image Fresh Face: Noot Seear Event: Fotorelief and a Milk Gallery Project organizes a Picture Saves a Thousand Lives Venue: Milk Studios Notable Attendees: Richard Chai, Lucy McIntyre, Bonnie Morrison, Nicole Trunfio. Look: Noot works the no-makeup makeup look that was big on the spring runways of Tommy Hilfiger, Proenza Schouler, and Tory Burch. Recommendation: M.A.C. Sculpting Powder in Sculpt and bronzer in Matt Bronze.

image Fresh Face: Stacey Bendet Eisner Event: alice + olivia by Stacey Bendet Shop Opening Venue:Saks Fifth Avenue New York Notable Attendees: Byrdie Bell, Melissa Joan Heart, Tinsley Mortimer, Kat De Luna, Richie Rich. Look: The eternally adorable Bendet adds a youthful edge to a classic alice + olivia frock with a bright hair accessory. The yellow barrette is simple but says a lot about how playful Bendet is when it comes to dressing up. That same irreverence was seen on the Dolce & Gabbana and the Marc by Marc Jacobs runways. Recommendation: Try a whimsical floral clip by Anthropologie or a simple barrette from Ulta in a bright color.

image Fresh Face: Models Michelle Buswell and Tiu Kuik. Event: Akris Hosts New Yorkers For Children Spring Dinner Dance Kick-Off Venue: Akris Notable Attendees: Tinsley Mortimer, Tracy Stern, Lisa Anastos. Look: The two nail proportion. Michelle rocks a voluminous ‘do to balance a lean jumpsuit for a very ’90’s aesthetic while Tiu goes cocktail chic with a slick updo to show off her elegant neck and shoulders. Recommendation: Get big, all-American 90’s volume with Umi volumizing spray. Spritz on damp hair before blow-drying hair upside-down, then from side to side. Accentuate bare shoulders with a highlighting powder. Nars Highlighting Blush usually does the trick (and works for face and body).

image Fresh Face: Harley Viera Newton (with Nicola Vassel, Todd Selby, Harley and Moses Berksom). Event: Todd Selby and Cole Haan Celebrate Their Spring Catalog Venue: 10 Downing Notable Attendees: Lynn Yaeger, Lisa Salzer of Lulu Frost, Mickey Boardman, Bonnie Morrison. Look: Harley gets all spring-y on the retro look by opting for a red stain rather than a pout full of gloopy lip paint. Recommendation: Tarina Tarantino Conditioning Lip Sheen in Paramour has a crazy pop-art red look but takes on the texture of lip conditioner.