The sound of NY Fashion Week: smartphones snapping

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 9, 2013 at 10:34 pm •  Published: February 9, 2013
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NEW YORK (AP) — Remember clapping? As in when a fashion designer puts on his runway finale and then takes a bow before an adoring crowd.

The fashion hordes these days are way too busy tweeting, Instagramming and taking video with their smartphones to put those busy hands together. But more often than not, so are the fashion houses.

Technology has taken over in important ways for designers and was ready made for this New York Fashion Week as the huge storm had the elite teetering around Manhattan in blowing snow, clutching those phones.

Audiences had already been on the bandwagon, taking phone pics from their seats and posting reviews online before the models were off the runway, but designers are figuring out how to use all the instant feedback to their advantage.

Before the snow hit, information went out to retailers, editors, stylists and bloggers on how to view the Donna Karan and Helmut Lang shows online and through phone apps for those unable to attend in person.

Rachel Roy and Peter Som switched to entirely digital catwalk shows. Rebecca Minkoff and Kenneth Cole beamed live tweets on the walls, with Cole pledging donations to amFAR if a certain hashtag was used during the show.

Tommy Hilfiger collected curated interactions — and added some himself — that were shared with guests entering and exiting his menswear show. He planned to do the same Sunday for his women's collection.

Still clutching those phones, the crowds dealt Saturday — Day 3 of the eight days of fall previews — with the storm's mush of an aftermath in their dash around town and at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tents at Lincoln Center.

The industry will shift to Milan, London and then Paris after the shows close here Feb. 14.

ALEXANDER WANG

With buzz and anticipation building for his debut collection for Balenciaga, Wang used his own show to make the statement that his signature line is still very much on his mind.

The collection of finely tailored pieces in luxe and lush textured fabrics seemed elevated from the more casual and funky styles he's turned out the past few seasons, although there was the sportswear twist he is best known for woven into every look. It was a sophisticated turn — and trick — to pull off.

The song "Eye of the Tiger" of "Rocky III" fame was the underlying theme music as the models stepped onto the runway in the lobby of the ornate Cunard Building at the southern tip of Manhattan. (It was a drastic change in vibe from the airplane-hanger feel of the pier he had shown in for years that now is hosting the Westminster Dog Show.)

The catwalkers wore fur boxing gloves and hoods, with an opening for their ponytails, wrapped tightly around their heads, and fuzzy footwear. Sweatshirt-style tops were made of mohair with a touch of metallic, and fur had a burnout effect. He said he "disguised" some of the richest fabrics by brushing them, re-embroidering them and mixing them to make them modern.

PRABAL GURUNG

Military touches are shorthand in high fashion for strength and confidence. Gurung added some exclamation points, specifically citing as his muse a woman in combat.

There has been much in the news — and Gurung is a newshound — about the Pentagon's decision to open more on-the-ground options to women and also technological advances in women's body armor.

"They're redesigning the whole uniform for women because all this while they've been wearing men's uniform," he said backstage.

That led Gurung to think about women's empowerment, all the way to women he read about from the Ukraine who are coming together in self-defense against human trafficking.

There were smart jackets with gold hardware and some with red-and-black brocades, crisp navy suits, and leather harnesses over stretch-crepe dresses with sexy slashes on the bodice and asymmetric peplums and hemlines.

There had to be a little femininity mixed in with the aggressiveness, Gurung explained, because it's femininity that gives women their best tool "to rule a man's world."

BAND OF OUTSIDERS

Scott Sternberg's womenswear customer likes her jackets, especially blazers. For fall, they're getting them with a little 1940s flair.

The designer would like to see her wearing them with great trousers like the women of the era who knew how to work — with feminine wiles — the borrowed-from-the-boys look.

But, Sternberg said, he doesn't want her to be clichéd, either, so he tossed some 1980s videogame references for good measure.

He had been in contact with Atari to partner on some holiday menswear gifty items when the light bulb went off for more refined women's clothes, Sternberg explained.

"We're turning Atari images into really chic prints for women on things like cardigans with Swarovski crystals on top," he said. " Video games on top of the '40s: It's kind of insane but kind of cool."

MONIQUE LHUILLIER

Opulent Touches and intense tones of malachite green, oxblood red and amethyst were Lhuillier's red carpet calling cards.

With the Oscars around the corner, the drama on Lhuillier's runway was wrapped in beads on lace and punctuated by malachite, with illusion effects, plunging backs and strapless glamour.

Lhuillier has been lucky in Hollywood (Julianne Hough at the Golden Globes) and hopes these gowns will help continue her run.

"Well you know, every time I start a collection I always say, 'What haven't I don't before, what's exciting, what's new, what do I want to accomplish this season?' So I wanted this girl to be super sexy. It's dramatic, mixed in with a little Art Deco, and just really intense color and intense structure."

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