Fashion Week Chronicles: Alessia Prekop FW 2013 Collection at NYFW

Fashion Week Chronicles Alessia Prekop FW 2013 Collection At NYFW

Though most of the attention and flash bulbs are aimed at Lincoln Center during February and September’s fashion weeks, it’s at the events scattered across the Meatpacking district and Midtown where some of the best new things are happening, sans a million dollar runway show. That’s just what happened last night, at Alessia Prekop’s forward-looking show at Eyebeam Studios on 21st Street and 11th Avenue.

The Italian-born, London-reared designer’s aesthetic revolves around dichotomies—bright and dark, sharp and soft, sculptural and minimal.

This season saw an expansion on the themes of sleek dresses in black and bright with a series of structural coats and more involved gowns. Standouts included a cape-like overdress in hot pink lined black satin and several geometrically minded black and red coats.

There was a definite sleekness to everything from the beauty to the shoes (the models wore slicked back braids and futuristic black and gold smoky eyes and walked in black heels that were either lightly fetish-inspired or highly architectural), but where the show succeeded most was in the workmanship.

Even from a few inches away it was obvious that Prekop has put her training to good use: even the simpler-seeming pieces were complex in their construction, with radiating seams and billows. They were editorial and absolutely wearable—a strength that many a seasoned designer loses sight of at some point, and one that most young designers struggle with. Prekop has the groundwork and the eye to become a name in the next few seasons if she can broaden her scope a bit. [divider]

Photo: Alessia Prekop FW2013 - Credits: Dan Lecca Photography[hr]


Fashion Week Chronicles: Custo Barcelona F/W 2013 Collection at NYFW

Fashion Week Chronicles Custo Barcelona FW 2013 Collection At NYFW

Though it was, as per usual, billed as the most high energy show of fashion week, this season’s Custo Barcelona show was less obviously intense than perhaps any other of his collections. This does not mean that it wasn’t a bit of a mess at times.

It’s important to say that the Custo Barcelona girl is not the front row fashion week girl or the New York magazine girl. She’s a Barcelona girl, and in general Spain is more welcoming to zig-zag ribbon and riots of knits than New York.

That said, while the show had some flashes of sophisticated delicacy and interesting proportions, they were offset by that trademark anarchic mash-up of print and trim and pockets that makes many a nose turn up at Mr. Dalmau’s work.

The menswear had its moments—trim printed suits in a somber palette were certainly wearable for a certain crowd, though it’s hard to imagine any guy throwing a massive knit cape around his shoulders any time soon.

There was also a definite step away from the cartoonish graphic screen prints that have been Custo’s bread and butter for the past few decades. This is a very good step, as it seems to have been replaced in the lineup by Custo’s idea of what a more subtle, grown-up, cold-weather friendly lady would wear.

There were peeks of a beautiful city-lights printed jumpsuit and a bevy of sparkly, fringed mini-dresses under woolen coats (the theme here was Beauty and the Beast; this translated to bulky wool and frothy sparkle), but it was too hard to forget the patchwork fur and itchy looking wool mini skirt, even in their presence.


FILM: The Oranges

FILM: “The Oranges” Not The Tastiest Fruit in the Bunch

FILM: The Oranges

Filmmakers love the listless, amorphous depression that seems to coat the American suburbs and their hapless residents.

It’s laid on thick in the opening scene of Julian Farino’s feature film debut “The Oranges,” as Vanessa Walling (Alia Shawkat), poses the film’s driving conflict in an ironic Daria monotone: "The question of happiness has preoccupied philosophers, poets and pharmaceutical companies for thousands of years."

Though, the answer the film provides is not drugs or positive thinking, but rather, a very awkward affair, which narrowly dodges pedophiliac territory to instead venture into the land of non-chemistry and significant glances.

Intermittently narrated by Vanessa, emotionally stunted in life (stuck in the 'burbs, man!) and career (vague fear of failure, gosh!), “The Oranges” follows the breakdown and rebuilding of two families that are totally best friends all the time. Well, except for the daughters from the two families—who no longer speak because of a high school tiff— the son—who is clueless and in China for much of the movie—and the wife-husband blocs, who only seem to interact with each other.

We see barely any friendship between Paige Walling (Catherine Keener) and Terry Ostroff (Hugh Laurie), or David Walling (Oliver Platt) and Carol Ostroff (Allison Janney).

The ladies and the bros leave each other alone most of the time, though everyone has their narrow vices to escape the dreary oppression of the bourgeoisie New Jersey suburbs. Paige latches on to causes like caroling with religious fervor, while Terry obsesses with gadgets, and his invention of Ultimate Frisbee (Joel Silver jokes abound). Meanwhile, Carol meddles and lives vicariously through everyone, Nina travels constantly and "needs a man to validate her existence" (actual quote, thank you Vanessa), and Terry screws his best friend’s daughter. These respective tropes are established early on and are then dragged around by the collar throughout, rather than carefully developed.

Hugh Laurie and Leighton Meester have somewhat shining moments, though they both seem to have been instructed to act like high schoolers. And while Catherine Keener has some fantastic crazy-lady breakthroughs as Terry's spurned wife, she's pulled back too soon.

The standout, however, is Allison Janney's Carol, who manages to be consistently and legitimately funny in a way that meddlesome mothers are, without reducing her character into a caricature.

The problem here is that there's no clear sort of decision or commitment in terms of emotional height. “The Oranges” wants to be a nice, occasionally funny movie that makes you consider the possibility that unexpected events that sound terribly, terribly shitty in theory could, in fact, turn out to be wonderful for everyone.

Instead, it meanders somewhere in between a few amusing episodes, some cringe-worthy yet poignant ones (Nina Ostroff: "People get married at 24!" Carol Ostroff: "Not white girls from New Jersey!") and a whole lot of stunted moments. The most dramatic scenes are left out, and we’re thrown into the middle of the most loaded conversations in the film.

Through all of the turmoil that never seems real--not even when Paige runs over the holiday decorations Terry has festooned the lawn with--everyone seems to find their happy place.

Despite the half-assed moral quandaries of the characters, everyone turns out perfectly alright: They keep their big ol' houses, get wonderful jobs, and they're all ostensibly still friends. The underlying message implies that being selfish for the sake of happiness will eventually lead to everyone finding themselves and their rightful place in the world. But what blocks that message most is how no people would ever react the way the Ostroff’s and the Walling’s react in most of the situations they're placed in. There's no room for long-standing grudges or history in “The Oranges,” or for any sort of emotion spanning longer than the holiday season.

Overall Rating: C

[divider]
“The Oranges” opens today in select theaters. Click here for theaters and showtimes.


Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (20)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013

Lars Andersson's collections are a bit atypical for Fashion Week. He only does knits--beautiful knits, but only knits. So it's a bit of a testament then that he's still showing despite only ever showing knits.

Lars himself is a curious fellow. He learned to knit as a kid (with toothpicks, admirably), in Sweden, where he says everyone learns to knit. What separates Lars from the rest of the Swedish populace is that he made a go of the knitting, and moved to America, where the only thing everyone learns how to do is Tivo “American Idol.”

His lines have been almost exclusively dark since he started out, but this season he went a different, beiger route, thanks to a chick at a Diiv concert.

"...she had bleached blonde hair and this floor length white lace shawl, and I said, 'that's my girl.' She's like Stevie Nicks, Courtney Love," said LArs backstage after the show (and after he'd moved elatedly around The Yard, asking friends if it wasn't all wonderful).


Backstage at Lars Andersson Spring 2013 New York Fashion Week Show.  Courtesy Photo.

There was quite a bit of Hole-era Courtney on display there, in no small part because the knits were nearly always sheer, and in the bright lights of the astro-turf lined tent, more than a few guests mentioned the model's butts after the show.

But the clothes were cleaner than Courtney, even though there were still threads of a grungy vibe. Lars sent a few men's looks down the runway, too, though it's hard to imagine cashmere boxer briefs catching on next summer. Big safety pins could be a thing, though, because you never know.

"I think it's the same customer, the same drama, just a shift in color," said Andersson. Which is definitely true in retrospect--the clothes were as dramatic as ever, if a little blander for the monochrome ecru.

And to that, Lars would probably say, "I don't like to work with color. It's a statement." Well played, Andersson, well played.

[divider]

Courtesy Photos

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (1)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (2)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (3)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (4)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (5)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (6)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (7)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (8)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (9)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (10)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (11)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (12)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (13)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (14)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (15)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (16)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (17)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (18)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Lars Andersson Takes On Dramatic Monochrome Knits for Spring 2013 (19)


Fashion Week Chronicles: Nomia’s Characteristically Architectural Spring 2013 Collection

'Oh no, again, with the white,' were the words that came to mind as the first few looks of Nomia's S/S 2013 collection walked. An unfair assessment given that had Yara Flinn presented her line earlier in the week, the sentiment wouldn't have obstructed anyone's view of it at all, but a fair one considering that it was almost a chore to come up with three designers who hadn't done the white and grey and white and black and crimson and white and white thing this season.

That said, Nomia's spring is characteristically architectural and, as there's no better way to say it, really cool.

It was a bit less complicated in the construction than Flinn's last few collections, and made use of embroidery proclaiming "WHATEVER" on some of the tops and a fantastic varsity jacket.

As you looked closer at the looks, though, there was texture: some of the panels and boxy suits, you could make out grey marbleizing, making them look part carved and part sewn. Some of the pants were 'laminated' with a high-shine coating. It's also pretty safe to say that the 3/4 to 1/2 sheer skirt trains in bright carmine will find their way on to the backs of art scene girlies everywhere from NY to LA. The final dress was also subtly breathtaking, more for the movement of it than anything else.

The only thing lacking by the end of the show was the ambiance--after being penned on to the balcony of The Standard Hotel, we were shuffled through to a large, dark room with a small runway, and we stood around it in a semi well-dressed mob. Here's hopin' Yara gets a seated show soon.[divider]

 

 



Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (20)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Farah Angsana Fails to Deliver a Cohesive Spring 2013 Collection

Fashion Week Chronicles: Farah Angsana

Every Fashion Week it's inevitable that you come across several newer designers at off-site events and wonder why they're not showing at Lincoln Center already.

And it's an entirely different matter to go to a runway show at the Lincoln Center Stage and wonder why the designer didn't show at their showroom or an events space and let someone a bit more forward moving have the spot.

Farah Angsana, with her ever-glittery cocktail dresses and ballgowns, has had hits and misses in the past, but this season's collections was something else altogether: it was, some of which looked as expensive as they are and far more which looked like something from the Macy's Juniors department.

The show got off to a good start, with a Bond girl sort of feeling. The models walked in doubly slit black skirts, beaded bodices and sleek high-ponies to thrumming spy-movie music. But then everything shifted in feel and look to short dresses printed with big metallic flowers, messy embellishments, kiddie floral embroidery (let's amend that, 1974 kiddie floral embroidery), and a few uninspired tropical-colored dresses that blended in to each other. There was a bout of recovery at the end, with several floating kaftans with Egyptian style bead and embroidery work, but it wasn't enough to save the day.

Upon leaving, one second-row guest murmured to another, "Well, that was a bust, huh?" Couldn't have said it better ourselves.

[divider]

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (1)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (2)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (3)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (4)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (5)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (6)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (7)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (8)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (9)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (10)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (11)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (12)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (13)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (14)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (15)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (16)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (17)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (18)

Farah Angsana Spring 2013 Collection (19)


Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (26)

Fashion Week Chronicles: Sporty Luxe for Daniella Kallmeyer's Stridently Athletic Spring 2013 Collection

Fashion Week Chronicles: Daniella Kallmeyer

Daniella Kallmeyer has moved through several phases in the five collections she's shown to date.

From seeing her darkly ladylike lines from the Fall and Spring of 2011 to the lively, inventive pieces she showed this past February, you wouldn't peg her next direction as sportif. But that's exactly where she went with her S/S 2013 line, and for better or worse she was bold about it.

The looks were stridently athletic: trousers and windbreakers in nylons and perforated leather. It was also a runway show for the first time rather than a more static and up-close presentation. The 12th floor of Studio 450 in Chelsea was lined with an Astroturf runway that took models in a loop to the tune of No Doubt's new "Settle Down," (also on a loop, just less aesthetically appealing).

The collection was less print-focused than her past few, as she seems to have been concentrating more on doing something different. She stuck to her favorite color scheme of black, white, blue and orange for the most part, even bringing the colors as accents on the model's eyebrows.

The best of the line was a deconstructed poplin top that demonstrated what she's been noted for: perfect tailoring and thoughtful construction. Another few looks, a powder blue shorts suit with inverted lapels and an orange jacket in the same style, were reminders of it too, though I wish there would have been more.

And though it did make me a bit nostalgic for the incredible cuts and iridescence of last season, Kallmeyer's Spring 2013 was different in a good way. It looked like growth and confidence in new directions, which is all Kallmeyer needs to ensure that her relevance and her fan base both get stronger.

Courtesy Photos [divider]Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (15)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (16)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (17)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (18)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (19)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (20)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (3)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (4)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (5)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (6)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (7)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (8)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (9)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (10)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (11)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (12)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (13)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (14)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (21)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (22)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (23)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (24)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (25)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (2)

Daniella Kallmeyer Spring 2013 Collection (1)


Fashion Week Chronicles: Zang Toi Visits the French Riviera With a Fairytale Spring 2013 Collection

In the scope of things, I haven't been attending runway shows for a very long time, so for what it's worth, tonight was the first time I have ever heard applause and gasps audible from the other side of the room during a show. There has always seemed to be a bit of an unspoken rule to wait until last looks to clap, but at the Zang Toi show, no one was waiting. It seemed as if every fifth look garnered a round of hushed applause. It was with good reason: the gowns were, in a word I heard dozens of times, stunning. It was mostly the clothes responsible for the awe, but the theatricality of everything definitely helped.

The collection was inspired by a fairytale like story of a couple living on the French Riviera, and in a bit of an overture a male and female model made a sultry pass on the runway (to the first round of cheers). Afterwards, the way the collection developed looked very much like a woman's life when she falls in love. There was a set of business-like suits that grew longer and closer to gowns until they gave way to light, flirty gingham and knit dresses in lavender, yellow and pink.

With a brief pauses in between moods, the lightness of the daytime-date dresses became a cinematic sort of glamour in dramatic evening gowns in the same pastels as well as some in black and cream combinations.

There was a determinedly princessy atmosphere about looks. The more simple ones were adorned with oversized bows and flounces, and one was so frothy and so much like a Disney ballgown that the model stopped and turned mid-runway, fluffing her skirts and displaying the draped back of the gown, which was full of flowers.

The most ornate and incredible were topped with glittering capelets and chest pieces of rhinestones that looked like armored wings.

Well worth the gasps, uncontrollable bursts of applause, and the standing ovation. [divider]


Fashion Week Chronicles: Siki IM Spring 2013

Fashion Week Chronicles: Siki Im's Georgia O’Keefe Menswear Inspired Collection

Fashion Week Chronicles:  Siki IM Spring 2013

The damp, dark, stifling air of Pier 57's runway space did little to add to the effect Siki Im seemed to be attempting with his Spring 2013 collection. The programs read that the pieces had been created with Georgia O'Keefe's New Mexico desert house in mind; a dry, calm sort of place.

A violin trio set off the DJ booth in the corner, and they did their very best with lighting (the wall of curtains separating outside from in kept blowing open) and scene setting at the venue. It wasn't quite enough to tie it together or make it make sense the way Siki most likely intended.

Im always takes a cerebral approach to design, and is the first one to admit it. And while this tack can sometimes produce genius work, it's bound to let loose some not so brilliant moments, too.

The quiet-house-in-the-desert thing was an alright theme, accented by slaps of grey and black paint on the model's necks, and you could absolutely feel the desert in the clothes--they looked bedouin and swaddled in their coats and overskirts.

But the Georgia O'Keefe references were a bit of a reach. Looking around the audience, though, it's clear that Siki has an audience and a strong set of fans who will be buying those skirts and smock-coats: one young man, on seeing the models walk out shirtless during last looks, picked at his own dhoti pants (echoed a dozen or so times in the collection) self-consciously and sighed.

Photo: Amanda De Simone/GORUNWAY.COM

 

 


The Elusive Relationship Between Fashion Bloggers and Brands

The Elusive Relationship Between Fashion Bloggers and Brands

The Elusive Relationship Between Fashion Bloggers and Brands
Blogger Rumi Neely stars in Forever 21 ad campaign
[divider]

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you remember the days of Livejournal, you know what the dawn of blogging was like. It was completely independent opinion, free from the constraints of sponsor reliability and advertisements that had become a part of every other form of media at the time.

As blogging got more sophisticated with platforms like Wordpress and Blogspot, blogs got bigger. The cost of starting one was basically nil, you could sort of personally interact with your favorite bloggers through comments and sharing, and though not journalistically pristine, blogs highlighted something because they thought it was cool, not because they were assigned to cover it.

Then they started amassing huge followings. Thousands of people would read certain fashion blogs daily, and as they grew, they started seeing the same treatment as magazine editors: free stuff, quote requests and fashion week invites.

The reason brands started sniffing out bloggers in the first place was that blogs were regarded as uncompromised, wide reaching voices, and that you could get away with sending a blogger product samples and get close to the same coverage you would by buying ads or sending samples to editors. Have a real human being with a following promote your stuff is ideal, and so companies started essentially paying bloggers for cult status.

As blogging transitioned from being a hobby to being a full-time job, a lot of bloggers saw what they were doing as a perk of their job, without discussing it with their readers outright.

We have recently reached a point where it’s difficult to distinguish between bloggers who are mouthpieces for brands and marketers, and those who are actually enthusiastic about what they’re writing about for reasons other than they got it for free.

The Elusive Relationship Between Fashion Bloggers and BrandsThe important difference is this: a blogger in the front row of a fashion show has been invited under the expectation that they will positively promote the show. Even if it sucks. Even if they send a men’s rugby team wearing paper bags down the runway, it will be called genius by someone who has a few hundred thousand eyes on them.

This is brilliant for labels and advertisers; it’s not so brilliant when the critical waters are getting muddied by all of the indiscriminate “OMG I LOVE” out there.

There have been stories about brands bullying bloggers into writing glowing reviews about stuff that probably shouldn’t be written about, but for every blogger who discloses something like that, there are probably five who caved and wrote the advertorial.

But the question comes down to whether or not bloggers were ever really independent journalists in the first place?

In essence, sharing your opinion in the real world is as impactful as how many people you know.

Bloggers share their opinions on the internet, where the social webs are much broader, but any responsibility to their readers is something they set forth and adhere to themselves. So if they want to have a site that’s all paid promotional content, they can do it.

So when you’re reading your favorite fashion blogs, here are some things to look out for to make sure you’re not actually reading a big ol’ product pitch.

1. Growth. Click on back through the archive to their very first posts and take a peek at what they were wearing, where they were going, and what they wrote about. If the direction of the blog suddenly moved from H&M, local shows and getting coffee with friends to Valentino, runways and hanging out with Bryan Boy with little to no explanation, it’s a red flag that maybe somebody’s been getting sponsored without telling. Keep that in mind when they gush about products.

2. Look for a post about their ethics. Granted, not a lot of bloggers do this, but some do. They’ll tell you that they don’t accept unsolicited freebies or they won’t push a product without telling you where it came from. You can pick some of this up by checking out how they write and credit what they wear.

3. A crapload of giveaways? Probably a crapload of sponsors. Giveaways are lovely (who doesn’t like free stuff?), but they’re also a telltale sign that the blogger gets a lot of freebies in the mail. Though they certainly get points for sharing, keep your eyes open for those brands in future reviews.

4. Beware the advertorial. If all of a sudden there’s a post about a handbag that seems written in marketing speak and completely does not jibe with the rest of the blog, it’s probably the same as when you see those sneaky magazine-layout ads in print mags. Don’t trust ‘em.

5. If you think it’s an uncredited promotion posing as a review, say something. The beautiful thing about most blogs is that you can comment right on the page—so do it. A simple “This sounds a helluva a lot like an ad” would probably be sufficient to make most smaller bloggers think twice about trying to pull one over on their readers. And maybe it will help with those shifty advertisers, too.


High Fashion, Hard Labor: Are Fashion Brands Crossing the Lines of Social Responsibility?

High Fashion, Hard Labor: Are Fashion Brands Crossing the Lines of Social Responsibility?

High Fashion, Hard Labor: Are Fashion Brands Crossing the Lines of Social Responsibility?
Fashion Designer Marc Jacobs. Photo: Ed Kavishe for fashionwirepress

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he lines between high fashion and art are by definition not very sharp. Which is why it’s sometimes easy to forget all of the commerce behind a runway show if you’re only watching it.

Designers do not work alone; it takes hundreds of people to create a collection and scores to produce a runway show for the likes of industry mega labels like Marc Jacobs and Chanel.

Recently, 17-year-old model Hailey Hasbrook posted (and then retracted) a run-down of her working day. She specifically wrote that she did looks for Marc Jacobs from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. one night, and until 4:30 in the morning the following night, causing her to have to cancel some jobs.

Using the same tack often as many big magazines and PR companies, Jacobs stated that models didn’t have to work with him if they didn’t want to. Which is true, but those are also easy words for one of the most highly regarded designers in the world to say tweet.

He’s backed by LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët-Hennessey)  and has million-dollar show budgets to play with, and he's never short of models that will enthusiastically clear out their schedules in order to work with him.

The fact that it’s true that models don’t necessarily have to work for Marc Jacobs for no pay and free stuff doesn’t mean it’s right or necessary.

It’s strongly parallel to the intern cycle, really—models get prestige, exposure and free shit, and designers get free labor.

Sometimes everyone’s happy, as it seems from Hailey Hasbrook’s clarification of her feelings on working a 14-hour day and losing two other commitments for purses. But sometimes people also bend to the pressure of seeing their chances of walking for major designers ever again jeopardized and freak out. It can be hard to tell on Tumblr.

In any case, sources are now stating that Marc Jacobs does indeed pay his fit models $100/hour, which raises the question as to where the hell that money went. Maybe the people who should be defending themselves are the agents and bookers at Marc Jacobs who knew she was underage and was legally not allowed to work past 10 pm.

It echoes the recent lawsuit brought by Xuedan Wang against Hearst charging that their internship programs are run less like mutually beneficial arrangements (which is why they’re able to skirt minimum-wage laws) and more like churn and burn factories: interns work for a semester or two to put it on their resumes, and upon graduating enter a job market where they compete for about a dozen positions with a few hundred girls with the same exact credentials. Magazines get a constant pool of free labor to ferry their samples, file their documents and steward their shoes.

For a model gunning for the top spot in editorials and shows to refuse to work with designers who don’t pay or demand mind-numbing hours is self-defeating. It would be a hard thing to do for a 22-year-old who has held a job and negotiated hours before; it is probably impossibly harder for a 16-year-old who is virtually alone in New York City aside from her agents, who agree to 2 a.m. nights and 8 a.m. call times.

High Fashion, Hard Labor: Are Fashion Brands Crossing the Lines of Social Responsibility?
Designer Alexander Wang hit with $50M 'sweatshop' lawsuit

Shrugging and saying that no one has to be a model is the same as saying no one has to work in a sweat shop. Easy enough when you’re not a model or a sweat shop worker (or you’re Marc), but a bit more difficult when you are a model or a sweat shop worker. The situations should not exist in the first place.

Alexander Wang’s sweatshop debacle is a teensy bit more troubling, if it turns out to be true. Apparently he’s been using a windowless 200 sq-ft. room in Chinatown for production, where workers are not paid overtime or given adequate breaks.

Oftentimes designers honestly don't know everything about the inner workings of their factories, but Wang left himself little room for that defense by installing his brother Dennis to run the operation. And Dennis has not been the nicest boss: according to allegations by over 50 ex-employees, one of whom was fired after filing for workman’s comp to cover hospital bills resulting from collapsing after a 25-hour shift.

Perhaps they’ll say no one has to work in a sweatshop.

But then again, no one has to make a profit margin of 85% on $300 leather pants by cutting production time by 75% and paying minimum wage or less. Magazines and media companies don't have to let their interns do the work editorial assistants used to do for no compensation.

Designers with brands worth millions and international modeling agencies don't have to let the physically demanding work of models go unpaid. They choose to.


The Style Dialogues: Is it Okay to Mix Gold and Silver Jewelry?

The Style Dialogues: Is it Okay to Mix Gold and Silver Jewelry?

Though this used to be a faux pas of the highest order (our moms agree, by the way), it started being a no-no in a time when your purse had to match your shoes and your hat as well as your skirt set and your hairclips.

 

If you're going to start out, try layering a gold and a silver necklace, or a bunch of gold and silver bangles--it will look less like an accident than if you do gold earrings and a silver necklace.

Try mixing more delicate pieces first, and move up to cuffs and chokers if you're feeling the look.

Nothing wrong with a bit of incongruity, I always say!

...................................................................................................................................................

Have a style question?  Let us help you!
Click here to get answers to your most pressing style questions.

...................................................................................................................................................


NYFW Report: Alice + Irina Shabayeva A/W 2012 Presentation

NYFW Report: Irina Shabayeva A/W 2012 Presentation

NYFW Report: Alice + Irina Shabayeva A/W 2012 Presentation

It was a bit confusing walking into Irina Shabayeva's A/W 2012 presentation at the Eventi Hotel, and even more so if you'd walked up 29th Street to get there and seen the live projection of the collection on a cinema screen hung on an adjacent building.

[imagebrowser id=166]
Courtesy Photo

It felt a bit like walking into a wedding reception an hour after it had ended, except that there was a score of brides, and instead of one overzealous aunt with a big camera, there were over a dozen.

There were no intricate paper snowflake cutouts or heavy metallics from the Project Runway winner this season, just lots of gorgeous fur and lace appliqué, and, of course, a few sweaters worn over the gowns.

Most of the pieces read like a bridal collection, and though a few were a touch overworked (a 90s Barbie number with a cloud of ruffles at the bottom would make for a lovely wedding gown, but when topped off with a planetary orb of blue feathers, it was a bit much).

The simpler designs, which were the basic silhouettes, were stunning. The standout look was a white dress with a flash of red lace across the front underneath a russet fox fur stole.


NYFW Report: Badgley Mischka A/W 2012 Presentation

NYFW Report: Badgley Mischka A/W 2012 Presentation

NYFW Report: Badgley Mischka A/W 2012 Presentation

[imagebrowser id=163]
Courtesy Photo

The promise of pooling hemlines and liquid sequins made by Badgley Mischka's Pre-Fall collection was quite fulfilled in their A/W runway showing. It was almost too luxurious, too golden and furred and glowing. But then again, it was Badgley Mischka, and therefore the pieces being incredibly glamorous sure bets for red carpet best-dressed lists is a given.

The runway was anchored by a projection of snowfall over a Central Park footbridge, which became more and more appropriate as the models walked: the collection was New York fashion at its most shining moments, from the thirties through today.

Blending their Mark & James line seamlessly with their regular line, evening gowns  done in gunmetal and rose silks were lit by beaded embellishments and spare teal details.

There were elements of Escher in the front panel of a floor length black gown, and there were certainly lashings of Art Deco in the neck pieces of a few dresses and the construction of two others that read like Erte armor.

Aside from a lackluster bulky coat and pajama suit, the collection was flawlessly elegant and modern without being derivative; quite a feat in the age of the retro redux.


NYFW Report: Norisol Ferrari A/W 2012 Presentation

NYFW Report: Norisol Ferrari A/W 2012 Presentation

NYFW Report: Norisol Ferrari A/W 2012 Presentation

[imagebrowser id=164]
 Courtesy Photo

"I thought she did corsets? This is just wonderful," marveled a guest as she pointed to a heavy, flowing brown overcoat with a lush fur collar at Norisol Ferrari's Lincoln Center debut last Tuesday.

The presentation, staged in The Box, featured only two live models: Mad Max looking twins with blue inclusions in their hair, kicking boots and lots of leather. The rest of the looks were on mannequins, but managed to breathe all the same. There were her staple leathers in a spiked, feathered helmet, harnesses under sheer white dress shirts, and yes, a few corsets.

The best, though, was her Dawn jacket: a fluid, soft looking alligator hooded jacket lined with equally lush sable that looked as comfortable as a cotton hoodie, if a bit heavier.

The collection's range was wide—alongside that badass leather coat and helmet were incredibly sleek satin and stretch evening gowns, a velvet blazer and that arresting brown wool coat with flowing sleeves that made Norisol's guests gasp.

And obvious coolness aside (she described the collection in her program as being inspired by Mad Max and the clamor of Jean Harlow), the care and craft that went into making each piece was evident—she specializes in bespoke leather tailoring, after all.

The only thing missing was a bit of movement; it would have been incredible to see the pieces move and the leathers articulate. Nevertheless, with this collection, Ferrari has gone from designer to watch to one not to miss.