Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

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Category: New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week showed polished men, well-dressed ladies

J crew collection
Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic Booth Moore and menswear writer Adam Tschorn returned from New York Fashion Week impressed by some changes they saw in the collections presented for fall-winter 2012.

On the menswear front, Tschorn says in a story in this Sunday's Image section, the laid-back vibe of the last few seasons is giving way to a more polished, perhaps almost dandified, look (although there were still plenty of casual looks, like those on view in the J.Crew Collection, above).

For women, there is good news in the surging talent on display in the “advanced contemporary category” -- labels that cost hundreds of dollars less than high-end designer collections. The J.Crew Collection, Rag & Bone, Tory Burch and Alexander Wang are among the ones delivering head-to-toe collections for women. "These are the designers of the future," Bloomingdale's fashion director Stephanie Solomon tells Moore -- noting the names expected to ascend as old masters like Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani fade.

Among the guests watching the runway collections during the week, which ended Thursday, was the expected, ever-growing galaxy of celebrities, including stars of sport (like New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz), music (Joe Jonas), television (Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing) and film (Viola Davis, Rooney Mara), Tschorn reports.

I wonder how many of them will be wearing these runway looks come fall?


L.A. designers' time to shine

A closer look at the hair in "The Hunger Games"

Oscars' favorite costumes up close at FIDM

Photo: Models at the J.Crew Collection, for men and women, during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press


Fashion News: Rooney Mara, Emma Stone and a streaker

Emma Stone, Rooney Mara

There were some vague threats that Occupy Wall Street protesters might try to shut down Calvin Klein's New York Fashion Week Show on Thursday ... but they didn't. Rooney Mara and Emma Stone, above, were among the attendees. [Cut]

Julia Wiedeman, a comedian with an Upright Citizens Brigade Theater stage show called "Naked People," streaked Lioncoln Center, home of many fashion week activities, wearing only red sneakers and pink panties. [Cut]

Famed New York Times street style photographer Bill Cunningham was hit by an SUV at fashion week, but apparently wasn't seriously injured -- and he kept on shooting. [Fashionista]

The fall collection Helmut Lang showed this week in New York was inspired by "Game of Thrones," and includes lot of boots, leggings and leather (as one might expect). [Los Angeles Times]

New York Fashion Week officially ended Thursday and you can see more Los Angeles Times' coverage of it on our All the Rage blog. Now London Fashion Week begins. [Telegraph]

Moving on to news unrelated to fashion weeks, the Duchess of Cambridge has commissioned Emina Hadzic of the British label  La Luna London to design some dresses for her wardrobe. [Telegraph]

Nicole Richie is branching out, with a new fashion collection set to debut on QVC's "The Buzz on the Red Carpet -- Live from L.A" show on Feb. 24. [WWD] (subscription required)

American Apparel has rolled out a line of hoodies for dogs made from scraps left over from the clothes they make for people. [Racked LA]

Cindy Crawford isn't sure  daughter Kaia Gerber will continue modeling. The 10-year-old appeared in ads for Young Versace, but told her mother she might really want to be a baby nurse. [Daily]


Frugal Fashion: Malin Ackerman mildly edgy at the Grammys

Before Cobra Snake or The Sartorialist, there was Bill Cunningham

Fashion News: Sports Illustrated cover girl Kate Upton heads to Vegas

-- Susan Denley

Photo: Emma Stone, left, and Rooney Mara at Calvin Klein's show. Credit: Rabbani and Solimene Photography / Getty Images

New York Fashion Week Fall 2012: J. Crew's dress blues

J. Crew AW 2012 1
It wasn't just the luxury menswear brands that were headed in a dressier direction for fall and winter 2012, with labels like Brooks Brothers and J. Crew taking the guy's wardrobe up a couple of notches.

“The collection is more polished and more precise this season -- the look, the hair, everything," said Frank Muytjens, head of the men's design team for J. Crew, "with deep, inky blues and blacks -- like the colors in an oil slick.”

Muytjens said  he took the season's inspiration from the poet Edward James. "I found his picture on the cover of a vintage book I found at the Brooklyn Flea Market," he explained. "I was also inspired by the explorer Ernest Shackleton."

"That was a long time ago -- 1910,” he acknowledged, “but I feel the time is right.”

He came to that conclusion last year as he was traveling around the U.S. visiting J. Crew stores. “Of the people I was meeting, I noticed it was the men that were more dressed up than the women," he said.

J Crew AW12 2
The result is a sharp-looking collection that's heavy on the blue hues; tailored and trim-fitting suits in Glen plaid, Harris tweed jackets in a dark Blackwatch tartan, herringbone military shirts and shawl collar or double-breasted cardigans. Dressy denim could be found in dark five-pocket work pants, jean jackets, denim shirts and even neckties cut from vintage Japanese indigo. Outwear pieces included corduroy peacoats, wool hunting jackets and down parkas.

Also of note for Los Angeles fans of the brand's menswear: J. Crew plans to open its first L.A. standalone store dedicated to menswear and accessories (the label has opened a handful of such stores to date, the first one opened its doors in New York City in 2008) at the Grove shopping center sometime this summer.


New York Fashion Week Fall 2012: Michael Kors' lake 'n' lodge glam

New  York Fashion Week Fall 2012: J. Crew, Manolo Blahnik to collaborate

New York Fashion Week Fall 2012: Michael Bastian's wardrobe for the most-wanted list

-- Adam Tschorn in New York

Photos: Looks from the J. Crew men's fall and winter 2012 collection, which was presented Tuesday at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. Credit: J. Crew

Fashion News: Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton heads to Vegas

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model Kate Upton

So if you're Kate Upton promoting your Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover, where do you go after launching the magazine in New York? To a beach, maybe? Well, no, you and 17 other models featured in the issue head to the desert. Las Vegas, to be     specific. At least there are some great swimming pools there. But is this photo of her on the plane to Vegas not the cheesiest ever? [Las Vegas Sun]

The choice of Upton for the cover is stirring up more public commentary than the annual swimsuit issue has provoked in years. On the positive side: She marks a return to a more curvaceous, less stick-like model. Negative side: Couldn't SI have sprung the bucks for a bit bigger bikini, some folks are asking. Those asking are probably not SI subscribers -- more likely their wives and girlfriends. The bikini is, as I noted in a previous column, very tiny. [Washington Post] 

We all kind of know that high heels and flip flops aren't really good for us. But neither are flats (they often have too little arch support) or the toner shoes with rocker bottoms that claim to firm leg and butt muscles. Prevention Magazine took all four styles to a high-tech motion analysis laboratory and tested them on real women to see just how bad they are. Surprise! Regular sneakers do a better job than the rocker bottoms at toning leg and butt muscles. And indeed none of these styles -- even flats -- provides optimal walking comfort and all can cause physical problems. [Prevention]

Ellen Olivier over at Society News LA attended a brunch Sunday honoring Les Ballets de Monte Carlo's weekend production of Cinderella at Orange County's Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and she says the party was abuzz with talk that Prince Albert II and his bride, Princess Charlene, plan to attend this year's Academy Awards. If so, it is believed that it will be the first time a member of Monaco's royal family has attended the Oscars since Albert's mother, Grace Kelly, left Hollywood in 1956 to marry Prince Rainier. [Society News LA]

Twiggy is launching a womenswear line for British retailer Marks & Spencer. The model, one of the super "it girls" of the 1960s, has been the face of the brand since 2005. [Telegraph]

Joe Jonas got the crowd excited when he attended Jeremy Scott's presentation at New York Fashion Week. [The Cut]

You can follow Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic Booth Moore and reporter Adam Tschorn's coverage of New York Fashion Week on our All the Rage blog.  

Miu Miu has come out with the third film in its Woman's Tales series (which Moore wrote about last year) , debuting "The Woman Dress" at a party Tuesday. The plot: Three witches turn a woman into a dress. Why? Don't ask me. I don't get it. And it didn't inspire me to want to buy anything from Miu Miu, either. See what you think.



A closer look at the hair in the hunger games

Kate Upton and Mark Sanchez rumors are heating up again

New York Fashion Week: Thom Browne's Tim Burton moment    

-- Susan Denley

Photo: Kate Upton en route to Las Vegas. Credit: Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

New York Fashion Week Fall 2012: Jeremy Scott logs on to the '90s

Jeremy Scott's fall and winter 2012 runway collection was rife with pop-culture references of the 1990s
With the '80s trending on the runway, it was only a matter of time before the 1990s got the faux-stalgia treatment, and that time came Wednesday afternoon at Milk Studios when Jeremy Scott sent his fall and winter 2012 collection down the runway.

A candy-colored grab bag of emoticons, rainbow-hued computer keyboard patterns, iridescent skirts and intarsia knits depicting Bart Simpson was accompanied by a soundtrack that included video-game sound effects, Japanese-language covers of Madonna songs and the once familiar AOL "You've got mail" alert.

Other computer references -- including a see-through rain poncho with an allover print of a gloved-hand cursor and tracksuits and dresses in an allover print consisting of '90s-era Mac screenshots (some bearing the slogan "Real Life Sucks") made it seem like what Scott was really nostalgic for was the dial-up decade -- that sweet spot when technology was still a delicious new frontier and society had yet to be sucked, en masse, down the virtual rabbit hole.

Jeremy Scott's fall and winter 2012 runway collection was rife with pop-culture references of the 1990s
Of course that could be over-thinking it. No matter what Scott was trying to instant-message us, the shimmering Strawberry Shortcake doppelgangers and dudes in Bartman sweaters, iridescent oil-slick trousers and lime-green crocodile pattern hiking boots made us happy we logged on.

And that last look -- the one with the rainbow-maned prancing unicorn cutout the size of the model's torso?

A winking smiley-face emoticon -- Jeremy Scott style -- if ever there was one.


At Swatch, it's almost Jeremy Scott time -- again

New York Fashion Week Fall 2012: Thom Browne's Tim Burton moment

New York Fashion Week Fall 2011: Jeremy Scott brings the rave to the runway

-- Adam Tschorn in New York

Photos: Looks from the Jeremy Scott fall and winter 2012 runway show, which took place at Milk Studios on Wednesday during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

New York Fashion Week Fall 2012: Michael Kors lake 'n' lodge glam

Michael Kors shows his fall 2012 collection at New York Fashion Week with Jessica Alba, Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing and Katie Couric in the front row
Carole Lombard and Clark Gable roughing it at their ranch in Encino. Lucille Ball, outfitted in a Pendleton blanket coat, on her ill-fated foray into the woods in "The Camping Trip" episode of "I Love Lucy." Rugged lake 'n' lodge elegance, Hollywood- style, that was the theme of Michael Kors' fall 2012 collection, a haute hike through the wilderness.

Cozying up in a $1,500-a-night cabin was what these clothes were about. Ginormous, teddy-bear-like alpaca coats (be careful wearing one of those in the woods during hunting season). Fringed, red buffalo check ponchos and coats. Plaid circle skirts or mohair lace pencil skirts paired with tweedy knits. 

And the fur was flying, as it has been on the runways all week. There were beasty fur coats, fur mittens, fur booties and bags. Rounding out the look were high-heeled Mary Janes with lug soles -- just perfect for the trail (ha!).

Michael Kors shows his fall 2012 collection at New York Fashion Week with Jessica Alba, Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing and Katie Couric in the front row
There was plenty of tailoring too -- for first fan Michelle Obama and other women (Jessica Alba, Katie Couric, Anjelica Huston and Debra Messing were front row) who rely on Kors for more polished city attire, such as a gray plaid mohair shift dress trimmed in black leather; a suit made up of a black capelet jacket paired with a matching pencil skirt; and a soft leather dress spliced with ribbons of black lace.

For evening, Kors nailed it too. Sleek, crystal-beaded stretch jersey goddess gowns were as timeless as Gable and Lombard.

-- Booth Moore in New York


New York Fashion Week Fall 2012 Review: Marc Jacobs

Michael Kors talks Big Sur, In-N-Out Burger and selling to the suburbs

New York Fashion Week Fall 2012 Review: Rodarte's land far, far away

Photos: Michael Kors' fall 2012 collection. Credit: Top left and right, Richard Drew / Associated Press; Top middle, Stan Honda / AFP/Getty Images; Bottom, Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

New York Fashion Week Fall 2012: Thom Browne's Tim Burton moment

The runway show for Thom Browne's fall and winter 2012 women's collection showcased the designer's graceful architectural curves
The showing of Thom Browne's fall and winter 2012 women's collection started with a eulogy delivered before a row of 10 open, coffin-like boxes, each occupied by a gray-suited model whose face and and hands were covered in gauzy white fabric.

"I want to tell you about these 10 beautiful women," eulogized an 11th model. "They loved life, they loved fashion -- and they died for fashion."

With that, haunting music began to float through the Edna Barnes Salomon Room of the New York Public Library, the models arose from their sartorial slumber and Browne's ethereal, quixotic and exquisitely detailed handiwork began to appear.

Although the color palette didn't vary much from Browne's signature range of white, black and gray, the collection made up for it with texture. Each piece used a multitude of different fabrics -- cable knits, tweeds, tulle, flannel and fur -- folded, buttoned, draped and layered into swales, sculpted into geometric humps and bumps and festooned with mirrored squares or flattened fabric foxes.

The runway show for Thom Browne's fall and winter 2012 women's collection showcased the designer's graceful architectural curves

Some pieces used the fabric to create the same kind of graceful architectural curves and arcs Frank Gehry renders in undulating metal, while others were shaped from below and beneath, using bustles, boning and other hidden infrastructure to create beautifully misshapen silhouettes in a "Downton Abbey" meets "Beetlejuice" kind of way. (Underscoring the Tim Burton vibe was a soundtrack that if not plucked from one of the director's movies, certainly could have been.)

In fashion's PLG (pre-Lady Gaga) era, clothes like the ones Browne sent down the runway would have been seen as simply a vehicle for showcasing the designer's considerable skill at shaping and tailoring, but with the kind of adventurous wardrobe pieces being worn by Gaga, Nicki Minaj and their extremely fashion-forward ilk, one no longer wonders if, but when Browne's macabre masterpieces will walk among the living.

It can't happen soon enough. 

The runway show for Thom Browne's fall and winter 2012 women's collection showcased the designer's graceful architectural curves

Thom Browne expands into retro-cool eyewear 

New York Fashion Week: Thom Browne's sister act

New York Fashion Week Fall 2012 Review: Rodarte's land far, far away

 -- Adam Tschorn in New York

Photos: Looks from the Thom Browne fall and winter 2012 women's collection, which was shown on Monday during New York Fashion Week. Credits: Amy Sussman / Getty Images (top); Andrew Burton / Associated Press

Fashion News: Oscar nominee Viola Davis sits with Anna Wintour

Vera Wang show

Oscar best actress nominee Viola Davis and husband Julius Tennon sat in the front row at Vera Wang's runway show in New York on Tuesday, between Vogue Editor Anna Wintour and the magazine's Andre Leon Talley. Could this portend a Vogue cover for Davis? [Cut]

Speaking of Vogue covers, the magazine is taking heat for the March cover, which came out this week featuring Adele. She does look gorgeous, as I noted Tuesday, but shall we say overly-sculpted -- think airbrush and Photoshop. Her fans and people who are concerned about false ideals are howling. [CBS Boston]

Lana Del Rey, the up-and-coming singer everybody seems to love to hate (our Chris Barton, for instance, recently called her "a possibly interesting artist with a decent voice who just might already be finished before she started") plans to attend this year's Met Gala with fashion designer Joseph Altuzarra. [Fashionista]

Another exciting designer collaboration is in the works, this time teaming J. Crew with Manolo Blahnik for a collection this fall, Times fashion critic Booth Moore reports. [Los Angeles Times]

Follow that story and more by Moore and writer Adam Tschorn at New York Fashion Week on our All the Rage blog.

Famed fashion photographer Lillian Bassman died Monday at age 94. She ranked right up there with Richard Avedon and Irving Penn for her artistic photos of fashion in the 20th century. [Los Angeles Times] 

The museums and galleries at Los Angeles's Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandising (FIDM) kicked off the 20th annual exhibit of Oscar-nominated costumes Saturday night with a VIP showing and buffet.  [Society News LA] 


Frugal Fashion: Mildly edgy Malin Ackerman

New York Fashion Week: Rodarte's land far, far away

New York Fashion Week: Tory Burch's rich clothes for the rest of us

-- Susan Denley

Photo: Front row at the Vera Wang show on Tuesday are, from left, Andre Leon Talley, Julius Tennon, Viola Davis, Anna Wintour and tennis star/fashionista Maria Sharapova. Credit: Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week Fall 2012: J. Crew, Manolo Blahnik to collaborate

J. Crew
Manolo Blahnik is coming to J. Crew.

That's right, the luxe footwear designer who became a household name thanks to "Sex and the City" is collaborating with the retailer on a limited edition collection of classic pointy-toed BB pumps, as seen in glitter, tinsel and tweed at the fall 2012 J. Crew Collection presentation. Prices are still being worked out.

The Manolos weren't the only things worth paying attention to at J. Crew.

So much of the excitement here this week has been in what's called the "advanced contemporary category," or labels that cost less than high-end designer collections without sacrificing style, such as the Rachel Zoe Collection, Rag & Bone and Tory Burch. The J. Crew Collection, which is slightly more expensive than the basic J. Crew offerings, is the chain store's own version of advanced contemporary. And it is looking darn good.


Creative director Jenna Lyons and her team ratcheted up the sophistication level ever so slightly, offering more tailored looks in edgier fabrications. Nordic sweaters topped tinsel tweed, python or pleated leather skirts, and fancy pants in metallic jacquards or scarf print silks were paired with the pointy-toed Blahniks. J. Crew
Color block clutches and totes trimmed in curly shearling rounded out the polished picture. My prediction? It's only a matter of time before this collection is on the runway.

-- Booth Moore in New York


NYFW Fall 2012 Review: Rachel Zoe's wintry rock goddesses 

NYFW Fall 2012 Review: Tory Burch's rich clothes for the rest of us

NYFW Fall 2012 Review: Rag & Bone is British countryside-meets-the Raj

Photos of the fall 2012 J. Crew Collection from J. Crew. 

NYFW Fall 2012: Michael Bastian's wardrobe for the most-wanted list

Michael Bastian fall/winter 2012
Michael Bastian was one of the many menswear designers taking things in a decidedly more dressed-up direction for fall and winter 2012.

But, if it wasn't obvious from the chandeliers hanging over the runway, it was crystal clear by the time the first look hit the runway -- a chalk stripe double-breasted suit, contrast collar gingham shirt, shantung necktie, pencil-thin mustache and a boutonniere the size of a drink coaster -- that Bastian had a very particular man in mind: the extra man.

Also known as walkers or escorts, extra men were the well-bred, well-dressed and well-educated bon vivants of another era, the kind of fellow who could be counted on to ensure any high society soiree was a night to remember.

Michael Bastian Fall Winter 20122
A 1974 New York Times article on New York City's most popular extra men, titled "The Most-Wanted List," (a photocopy of which Bastian included with his show notes) included cartoonist Charles Addams, fashion designer Bill Blass, writer Norman Mailer and former U.S. Senator Eugene McCarthy. (Jonathan Ames' 1999 novel on the topic, "The Extra Man," would go on to serve as the basis for a 2010 movie starring Kevin Kline.)

Bastian's modern-day men-about-town came down the catwalk in finery that included three-piece Glen plaid suits, purple wool/cashmere shawl-collared jackets, moleskin topcoats with grosgrain ribbon contrast tipping and shantung tuxedos.

Less formal -- but no less luxe -- pieces included boiled wool peacoats, parkas trimmed in fox fur, moleskin paratrooper pants, corduroy trousers, turtlenecks and plaid workshirts. There was a surfeit of sweaters to be had; Fair Isles sweaters, sweaters depicting chess pieces, French bulldogs or Dachsunds. One sweater -- a single black zig-zag across yellow cashmere -- called to mind Charlie Brown's signature garment.

No extra man would be complete without a little extra flair, and Bastian's boy toys didn't disappoint here either, with Audemars Piguet watches strapped to their wrists, J. Frost resin boutonnieres on their lapels, all manner of Stubbs & Wootton slippers on their feet (this season's collaboration included velvet, corduroy and needlepoint patterns) and custom-crafted high-end hats -- courtesy of Eugenia Kim's recently relaunched Mr. Kim collection -- perched jauntily upon their heads.

Guilty gifts from wealthy widows? The extra man isn't saying a word.


NYFW Fall 2012: Billy Reid's Southern sophistication

Runway Rundown: Michael Bastian spring-summer 2012

NYFW Fall 2011: Gant by Michael Bastian goes ski tripping to the Green Mountains

-- Adam Tschorn in New York

Photos: Looks from the Michael Bastian fall and winter 2012 runway collection, which was shown on Monday during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Michael Bastian.


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