NYFW: Michael Kors, Marc By Marc Jacobs, Rodarte, J.Crew and more

Tuesday:

Tory Burch  Credit: Getty Images
Tory Burch
Credit: Getty Images

9:25 a.m.:

Inspired by the sexy 1960s drama “La Piscine,” Tory Burch whisked showgoers away to a vacation in the French Riviera. In her suitcase: relaxed shifts, silk maxi skirts, bikinis with ruffled bottoms and ankle-length jeans, all decorated with garden prints in Mediterranean sea blue, leafy green and crisp white. Though Burch specifically cites Romy Schneider’s sophisticated character in her show notes, there were strong references to Jane Birkin’s Lolita-like Penelope, too: simple dresses with schoolgirl collars, crochet tops and sweet wicker baskets for trips to the market. Standouts included the flats with bright green flower appliques and an orange floor sweeper in tulle. — Tina Chadha


11:55 a.m.:

I’m sharing an elevator with Miguel heading up to the Rodarte show. Both his hair and leather trousers are shiny and perfect. I want to ask him how his show week has been going so far; he’s giving Tyson Chandler a run for his money as Fashion Week’s most ubiquitous guy. But Miguel is busy whispering in his lady friend’s ear. I feel like an extra in a music video — only all of the cameras are upstairs. - Kenya Hunt

Rodarte Credit: Getty Images
Rodarte
Credit: Getty Images

12:15 p.m.:

You know it’s an important show when major editors are sitting in the second, third and fourth row. There are fewer seats in the Rodarte venue this season in order to make room for Kim and Laura Mulleavy’s light show of a runway (neon tubes are arranged in geometric patterns on the floor). Everything about the show — from the fluorescent lighting to the California rocker chick clothes — feels like an extension of last season’s collection. Consider their autumn/winter ode to their hometown, Santa Cruz, the first movie. Spring/summer is the sequel. There’s a lot more flesh, and a lot less fabric, on the runway this time. Little bustiers, tight crop tops, tinier-than-tiny cuffed shorts and asymmetrical skirts that rise hip-high are the building blocks of this collection. They form the foundation of practically every outfit, which also include tailored blazers and mannish waistcoats for contrast. The models are giving us fringe, and studs, and metallics, and leopard and snakeskin, with a few scorpions mixed in. And let’s not forget the b-girl baseball caps, grunge plaids and heavy metal leather. It’s a very specific piled-on look, which I’m going to call “Hot Topic shop girl wins the lottery.” It’s tacky, weird and artful, in the Mulleavy sisters’ trademark way. It’s so wrong, it’s kind of right. – KH

1:20 p.m.:
I’m late for Diesel Black Gold, which is being held in the impossible-to-navigate Grand Central Station, of all places. Rushing down to Vanderbilt Hall I practically run into Emmanuelle Alt, the French Vogue editor-in-chief, and Capucine Safyurtlu, the market editor, also rushing to make the show. Alt is in her standard rock ’n’ roll cool uniform of structured jacket (I think this one is Chanel), button-down, skinny jeans and sexy pumps. In fact, both ladies wear the most immaculately fitting jeans that I’m tempted to fake an interview with them just to ask where they’re from. -TC


1:25 p.m.: 

I squeeze into my spot on the bench-style seating, which is now also being occupied by two extra girls. This is what happens when you’re late to a show — someone will ruthlessly grab your seat. The first model is ready to walk out but there’s some commotion at the door. Anna Dello Russo and Giovanna Battaglia just walked in and a publicist is rushing to find them front row seats. -TC


Diesel Black and Gold
Diesel Black and Gold

1:35 p.m.:
It’s the dawn of a new day at Diesel Black Gold. Nicola Formichetti was recently named artistic director for the denim giant and there’s a heightened sense of excitement in the air. Though there’s no Lady Gaga in the audience (but Kanye West is here!), designer Andreas Melbostad’s second collection for the brand starts off with a bang: Pants with gypsy-like metal disks and tough grommet hardware pair with wispy silk blouses unbuttoned at the navel. The part edgy, part elegant theme continues throughout the collection with pale, cotton eyelet dresses worn under a tough leather vest. Distressed, low-slung boyfriend jeans (the show’s most memorable item) and shrunken leather motos get a soft makeover in shades of baby blue and pale pink. The end result is perfectly in the zeitgeist: women who want to be everything — feminine and cool — all at once. And if sexy is what you’re after, Melbostad revved up leather pants with oh-la-la open crisscross stitching going down the sides. — TC 


1:50 p.m.:

The Diesel show is done and I have 15 minutes to get across town to 11th Avenue for Wes Anderson. Since I’m in Grand Central I decide to hop the train and it works! Take that, crosstown traffic!


Wes Gordon Credit: Getty Images
Wes Gordon
Credit: Getty Images

2:15 p.m.:
Like Diesel, there’s an immediate theme established at Wes Gordon’s first runway show: a juxtaposition of heavy and airy fabrics. Silk slips with lace inserts are paired with wooly sweaters and mannish shirts. The plays on contrast continue with a dreamy white chiffon and tulle gown with a boyfriend blazer, and an armor-like metallic lattice crop top with a cotton pencil skirt. Even though Gordon is probably trying to loosen up his uptown clientele, the negligee-as-daywear effect keeps reminding me of Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2013 show. But the originality of this collection won’t really matter. Gordon cuts his garments to hug a women’s curves just so, as seen in his series of elegant gowns. That, and his sensual color palette will see that this collection of really pretty clothes will fly off the rack. — TC


Marc Jacobs Credit: Getty Images
Marc Jacobs
Credit: Getty Images

4:05 p.m.:

“Is Marc Jacobs still starting his shows on time?” Karla Martinez, editor at W magazine, runs up and asks me as we cross a traffic intersection. We’re exactly two blocks away from the pier where he’ll be showing his Marc by Marc Jacobs collection, which wouldn’t be an issue if we were headed to anyone else’s show. But Marc has been known for starting his shows exactly on the hour ever since he got into a public throwdown with the International Herald Tribune’s Suzy Menkes (along with a slew of other editors) over his notoriously late start times several years ago. It turns out the answer to Karla’s question is now a “no,” which is a good thing, considering that we got there about ten minutes late. – KH

4:20 p.m.:
Editors, stylists and bloggers have been running from show to show in Nike and New Balance sneakers all week long. So it feels natural to see sneakers integrated into this collection in such a big way. But rather than boldly colored, hyper-graphic trainers I’ve been seeing on the street, Marc is showing what looks to be remixed versions of the Stan Smiths he used to wear back in the day. Easy, loosely tailored looks such as a slouchy black satin trouser suit styled with a white tank and red scarf seem to harken back to Marc’s personal uniform of old (baggy trousers, a button-down top, a sweater and Stan Smiths). The low-maintenance quality of it all looks refreshing compared to the street-style caricatures that have turned getting dressed into an extreme sport. Even the dresses and jumpsuits (trending this week) seem to wear as easily as sweat pants. But not even Marc is immune to rough patches. And this collection has a few in the form of a series of graphic, pastel colored looks in a pattern he’s called “radio waves,” which seem to take his tailoring to a campy place that it doesn’t need to go.  –KH

Sophie Theallet Credit: Getty Images
Sophie Theallet
Credit: Getty Images

5:15 p.m.:

Sensuality has always factored in Sophie Theallet’s work, and the impact of her opening look proves that it’s an area she could explore a lot more. A past CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund winner and recent International Woolmark Prize nominee, Sophie’s work features nuanced, yet masterful construction. But to the untrained eye, her dresses can sometimes look a little too sweet and nice. But she’s struck the right balance with her first look out. The sight of naked breasts under a sheer, waffle-knit top and cardigan feels transgressive, giving just the right amount of bite and edge to put the sweetness of a dancerly, flamenco skirt into sharp relief. She repeats this idea with a black dress, and a slightly more demure white version, both done in the same see-through knit. The collection could have benefited from more moments like this, as her lineup of dresses begin to look too polite towards the end. -KH 


Wednesday


Michael Kors Credit: Getty Images
Michael Kors
Credit: Getty Images

 10:10 a.m.:

I arrive just as the Michael Kors show is about to begin and the crowd of people filing in is heaving. I don’t so much walk to my seat as get carried along by the crowd. I think I see Katie Holmes sitting front row. -KH

10:16 a.m.:
 There’s so much to want from this collection that I find myself wishing that the run-of-show notes came with an order form, momentarily losing my objective critic hat. I don’t typically buy a lot of Michael Kors, so I’m surprised by the visceral reaction I’m having to his fluid, vaguely ’70s dresses and languid trousers. He’s described the show as “summer romance” and having a “juxtaposition of sportif and romantic.” It works because the clothes feel a little more down to earth, and a little less done up, than what we normally see from him — it’s not so untouchable. He’s also managed to take the stiffness out of all of the sportswear classics: His trench coats, tailored skirts and dresses are all fluid, practically dancing around the body, and look relatively low-maintenance. The fact that they’re coming down the runway on some of the best models in the business — Karolina Kurkova, Karen Olsen, Karlie Kloss, Joan Smalls and Frankie Rayder — doesn’t hurt either. -KH


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