Fashion Week SS09: Tracy Reese

In transitional months like May and September, when you don't know what to wear, a good bet is black and white. That seemed to be the thinking this weekend as dozens of show goers dressed in absolutes. One of the biggest developments was winter white, right now--though they're usually packed away after Labor Day, white dresses were making an appearance in September.

A study in contrasts--the white says spring/summer while the black tights signal winter.
A bow blouse and flouncy skirt.
She is always a presence at Fashion Week and is never one to shy away from outrageous hats. Before the show, she had to describe to a friend on her cell phone what she was wearing ("hot pink, red, and green!") because the friend couldn't identify her in the crowd. Hilarious.
Winter white right now.
A gorgeous statement necklace.
Admiring Kate Lanphear's blouse. From far away, it looked like winter florals, but it was actually an abstract polka dot pattern--in black and white. Also note that while she rocked the gladiator sandals last Fashion Week, Lanphear has put them away in favor of tough-looking open-toe booties. And of course platforms are par for the course.
This outfit, also captured by the Sartorialist, is not just insanely stylish but also quite comfortable-looking on Sarah Rutson, fashion director of Hong Kong's Lane Crawford. Yes, even the bondage-insprired animal-print stilettos, which are second nature to a fashionista.
Tough chic.
Claiborne Swanson and Virginia Smith of Vogue. Swanson is wearing the boyfriend blazer that will be everywhere next spring; Smith wins for shoes, which also caught Bill Cunningham's eye.
Gorgeous green and white wide-legged pants.

Celebrating the outrageous.

Love her black-and-white bow-neck blouse.

Robert Burke, fashion consultant extraordinaire, in his usual dapper blazer.
Katrina Szish in the most dramatic bow blouse of the day.

Curly hair was one of the biggest beauty trends this fashion week. Put away your straight irons!

It wouldn't be Fashion Week without this guy. He selects the fabric for his suits himself and commissions them, and for the past year or so he's had cute sidekicks. Today's fabric of choice? Black and white.

Two editors from Vibe Magazine.


Andre Leon Talley was seated front row at the Tracy Reese show, which started with a number of playing-it-safe muted solids before developing into her usual festive prints--phew. If even Tracy Reese had gone the conservative route, this would have been a sad Fashion Week indeed. This season Reese's colorful patterns became more abstract, perhaps the product of new high-tech printing processes.

A winner of a trench coat in raw silk.

This Asian-inspired open-cut tulip skirt was a continuing motif in the collection.

An abstract print.
The jury's still out on harem pants for spring, but when you see looks like these, it gives you more confidence in the trend. This outfit is both chic and infinitely wearable.

An elegant open tulip cut cocktail dress in a mustardy chartreuse for spring.

See the whole collection on Style.com.


Fashion Week SS09: Rosa Cha

Or: Aprรจs Cha, le deluge.

It was a category five clothing quandary: What to wear for a hurricane during fashion week? The answer: The same thing you'd normally wear, of course. Nina Garcia gave some very practical advice through NY Mag: opt for platform shoes. "I've learned that it's about the biggest platforms you have so that you can go over the water."

Red lipstick.

Great boho pants. Paired with the necklace, they telegraph Brazilian chic.

Miss USA Crystle Stewart, who looked very cool in her own cross necklace before her handlers made her take it off to put on a boring sash. Boo!

Two young women in all black. The "Anglomania" tee is Vivienne Westwood.

Liked her defiant use of white shoes after Labor Day. This outfit is somewhat practical: umbrella and platform shoes as hurricane preparation plan.


One of the biggest trends in swimwear has been the return of the one-piece suit, which should keep going strong next spring and summer. Rosa Cha showed a number of one-pieces, many of them in very sexy cuts that belied the idea of one-pieces as conservative.

This simple suit in a tomato red Chevron pattern got a great reaction from the crowd.

Here Rosa Cha designer Amir Slama turns the conservative element of a one-piece on its head, injecting it with peekaboo bondage elements.

This dress in a gorgeous green pattern is actually a pantsuit. Super wide palazzo pants floated down the runway. Let's hope this design becomes the new standard for glam beach coverups.

In what would be a recurring theme with several designers this season, there were brown looks for spring, including this sheer cocktail dress.

Brown for spring: a natural progression from winter florals? The whole idea of seasonality is in question right now--especially because it was the first time in recent memory that a hurricane came to New York Fashion Week.

See the whole show on NYMag.com.


Fashion Week SS09: Walter

In the whirlwind of fashion week, it can be easy to forget why you're going to show A versus show B. But there was a very practical reason to go to the Walter show: to see what we'd all be wearing next spring!

This accessible line is sold nearly everywhere now, but it's still a favorite of the fashion set--the show was sponsored by Elle and Style 360. Like Erin Fetherston, Walter was selected as a LU Style Award Winner. (Not quite sure what that means, but LU makes those delicious biscuits with the chocolate schoolboy on top, and blessedly, they're a sponsor of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Power bars be damned.)

Love her style--a combination of punk and femme.

Gorgeous silver leather jacket.

Ruffles and high-waisted jeans.

Three chic women.


We dread seeing lots of bland clothes on the runway because of the economy. So it was a relief to see that Walter didn't shy away from prints, because the general appetite for them is far from sated. Here there were plenty of florals and super-saturated colors.

A signature floral print for spring in high-waisted pants with exposed zippers.

High-waisted skirt and shorts that build on the short poufy skirts popular right now.

This long flowy dress looks beautiful in motion and deserves a trip to St. Barth's.

An eye-catching orange print maxi dress.

You can find full coverage of the show on WWD.com.


Fashion Week SS09: Charlotte Ronson

The crowd at the show always says something about the designer. At Charlotte Ronson's show on Saturday, industry heavy-hitters mixed with stylish gamine types. And no wonder: Ronson, who currently has a great diffusion line at Urban Outfitters, is one designer who possesses both street cred and commercial success.

A fashion week power duo - her look is casual chic, mixing a classic white shirt with layered statement necklaces.

Love the Chanel bag with the long strap worn cross-chest mixed with a plaid shirt, shorts and gladiator heels. This outfit strikes just the right balance between dressed down and dressed up for a Saturday morning fashion show.

Black Ray Ban Wayfarers look just right again for this fall--especially paired with a LBD.

Another short, poufy bubble skirt. The shiny silk in a black floral print is spot-on.

Head-to-toe Charlotte Ronson. The jacket--a gray denim take on a motorcycle cut--is particularly covetable.

More schoolboy charm. Note how he balances it out with hair and sunglasses that clearly say "city" not "country" to give the outfit some edge.


There are two schools of thought about how to design during tough financial times. One is to play it safe, going for a "classic" look to create something the consumer could potentially wear for several seasons. The second is to exaggerate trends to make last season's clothes look outdated--a defining strategy during the last few years in fashion--so that people will keep spending. How many eras have we visited in the last two years? Victorian, '50s, '70s, '60s boho, futuristic styles, Art Nouveau? It's enough to make your head spin--or give up buying handbags, which is exactly what the industry doesn't want.

Charlotte Ronson started off this season's show by playing it safe with lots of gray and dusty pink--a logical transition from this fall's all black looks. The music rocked, naturally (thanks to Sam?), and Lindsay Lohan was seated front and center.

Ronson's gray denim clothes were nicely tailored and more than presentable, but they wouldn't pop--on film or in real life. It would be a shame if we all reverted to true recession wear (think early-mid nineties) and dressed in a uniformly gray way.

Not so the later looks in the show--a blue and white striped cotton cardigan was dip-dyed in blue. Now this is a recession-proof look we can live with: fashion that improves on the current season's trends (cardigans, nautical, dip-dye) and takes them to a new level of creativity.

You can see more Getty images from the Charlotte Ronson SS09 show here.


Fashion Week SS09: Erin Fetherston

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week kicked off Friday in the Bryant Park Tents. One of the most anticipated shows was Erin Fetherston's. This indie fave designer of the fashion set was tapped by Target last year for a diffusion line that launched in November '07.

A model poses--gorgeous hair and gold cuff bracelet.

One of the biggest trends this fashion week is shaping up to be the poufy short skirt. It brings ballerina charm to 20-something girls with nice legs--but it's a lot more forgiving than a bandage dress.

She too wears the poufy skirt cut, this time in dress format. Love his tongue-in-cheek prep-school look with the newsboy cap, bucks, and blazer complete with a coat of arms.

A great transitional look--taking a floral (poufy skirt) dress, cinching it with a black belt and pairing with a little black blazer.

Two guys in bow ties, one with high-octane silver shoes.

Lynn Yaeger, always in style. The bag with an illustration on front is Lanvin.

Many cute boyish elements--the fedora, the shorts, the pseudo wife-beater, add up to one chic, feminine outfit when paired with T-strap heels.

A model and her handler. As she passed by, she said, "I have about 20 pounds of gold chains on my neck!"

A dress made almost entirely of zippers, by one of New York Fashion Week's sponsors, YKK Zippers.

A girl with a pinstripe bustier over a white button down--Mad Men 2015?

This is not the most flattering photo of Kate Lanphear of Elle, but she is a style icon, so we must document what she is wearing! Note the structured shoulders of the tuxedo jacket, the skinny black jeans, and tough-looking open-toe booties. The gray metallic python bag isn't too shabby either.