February 23, 2010

Deacon Guest Post: The Queen Bee's Fashion Week BUZZ by Allison Priebe Brooks

Working in the fashion world as the Queen behind Queen Bee Designs, I always feel the need to know the latest trends and try to keep up to date with the fashion industry. I read all the fashion mags, belong to Fashion Group International, network constantly with other fashionistas and I consistently try to tget up to New York for Fashion Week. The Fall 2010 Collections was my fourth Fashion Week to attend and I must say this was by far my best experience to date. I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you a little about Fashion Week and I also wanted to use this BUZZWORTHY column to help my readers see how attainable the pursuit of fashion can be as we bid farewell to the tents at Bryant Park.

The tents at Bryant Park have been the official home of the twice-yearly NYC Fashion Week since 1993. As of this September,
Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park will become Fashion Week headquarters. Growing tired of the frenzy around the tents as well as the space Fashion Week took up, the Bryant Park Corporation decided to stop hosting the lavish display after this season. Once the move is made, massive white tents will host fashion shows at Damrosch Park - starting this September for the Spring 2011 Collections.

“It’s like when stores rearrange their floor plans,” said Fern Mallis, senior vice president of IMG Fashion, which organizes the shows. “People don’t know where to make a right or a left, and they get testy about that, but people are still going to come.”

There was certainly an air of nostalgia as we saw large photo cutouts from Fashion Weeks of days gone by lining the tents. The excitement was BUZZING as droves of fashionistas poured into the tents at Bryant Park for this one last Week. The Queen Bee entered the tents for our first show of the week Sunday - - just after the Old Town Boutique Warehouse sale and the Furthur concert, and just in time for Diane von Furstenberg's show. This was the most high profile show of the day, and fashion heavies such as Anna Wintour, Andre Leon Talley, Patricia Field, Rachel Zoe and Washington's own Tim Gunn lined the front row.

The DVF collection dripped with embellishments and textures - metallic half-moons on floaty ballerina-sheer skirts, glitter, plus gorgeous prints straight out of the '70s, liberally layered with slouchy cardigans. "I always say I wanted to have a man's life in a woman's body," said von Furstenberg. This certainly was one of her more feminine collections to date and the crowd seemed to take notice as many jumped to their feet to applaud the collection of the fashion icon.

After the DVF show we headed backstage to rub elbows with the designer, models and production staff before hitting the after-party at the W Hotel's VIP lounge before heading to the Union Square Ballroom for
Marisol Henriquez stunning collection and a late dinner at SoHo House.

The next morning we headed to The New York Public Library for Jill Stuarts's show, where we were able to sit front row - always a huge treat! Grungy and military trends pervaded as well as the short, tight, and sexy looks Stuart is known for. We also went backstage after Stuart's show before hitting NYC hot-spot Koi for lunch with DC's dynamic duo - Erwin Gomez and James Packard-Gomez. After lunch it was back to the tents for the Monique Lhuillier show, where once again we sat front row and next to celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch, who was most excited for Lhuillier's show. "Monique always puts on the best shows. Her clothing is impeccable," said Bloch. Oriental-influenced separates were followed by a parade of the stunning gowns Lhuillier is known for, ranging from the simple to extravagant. It was lovely!

Next we jaunted down to SoHo for the BCBG debut of the new Kardashian line, staying for about twenty minutes. There was not enough there to hold this Queen's interest - although I must say the store was BEAUTIFUL and our favorite bubbly was flowing - but it was back to the tents for Perry Ellis and my first ever men's runway show under the tents. Perry Ellis’ Fall 2010 collection heated up the runways with chiseled male models and luxurious men’s sportswear. Designer John Crocco is working hard to elevate this brand’s fashion cachet, and he showed three-piece suits, leather trenches and pants, even crocodile vests. The audience was packed with gorgeous style-conscious men ready to see the latest from the beloved line.

Tuesday was filled with luxury for us as we attended the Pamella Roland and Dennis Basso shows. Roland was inspired by the dark glamour and decadent colors of Venice. Guests in the front row included Brooke Shields, Nigel Barker, and Alfie Woodard as well as a smattering of NYC Housewives. The collection was classy and rich with a real Art Deco feel, and also lots of beaded embellishments.

The Dennis Basso show was one of the most provocative shows I have ever seen – decadent furs, spiky shoes, dark sexy colors and leather. It was an interesting juxtaposition that worked, and I left feeling exhilarated. We also sat front row directly across from fur-loving Vogue Magazine legends Andre Leon Talley and Anna Wintour - which is always fascinating.

Dinner with family members in Chelsea followed by a late night concert at the exclusive members-only club, Norwood, with a performance by Swedish Rock Stars from the band, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, creating sweet dreams of fashion and rock-n-roll.

Wednesday morning it was early to rise for the Tory Burch presentation under the tents at Bryant Park. Models lingered on the runway - posing for pics and hamming it up for guests. The designers mingled and chatted with buyers, fans, and journalists, as she unveiled a collection that seemed to be styled for extreme eclecticism, mixing uptown-downtown, day-evening, classic-trendy, and feminine-masculine elements. Personally, I have been a huge Tory Burch fan for years, and this was one of my highlights for Fashion Week as I was able to hug the designer and tell her how her clothes inspired me. "I want to evolve," said Ms. Burch. "I think this collection is more of a departure for me."

As we departed Burch's show, leaving the tents for the last time, we felt a bit blue, cheering up quickly as we bumped into Melania and Donald Trump. Yep - that's how Fashion Week rolls in a nutshell - rubbing elbows with designers, millionaires, students, journalists and the like as we view the best of New York Fashion.

There is something for everyone in the world of fashion - it can and should be attainable for all. What we must do is open our eyes, make an effort, absorb and execute. We'll be back in NYC for the debut at Lincoln Center, because as Nicole Phelps, executive editor of www.Style.com puts it, "people in the fashion industry are addicted to change; they’re the sort of people who like it a whole lot more than other people.” “Evolution” - as Tory Burch also put it – “that too is what fashion is all about.” BUZZ BUZZ

See all of the photos here.

This guest post was written by Allison Priebe Brooks, owner of Alexandria-based Queen Bee Designs. If you are interested in contributing a guest post to Deacon Does DC, just shoot us an e-mail!

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