Archive for February, 2009
It’s no mystery that at Fashion Week, the shoes worn by the editrixes, bloggers, and other assorted fashionistas can be just as fabulous, if not even better than what we’re seeing on the runway. Who do you think actually goes and buys those shoes anyway? So this is going to be a completely covetable, drool-worthy photo essay of Fashion Week Shoes: Off the Runway.
Let’s set the stage. Picture yourself at the Bryant Part. You are surrounded by fashionable folk and hangers on. Photographers hang out by all the entrances smoking and cracking jokes. Masses of people line the front and back of the tents, hoping to catch a glimpse of a famous person or to slip by security. You are not concerned with this as you blithely bypass security and stroll into the Tents. Since Fashion Week is Barbie themed this year, the first thing you see is the giant barbie sign. Each letter filled with Barbie in her many different iterations:
There are life-size barbies standing in a field of (real!) pink painted apples.
Are you getting into the mood?
Now check out the fabulous shoes that are literally just standing around:
Ok so these are not the gorgeous spiky Christian Louboutin for Rodarte heels that Rachel Weisz wore on the October cover of Vogue, BUT I was still pretty impressed that these lookalikes were being worn in public by a (regular?) person.
Red Hot Hoofers wander around, waiting for their close-up Mr. DeMille.
Studded Gladiator Sandals with cuffed jeans? Is that Katie Holmes? (Sadly, no. But her influence is clear.)
Furry Fabulosity! It may have been 45 degrees outside, but arctic fashion is SO in right now
Cut-outs are fun! (Well, the girl on the left was having fun. She was pretty agile in those booties. But the girl on the right was literally being completely held up by her date. She could not move on her own!
All Around Cool
I hope you have enjoyed my little Fashion Week photo story. May the shoe gods smile down on you!
Even though Taraji Henson won our Jimmy Choo ‘Night’ shoe-down, I wasn’t terribly impressed with her shoe choice. At the Independent Spirit Awards, however, Taraji received two thumbs up from me for wearing Pedro Garcia’s ‘Priscilla’ sandals ($465 at My-Wardrobe.com). First, she didn’t wear a boring pair of black Louboutins. I loved that the black Swarovski crystal studs perfectly accented the stones at the neckline of the dress. Finally, between a dress’s hemline and the t-bar shoe strap that cuts above the ankle, sometimes legs appear a bit short and stumpy-ish to me. Not so with Taraji. She stood tall and pulled off the look wonderfully.
Image via SocialiteLife.com
It’s only fitting that on this, the last day of London Fashion Week, I offer up a summary of what we’ve seen here on this side of the Pond. The British shows are always full of a bit more cheek than the sleek-n-chic American ones, and this year was no exception.
There was lots of 80s look and playful mixing of vintage and space-age styling or traditional shapes in up-to-the-minute materials (or vice versa).
Take, for example, the Vivienne Westwood Red Label show. She twisted the idea of the brogue and the riding boot with fanciful curlicues and pops of color, and then used some beautiful, Baroquian damasks in various contemporary styles.
The Eley Kishimoto collection was chock full of delightfully playful shoes like these.
(PS-In case you couldn’t tell by now from all the NYC and London photos, it’s time to make sure you’ve got your metallic sparkly tights all lined up for fall.)
Bora Aksu showed a bunch of shoes that should be pleasing to high-fashion Lolis everywhere.
And the trends we saw in New York were surely present in London, too. To see some examples (as well as my very favorite collection from London Fashion Week), click on to the cut.
As you may recall from recent coverage of NY Fashion Week (Fall 2009), fashion is yet another area that has been affected by the recent economic downturn. No, fashion has not stopped, but for many designers, large fashion shows in the Bryant Park tents just were not in this year’s financial picture (See articles here and here).
Interestingly enough, the ‘Presentations’ – like this one from Naeem Khan, put me in mind of an art/fashion exhibition that I was lucky enough to attend several years ago at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) – Theatre de la Mode – on loan from the Maryhill Museum of Art. I was actually lucky enough to see the rarely shown ‘Opera Set’ which is actually too tall to be exhibited at the MMA.
The Theatre de la Mode came about as a result of the immediate Post WWII period when French couturiers were subject to such drastic manufacturing shortages that putting on any kind of fashion show seemed impossible. There were doubts that Haute Couture could survive. When shoes and food are rationed luxuries, what place does fashion hold?
After all, if you are considering attempting to power hair dryers via ‘pedal power’ – things are definitely on the tight side (From May 1945 issue of Mechanix Illustrated).
But, fashion finds a way. In this case, the result was a collection of miniature wire-frame 27.5-inch dolls wearing the newest fashions by renowned French Fashion Designers. Fabrics were scarce, but having each fashion house design for and clothe a two-foot tall doll was much more realistic than having each designer try to have a complete fashion show. Even with fabric shortages, small amounts of luxury materials could be acquired to perform this task. So, this was the basis if the Theatre de la Mode. It has also been referenced as ‘Theatre de la Mode, or the Return of Hope’; the subtitle reflecting that even though times were difficult and luxuries were rare, that people would continue to dream and create.
Now back to 2009 ‘Presentations’ – Just to give you a quick point of reference:
Naeem Khan ‘Presentation’ – Photo via www.nypost.com
Then, a quick comparison photo from the Theatre de la Mode exhibition:
Interestingly similar appearance. At least today’s fashion houses are not limited by materials shortages and rationing that significantly limit what they can produce – even for a 2 foot tall model.
So, here are more photo’s from a period when fashion was at a much lower point than we are seeing today. It is a wonderful window on the staying power of art, beauty, and fashion:
And yes, the fashion houses even made beautifully stitched shoes and other accessories to go along with the diminutive dolls.
All Theatre de la Mode exhibition photos courtesy of B.A. White
So we are reminded that even in the toughest times, art and fashion find a way to prevail.
The MMA normally exhibits three of the in-house sets per year, changing which sets are on display annually. If you find yourself in Seattle or Portland, the extra trip out toward the Columbia Gorge in southeast Washington to catch this exhibit is definitely worth the drive.
On a related note: If you happen to be a doll collector with a love of history, the Tonner Doll Company has made reproductions of several of the Theatre de la Mode fashion dolls.
Additional reading for those interested in learning more on this exhibit and its history:
Okay readers, who wore Jimmy Choo’s ‘Night’ sandal the best - Amanda Seyfried on the Oscar red carpet or Taraji Henson at the Vanity Fair Oscar After Party? Since I wasn’t a fan of Amanda’s ensemble, Taraji wins this one for me BUT my preference would have been a nude version of Jimmy Choo’s ‘Night’ (like the one below) instead. It would have been a perfect match with her Nina Ricci dress.