NEW YORK: Remember clapping? As in when a fashion designer puts on his runway finale and then takes a bow before an adoring crowd. The fashion hordes these days are way too busy tweeting, Instagramming and taking video with their smartphones to put those busy hands together.
But more often than not, so are the fashion houses.
Technology has taken over in important ways for designers and was ready made for this New York Fashion Week as the huge storm had the elite teetering around Manhattan in blowing snow, clutching those phones.
Audiences had already been on the bandwagon, taking phone pictures from their seats and posting reviews online before the models were off the runway, but designers are figuring out how to use all the instant feedback to their advantage.
Before the snow hit, information went out to retailers, editors, stylists and bloggers on how to view the Donna Karan and Helmut Lang shows online and through phone apps for those unable to attend in person.
Rachel Roy and Peter Som switched to entirely digital catwalk shows. Rebecca Minkoff and Kenneth Cole beamed live tweets on the walls, with Cole pledging donations to amFAR if a certain hashtag was used during the show.
Tommy Hilfiger collected curated interactions – and added some himself – that were shared with guests entering and exiting his menswear show. He planned to do the same Sunday for his women’s collection.
Still clutching those phones, the crowds dealt Saturday – Day 3 of the eight days of fall previews – with the storm’s mush of an aftermath in their dash around town and at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tents at Lincoln Center.
The industry will shift to Milan, London and then Paris after the shows close here Feb. 14.
With buzz and anticipation building for his debut collection for Balenciaga, Wang used his own show to make the statement that his signature line is still very much on his mind.
The collection of finely tailored pieces in luxe and lush textured fabrics seemed elevated from the more casual and funky styles he’s turned out the past few seasons, although there was the sportswear twist he is best known for woven into every look. It was a sophisticated turn – and trick – to pull off.
The song “Eye of the Tiger” of “Rocky III” fame was the underlying theme music as the models stepped onto the runway in the lobby of the ornate Cunard Building at the southern tip of Manhattan. (It was a drastic change in vibe from the airplane-hanger feel of the pier he had shown in for years that now is hosting the Westminster Dog Show.)
The catwalkers wore fur boxing gloves and hoods, with an opening for their ponytails, wrapped tightly around their heads, and fuzzy footwear. Sweatshirt-style tops were made of mohair with a touch of metallic, and fur had a burnout effect. He said he “disguised” some of the richest fabrics by brushing them, re-embroidering them and mixing them to make them modern.
Opulent touches and intense tones of malachite green, oxblood red and amethyst were Lhuillier’s red carpet calling cards.
With the Oscars around the corner, the drama on Lhuillier’s runway was wrapped in beads on lace and punctuated by malachite, with illusion effects, plunging backs and strapless glamour.
Lhuillier has been lucky in Hollywood (Julianne Hough at the Golden Globes) and hopes these gowns will help continue her run.
“Well you know, every time I start a collection I always say, ‘What haven’t I don’t before, what’s exciting, what’s new, what do I want to accomplish this season?’ So I wanted this girl to be super sexy. It’s dramatic, mixed in with a little Art Deco, and just really intense color and intense structure.’”
While she didn’t skimp on comfy, everyday looks for fall, sending out cable knit dresses in bone and shaggy fur coats, her gowns stole the show – though her roomy cocktail dresses with high-low hemlines and swingy sheer overlays were pleasers, too.
She used a digital feather print on crepe for a sheath dress and a crepe strapless gown. A burnished brocade was printed on a tweed, notched-collar coat paired with black pants. Another print was an abstract of butterflies.
Lhuillier said backstage she “wanted to be darker, more sensual, and a little stronger and more confident” on the runway this time around. And she wouldn’t talk Oscars.
“You’ll have to wait and see but, um, anything is possible,” she smiled.
Connie Britton, who appears in “Nashville,” wore a fitted black Lhuillier on the front row and said her gowns are “pretty fantastic.” Actress Bridget Moynahan was in a red Lhuillier and calls the designer “a good friend to have.”
Max Azria wanted to infuse the metal sculptures of the artist duo Les Lalanne with the bandage silhouette of the Herve Leger line, but what he got was urban jungle-inspired armor. Azria mixed studs, zips, fur and beading with the bandage silhouette for which Leger and his namesake label are known, creating a riot of black, white and autumnal animal prints.
It all seemed demure, thanks to a below-the-knee hem and fur hooded goatskin sweatshirts that didn’t seem out of place after the blizzard.
Demure isn’t a word normally associated with Herve Leger, yet nary a knee peeked out of the collection. Whenever the lower hem wasn’t covering up legs, tight black leggings made of bandage strips and knee-high boots covered up any skin.
The brand, long popular among club-going types, debuted a line of footwear during the show – boots that were, like the clothes, dark, sleek and skin tight.