By Alison McLaughlin reporting from Fashion Week in New York City
Gary Graham – Milk Studios
Always interested in performance and theater, CFDA Fashion Fund finalist Gary Graham showed a predictably gritty collection of utilitarian elements: mixed floral prints accentuated by an icy mint that matched the cold stare of the models. Their clockwork march and anemic demeanor set off the zombie flick chic of the dramatic pieces Graham is becoming known for. Of his process the self-proclaimed horror movie buff says “I think of this character that needs something for a reason,” “then it becomes a real piece of clothing that enters real life.” Khaki breeches and jackets with cargo pockets thrown over tousled feminine dresses are spooky yet still sweet enough for spring picnics. Handy, if Martians attack and you have to run to the hills. Gary Graham is available at ABC Carpet and Home as well as at his flagship location in TriBeCa.
Isabella Tonchi – Milk Studios
The 44-year-old Italian designer launched her own label in 2003 after a lengthy career working at labels such as Miu Miu, Calvin Klein and Versace. Tonchi’s stark showcase of simple shell dresses with geometric prints evoked a mood of crisp 1960’s pop art. Black and white is familiar theme for Tonchi to explore yet always presented each season with crisp invention.
Chrishabana Jewelry Presentation – Milk Studios
Chris Habana draws from a number of sources for his Spring/Summer jewelry collection entitled “Mon Amour, Mon Ennimi.” Pyramids, roses, crosses and thorns, the elements of love and hate displayed cheekily in glass cases with rubber safely gloves, as if they were enough to protect your heart.
Suno – Milk Studios
Finally, a collection that leaves out the threat of military invasion! Kenyan-born Maw Osterweis’ presentation of bright, playful prints was a welcome sight after what is shaping up to be a taupe-heavy season. African prints are worked into a range of dresses with hemline that run the length of the leg – from mini to maxi and most points in between. Cool-cotton bikinis and sheer gauzy evening dresses and smart daytime dresses keep a sense of humor with patterns such a zebra, pineapple and floral.
“Whitney Eve” at Industria Studios
By Whitney Port’s own, “Whitney Eve” is an unoriginal collection. Says the star of “The Hills” spin off “The City,” “It seems like everything has been created already, I guess I try to create the pieces that are out there but I put my own twist on it.” Whitney Eve’s Spring/Summer 2011 was a display of items you’ve been looking at all Spring/Summer 2010. One-piece romper? Check. Coral? Check. Bandage-style skirt? Check. It’s no surprise to learn that the inspiration comes from “the streets” and that when she designs she “keeps the every girl in mind.” No real concept, just copycat. As Port says “This whole line is reflective of feminine chic and whimsical street wear,” and, It’s true. It’s a reflection of themes conceived of ideas past.
The models channeled the depth of the collection’s intelligence with pinpoint accuracy. Lazily they stood twirling strands of hair, mouths hung open, staring off into nothing. There is no story behind “Whitney Eve” other than what’s doled out in half hour portions per TV episode. Indeed, a camera crew was in house following Port’s every move begging the question, which came first – the script or the sketch pad?
After Party Charlotte Ronson at Avenue
Once again a collection proved too popular to allow everyone inside so I missed out on Charlotte Ronson’s 1990’s inspired collection. As the doors shut and Dinosaur Jr. came flooding out from behind we dashed en mass to the live stream to see the sweet, simple collection of tee-shirts under floral dresses (remember that look?!) chunky socks, knit caps and distressed denim. Twin sister Samantha Ronson provided the soundtrack to both the show, and, at the after party at Avenue in the meatpacking district which I did manage to slip into. Inside guest sipped bubbles and Effen vodka cocktails and devoured cult status pizza from Artichoke. Across the street Alexander Wang’s Carnival themed parking lot party was THE place to be with a line up of hopefuls stretched out around the corner. Midway rides and pleasures untold lay waiting behind the chain link barrier for those lucky enough to be on the list.