You know what seems a little unfair about Fashion Week? It actually lasts longer than the prescribed seven days. Forget about all the events that happen before the official start of the season, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week begins on a Thursday and ends on a Thursday. Count them: eight days.
As a subtle recompense to correct this cosmic error in nomenclature, I took the morning off and arrived at the tents in the evening. My first show was Alexandre Herchcovitch, the Brazilian designer who’s gone largely underappreciated since he began showing in New York in 2004. It seems he’s finally getting his due as English crooner Estelle was sitting front row, enjoying the collection and Tweeting about a particularly fabulous pair of bejeweled pants.
The idea of a “nomad” has been a dominate theme this season, likely because the fashion folk are facing the impending eviction from Bryant Park and will next season be migrating to Lincoln Center. At Alexandre Herchcovitch’s collection, models were channeling gypsies, ready to dance for their extra cab fare to the Upper West Side. The effect was similar to John Galliano’s Fall 2009 collection, which had a familiar Russian Babushka feel.
Take away the clanking head pieces that sounded like chainmail coming down the runway and you’ve got some strong, wearable pieces. The level of detail on the embroidery and bedazzling was stunning.
The next stop was Anna Sui, whose girls usually look like they’ve been nomading through an acid-induced reverie. Prints are Anna’s cornerstone and this season they were no less psychedelic than in the past, though they did have a distinctly antique feel this time around. There were enough frilly frocks to keep any gossip girl in bohemian bliss. Even with the parade of silk prints, there were plenty of cozy options for venturing out in the cold to refill the opium hookah. Wools, knits, and sumptuous colored furs rounded out the winter wear for a look that embodied casual luxury.
What is best about Anna Sui is that her vision and Alice in Wonderland aesthetic remain reassuringly familiar throughout the seasons. That simple fact among fashion nomads facing their last day in their tent home is as comforting as a puff from the hookah-smoking caterpillar’s pipe. —Adrien Field