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Warmest regards and thanks again for being here~ Michael Cress

Friday, February 26, 2010

NY Fashion Week: Random Images, The Final Act

I admit it, it's far easier to just post images than write. Perhaps I've been a bit lazy for the last week while recovering from NYFW. On the other hand, I got some interesting shots throughout the week, some good... others just a little odd. I'll be back to writing shortly enough and have a lot of material to work with. In the interim, here's the final take on NYFW random images. Enjoy!

Public Relations professional Sabrina Chapman and designer Sally Wu moments before the beginning of the Sally Wu's Act 1 runway show.
Getting prepared backstage.

Founder of Secret's Of The Modeling World (somw.org), Rogelio Castillo at the SOMW cocktail party, celebrating the end of a busy NYFW.

The beautiful Zhanna Ved who was featured in the December 5, 2009 issue of the NYS.

A farewell to Bryant Park. The long-time venue with its sprawling tents bid adieu as this was the final season. In September, the Spring show will be held at Lincoln Center (home of the NYC Ballet, Opera, Philharmonic, etc.) so as to have more space. Due to the size and time constraints of the tents there has been a steady increase in recent years of shows held elsewhere. Time will tell if the move is worth it. In the interim, Bryant Park will be missed.

Monday, February 22, 2010

NY Fashion Week: Random Images, Act III

The question is... can you pick which one is my favorite of this group?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

NY Fashion Week ~ Random Images, Act II

If you enjoy people-watching, Fashion Week is one-stop shopping. Fashionista's, at least self-proclaimed ones flock to the shows. This is in large part, the fashion industry crowd. Media, journalists, designers, buyers and yes, bloggers. As for their look- some are great, others... not so much. One moment your filled with hope as you see someone so well put together and the next your shaking your head wondering, "Did they really think that looked good when they went out this morning?". These are, after-all, the movers and shakers of the fashion world. Often bold, rarely dull. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

NY Fashion Week~ Random Images, Act I

What a busy week its been! Running like a mad-man from one event to the next trying not to miss anything (of which I wasn't always successful), I have some wonderful stories to share. Since I don't have an editor pushing me for deadline, I have a number of images that don't fit into my stories but shouldn't go to waste. Some of the sights of NYFW, Act I:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

For Love & Lemons Runway Show

Gillian Mahin and Laura Hall of For Love & Lemons made their New York Fashion Week debut today. Their collection of leggings and bodysuits were edgy and original while their dresses, cardi's, cami's, tanks and wraps were impressive, sexy, wearable and illustrated tremendous potential for this design duo from L.A.. I'm looking forward to an expanded line and future shows to see their progress.

Here are a few images from their show. Their entire collection can be viewed at www.forloveandlemons.com.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lee Alexander McQueen: A Retrospective

Alexander McQueen, one of the most talented, creative and controversial designers of his generation was found dead yesterday in his London flat of an apparent suicide at the age of 40.

Awarded British Designer of the Year four times by the age of 34 as well as Council of Fashion Designer's International Designer of the Year, McQueen used his runway shows for storytelling and used his deft design ability to allow his clothes to tell stories that were typically shock-and-awe. Heavily polarized audiences were rarely, if ever, indifferent. One thing the fashion elite could always agree on was McQueen's incredible design ability and a consensus that few possessed his incredible technical skills. Because of his controversial and over-the-top shows and occasional brashness, he was labeled "l'enfant terrible".

Born in London to the son of a cabbie, Lee McQueen wanted to be a designer from a very early age. As a teenager he began his apprenticeship on Saville Row where he learned expert tailoring. Later working for Romeo Gigli in Milan, he returned to his native London in 1994 and enrolled at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design where he received his masters degree in fashion design. Friend and confidant, stylist Isabella Blow encouraged Lee to use his middle name, Alexander, upon entering the fashion world with his own designs. 

His shows in London were controversial from the beginning. One of his first shows mockingly played off the industry's latest craze of low rise trousers as he had his models wear "bumsters", cut so low that half their derriere was showing. That was only the beginning. His collections typically had historical references and later included Victorianism, falconry, "Macbeth", 60's fashion on Alfred Hitchcock's heroines, models as patients in a mental ward, "The Island of Dr. Moreau" with furs and animal horns and models positioned as a human chess match in a show titled, "It's Only a Game".

In 1996, McQueen was hired by Givenchy as head designer where he stayed until 2001. Many of the shows were a disappointment to long-time clients as he threw convention out the window and as a result were called disrespectful to the house of founder Hubert Givenchy- of whom McQueen said was "irrelevant". But then again should the House of Givenchy be surprised? It was only a year before he was hired that he staged a show titled, "Highland Rape", referencing the ravaging of Scotland. Even through all this, John Galliano, McQueen's Givenchy predecessor and current Christian Dior designer said he was "...daring, original, exciting. He was a fashion revolutionary". Indeed, McQueen's superb designs were often the choice of Hollywood starlets and celebrities; clients included Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rihanna and Lady Gaga to name a few.
Perhaps his quintessential show was for the Fall 2009 collection, unveiled in Paris. The show was somewhat a slap in the face to the industry and a statement about the absurdity of the race to build fashion empires. The runway was a garbage heap of props from his previous shows, surrounded by broken mirrors. The clothes were a parody of designs from the last century and included Dior's New Look, Givenchy's little black dress made famous by Audrey Hepburn and reinventions by new designers (including himself) in the last decade. Models wore hats made of trashcan liners and aluminum cans as well as other recycled household items. After the show, McQueen said, "The turnover in fashion is just so quick and so throwaway and I think that is a big part of the problem. There is no longevity". He went on to say that designers say that fashion is constantly being reinvented, yet they continue to show the same shapes and trends of the past. In all, the show was brilliant. The staging, props and incredible designs told the story he wanted to tell. As far as the clothes on the runway not being commercial and using the runway to challenge the status quo? "People don't want to see clothes. They want to see something that fuels the imagination." He certainly gave them something to think about.
So what happened? How did he get to a point that things seemed so bad that (alleged) suicide was the only remaining alternative? For starters, his much beloved mother died last week. Long time friend Philip Treacy said, "Creativity is a very fragile thing, and Lee was very fragile. He was a fragile person with a front of whatever you want to call it. It's not easy being Mr. McQueen. We're all human. His mum had just died and his mum was a great supporter of his talent. I don't really know what happened". 

Lee Alexander McQueen was indeed a very complex individual. Unfortunately, history is full of artistic genius that self-destructed. Perhaps the very same attributes that in the extreme makes such incredible talent possible; deep sensitivity, emotion, feeling and realness are the same attributes that are so hard to live with. It definitely wasn't easy being Lee Alexander McQueen.