Fashion Week is the pinnacle of chic in New York City. This year’s shows were upstaged by one thing alone: the parties.
By Letitia Rodriguez
Anyone who was someone had a lot to celebrate this Fashion Week for the Spring 2008 collections in New York, as some of the top names in American fashion went head to head, duking it out over the title of most extravagant fashion week after-party-at times there were even pre-parties. It’s not enough that household names Lauren, Klein, Jacobs, Hilfiger, and even newcomers like Sean John and Rock and Republic, had some of the most refreshing collections for next spring, but between the anniversaries and the charities, one didn’t know where to party-hop next. I guess you could say just “follow the fashionable yellow brick road,” but with industry and haute socialites so strapped for time, only the best events were worth their time. Then again, anything at Central Park is sure to pique anyone’s interest.
Leave it to 40-year veteran Ralph Lauren to have guests like Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, and actors Robert De Niro and Sarah Jessica Parker alongside Martha Stewart, Diane Sawyer, and Barbara Walters. The personalities were present at Lauren’s Spring/Summer 08 collection before heading to the mega-watt 40th anniversary after party. Lauren was sure to deliver on both occasions. Central Park was the perfect setting for his collection, which channeled the aristocratic sensibility of Manhattan’s own upper crust. It was aptly acknowledged as “a day at the races.” From taxi-yellow leather coats, Chrysler Building-silver gowns, and oversized hats and gloves to masculine tailored suits, this collection was an adamant display of Lauren’s vigorous imagination and wit.
A portion of the proceeds from this year’s Fashion Rocks will benefit Keep A Child Alive (KCA) which specializes in urgent response to the AIDS pandemic ravaging Africa and the developing world.
After the last gown, which was a slinky and stunning silver chain-beaded number, Lauren had his traditional moment in the spotlight, later disappearing from the runway as the backdrop opened up to an elegant and elaborate party setup in the Conservatory Garden itself, the first private event held at the gardens by a third party. The immaculate lighting took center stage as a sprawling fountain reflected light from the hundreds of candles atop the dinner tables and the dozens of custom-made crystal chandeliers hanging from anchored arbor ways. And of course when you are Ralph Lauren, a man with a $13.5 billion business, you can afford 700 bottles of champagne for your power mogul guests. Following a robust meal of haricots verts, New Zealand lamb, and strawberry shortcake; washed down by a modest little Margaux, even timeless style icon Sarah Jessica Parker had something to say. “I feel so honored to be here. I mean, look around-this is really something,” she gushed.
Fashion Rocks, the fashion event of the year, not to be confused with actual Fashion Week-the fashion requirement of the year-was also chock full of celebrities enjoying the fashion and music mixed-production Condé Nast started just four years ago. Even viewers at home got to enjoy one of the biggest events of the week. This was evident with celebratory performances by some of the world’s top performing artists on stage at the Radio City Music Hall, including Usher, Fall Out Boy, Fergie, Jennifer Lopez, and Kanye West. Hosted by HBO Entourage star Jeremy Piven and produced in part by OBO-the same group responsible for the lavish annual Victoria’s Secret fashion shows-this event is very relevant in today’s pop culture. “The synergy between fashion and music is even more pronounced now than it was when we first created Fashion Rocks three years ago,” stated Richard Beckman, president of Condé Nast Media Group. “Each year the line between the two becomes increasingly blurred as more musicians launch fashion lines and more designers align themselves with musicians.”
A portion of the proceeds from this year’s Fashion Rocks will benefit Keep A Child Alive (KCA) which specializes in urgent response to the AIDS pandemic ravaging Africa and the developing world. Ending as one of the best events of the year, The Fashion Rocks stage exploded with dazzling fashion presentations and once in a lifetime duets featuring Mary J. Blige with Usher, Fergie with Ludacris, and Alicia Keys with Santana, whose duet on “Black Magic Woman,” was a sultry thrill and a killer conclusion for the celebratory evening.
Just as fitting was the message at Tommy Hilfiger’s party at the Museum of Modern Art: “Fashion rocks.” The fête celebrated Hilfiger’s fifth book, Iconic America: A Roller-Coaster Ride Through the Eye-Popping Panorama of American Pop Culture. The book is a ten-pound coffee table-style reader full of iconic and iconoclastic images of American pop culture compiled with master adman George Lois, the creative force behind Esquire magazine in its heyday. “It’s about fashion, art, music, and everything great about our country,” explained the designer. The book, inspired by Hilfiger’s passion for Americana and George Lois’ provocative visual power, presents a mosaic of over 400 images uniquely juxtaposed on its pages from the melting pot of the American experience. Fittingly, the massive MoMA lobby was filled with rounded Eero Aarnio chairs, a couple of Marcel Breuer’s iconic Model B3 chairs, and even a lips sofa. A white shag carpet took the place of the traditional red carpet. Not only were the furnishings iconic, so were the guests, as the soirée drew the likes of Jeremy Piven, Arden Wohl, The MisShapes, and Erin Fetherston (newcomer designer hailing from Paris), and included a short but strong performance by guest Debbie Harry. “When you think about American music, you think of Blondie,” concluded Hilfiger. And you can’t go wrong with having two greatest American icons of music and fashion under one roof.