The glitz and glam usually associated with the world of high fashion was dimmed thanks to the our current economic climate. The recession's dark cloud loomed over the tents at Bryant Park during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York fall 2009 designer showcase, but yet in still, as they say on Broadway, the shows must go on!
From the tents to the streets of New York's concrete jungle, ESSENCE.com hit the ground running, attending over 30 shows to bring you the fall 2009 trends first. Here's a look at some of the week's most memorable highlights.
The craftsmanship of the Miguel Antoinne's (pictured center) fall/winter 2009 men's presentation at the Regency Hotel Soho Penthouse was incredible. Antoninne said he was inspired by 1920's bad boys like Charlie Birger, the infamous organized crime leader with an appreciation for impeccably tailored attire. "The consumer I am targeting is a collector of fine things, and while he may be more cautious than normal in these economic times, he views the items in his closet as an investment in his self-worth, " says the emerging designer, a Miami native. Antoinne clearly has a unique vision.
Kati Stern for Venexiana created glamorous evening dresses, all exquisitely made by hand. Stern tapped into the sensuality of fur combined with body-skimming couture designs. The collection was strong and very feminine. There were several pieces from the line that must-have red carpet moments.
Many designers opted to play it safe for fall, but not Amy Smilovic for tibi, who pushed the envelope with outlandish prints, fur accents and bold shoulder blouses. "Fall is about lighthearted moodiness," says Smilovic, who was influenced by the Russian fairy tale "The Tale of The Firebird."
The talented Carmen Marc Valvo, who has dressed Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé, Queen Latifah, Vanessa Williams and more, opted to show his world-class designs at the chic Citrine New York hot spot. Valvo dished to ESSENCE.com that he is ready for President Obama's stimulus package to boost the economy and elected to use hues in metallic money tones such as green, bronze, silver and gold.
"In these recessionary times you need to be very careful in the purchases you do make and they need to be intelligent decisions," says Valvo. Celebrity hairstylist Ted Gibson was on the scene at Valvo and provided the creative hair vision for the models. The hairstyles complemented the collection brilliantly.
Gibson and his talented crew of hairstylists from the Ted Gibson Salon New York were also working their styling magic on models backstage at Vena Cava, Lela Rose, Carlos Campos and Tony Cohen (pictured left). In January 2009, Gibson launched his second salon in Washington, D.C., and will be opening a third salon late spring in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the new W Hotel. Are you ready to become a "Gibson Girl"? ESSENCE.com has learned that Gibson is filming is own reality show. We're so excited that his expertise is coming to television.
Moscow native Alexander Terekhov uses the most vibrant prints that make his Terexov line interesting season after season. For spring 2009 Terekhov brought to the runways beautiful dresses featuring a colorful world map print, but for fall 2009 it was big city architecture and lights that caught his attention. One of the highlights of the collection was this art deco night cityscape print sleeveless dress with black suede gloves that looked both classy and elegant (pictured left). The city theme was also brought to life with the use of black sequences as seen in this latte georgette dress that reminded me of skyscapers shining brightly in the night.
Designer Joanna Mastroianni is a woman's woman who makes clothing for life's most gorgeous occasions. ESSENCE.com headed to Mastroianni's midtown New York showroom to view her fall 2009 presentation where she showcased a stunning 26-piece collection. Models donned timeless wearable cocktail dresses, power suits and formal gowns. The embroidery, pinched waists and architectural detail on the designs oozed Parisian sophistication. This collection was definitely crafted with a vision of sustainability, classicism and for the woman looking to make an investment in her wardrobe.
Bold, sexy and provocative best describes the collection sent down the runway at the Mackage fall 2009 show. Luscious-looking leather jackets, fur-trimmed bombers and a stunning cashmere doubled breasted pea coat were some of the best looks in outerwear for the season. Backstage, ESSENCE.com caught up with hairstylist extraordinaire Joel Warren from the Warren Tricomi Salon New York who designed an edgy hair scheme for the collection. Using leather bands as ponytail holders, Warren crafted a look that was strong yet feminine, which complemented the many leather pieces.
"This collection is about beautiful clothes that are made well at a good price, because in these days and times that is what you need and that's what I concentrated on," says designer Stephen Burrows at his fall 2009 collection.
Vogue magazine editor-at-large André Leon Talley and "American's Next Top Model" judge Ms. Jay Alexander where front row and center at the show in support of Burrows. The legendary African-American designer presented his collection at the DEX New York Studio in the fashion district. DEX recently launched a vibrant and sexy professional mineral makeup line called DEX Modern Minerals that is packed with rich pigments in lively shades.
Photo credits: Runway photography by Fernando Colon