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FASHION WEEK RECAP: Liz Fields Spring/Summer 2011 Fashion Show

Besides Mercedes Benz/IMG, there are other groups that hosted Fashion Week in New York this season—including NOLCHA. Started by Kerry Bannigan, a Brit with a passion for fashion and business, NOLCHA is one of the “leading business platforms for independent fashion designers and retailers” by providing educational and event resources and thus “making business easy for the fashion minded.” In the short time that NOLCHA has been around, the company has done great things for brands that may not have had the opportunity to showcase themselves to the world. So each season, when the invitation for NOLCHA Fashion Week (which ran September 13th– 16th), I make it a point to attend some of their events. This season, I was introduced to the lovely bridal and eveningwear collection of Liz Fields.

Named after the designer, Liz Fields is a luxury, special occasion (weddings, black-tie, red carpet, and more) brand that last year with launched with their Spring 2010 collection. The brand’s mission is to “create gowns that women fall in love with.” With their Spring 2011 collection, they definitely achieved that goal.

The show had almost an ethereal feel to it with the models walking barefoot (odd and first, but when you continued watching the show, it fit perfectly) on a rose petal- covered runway. Featuring the traditional hues of Spring and Summer (teals, pinks, whites, creams and yellow), the collection featured pieces that were very much about the minute details (pearl beadings, gem appliqués, floral additions, etc) as well as the overall look. Liz took into account every aspect of the dress ensuring that the woman lucky enough to wear it would look absolutely gorgeous.

Liz Fields & Kerry Bannigan

Here are a few pieces that were on display before the show….

And one of the models post-show…..

And here is some footage of the show itself

And some more footage from the event:

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FASHION WEEK RECAP: FNO, BeSpoken Clothiers and Jose Duran

Fashion Night Out (FNO) served as the official launch party for New York Fashion Week. Virtually every fashion retailer on the island of Manhattan (and for that matter, city and country wide) kept their doors open late to entice the masses to shop. They really did everything possible to ensure that everyone knew that the event was taking place—full page ads, TV spots (see below), billboards, window displays, Facebook, Twitter—you name it, they did it. However, I’m not sure the economy really got a much needed boost Friday night. Everywhere I went I saw more cocktails and celebrities than I saw shopping bags.

Fashion’s Night Out 2010 PSA from Fashion’s Night Out on Vimeo.

This year, fashion stylist extraordinaire, Hayden and I stayed in midtown and the Upper East Side for our FNO jaunts. We walked along 5th Avenue and poked our heads in Lord & Taylor, Saks, and Versace. At Versace, I ran into long time friend and designer, Takiyah Jerome. After taking a brief tour of the store, we continued our sojourn north where we bumped into stylist, Oluwakemi “Kemi” Omoyosi, and agency head Katie Sellu of Sellu Management near Barney’s. We happened to see this guy with the Swarovski crystal and studded motorcycle helmet. I had to grab a shot.

The ladies joined our little party as we headed north towards Dolce & Gabbana. As we neared D&G, all you could see was utter chaos. But Hayden and I kind of expected that since Miss Naomi (Campbell) was making an appearance there. That and friends were telling us they were lined up outside the Madison Avenue retailer at 3 PM (festivities didn’t start until 6!). Not ones for waiting on lines, our little quartet headed a few doors down to Max Mara, another amazing Italian brand. Peaking in at Max Mara gave me a chance to inquire about one of their lesser know but definitely fabulous brand, Marina Rinaldi.

A luxury lifestyle line catering to the curvier figure, Marina Rinaldi is probably Max Mara’s best kept secret. But I will let you in on something ladies….they are opening up a Madison Ave store this month. I heard it should be open by the 22nd (the perfect birthday gift—this socialite’s special day is three days earlier). I can’t wait!

We actually ended our little FNO trip there and headed back downtown for a quick bite to eat and to part ways home. I have to admit that FNO this year seemed more like bar or club hopping versus a shopping event. But a good time was had nonetheless.

The next day was an absolutely gorgeous day despite it being a day of sadness and protests (September 11th). In an effort to enjoy the sun and keep my spirits up, I headed down to the SoHo Grand Hotel to meet Hayden for the BeSpoken Clothiers Spring/Summer Presentation.

The weather was absolutely on BeSpoken’s side as the event took place in an urban “garden” under the clearest blue sky ever. Brining a modern interpretation to the age-old made-to-measure tradition, BeSpoken describes itself as part “Savile Row, part Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Can I tell you I love this line?
The looks that were showcased at the presentation were the quintessential marriage of urban and tailored styling. Beautiful, vintage like styling in a youthful skinny fit. They even tailored the wait staff in a classic “newsie” look! Hayden aptly described the new BeSpoken collection as “a 1920s flair for the urban man.”

Here are some of my favorite looks for the presentation.

With a sometime to kill before our next show, grabbed a bite at famed Lincoln Center Asian eatery Ollie’s where we bumped into fashion writer, Troy Artis. After our quick bite, we headed over to the tents. For both of us, this would be our first appearance there since Fashion Week’s move from Bryant Park.

While being nosey before our Jose Duran show, we ran into fashion maven, Stacy Armand, and make up diva, Miyako Marie Johnson. Also spotted at the tents: June Ambrose on her way out of the tents, Kimora Lee (Simmons) Hounsou on her way into a show, and Russell Simmons giving an interview.

We made our way over to the Samsung Experience at the Time Warner Center, a few blocks down from Lincoln Center at Columbus Circle. We had to wait nearly an hour and a half to be seated…but it was well worth the wait.

Jose Duran is a designer whose creativity comes through his work. After a hiatus which took him to Paris for inspiration, he came back even stronger than ever.

jose-duran-425.jpg

A combined men’s and women’s wear collection, the line immediately made me think of a luxury spa retreat in Paris. Earthen tones of deep tans, khakis, olive, black and grey coupled with relaxed fabrics that moved evoked a calming feeling. But as each model appeared on the runway (including one of my favorites, Sessilee Lopez), the pieces started moving into a realm of evening wear glam. A quiet sophistication screaming style. Interspersed amongst the organic tones were red-carpet ready pieces in pink, green, purple and red.

Duran even changed things up a little by having male models strut their stuff on the runway in sky high wedges and relaxed jersey knit dresses….definitely making sure his celebrity filled audience ( including June Ambrose, Ebony’s Harriette Cole, Memsor Kamarake, Angela Simmons and style don Spry Lee Scott) was paying attention. A remarkable comeback for a talent with renewed passion. Jose Duran is definitely looking to be here for the long haul.

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FASHION WEEK RECAP: Candela, Elise Gug, & LaureLuxe

So let the festivities begin!

Today was the pre-cursor to the Fashion Week festivities—and after being cooped up at home fighting a nasty cold for the past two weeks, it was nice to spread my wings and be out amongst the masses. Never one to hold back, I jumped right back into the social scene with 4 appearances today.

First stop, downtown at the Jane Hotel for the Candela Spring/Summer 2011 Presentation.

I met up with Shatonia Amee, the style maven behind Pink Suede, Inc. and together we headed over to view Candela collection. As we walked into the venue we were met by bright lights, flashing bulbs and something that looked like a scene right out of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. A reflection of the collections title, the first floor of the Jane Hotel had been transformed into a trading post for the Candela presentation. Aux Armes, who designed the set, did a wonderful job.

On three staged scenes, models looked like they were right out of the pages of books in what was a blend of rustic versus Native American with a modern twist and a little hippie chic thrown in for good measure. Sounds busy, but it so worked. The collection had a very natural feel with cotton, silk, leather and crocheted pieces. Even the coloring of the clothing was very “natural and organic” with white, navy, wheat and olive tones. The collection featured floor length prairie dresses and skirts paired with saddle shoes and boots, knee military like shorts paired with very fine, very femme cotton tops and silky, ethereal dresses coupled with latticed leather boots– tough by very feminine at the same time.

Shatonia snapped a few pics of well dressed models (styled by Kate Sebbah) before we headed north to Nexus Showroom for the second stop of the evening.

We headed to midtown for our second stop at Nexus. There we got an up-close- and-personal look at Elise Gug.

Elise Gug is a Danish designer that caters to the ultra femme and ultra chic, but also to those who desire comfort and a sophisticated simplicity. Drawing inspiration from the Italian Riviera, the collection featured sun-kissed hues mixed with neutral tones (beiges, creams, whites, blush pinks, and black).The line featured dresses that emphasized the waist, A-line jackets, pants, shorts and skirts—all designed to be mixed and matched and all made to flatter the shape. Looking at the collection inspired thoughts of Lucille Ball, Grace Kelly and Jackie O with their quiet sophistication that spoke volumes. I also saw hints of design greats like Elie Tahari and the classic Yves Saint Laurent. Definitely a line to watch.

After grabbing a cup of ice-coffee at Prêt-A-Manger, Shatonia and I headed downtown to Tela Design Studio in the Meatpacking District for the Women’s Mafia Fashion Show. Though time didn’t allow us to stay for the actual show, we ran into a few friends including styling diva Mary Lafayette of Fashion Luv Joenz and retro-chic designer Shantell Richardson of Shauntele.

After showing our face at Tela, Mary, Shatonia and I headed over to the Gates in West Chelsea for the Laureluxe fashion show. The famed metal Jewelry designer’s event was another reunion opportunity. Before even walking through the doors, we bumped into Fashion Week mainstay, Aminah Benjamin. Inside, we ran into Shelly Castro, jewelry diva Tammiko Beasty, Arthur Donaldson of Arabelle Modeling, and Devora Wooden of Dig Deep Inc. Scanning the room we saw other faces we knew including famed stylist Spry Lee Scott and hip hop couture designer Lexx Perry, After a few cocktails, we all ushered to our seats where we were greeted by host, Amanda Diva. Then the show started….

Laureluxe opened sporting the men’s pieces first which included chainmail tees, metal plated skinny ties, chained suspenders, arm and shin guards and “spiked” shoulder pads that would make any defensive lineman shudder. Definitely more than just “jewelry,” the men’s collection brought simple, classic looks to a whole new level with pieces that brought to mind 300 and the Gladiator. Definitely couture. But the best was yet to come…

The women’s collection for Laureluxe was phenomenal. Evoking memories of Grace Jones and Tina Turner in Mad Max, the line was surreal—chain mail dresses and hoodies, swimwear pieces made of chain mail, even lingerie (garters and even a chained “legwarmer.” There were definitely pieces that I could see Amber Rose and Rhianna glamming on a VMA red carpet.

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Introducing….THE CURVY SOCIALITE

Many of you have gotten used to getting your fix for New York Fashion Week and other city happenings from me over at NY PR Diva. Well, over the past few months I’ve decided to change the focus of NY PR Diva and keep it primarily as a place for news about my clients. But a lot of people are still interested in the news from the runways, parties and other social events around New York City. Have no fear. I’m still out and about, but this time, I’m bringing my adventures as a social butterfly to you in the form of a new online presence…THE CURVY SOCIALITE.

I’ve been thinking about launching this blog/e-zine for a long time now but the time never felt right. But here we are on the cusp of another Fashion Week in New York. IMG/Mercedes Benz debuted a new location for the shows (now fashion’s being feted at Lincoln Center), so why not debut my new “home?” So folks, here I am, Tamara Walker, the Curvy Socialite. Welcome and Enjoy!