September 12, 2008
New York Sketchbook 4
Tuesday I got up bright and early to go see Jeremy Laing‘s show. I ran into Tommy Ton and Saneeta again, and scoped out the “Canadian Mafia” who were out in full force – Jeanny Beker, Bernadette Morra, and Barbara Atkin were all in attendance.
Jeremy Laing’s Spring collection was incredible – inspired by post-modern slashed canvases, Laing took his signature of collapsed geometry and slashed it – vertically, diagonally, horizontally. Some single slashes in transparent chiffon over swarovski-studded satins. Some multiple slashes created mesh effects, layered. Even with all the layers and raw edges, it was still intricate, minimal, and chic. He is a designer’s designer – he can rotate a dart like a master, and there is a lot of pleasure in looking at his clothes and imagining the patterns. Having seen three collections in a row, I am so excited to see his ideas develop. His confidence in his own identity is inspiring and his work is a pleasure to draw.
After leaving Bumble & Bumble, it was threatening rain. I walked up Eighth Avenue, picked up a bagel, and dipped into the Subway just as it was starting to spit. By the time I popped back out at Bryant Park it was raining full force. I managed to get into the tents fairly dry, but I was wearing sandals, so my feet were damp the rest of the day. New York is extremely hard on your feet. I am used to walking everywhere, but after four days in New York my feet were killing me.
I sat down in the Office Max booth inside the tents to listen to the rain on the tent roof, watch the fairly quiet mid-day crowd ebb and flow, drinking a complimentary cappucino and reading WWD. I checked my email and received a nice gift bag with an expanding file and a rubber band ball that all the fashion people around me found delightful.
By the by, Philip came by an we went to the New York Public Library for a little bit of research. The library is incredibly grand, with soaring ceilings, marble everywhere, and it smells, oddly, like chocolate and bananas.
Following that we walked over to Parsons to meet Queen Gilda. She is just as adorable in person as she is on her blog – she had on a jacket by Undercover and bifurcated boots. (Jason reminded me they are called Tabi boots.) She insisted there was nothing to see at Parsons’ fashion school but indulged us with a tour anyway. It is a surprisingly small school, with narrow hallways and tiny rooms. One section of the building is completely blocked off, because they were filming Project Runway. Its all very hush-hush but of course the students get to see who is still in the show when they go outside to smoke.
Then Philip, Gilda and I went down to FIT to check out the amazing Gothic: Dark Glamour exhibit curated by Valerie Steele. The pieces were both historical and contemporary – including an outfit by Toronto’s own Plastik Wrap. In particular I was amazed by the Alexander McQueen and Ricardo Tisci for Givenchy pieces – and many of the pieces had an inexplicable quality. How did they make such incredible things?
Going back to the tents, I got in line for standing room at Vivienne Tam. I texted Julie of Almost Girl and Coutorture to let her know I was there, and she scooped me out of the line, threw a backstage pass around my neck, and we stepped into the back of the tent, where models were getting their hair done and giving interviews. For the show, we sat in the second row, directly behind Serena Williams who was fresh from winning the Open. Very cool. Thanks Julie!
I think my sketching warms up over the week, and I got a lot of good drawings at Vivienne Tam –
After the show, Julie and I went to Atomic Wings for dinner and chatted about fashion, politics, fashion blogging over the years and whether it takes energy to be nice or not. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we disagree, and the conversation is always interesting with Julie. Fashion week is a stressful time for her so I was glad that Julie took some time out to hang out. We went to the Vivienne Tam after party (walking past the much more intense Prada party) but we were both too exhausted to finish our champagne. So we said goodnight.
On the last day, I got up early, again. I went to see Cho Cheng at the library, which was almost empty. It had many short skirt suits with every possible kind of collar, and poofy wedding dresses. I was still tired, and it was not really my thing, but I was in for a treat when Carmen Dell’Orefice came out at the end and I was too mesmerized to even remember I was holding a pencil.
I went for a last brunch at Cafe Henri, packed up my things, and got on the bus for an excruciating 12 hour bus ride with many many stops and transfers. I am still recovering, but as you can see it was well worth the effort. I love New York, and fashion week never fails to inspire me.