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Sunday, September 14, 2014

#NYFW: Mark & Estel Spring 2015 GIVEAWAY!

 The Mark and Estel Spring 2015 show was highly anticipated by the fans of Mark Tango and Estel Day because they were going to release “Malibu Anthem”, their new single and perform it live in addition to their runway presentation. So when the show was about to start in the Salon of the Lincoln Center, the room was buzzing with twice the excitement than your typical fashion show.

I love the idea of mixing different genres. The show started with several black hats, something I love to wear. This style was influenced by the “rockstar” look, mainly in black and white, always showing some skin -either the legs or the belly! The bras appeared often to be part of the outfit and the hair was floating long and wild giving all the models a grunge look!  I experimented with this hairstyle myself after listening to "Smells like Teen Spirit” but it ended up in a tangled mess. Leather silhouettes appear broken by huge shoulders, reminiscence of the jackets of the 80’s, shorts skirts with inventively cut curved shapes. My favorite look was shown by two models walking like twins, one in black with a white bow and one wearing the opposite. Several looks included a bow, a bit excessive in my opinion. The show was dominated by black and white. As a matter of fact the only variation of color came in the form of a dark green hat.

As soon as the last model walked away the lights turned blue and the performance was on! Mark and Estel performed their new song live, Mark wearing a leopard print jacket, Estel wearing black and white. The sound was not perfect but the atmosphere was electric! The only other designer who could put on such a rocking show this week was Betsey Johnson!

photos by Mariana Leung
Mark and Estel are based on the West Coast and started making music and band t-shirts “to communicate our music not only with graphic but also the way they were cut”. According to the duo “Fashion is a religion” and it’s no wonder that Lady Gaga wears their clothes!

WIN Mark & Estel's new CD, Fashion First Aid kit & beauty new releases from NY Fashion Week! To win, follow @GeraldineTrip and @MarianaByDesign on Twitter.  Then leave a comment below with the name of your favorite rock song!

-Guest blogger, Geraldine Trippitelli, founder of Mazette Media, an marketing agency specialized in social media. 
 "I'm excited to have my fist posts as a guest blogger on Ms Fabulous! As a former Parisian I love following fashion trends and this blog is one of my favorite. I'm thankful to be given the opportunity to cover shows at NYFW."


Thursday, September 11, 2014

#NYFW: Vivienne Tam Spring 2015 & the Forbidden City

Vivienne Tam is a master in merging traditional Chinese themes with contemporary techniques.  For spring 2015, the designer took her inspiration from China’s Forbidden City. 

Landscapes and nature patterns like waves and clouds were printed onto blouses or handbags.  Birds, flowers and trees were embroidered onto athletic fabrics like power mesh.  Printed neoprene was cut and appliqued onto other fabrics in a sports meets high fashion mix.  These motifs are found in historical artwork and handicrafts in China and treasures from inside the Forbidden City.  Her color palette was similar to her collections of the past. She used her signature red, black and ivory.  There was a pretty ceramic blue and bits of citrus yellow and purple in prints.

The big trend in many collections this season is wearable tech.  Vivienne Tam offered handbags that charged your phone when you put it inside.  Unlike many of the clunky pieces that many tech companies produced, the accessories on this runway were so stylish, I would be happy to buy them on design alone with the functionality being a big bonus.

The most popular jewelry was a variation on the knotted beaded friendship bracelet.  Unfortunately, my least favorite part of the catwalk was the footwear.  Normally, I would be enthusiastic about seeing a designer promote practical, comfortable footwear, but the socks and flat sandals the models wore looked like a bad tourist cliché.  Paired with the sleek, beautifully rendered pieces on the body above, it just did not make sense.  Was this a nod to the casual attire of Silicon Valley?  Sure, wearing comfy shoes should be a goal in real life, but on the New York Fashion Week runway, I realized I would prefer to see some nice heels on the models that are only spending 90 seconds in them.  Even the most professional of models, wearing socks and flat, duck-like sandals affects how they walk and the overall impression on the runway. 

With Vivienne Tam’s tongue-in-cheek design process, I think the models were lucky their feet were not bound instead.
photos by Mariana Leung


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#NYFW: Betsey Johnson Spring 2015 Pre-Nup!

pink wedding dress
betsey johnson fashion show
betsey johnson spring 2015
Spring, summer, it’s the season of the bride.  Designer Betsey Johnson’s Spring 2015 collection reminds you to be a cautious bride though, naming the collection “Pre-Nup”.  The fashion show started with two dolled-up same-sexy couples in white.

What came next was a parade of alternative bridal dresses, but also lingerie, burlesque and sexy frocks that were more appropriate for the bachelorette party (and wedding night!).  The models carried bouquets of flowers of all types, even faux blooms made from fabric or just a paper cut-out.  There were lots and lots of tulle fabric in the form of veils and petticoats. 

The make-up was very dramatic.  The models sported big, smoky eyes and bright red lipstick that gave a much darker edge to the eccentric girly looks on the runway.  It was as if they wanted to remind everyone that yes, they were having fun tonight playing this caricature of femininity, but don’t forget there is a real woman behind the dress who needs to be taken seriously.  Perhaps that is a message that Betsey Johnson as a brand stands for.  One always associates Betsey with hot pink, a female-driven brand that projects a good time.  Fans turn to the label for party dresses and looks that are perfect for a wild night out, but never the office.

While Betsey is cheered during her signature cartwheel, critics have often been catty about her and her daughter’s business skills.  Because they are women, are they being judged by the image versus the actual accomplishments?  It is a global brand that has been around for several decades, been through major challenges and involves multiple family members. 

With so many somber faces on the runway, it is so much fun to shoot this fashion show.  Photographers’ line up for hours before this presentation and it is the most crowded show at Lincoln Center by a longshot.  The burly male shooters who care little about designers or fashion or don’t even have women in their life are fans of this collection.  Who can blame them?

Well into her 7th decade on this planet, Betsey Johnson still performed her signature cartwheel and split, but accompanied by her grandchildren.  Her family joined her to take the bow.  Betsey Johnson’s exit was having the big drag queen bride carry her over the threshold (or backstage).   Bravo lady!
photos by Mariana Leung

#NYFW: Happy 25th Anniversary Zang Toi!

zang toi ss15
Fashion Week and photographer favorite Zang Toi celebrates 25 years in business with his Spring 2015 collection.  While his longtime models and staff acknowledged the quarter century, the photographer’s pit made history with its leader, Richard Renda chasing him down the runway so the International Press Corps could sing “Happy Anniversary” while he presented him with a cake.

Yes, the photographer’s pit loves Zang Toi.  He is generous with his lighting checks, models who take the time to strut their stuff and pose properly.   He sends out gorgeous, dramatic looks (and also lunch).

While Zang Toi has often looked to exotic global locations as his inspiration, his silver anniversary collection used America as his muse.  The designer told Ms. Fabulous backstage that he wanted to pay tribute to the country that embraced him.  He showed day looks in his favorite color combination of black and ivory.  He then used a throwback to his first collection in using bright emerald, red and purple, colors from his first season.

Traditionally, Zang Toi has opened the show with day wear, then a pause before sending out the big, sweeping gowns that drive his fans wild. Separates for men and when were constructed with luxurious merino wool and silk.  The designer wanted to elevate his repertoire by using crocodile skin as the base for an oversized vest.   The purple ballgown portion of the show had a beautiful silk print that depicted giant blooms of orchids.  There were a few styles that featured heavily beaded/jewel encrusted patterns.

With the immense challenges in fashion today, it is quite an accomplishment to bring your company and staff into the third decade of Zang Toi’s success.  His energy is non-stop.  Waiting backstage for an interview, his personal demeanor was buzzing, happy and contagious.  The photographers in the Press Corps have pledged to buy him a cake and a stellar celebration for every milestone he encounters from now on.     

photos by Mariana Leung

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

#NYFW: Mara Hoffman Spring 2015

mara hoffman spring 2015
mara hoffman ss15
If you were to interpret the sunrise in a fashion collection, how would you do it? Mara Hoffman’s Spring 2015 collection was an assignment to herself to accept the light.  There was a departure from her highly intricate ethnic prints.  The color palette was softer, leaning closer to pastels rather that the graphic black, primary and neon colors of previous seasons.

Prints and embroidered patterns revolved around a sunburst.  Big abstract rays of sun spread out over a dress or Japanese inspired graphics depicting a sunrise could be found.  Less obvious were the embroidered rainbows of colors in a circle or multi-colored patterns that still looked like a sunburst.  There were a few looks with a variegated stripe that was reminiscent of the Southwestern vibe of previous seasons. There were looks with lush green foliage, like a trek through the islands. I liked the return of the hat styles we saw in previous seasons.  (Pharrell Williams, Mara did it first).

This collection contained more elegant styles than the Bohemian indie spirit we’re used to from Mara Hoffman.  A floor length, solid colored gown was lovely, but I would never have guessed it came from this designer.  I’m not sure if this is a hint at the designer’s new maturity in style, or just a temporary one.  Maybe the designer is so well traveled at this point; she would rather travel back in time for some regressive design influence.  

#NYFW: Son Jung Wan Spring 2015

Designer Son Jung Wan was inspired by the concept of Yin and Yang for her spring 2015 collection at Mercedes Benz fashion week.

This concept was expressed in the pairing of rough, hemp fabrics with raw edges with delicate silk.  There was also a color yin and yang in the look of dark rich colors paired with metallic thread details that looked an outfit was struck by a lightning bolt.

Menswear looks included sweaters combining thick, chunky yarns with super light, sheer knits. Each sweater was paired with shorts.  Apparently the men in this world don’t get cold.

While there were plenty of gorgeous looks in Ivory and pastel, the best looks came from a group of clothes in bright jewel tones.  Too many designers fall back on traditional colors they think are warm weather appropriate, but more and more designers like Son Jung Wan understand that customers are gravitating towards seasonless color palettes.

The pastels that the designer did offer were not twee candy colored pieces.  She amped them up to iridescent sparkling creations.  Many of the pieces were embroidered with a combination of solid colored jewels, pearl finish and lenticular illusion pailettes.  This was a great upgrade a fabric that can easily look cheap if not executed well.

I always enjoy Son Jung Wan’s collection as one I would wear.  Unfortunately, even after 8 seasons of showing at Lincoln Center, you would be hard-pressed to find her work in stores here.  You could order from her site, but the online shopping experience leaves a lot to be desired.  The shop does not have a size guide or description of the items.

For now, the collection creates a beautiful picture.  Somehow, I assume she has bigger ambitions than that.
photos by Mariana Leung