Assistant Editor of ELLE and Editor of ELLE Collections, Rebecca Lowthorpe, reports from New York Fashion Week. Follow her on Instagram @rlowthorpe and Twitter @Rebecca_ELLE
THURSDAY, 19 FEBRUARY 2014
6pm: Click to my Marc Jacobs review here. His show last night was inspired by the late fashion doyenne, Diana Vreeland. Who better to embody her spirit than the British model Erin O'Connor. Jacobs said of her, 'She was just the right person to start the show with. I'd been looking at a book of X-ray photographs that Francois Nars did and there's a picture in it of Erin, her hair shaved at the sides, and of course she has a profile that is quite important. She reminded me a bit of Mrs Vreeland.'
I caught up with Erin last night backstage after the show. Here, channelling Diana Vreeland.
'Ten days ago, I was pushing the pram, taking Albert to playgroup when my agent called,' explained Erin of her sudden call to front the line up for Marc Jacobs. The model has been on maternity leave with her seven and a half month old boy. 'I was coming out to New York for the AMFAR ball anyway, then I ended up staying for a secret week with Marc, doing fittings and getting into character.'
Below, Erin opens the Marc Jacobs autumn / winter 2015 show.
Jacobs said his show was all about allure: 'The allure of things that you find beautiful and the allure of things that you don't find beautiful.'
Of Diana Vreeland, the late fashion editrix who inspired his collection, Jacobs said: 'She was so decisive and so passionate about something, and then as passionate to dismiss the very same thing the next day.'
'I think that's what fashion is,' said Jacobs backstage, 'that fierce, addictive pleasure, that I've-got-to-have-it-now need.'
As Vreeland herself once said: 'You gotta have style. It helps you get down the stairs. It helps you get up in the morning. It's a way of life. Without it, you're nobody.'
2pm: Some designers are just really good at autumn / winter collections. Francisco Costa is one of them. His collection for Calvin Klein this season was everything you want from the modernist brand. He took the familiar, in this case a kind of Beatnik babe, and re-nosed her for now. My six favourite looks below.
10am: Ralph Lauren never ceases to amaze. Earlier in the week, I met Mr Lauren in his recently opened Polo Bar (1 East 55 St) where I was informed of his favourite dish: the salt beef sandwich. This morning, I watched Ralph's recipe for success unfold on the catwalk. Below, the Ralph Lauren rules of engagement.
Below, the designer, 75, taking his bow in jeans and lumberjack shirt.
Ralph's Rules of Engagement: 1) Your first exit (below) must sum up your multi-billion-dollar luxury lifestyle brand so take your audience somewhere familiar, in this case the hunting lodge.
Ralph's Rules of Engagement: 2) You're not just any luxury brand, you're Ralph Lauren and in New York you own the neutral palette. Make this clear with tone-on-tone super-soft, deep-pile, textiles. This will make your audience think of giant fur rugs at your hunting lodge in front of a roaring fire.
Ralph's Rules of Engagement: 3) Now you need to throw in an element of surprise. Increase the voluminosity of your knitwear, make it like a Tibetan yak. Add exotic jewellery.
Ralph's Rules of Engagement: 4) You are extremely well known for sophisticated elegance. Ensure your attenuated silhouette gets top billing in cream lace to highlight recurring frilled necks.
Ralph's Rules of Engagement: 5) Never forget your heritage: the pinstripe suit. Make witty with them. Instead of pants, put her in a long skirt with braces. Add a trapper hat for extra wit.
Ralph's Rules of Engagement: 6) You are a world class red carpet dresser. Don't let anyone forget it. Make your finale dress count. A sinuous gold sheath. Add trapper hat and gloves. Your audience will love you for it.
WEDNESDAY, 18 FEBRUARY 2014
8pm: Read here my review on Proenza Schouler, why Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, the Proenza boys, remain at the front of their generation. Meanwhile, here's the running board backstage at last night's excellent show.
And below, a diagram of the proceedings, front of house. Arrows show the model march. Not all catwalks go up and down!
2pm: BOSS Womenswear took place on the 37th floor of the skyscraper formerly known as Two World Financial Centre offering the most spectacular views of fashion week. Below, tall plastic skyscraper sculptures - an aptly minimalistic take on Manhattan's skyline. Spot the Statue of Liberty.
Below, Edie Campbell, who opened and closed the show, epitomises Artistic Director Jason Wu's vision for BOSS: sharp cuts, industrial palette, severe minimalism.
And bold hits of colour. Below, one of two precision-cut outfits in orange.
10am: How to do modern glamour by Michael Kors. He said it was 'Opulent Restraint...Glamorous Simplicity' and, as ever, he captured the current mood, ticking off uniform, masc-fem, pyjama pants, Sherlock Holmes tweeds and lush eveningwear. Here, then, Michael Kors' masterclass in effortless glamour.
Lesson one: how to amp up the glamour for day with a gilt-sleeved pea coat.
Lesson two: How to tone the glamour down for evening with a pair of charcoal banker's pants and brogues.
Lesson three: Contrast rules, see hunting tweeds (all the rage in New York this week) with silk pyjama pants.
Lesson five: Sometimes, it's the purest things (a white blouse and black pencil skirt) that spell understated glamour. Magic.
Lesson six: Then again, if you're going to wear jewels, make sure they cover every square inch of your pyjamas.
Lesson seven: Sparkle in it's simplest form, below, sadly Karlie's body doesn't come with.
TUESDAY, 17 FEBRUARY 2014
6pm: British designer Peter Copping sent out his first collection for the house of Oscar de la Renta, following the designer's death in October last year. Copping's note, left on everyone's seat, read: 'I am immensely proud to have been chosen as the Creative Director of Oscar de la Renta. Unfortunately things did not go according to our plans and I never had the chance to work with Oscar, which is something I deeply regret.' You can read the news report on his debut collection here.
Kendall Jenner below in ultra violet organza gown with petal embroideries.
Below, the Oscar ladies including Barbara Walters, Nancy Kissinger and Annette de la Renta, the designer's widow. Opposite them at the show sat New York's new guard - twin besties Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss.
4pm: 'The spirit of protest and action,' said Luella Bartley of her and Katie Hillier's Marc by Marc Jacobs show. Read my MBMJ review here.
9am: Tory Burch rocked the cazbah with all things Moroccan: spicy reds, carpet prints, gold coin details, supple suede and multiple paisley prints. Pretty.
Snow fell and the 'dead' models sat bolt up right, then the 'angels' wheeled them off stage left...
Cue the funeral procession, in every shade of black and with every luxury surface intensively hand-crafted.
1pm: Here at Coach, creative director Stuart Vevers' woman has transformed into a biker chick as she continues her journey across America. The difference this season is that his biker girls are all luxed up. Check out the hardware on this jacket.
I could definitely do with these boots, right now. Perfect for New York's big frieze - it's -7 today.
My prediction is that Coach will become the go-to shearling brand of autumn / winter 2015. You can see why below.
And below in monochrome.
Note the baseball glove detail on the cross-body Hobo bag. Vevers understands Americana, but it's the way he fuses that with a cool London girl vibe.
10am: If only every Monday morning could start with The Row. This was an exceptional show for the fashion purist, featuring obi-sashed waists (like below) and nothing so much as a button to disturb the minimalism. Fashion editors were whispering throughout 'If only', as in 'if only money were no object, I'd have that, that and that'.
The simplicity of it all was breathtaking. As was the view, a zillion floors up in the Seagram Building. One of my favourite looks, below: I love the crisp white shirt with the rich-toned leather 'gilet'. Flats, like slippers, were worn throughout.
Below is how you carry a Row bag.
And if you're in the money for a gezillion-ply cashmere sweater, look no further.
SUNDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2014
3pm: Thakoon Panichgul goes his own way and it's refreshing to see his take on ethnicity poured through the polished New York blender.
And the VB knitwear - fantastic!
And then the coats - super flattering, ultra wearable. Everything in this collection was designed to walk straight off the catwalk and into your closet. Bravo!
SATURDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 2014
Alexander Wang was determined to make a powerful impression with his autumn / winter 2015 collection. His mission, to carve out a different image to that of his other job at Balenciaga, never felt so urgent.
Wang’s gang stomped out as post-modern punks with stringy oiled hair and giant-soled Frankenstein-like boots. It wasn’t pretty. RL
8pm: Can you spot the 18th century dandy in Joseph Altuzurra's collection? (Think high frilled necks). RL
5pm: Snapped! Marissa Webb, the new creative director of Banana Republic unveiled #thenewBR exclusively to ELLE ahead of the official presentation. She said she wants the brand to have more personality and more intimacy: 'We are a 360 lifestyle brand,' she said, 'And we want to be part of our customers' lives on a daily basis.' Below definitely gets the ELLE stamp of approval. RL
Marissa Webb, a former psychology student who worked with J Brand for 10 years, wants her customers to feel empowered. These shoes should do the trick.
Webb said that much of the collection had been inspired by a trip to Scandinavia. You can see that below. With the hat, at least.
4.30pm: We are live! This season, ELLE is bringing you all the New York Fashion Week action in a new live blog.
Assistant Editor/ELLE Collections Editor Rebecca Lowthorpe has just touched down in the Big Apple and will shortly pick up to bring you all the latest news, reviews and must-know gossip as it happens.
Stay tuned - and, in the meantime, keep up with all the catwalk action here and bookmark this link for everything off-catwalk, from the faces on the front row to street style to the best bag and shoe trends, hot off the runway.
Image: Street style at New York Fashion Week, a/w 2015.