City Pulse

By Mary Dooe

Shoulders
Following the Year of the Leg, the Fall 2009 runways sent countless frocks down the runway, from sensual to demure, highlighting the shoulders. From the asymmetrical draped necklines at Carolina Herrera to ladylike cutouts at Donna Karan to futuristic shoulder straps at Alexander Wang and Ralph Lauren (of all people!), the sexiest body part this fall will be that which connects the arm bone to the back bone.

Cat Eyes
Channeling the French New Wave and classic 60′s beauties like Sophia Lauren, thick black eyeliner turned up at the ends was all over the catwalks this season. Lorick took it to the extreme with exaggerated, straight wings. While others, like Vivienne Tam, went for a very clean and simple cat eye, complimented by nude lips to bring out what was truly most important, the clothes.

McCafé
Many look forward to fashion week every year not only for the amazing clothes, but for the booths set up at Bryant Park. Despite the usual popularity of the Chambord open bar, fashionistas in five inch Gucci heels were lining up to try the new McCafé nonfat vanilla latte.

Modern Tweed
Every Fall we are bombarded with some type of menswear/school girl inspired trend, and this year is no different. Putting a spin on the traditional tweeds and plaids of seasons past (think Ralph Lauren and Dolce & Gabbana last fall), this seasons’ designers went for something a big more updated. Alexander Wang kept it fun in a head to toe futuristic tweed, Zac Posen kept it girlie with flouncy tweed and plaid dresses, and everyone from Diane von Furstenberg to DKNY kept it traditional with overcoats and blazers in a variety of sleek tweed patterns.

Airbrushed Makeup
Temptu, an airbrush makeup company that has been around for over 25 years, covered four shows this season, including Lorick and Catherine Holstein (and its launching its consumer line this Fall!). Seen on both new mama M.I.A. and Katy Perry at the Grammy’s, airbrushing gives the skin a perfect finish, somewhat velvety and just shy of dewy.

Architectural Folds
With detail and structure enough to mirror the Chrysler building itself, this seasons cocktail dresses and gowns brought yards of folded fabric to center stage. Tops took an architectural turn as well, with layered corsets at Carolina Herrera and angular wraps at Ralph Lauren. The Art Deco lover within is finally at ease after seasons of flowery dresses and baggy shirts.

Back in Black
It really came as no shock that black was back in a big way this season, especially with the unstable economy looming ominously above the tents at Bryant Park. However, what was surprising were two things – the utter freshness of texture and cut designers brought to the little black numbers (not just dresses!), and amazing exuberance with which they contrast the black with bright neon pieces.

Christian Siriano for Payless Shoes
I have been a fan of Christian Siriano even before he won Season 4 of Project Runway (and just so happened to have met him briefly at a magazine launch party on the Lower East Side before he won as well), so I was ecstatic that he was able to withstand hard economic times and still pull through a great collection. Sponsored by companies as varied as LG and Victoria’s Secret, the real hit of the show was his new line of Payless shoes which he debuted. As a lover of shoes who has also been hit by hard economic times, I am glad that this fierce designer has fcreated a fabulous line of pieces that real people can afford. And the heels just happen to be killer…

Barbie
As mentioned previously on City Pulse, this year marks Barbie’s fiftieth birthday and the whole town is celebrating. At the center of the tents at Bryant Park this year were large letters spelling Barbie, each with dozens of dolls inside, as well as life sized Barbie mannequins in original 60′s garb. The best part – this year’s gift bags chocked full of goodies, in a great pink plastic Barbie tote that will definitely be seen with me on the beach this summer.

Offsite shows
With the increasing costs of producing fashion shows, many smaller (and some larger) designers moved offsite this year, everywhere from Eyebeam and Milk Studios to various stores. While many complained about the rushing around, I think that is part of what makes fashion great. That, and it was certainly an experience to see the heads of construction workers turn as hundreds of women in heels and giant Balenciaga bags power walked down Twelfth Ave trying to catch a show at the last minute.

Originally published February 2009
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