Veronika Heilbrunner reports on Fashion Week in New York and gives her own exciting insights
In New York, the Spring/Summer 2017 kick-off is usually celebrated with the best parties – and yes, this time around my calendar was also mostly booked up in the evening hours – but now the big labels’ focus is also very consumer oriented. So instead of the coming season, Tommy Hilfiger (with a carnival on Pier 16), Ralph Lauren (by closing of an entire city block around his Madison Avenue boutique), and Tom Ford all showed Fall/Winter 2016 again to boost current sales and turn social media hype into sales numbers. An absolute advantage for online media, but of course this type of procedure is counterproductive for buyers and printed media. In any case, I’m excited to see if it works.
Best Show: Michael Kors!
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What chance do you have of putting on a good show at 10am in the Spring Studios, which was hosting two shows almost every day? The solution: put Rufus Wainwright and his band on a small stage in the middle of the sun drenched room, let him play, and let the models stride by – definitely the best idea in general! It was quite fitting that I had on pants embroidered with crystal beads, almost a real showpiece. These were extremely sub-optimal when it came to sitting, but the unbelievably good music and the mood that came out of it helped me forget all about that and I could just enjoy the lovely 40s and 70s inspired looks. I was particularly impressed by the chocolate brown floral prints and especially by the overalls. And seeing the sun-kissed and super happy Michael, who applauded for Rufus at the end of the show, is absolutely the best mood elevator and is still putting a smile on my face right now (at 7am at Tegel Airport).
Outstanding Red Carpet: Cartier!
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Closed since 2014 for renovations, the Cartier Boutique (aka, a city block) reopened for the start of Fashion Week. The extensive renovation and expansion works in the building complex on Fifth Avenue (which Pierre Cartier received in exchange for a necklace worth 1 million US dollars and became the home of the Cartier Mansion in 1917) called, of course, for a corresponding level of festivity. Sofia Coppola, Rooney Mara, Patti Smith, Edward Norton, and Katie Holmes thronged to the red carpet and through the four floors of the house – I especially liked the Grace Kelly Room, which was solely intended for engagement rings. Members of the New York City Ballet danced a never-ending performance and in the course of the evening all guests were led over Fifth Avenue by countless Cartier hosts in handsome uniforms (very Snapchat friendly), and to snacks like truffle grilled cheese sandwiches that looked like they had been prepared with an iron and a gigantic cake buffet.
Favorite Collection: Altuzarra!
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Actually a guarantor for elegance and “American chic”, Joseph has ventured into sexy terrain. And also mastered it with the first note of this – for him – unusual theme: “Badgirl”. Above all, I found it really refreshing that here (and as an exception to the rule) the idea of “a bit more” was celebrated rather than that of “a bit less”. Sailed waves, large, colorful earrings, black-rimmed eyes, fruits in the form of prints on hosiery (of course Carine Roitfeld immediately borrowed the cherry ones), sequin embroidery and prints, loud colors, gingham, snake, metallic, beautiful silk bras worn as tops, and a print from the 70s. All of this combined together yielded an irresistible cocktail.
The piece I want right now: Lacoste’s bathrobe coats!
Preferably the purple one with the big Lacoste emblem on the back and the big hood this piece is equally chic, cool, practical and fun. I’d feel kind of like Muhammad Ali, but would be able to go for lunch on the Upper East Side with my ladies. I’d totally wear it with short heels and huge sunglasses of course. I bet Rihanna’s got her mark on that piece as well.
Personal Moment of Happiness: Marc Jacobs!
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Maybe I sound like a broken record, but this is the show that I’m always the most excited about in New York, and every time I think it was the best yet. And it’s always true! Thousands upon thousands of lightbulbs hung low over the large, oval runway in the Hammerstein Ballroom and appeared like a rain of disco light. To the sound of Underworld’s Born Slippy (also the winner of the soundtrack category!!!), the models walked – no, teetered – in triple platform boots like they did last time, but fast-paced and making my Snapchat/Instastories/Boomerang explode.
The crowning glory, dreadlocks reminiscent of raver kids in Goa, made you think first of Manga comics and cosplay when looking at the clothes. Looking more closely, I recognized wonderful fantasy patchwork landscapes like in old children’s books that reminded me of the wonderful Conte de Fees collection that Marc made together with artist Julie Verhoeven for Vuitton in 2002. I was especially impressed by the My Little Pony rainbow hoodies with crystals and the many, many metallic mini-dresses that almost looked like an audition outfit for Juno Temple’s roll in the TV series Vinyl (the fantastic Scorcese/Jagger production that takes place in New York at the end of the 70s).
Best Location: Sies Marjan!
Kitty-corner from the renowned Algonquin Hotel (the pivotal point of Dorothy Parker’s amusing German language biography, Noch ein Martini und ich liege unterm Gastgeber/One More Martini and I’m Under the Host) in the New York City Bar Association. Fitting for the location, the invitation looked like a library card. The guest list also left nothing to be desired. All that are chic, intellectual, and artistically happening at the moment sat here wrapped in crystal and plastic sequins, marveling at the reverberating sound of the heels and bright colors of the new collection.
Favorite Cocktail: Tory Burch’s Penthouse at The Pierre Hotel
First off, I was really excited to finally be able to see the hallowed inner world of the designer in real time. And I can confirm: here flawless uptown taste meets wonderful colors and souvenirs from the sea. I found the mini hot dogs on the flying buffet extremely likeable, but in any case I didn’t have the time to observe if the hostess ate as many as I did (an estimated 34 ;-)) as I spent my evening very glamorously lined up for the tarot card reader.
Best Party: No Parties
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My not-so-secret but very boring recipe for surviving Fashion Week is simple: no parties. So instead of frolicking over to the #BazaarIcons party, I spent the evening with a tasty meal (and a few too many sakes) at my favorite Japanese restaurant around the corner from my hotel (which even though some guests like to keep the name secret, I’ll reveal now on the sly: Omen) and almost didn’t notice when my friends towed me along for a nightcap at Omar’s around the corner (also sounds familiar).
After a bit, I wondered if the aforementioned event might be a bit boring because I found almost the entire fashion crowd (from the Betaks to Olivier Zahm, Camille Rowe, Helena Christensen, Jordan Askill, and many more) at this freshly opened club/restaurant, which had cleared away the tables to make room for dancing, just as I realized – oops – it’s already well after midnight.
Beste After-Show Party: #WangFest!
Gigantic red illuminated cranes pointed the way to this amusement park à la Wang, complete with a 7-Eleven kiosk, ice cream truck, a gaming station with Nars products, and the world’s longest line crowned by an oversized McDonald’s truck. Wow! The brilliant Adidas Originals collaboration was also available for immediate purchase and just for the experience you wanted to go grab a piece from the trucks, which were lined with Mexican gang member lookalikes and were where the collection was being sold from. And not to be forgotten: the fog-shrouded VIP area in a gallery next to the stage was fitted out with the coolest show guests of every kind (Madonna and her daughter Lourdes, Kylie Jenner and Tyga, Zoe Kravitz and so on).
More Impressions of New York Fashion Week:
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Photos: Instagram @veronika Heilbrunner and @heywomancom
Translation: Melissa Frost
Born and raised in Munich/Germany, Veronika’s professional career has developed from being a model to a fashion editor, to online luxury retailing and most recently style editor of Harpers Bazaar Germany. She currently lives in Berlin where in the beginning of 2015 she started a company with Julia Knolle, the ex-editor at large of Vogue Digital.
Oh, and she loves pugs!