the Insiders


Showing posts by Marc Karimzadeh- Designer Sportswear Editor
On Tuesday, I sat down with Katie Holmes and Jeanne Yang, the two design partners behind the Holmes & Yang line which sits on Barneys New York's sixth floor alongside other pricey designer lines.
Much has been said over the past few days over the issue of celebrities in the front row. Give or take a few exceptions, they -- and the mayhem they bring with them -- have been largely absent from the shows this season, which, for editors who cover the collections and retailers who look to buy them, can make a show so much more pleasant. There is one runway phenomenon, however, that continues to surprise me every time and that few people care to discuss: the noncelebrity, front-row crasher.

As I was waiting for the Rodarte show to begin, an e-mail from my editor in the front row popped up on my handheld device, alerting me that top LVMH executive Pierre-Yves Roussel was once again sitting in the front row of this particular show.

As the chief executive officer of the fashion division at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Roussel plays a key role in spotting talent for the conglomerate's various labels, and it could be said he has the power to hire hot young designers -- Rodarte sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, for instance -- for one of its labels, and turn them into household names around the world.
Now that I have pretty much recovered from the deluge of New York shows (and rain!), I have had some more thoughts on the spring collections.

At the end of fashion week, my colleague Sharon Edelson (whose cubicle, by the way, is attached to mine, so I can listen in on all her phone conversations) asked key retailers for their takes on the New York season.

Many cried foul — they deemed the clothes too safe, too tried-and-true and simply too commercial, claiming that in this tough economy, it takes a wow factor to lure shoppers into stores.

But therein lies the catch-22, no?

Michael Kors
Last February, at a Spice Girls concert I attended with some friends, the cheering wasn't just for Posh, Baby, Ginger, Scary and Sporty. When Michael Kors walked into the arena, the crowd went completely wild for the designer, asking him for his autograph and posing with him for photos.Thanks to his star turn as a judge on "Project Runway," Kors has become a media phenomenon, and I dare say he has become more popular in American mainstream culture than possibly any other American designer before him.

A look from Halston.
On July 16, I broke the news that Marco Zanini is out at Halston after one, somewhat ill-fated, runway outing. While the company has yet to confirm the news officially, my sources are reliable. 

Writing the story, I kept thinking, why is it so hard to get Halston right? (Past attempts by designers like Randolph Duke, Kevan Hall, Craig Natiello, Piyawat Pattanapuckdee and Bradley Bayou didn't really stick much either.) The Halston DNA is probably as strong, if not stronger, than most American fashion brands today, and over and over again, legions of designers (hello, Tom Ford!) are inspired by the chic jersey dresses, the ultrasuede ensembles and the lifestyle the designer led in the late Seventies when he and his Halstonettes epitomized chic.

As the fashion equivalent of the Oscars, the CFDA Fashion Awards should be the ne plus ultra in fashion moments, but last week's ceremony got off to a tricky start. Once the celebrities, designers and other industry types walked by the row of photographers (to shouts of  "Eva, Eva, Eva," "Naomi," and "Posh, look here"), the crowd congregated in a patio area behind the New York Public Library for cocktails. The problem? The floor was made up of slats, which, for  for this crowd meant dozens of stuck Manolo, Choo and Louboutin heels.

Victoria Beckham and Eva Longoria
photo by Steve Eichner
Maybe there's a fashion jinx, but something always seems to go a little haywire with this big industry shindig, from the lengthy ceremony (that at least once pushed well beyond midnight) to spotty food service and the awkward moment last year when emcee Ellen Barkin muddled up her Designer of the Year presentation and forgot to mention that Proenza Schouler was tied with Oscar de la Renta (causing a very uncomfortable moment in the audience -- not unlike watching one of those awkward scenes in The Office).

When this year's awards started going, the crowd sat stone-faced through much of the presentation, which at times was amusing, and touching. There was Diane von Furstenberg's heartfelt words about Yves Saint Laurent, who had died the night before; Fran Lebowitz's drier-than-dry humor that seemed to escape the fashion folk, and Amy Poehler and Tina Fey's smart dialogue about accessories, offering the ultimate fashion fantasy -- a Marc for Marc Jacobs sandwich  for Dean & Deluca with bread by Isaac Mizrahi for Pepperidge Farms. In the end, it all does come down to food, after all. For a lot that prides itself on not eating, they were getting quite antsy with the slow kitchen at the Bryant Park Grill. "You bet I am leaving, I am hungry," Marc Jacobs told me, as he squeezed himself by my table to say a few words to Naomi Campbell, who was sitting a few seats further down.

Maybe Michael Kors had a point while reflecting on the night during a resort appointment the morning after. "Fashion people eat junk food," he said.

How about burgers and fries next year? I would love to hear suggestions on improving the night.
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