NEW YORK — A winter storm left piles of snow and Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco stopped by Tommy Hilfiger's show, but the most dramatic thing about New York City this past week were Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week's first looks at fall 2013.
Inside the walls of Lincoln Center, designers treated the crowds to collections that mirrored the futuristic feel of science fiction, the darkness of noir fiction and the theatrical elements of a good soap opera.
With so many ideas to chose from, these trends were the best of the best:
Christian Siriano said that his collection was heavily inspired by St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre. And boy, did the Annapolis native deliver. The collection was peppered with elements from old Russia and its rich, dramatic history. He captured Russia down to the braids that his models wore. Tracy Reese's collection made use of Cossack fur hats that conjure images of Dr. Zhivago. And the hats were not just on the models: The fashion elite in the audience were sporting the hats in assorted colors as well.
Speaking of fur, it was everywhere. Fur appeared on collars of jackets at the Nautica show, as accent trim on skirts, as full-length scarves and as oversized goat-hair coats. Carmen Marc Valvo's oxblood version was particularly impressive.
Siriano and Lela Rose both featured gowns and cocktail dresses adorned with ostrich feathers. They were opulent, over-the-top and extremely lovely.
From Vivienne Tam's nod to Asian culture to Mara Hoffman's use of funky '70s-inspired tribal patterns, ethnic prints were on full display. Just blocks away from Lincoln Center, designer Duro Olowu unveiled his African-inspired collaborative collection with JCPenney.
Black is back
Forget emerald, Pantone's color of the year. Black was the dominant color of most of the fall collections in New York. About half of Reem Acra's collection was made up of stunning black frocks. The collection showed myriad ways to use the color: as a kimono jacket, a goat hair cape, a leather-and-mesh dress, and a sleeveless black-embroidered ivory column gown. About a third of Badgley Mischka's collection consisted of ebony frocks. The duo's show started with a black double-knit skirt. It also included an ebony beaded cashmere twin set and ebony crepe and chiffon gown.
From arm-length versions to riding styles that rested at the wrist, leather gloves were one of the go-to accessories from designers. Trina Turk was a huge fan — as was Kenneth Cole, who showcased colorful offerings for both men and women. Reem Acra's mesh metallic wrist-length gloves stole the show.
Ladies in red
Jason Wu's inauguration gown for Michelle Obama served as a preview of his line, which he showcased in New York. Red also popped up throughout Siriano's collection. Vivienne Tam went as far as lighting her stage in a crimson glow. Her collection also included a large number of day dresses, separates and gowns — many adorned in Chinese symbols. Noon by Noor also excelled with red, particularly with a red metallic gown and red metallic pants and sleeveless embroidered top. Diane von Furstenberg had the largest array of red garments. From crimson to rust, the designer used the hue in pantsuits, wrap dresses and separates.
We first saw hats in a number of collections at the "Project Runway" show. It wasn't an isolated occurrence. Veteran designers such as Nicole Miller turned to fedoras to give collections an additional edge. Kenneth Cole also used hats to add to his layering. The models at Trina Turk's collection presentation wore fedoras to match their outfits, which created sleek, monochromatic looks.
Almost everyone got the gold metallic memo. Lela Rose did it better than most and featured a golden silk lace sheath dress that was to die for. "America's Next Top Model" alum and Maryland native Isis King relied heavily on gold when crafting her collection titled "The Goldest Winter Ever."
Metallics, popular this spring, will still be strong for fall. Custo Barcelona debuted metallic button-down shirts in assorted colors for men. And almost every women's collection included at least one shiny frock. Tracy Reese used sequins in abundance to accent her animal print frocks. David Tlale showed an impressive collection filled with luxe shiny fabrics used on gowns and separates in geometric shapes.
Lacoste led the charge to the future. Creative director Felipe Oliveira Baptista took show-goers through a futuristic arctic expedition. The collection featured geometric silhouettes, slicked-back ponytails, sheer raincoats and a surprising amount of color. There were also a number of pieces that appeared to be made of scuba material. When that material was crafted into rounded shoulder tops, it reinforced the sci-fi feel of the collection. Jill Stuart also captured the trend with a navy frock that was adorned with a black bow.
Rag & Bone opted for houndstooth sweaters. Nina Skarra featured a plush, white oversized offering. Custo Barcelona matched rich patterned sweaters with shorts and skirts. Monika Chiang also showcased a white, loose knit sweater atop a simple flared black dress, and a cobalt blue sweater that she paired with loose khaki three-quarter pants.
Scarves and capes
Custo Barcelona rocked the trend best with dramatic wool scarves and ponchos atop men's suits.
LOCAL FOLKS AT THE SHOWS
Here are some of the Marylanders making an impact during Fashion Week.
David Hart: The Maryland native unveiled a collection of menswear that included rich colors, contrasting patterns and luxe fabrics. His emerald tuxedo was eye-catching.
Isis King: The "America's Next Top Model" alum and fashion designer recruited her fellow top model contestants Camille McDonald, Sheena Sakai, Keenyah Hill and Naima Mora to walk in her show, which featured her fall collection. The collection was her first in seven years, and King said she decided to make it dress-driven after receiving advice from Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley. "It's a bright, young, futuristic and sexy collection," King said. The collection was primarily composed of gold, turquoise and purple.
Stevie Boi: The Baltimore-based designer known for his fashion-forward eyewear showed a collection called "Leather" and told The Baltimore Sun, "My favorite piece from the collection is the leather masquerade-type eyewear." In addition to showcasing his own creations, Boi flipped the script and modeled for designer Michael Kuluva in New York.
James Machiniak: The K Co Design and Day Spa hairstylist worked with the team of celebrity hairstylist Oribe during the week.
Kenneth Saenz: Saenz, who is also a hair stylist at K Co Design and Day Spa, worked major shows such as Jill Stuart, Libertine and Monique Lhuillier.
Hilary Rhoda: Supermodel Hilary Rhoda closed out the Carolina Herrera fall show dressed in an emerald-green satin fur-accented backless frock. The Chevy Chase native was also spotted front row at Helmut Lang and Dannijo. In her free time, Rhoda participated in SoulCycle, the trendy workout that combines fitness and spirtual wellness.
For more fashion week coverage, follow John-John Williams on Twitter @popcouturejjw4.