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Just a heads up to all you fashion-hungry New Yorkers (aka. me-in-two-years)…

Brian Reyes

If anyone wants to pick up a little something for me, I wouldn’t object…

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How much might one such struck-by-lightning cocktail dress run you?  I have no clue.  If you have to ask, you’ll probably never know.  Let’s just hope H&M knocks some of these off soon.

Not a fancy-pants New Yorker?  Looking for San Francisco fashion events?  Click on over this-a-way!

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Looks like somebody’s been watching a little bit too much Gossip Girl… and Clueless… and Dynasty…

Rumor has it that Chinese favorite, Cho Cheng actually based this season’s look off of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s timeless children’s story, The Little Prince, but I’m not seeing it.  To me, it feels more like he heard the 80’s were back and whipped out his Dynasty box set faster that anyone could say Alexis Carrington Colby.

Mister Cheng channels his inner Cher Horowitz this season, courtsey of Getty Images

Mister Cheng channels his inner Cher Horowitz this season, courtsey of Getty Images

Now, does that look like a very happy model?  Mister Cheng sent cadre of sour faced ladies down the catwalk in matching blonde Emo Phillips wigs and equally hideous (often matching) outfits.  Regardless of his intentions, I found the wigs downright offensive, and the models totally uninspiring.

Say what you will, I know it seems like an easy job (and I have met many a model who was indeed dumber than a box of rocks), but no matter how tallented a designer may be, his (or her) collection is only as strong as the models who present it, and some of Cheng’s were having trouble with the most fundamental task a model faces — walking in a straight line.  As a result, they looked more like bow-legged ostrich chicks than the Blair’s and Selena’s Cheng had no doubt envisioned.

No great loss, though, as his collection totally missed the mark, recreating rather than reinterpreting the hot looks your grantmother wore to the country club back in 1985.

Cho Cheng wasnt inspired by the 80s so much as he recreated them, photo by Getty Images

Cho Cheng wasn't inspired by the 80's so much as he recreated them. Photo by Getty Images

Color: Many in the industry have been known to say that when times are tough, designers fall into two camps: the practical (and sometimes bland), with their wearable, seasonally appropriate colors; And the fantastical (and often visually offensive), with their vibrant pallets of neon escapism.  Cheng definitely falls into the latter.  Although the collection was grounded in white, ivory, black, and gray, Cheng favored pink, teal, and red, occasionally getting carried away with primary green and yellow.  If that weren’t enough, he also dabbled in small houndstooth prints, nubby tweeds, and metallics.  Need I say more?

Silhouette: Cheng really embraced the 80’s, with squared, padded shoulders and angular jackets that hit at the hip (peplums and kick pleats were in full effect).  Skirts were micro mini, either pasted to the thighs or as full on tutus.  For evening, Cheng prefered longer lines, although the emphasis remained at the hips and bust, veering only occasionally for fishtail skirts and giant trains.  And did I mention he’s on a one-man mission to bring back culottes?

Photo by Getty Images

Photo by Getty Images

Hates: Normally I would do my “Loves” first, but I’d like there to be something positive left to end on.  Not only did I dislike his collection, I was particularly turned off by two things: the wigs, and the skirts — this picture encompasses both.  First of all, Asian models are totally underrepresented in fashion (I’m pretty sure she’s Asian, but what do you guys think?).  Despite the fact that we make up roughly 1/6 of the world’s population, there aren’t a lot of us who are 5’10” — it’s not discrimination, it’s just a fact.  So if you’re a proud Asian designer who’s found a beautiful Asian model, what on Earth would posess you to cover her look up by slapping a blonde wig on her?  This applies to all of the girls, really, but I see so many young Asian girls around SF (especially international students), lightening their hair and doing their eyeshaddow just so, and I find it disappointing.  On top of that, Cho Cheng did not design for real women either.  White is a classic color — clean, beautiful, virginal… and ,in the form of tights, hands down the fastest way to make your thighs look even bigger! Pair that with a collection of micro minis and hip pleats and you’ve just made enemies with everyone over a size 6.

Loves: Despite my obvious distaste for the collection, there was one outfit I didn’t mind — a mauve satin number with black detailing and a matching swing coat.  Unfortunately, it was being worn by Wobbles McGee, whose shoes were either two sizes two big, or whose feet may have been made of Jell-O.  No image from Getty on that one, though.  I also honesty loved the music — I understood the jet-setting 70’s lady theme and love songs, I just wish I would have seen a different manifestation on the runway.  Anyway — here, for your viewing pleasure, is Cho Cheng’s playlist.  I think it’s more entertaining than the show itself, but if you simply must watch that, too, you can do so here.

The Rubettes — Sugar Baby Love
The Pipettes — I Love You
Bitter:Sweet — Dirty Laundry
Beter Björn and John’s — Young Folks
Lily Allen — Chinese
Dusty Springfield —I Only Wanna Be With You

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New York Fashion Week is here, people!  Can you feel the excitement?  I can — because, if you’ll remember my post forecasting fall trends a couple of weeks ago, it loks like I was right (It doesn’t actually look like I was right so much as I am right, but there’s nothing lady-like about doing the i-told-you-so dance, now is there?)

Following the Academy of Art University Graduate show last Friday (Urban Knights represent!  Never mind it being the most ridiculous mascot in collegiate history…) the last Bryant Park NYWF has really gathered momentum and is now in full swing.  Veteran New York designer and pioneer of the “Urban Nomad” look, Yeohlee Teng’s Fall 2009 collection is another one of my top picks so far.

Photo Credit: Talaya Centeno/WWD.com

Photo Credit: Talaya Centeno/WWD.com

Born and raised in Malaysia, Yeohlee opened her own design house stateside after moving to New York City to study at the Parsons School of Design.  If you’re unfamiliar with her signature brand of “Urban Nomad” chic (which is nothing to be ashamed of — she isn’t even listed on Style.com), it looks something like the love child of Rei Kawakubo and Helmut Lang might, if it were a young working professional who secretly loved Halston (if you’re not familiar with their signature styles, I simply can’t help you, and you should be ashamed).  This Fall’s collection feels both new and classic at the same time, and totally appropriate for right now.

Color: Yeohlee’s usual fondness for neutrals became a mania for monochrome this season with a pallet of black, white, and gray, with three platinum metallic pieces and a lone top with a smattering of red polkadots.

Silhouette: Contrast was the theme in all aspects of this collection.  In silhouette it manifested as a play on prportion.  Voluminous coats covered slim slacks and leotard-tight tops were tucked into great draped dhoti pants.  Although she took volume to the extreme, skillful tailoring, impeccable construction, and sensible color choices made almost every piece in this collection completely wearable.

the designer backstage, courtesy of Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

the designer backstage, courtesy of Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Likes: Of course, I’m going to love this collection because it backs up my forecast and encompasses everything I love about fashion right now.  On a more objective note, though, it feels like Yeohlee is really in touch with consumer attitudes right now, giving us a RTW collection that feels luxurious without being ostentatious, with wearable pieces suited for women of all ages and body types.  She brought back the catsuit as a foundation for her sculpted outerwear, which to me, is evocative of Donna Karan’s attitudes towards working women in the 80’s, and absolutely appropriate for the working woman in today’s economy.  She stuck to basic colors, because we’re all stretching our dollars these days — instead providing interesting contrast between textures and materials (including some suhweet double faced wool/angora, and expertly draped patent leather).  Basically, if you’re a human being and you wear clothing, there’s nothing not to love about this collection (if you’re a nudist, you’re really missing out).

Dislikes: I’d love to say absolutely nothing here, but I will admit I could’ve done without the polka dotted number.  I wish Yeohlee had gone balls-out and just said no to color all together, but I understand the inclusion of the look as a metaphorical middle finger in the general direction of prints and colors.

Now, while I’m lusting after Qianya’s knits from across the lab, I’ll be fanatasizing about what they would look like with a pair of Yeohlee’s slim slacks, nestled under a gigantic draped coat.  Maybe Yeohlee’s willing to trade?  I make a mean homemade bowl of ramen, but that’s about it — I am a quintessential broke college student, after all.

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On Friday the 13th, the fashion world gathered at Bryant Park to see the Academy of Art University’s annual graduate collection (according to The Daily Cookie, Miss J was spotted in the front row).  The collection showcased the work of fashion and knitwear design graduates and the textile designers they collaborated with.  Despite being an amalgamation of five distinct collections, AAU’s MFA graduates seemed to agree on the theme of deconstructed volume, which I loved.  The collection also showed a surprisingly cohesive color palate, accentuated by the sepia-inspired makeup provided by MAC.

Qianya Martin, courtesty of Getty Images

Qianya Martin, courtesty of Getty Images

I particularly loved Fashion and Knitwear Design major Qianya Martin’s beach inspired collection.  The California native was inspired by the coastline of Bolinas, which was evident in her neutral color pallet and the flow of her designs.

Color: Martin maintained a neutral color pallet of whites, blacks, and shades of sandy browns, strongly defined by the incorporation of sheer knit panels.

Silhouette: The collection showed a contrast of geometric lines within curvilinear silhouettes.  She seemed particularly fond of shorter length dresses with yoked necklines and bell sleeves.

What I loved: Qianya’s collection was very cohesive — she really took her nature inspiration and ran with it, all the while keeping within in the realm of definite wearability.

What it lacked: I thought this was a great ready to wear collection.  I would wear every single piece on a daily basis.  Sometimes, though, the best part of a collection is the over-the-top impractical fantastical get up that no one in their right mind would ever actually wear.  I would love to have seen a piece or two like that, as well as more accent color, but maybe that’s something she’s holding out on until she gets her own full show…

Qianya Martins Knitwear Collection, courtesy of SF Gate

Qianya Martin's Knitwear Collection, courtesy of SF Gate

All in all, a pretty tame collection from the ex-burlesque dancing knitwear designer, but just my style.  You’ll find me rockin’ Qianya’s designs all over town when I’m a renowned fashion journalist (with a renowned bank account).  For now
I’ll just have to lust after them from the other side of the knitwear lab.

If you missed the show, you can check out the video here.

To see stills of the collection, or any other collection, check out the Mercedez Benz New York Fashion Week website.

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