Fashion - and NY Fashion Week - can be as much a community as it is cutthroat business

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Fashion - and NY Fashion Week - can be as much a community as it is cutthroat business

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Rachel Roy was at Vera Wang's NY Fashion Week show Tuesday, in a choice seat next to John Legend. Tory Burch regularly attends the shows of Narciso Rodriguez and Proenza Schouler. Diane von Furstenberg always makes room for Oscar de la Renta, and Tommy Hilfiger took in Belstaff.

Fashion has a reputation for being cutthroat, but there are friendships and mentorships as well that don't always get their due.

"I'm a big believer in supporting others," Burch said in a backstage interview.

Models are part of the glue here, too. Jessica Stam made it to the Chelsea space where Thom Browne was showing and Coco Rocha made a quick change from von Furstenberg's front row to Zac Posen's backstage.

Karlie Kloss was on the red carpet for the Grammy Awards, hosting coverage for MTV. She took an overnight flight from Los Angeles to New York to walk in Carolina Herrera's morning show Monday.

"These are my friends. That's why I got back in time. It's a family reunion at Fashion Week," Kloss said. "It's a common misconception that we don't get along but its not really true. ... To have a long career, you have to get along."

Roy decided to take her show digital this year, which meant an earlier deadline for her looks. She found the newfound freedom had at least one unexpected perk: "I can go to more of my friends' shows!"

The big question mark on Day 6 of the fall previews in New York is whether John Galliano, who is on a three-week guest stint at de la Renta's studio, will attend the designer's catwalk later in the day.


Mark Badgley and James Mischka are big movie buffs, and it shows in their clothes as they always seem attracted to silver-screen femme fatales.

Their fall collection had a film-noir vibe that always does well for them on the modern Hollywood red carpet. This time, the inspiration was Alfred Hitchcock movies — their favourite being "Vertigo."

Kim Novak as a muse makes so much sense, Badgley said in a backstage interview. "She's confident with a little bit of a dark, sexy side."

She also wears polished silhouettes like pencil skirts, fur stoles, halter-top gowns and tops with peplums very well, which fits the Badgley Mischka esthetic perfectly.

This customer, though, also likes her shine. For fall, she gets a black-and-oyster lame dress, a metallic tweed suit and a jet-black silk and wool gown with a beaded back, cutout bodice and mermaid hemline.

Socialite clients lined up to greet them and tell them which dresses they'd be ordering. Mischka said "it's always nice to hear, 'I want to buy that one.'"


Burch has a confession she shared on the runwy: "I love bugs — at least from a design standpoint."

She decorated a chiffon button-down shirt with scarabs and used jeweled ones on a silk skirt. Embellished dragonflies were subtly placed on some of the shoes — remember Burch's roots are in accessories — making them an instant, must-have status symbol.

But Burch didn't go looking in dark corners for inspiration. She tried to envelop metallic fabrics, the textures of Gustav Klimt's portraits and a free-spirited mood all into the overarching theme of Art Nouveau.

She found inspiration in many weekend outings to The Neue Galerie. "I was an art history major. ... I just like to go to see the Klimts. I love his attention to colour, detail and texture."


Design sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy grew up in sunny Santa Cruz, Calif., and evoked their seaside hometown in their fall collection.

But perhaps only to them. "It's really our own version of it," Laura Mulleavy said backstage.

The beachy feel came across most strongly in prints — especially a tie-dye motif in silk satin, which appeared in a host of flowing gowns in pink, blue, red and black.

There were even some Grateful Dead references in the mix — with the iconic Northern California band appearing via brilliant red-rose embroidery on the fanciest dresses, along with Swarovski crystals.

In the collection's most unusual element, many of the tie-dye gowns were embellished with large, futuristic-looking collars and other attached pieces made of what the sisters call 3-D double-faced foam. That was less about Santa Cruz and more about a design choice, explained Laura Mulleavy.

"We wanted to build on some structure as a contrast, so a garment wasn't all print," she said. "Something minimal and modern."


Turk focused her presentation on "elevating the sophistication level of what we do. More layered looks, textures and rich colours."

Those rich, fall-like colours were readily visible: Plums, as in a crepe jumpsuit with a silk georgette blouse and long leather plum gloves. Wines, as in a lush lamb and rabbit coat. Purples, as in a bright toggle coat. Or saffron, as in a pair of patchwork trousers.

There was also a wildly colorful column dress in what Turk calls an "Embarcadero" print. And there were shorts, albeit in fall and winter fabrics, like houndstooth.

Turk said the goal was to represent "our roots — the architecture and landscapes of southern California." She also wanted to reflect the area's cultural mix — both in the clothes and even in the casting of the models, who, she said, came "from all over the place."


Jocelyn Noveck contributed to this report.


Follow Samantha Critchell on Twitter at

Organizations: Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger, Grateful Dead Follow Samantha Critchell on Twitter

Geographic location: Northern California, Southern California, New York NEW YORK, N.Y. Belstaff Los Angeles Hollywood Santa Cruz, Calif. Santa Cruz

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