fashion week diary

Lynn Yaeger: At Anna Sui, a Remembrance of Things Past

Veteran fashion critic Lynn Yaeger is roaming the tents for us and blogging up a storm. Here’s her latest report.

I almost skip the J. Mendel show because it’s scheduled for the ungodly hour of 9 a.m., but then it dawns on me, as I struggle to the subway, that this is actually the time a lot of people start work! At least my feet are clad in Repetto dance flats rather than the ridiculously vertiginous heels Mendel’s models are forced to wear. How can they stand up? How can they walk? Why do women like these things? And why must the soles always be red? Why not persimmon? Periwinkle?

In common with practically every other show I’ve seen this week, most of the clothes at Mendel are black — good news if you’re in the market for cheaper reproductions of runway looks, since copies are always more successful in darker hues. (Speaking of which: When I passed the Forever 21 store at Union Square on my way up here, the window said, “Fashion Exemplifies Art; Art Exemplifies Fashion,” which is pretty high-toned for a discount store, but on reflection means nothing.)

But back to the business at hand! At Milly, a show I go to because I always like the label when I see it on the fifth floor of Bergdorf, there are glittery A-line coats with three-quarter sleeves along with a black velvet dress trimmed with double rows of lampshade pom-poms. (I love it, but that’s not saying anyone else will.)

At last, a celebrity sighting I can get behind: Little Jenny from Gossip Girl is in the house at Anna Sui! (Is she going to hijack the runway like she did at Blair’s mom’s show?) According to remarks Sui made to WWD, Marcel Proust is her muse this time around. (Maxfield Parrish and Peter Max too, if the glittery cartoon stars on her backdrop are any indication.) In any case, Sui’s show indulges her usual remembrance of things past: beaded Victorian fringe hangs from little capes; a black velvet frock coat sports enormous puffy sleeves; there’s so much mauve afoot that one could assume the entire collection is an homage to the mauve decade, as the 1890s were once called.

I’m ready to call it a night, but Richie Rich has commandeered the ballroom at the Waldorf (I hear a rumor that Paris’s family, who owns the place, helped him hook it up). The proceedings begin with a talent show — a troop of topless male dancers wearing bow ties; an electric violinist; Cat de Luna doing a number that I think is “I’m a Snap Pole” but turns out to be “Unstoppable.” Amanda Lepore is on the runway (her boyfriend, who likes to wear a pig suit, is sitting all pink and furry in the audience) along with the almost-nude, remarkably cellulite-free Pam Anderson and Tinsley Mortimer, now sporting bangs and straight hair (stop the presses!). Most of the male models are unaccountably clad in swimsuits, even though these are supposed to be fall collections. Oh well. It’s always summer somewhere.

View the J. Mendel collection.
View the Milly collection.
View the Anna Sui collection.

Read Lynn’s previous dispatches.

Lynn Yaeger: At Anna Sui, a Remembrance of Things Past