Veteran fashion critic Lynn Yaeger is blogging from the tents. This is her latest dispatch.
I usually run screaming from anything with “Jeans” in its name, but someone tells me that the Gerlan Jeans designer is wonderfully nutty and used to work for Jeremy Scott, so down I go to the basement of Pat Field’s house on the Bowery (brick walls painted with glitter) for a shot of well-deserved eccentricity.
“This collection is dedicated to Nectar, my loving pup,” read the program notes, but so what? Didn’t Mickey Rourke thank his dogs at the Golden Globes? And I must admit, I love what Nectar has inspired, especially the funny dresses decorated with 3-D bows and the burnooses made of a fabric printed with dripping peace signs, though the latter reminds me, maybe just a little, of those horrible Snuggie blankets-with-sleeves advertised on late-night TV.
“Uncross your legs!” the photographer yells at the front row at Yeohlee, a salacious-sounding command you hear often at fashion shows — apparently bumpy knees ruin their shots. The soundtrack here includes a toddler’s version of James Brown’s “Baby Please Don’t Go” and a maddening recording whose lyrics are made up of multiplication tables. (Where was this ditty when I was in the third grade?) Thankfully the juvenilia does not extend to the clothes: The beautifully shaped black garments look like something you’d wear to work — if you still have a job — to look suitable but arty.
There’s a big line to get into Betsey’s Crocker’s Recipes for Dressing, which Betsey Johnson is offering in her showroom in lieu of a fashion show. I think there’ll be, like, a cupcake or something when I finally get up there — but no! There are waiters with mini-burgers! Fries! Champagne! Groups of models are arranged in tableaux vivants — one bunch, which includes a young lady dressed in pink-and-blue knitted skivvies, is draped over divans like prostitutes in a 1910 Bellocq photograph; another cluster, clad in tutus, are staging a chic lunch-counter sit-in.
I am such a good mood after this event that I fairly bounce over to Marc Jacobs, a ticket I wasn’t at all sure I would receive, since the list was supposedly cut from 2,000 to 700 seats. But I get it, and when I see that I am in row one I am completely stunned.
At five till eight a booming voice comes over the loudspeaker: “Ladies and gentlemen, the show is about begin.” It is? Even a Broadway show gives you ten minutes’ grace! “He’s on crack!” “He’s crazy!” “He’s just anal!” chorus the voices around me as I slide into my front-row seat, just in time. (Okay, so it turns out there is only one row, but still … ) Out come the models, with hair as high as Elsa Lancaster’s in The Bride of Frankenstein, dressed in black with hugely distended shoulders, or bright Stephen Sprouse–ian colors, or Claude Montana–esque silhouettes, as if we are all planning to repair to Danceteria or the Mudd Club as soon as the show is over.
It’s so fast and furious that it’s like getting hit by a truck (or having sex in an elevator, as one wag puts it). What do we do now? Go home? The legendary after-party is canceled. Ten minutes past the hour, Marc, wearing a skirt, takes his bow, then disappears behind the curtain. And if it all seems, on reflection, as if it was designed by a man looking back at the happiest days of his life, well, what’s wrong with that? In times like these, who wants to look forward?
Earlier: Read Lynn Yaeger’s previous columns.
View a slideshow of the Betsey Johnson collection.
View a slideshow of the Marc Jacobs collection.