fashion week diary

Yaeger: Thakoon’s Ball Fringes and the New Fashion ‘Event’

“Oh look, it’s the Gossip Girl’s mother,” I hear someone say at Catherine Malandrino’s presentation, and in fact here is Lily Humphrey, who in person has an extremely tiny nose. It’s been quite a celebrity-deprived week thus far, probably because designers have ceased forking over big bucks to have a vaguely recognizable name with no connection to the fashion industry grace their front row for ten minutes. So the presence of Rufus’s wife creates a bit of a stir.

Malandrino offers lots of sexy, louche furs, including this season’s new favorite, that goat disguised as monkey, but what I want to know is, will young people really wear any of these things? All the ones I’m friends with won’t even eat a hamburger, let alone don a jacket that used to be alive.

If you don’t want to troop around in Malandrino’s Himalayan tiger fox wrap, you can keep warm with one of Tom Scott’s popcorn-knit sweaters, part of a small, charming collection the designer shows at Beauty Bar, the campy salon-turned-saloon on East 14th Street. After the blur of runway shows, it is very soothing to see a guy with eye makeup, bare-chested under a sweater coat, his pompadour set with hair clips, reclining beneath a bubble dryer.

Is Carine Roitfeld in the house at Diane Von Furstenburg? It is hard to tell, since the seating is carefully configured to contain fully four front rows. (Not that this does me any good.) In any case, the models seem to be paying homage to Roitfeld, with their smudgy eyes and messy hair, offering everything from punched-out leather skirts to (but you’d never guess) wrap dresses. To further the Francophile motif, the soundtrack contains Serge Gainsbourg’s execrable “Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus,” featuring Jane Birkin moaning, a perennial at fashion shows that quite frankly I would be happy never to hear again.

Theres something new this season: it’s not exactly a presentation, where the models stand stock-still on pedestals for up to two hours (how fun for them) but rather an event where they parade on a stage, sometimes a few at a time, except there are no seats, you can pop in at any point, and the show is presented more than once over the course of an hour or so. This hybrid has a number of advantages: it does away with the front row entirely and all the attendant nonsense about who is sitting where, plus there is frequently a bar, and sometimes even appetizers! The downside is, you have to stand.

Still, shove a chocolate bonbon in my mouth and I’m happy. So I am fine watching Rachel Roy’s models strut by in mottled silk dresses and surprisingly conservative suits, some with ruffles, in shades like turquoise and fuchsia. But I’m confused—didn’t Rachel, formerly a stylist, make her reputation dressing starlets in a mélange of trashy if expensive layers accompanied by giant purses, oversize sunglasses, and a wild tangle of jewelry? Oh, no wait, that’s Rachel Zoe! Rachel Roy was a stylist too, but not the one who looks like Nicole Ritchie! (It’s easy to get confused when you’re going to 190 shows a day.)

We’re halfway through Fashion Week (but so much is yet to come!) and certain themes have begun to emerge, chief among them a surfeit of black garments; plenty of trousers — sometimes intricately seamed, sometimes laser-cut, sometimes suffused with glitter, almost always so tight they could be leggings; and of course, all that fur. But Thakoon is the first place I see — and maybe will ever see — clothing decorated with the kind of ball fringe formerly reserved for old-fashioned furniture. Well, I love a guy who’s not afraid to experiment, but I can’t help but wonder: Will Michelle O., who has favored this designer on numerous occasions, show up at a State dinner with miniature pom-poms dangling from her hem anytime soon?

Yaeger: Thakoon’s Ball Fringes and the New Fashion ‘Event’