I’d always wondered what it looked like under the big white tents at Bryant Park, and the answer is: your high school auditorium, dressed up in head-to-toe black. With limitless free bottled water.
Who would haul it out for a 9 a.m. show? Apparently, lots of people: There was Anna Wintour in the front row; and that actress who played Lee Krasner in Pollock—Marcia Gay Harden. I trudged up to my section in the back, rewarded with the type of elite, priority seating that tossing out The Village Voice name provides. Seventh row, beside Redbook and Elegant Bride. Oh, and also next to some pouty-lipped Kenneth Cole employee who never took off his tinted glasses for the whole show, despite the fact that when the lights go down, you’re sitting in complete darkness. Who was in front of us, we wondered? Who takes one step up in this fashion pecking order? We leaned over the seat. Girlshop it is.
So I had always envisioned the Kenneth Cole customer as some type of souped-up Romeo aspirant, permanently, physically attached to his well-cut black leather jacket and gray turtleneck sweater. The babes dig Euro. But this collection was more a palette of browns and grays: leather bomber jackets, long shearling belted coats, charcoal cardigans, and tailored three piece suits. Our favorites were the end pieces, draped silk jersey dresses in gray and black. And the long-sleeve blue, empire-waisted gown for the finale.
The finest moment at the Kenneth Cole show, however, was not the clothes—but the short film played prior to the runway presentation. It was a sendup of Kenneth Cole’s ads that try to sell customers on leather jackets and social issues—at the same time. We always found these less cheeky and more opportunistic, so when the film opened with Cole’s trademark black lettering on white backgrounds—”Every season, we aspire to raise awareness of social issues . . .”—you could feel the audience preparing for the dippy snore fest. What came next was instead a faux documentary about an “air kissed-challenged” model who headbutts a colleague out of a 10-story window; the trials and tribulations of comic Mario Cantone, a victim of “OFD”—Obsessive Fabulous Disorder. “My boyfriend broke up with me.” “Fabulous!” And at the scene of a car wreck: “I think he’s dead!” “Fabulous!” And it kind of was.
Gift bag: No goodies, other than some purple shirt that said “Fight the ‘F’ word: Support the O.F.D. Fund, Obsessive Fabulous Disorder. Hmm. The joke is just good once.