The lights have dimmed at the United Bamboo show. Someone backstage is shouting “Right now! Right now!” But nothing is happening. We stare across the runway at front-row celebrity Sean Lennon and Angelina Jolie Jr. (a/k/a his stunning model girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl), who moments earlier nearly sprained her lip while pouting and writhing in her seat for a group of photographers beside an expressionless Lennon.
Kanye West, a fan of United Bamboo designers Miho Aoki and Thuy Pham, was expected to appear, but alas apparently had better things to do than be at the Altman Building on West 18th Street at 11 a.m. on Valentine’s Day. There were, however, plenty of art-scene celebrities such as Chiara Clemente, director of Our City Dreams, and her boyfriend Waris Ahluwalia, Terence Koh, James Iha (who provided the show’s mellow soundtrack), and Rita Ackermann (who designed an acid-colored print for the collection).
As the models begin their walk down the runway, there’s a lot of mixing and matching going on–button-down shirts under dresses, long-sleeve T-shirts sticking out from three-quarter-length-sleeve coats, and, a highlight of the show, a brown and yellow plaid shirt tucked into an elegant gold jacquard skirt. Instead of tights, there were bare legs with socks and heels. And, the cutest touch of all, berets in red, green and brown. It’s the most organic and contemporary line we’ve seen yet, from the green organdy blouses to the charming gray tweed jumper and delightful black cocktail dress with ribbon detail, it all felt innocent, sweet, and sophisticated.
Over at Karen Walker, also in the Altman Building, things were not so sweet and innocent. The show, with the theme “She’s Cracked,” featured bold prints on T-shirts, dresses, and bags of–what else?–shattered glass, broken china, and a snapped string of pearls. Models, many of them in shiny red stilettos, strutted to a rock soundtrack (including “Helter Skelter”). Celebutant Cory Kennedy, who we last saw at Charlotte Ronson, sat in the front row looking cute in a furry hat, oversized shirt, blazer, and jeans. We could imagine her liking Walker’s comfy-looking grey sweatshirt dress, black cigarette pants, and weathered black leatherette biker jacket, but, alas, not the shearling bucket hats that could double for flower pots.
Opting for a fashion installation at the Eyebeam Gallery, Vena Cava, the Brooklyn-based team of Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai, showed their line (titled “Crystalarium”) of 21 looks on triangular platform covered with glittering shards of shattered CDs. We always feel so bad for the models at these installations. Many standing in heels, they had to hold still for an hour as photographers get up close, blinding them with their flash. Handlers bring them cups of water as they delicately shift their weight from one side to the other.
This makes us so sad that we have to have many cups of an absinthe drink called the Green Lantern. Suddenly, the clothes, lots of dark wearable pieces with studs, exposed zippers, and metallic fringe (think Christmas tree tinsel), look like the best clothes we’ve ever seen in the whole world! This collection is truly amazing! Then, things get blurrier and blurrier and blurrier . . .