Fashion Week: Porter Grey, Richard Chai, and Backstage at Duckie Brown (VIDEO)


Normally we’d never wake up so early, not even for the first day of Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, especially not in this crazy cold weather, but it’s as though something bigger was pulling us out of bed yesterday morning. Could it have been the Santa Claus-like man wearing a multi-colored jacket with knee-high furry white boots that we saw guarding the Lincoln Center fountain? No, that wasn’t it. Maybe it was the thought of free pinot noir and raspberry liqueur mochas being served all day. Bingo! Either way, we’re definitely glad we showed up, not just for free booze, and freakazoids on the streets, but for the morning gaze of amazing clothes and male models.

Thursday started off bright and early with our first collection of the day by the sister collaborative Porter Grey. The first glance at the clothes was like drinking a cup of coffee — invigorating. It’s like Brooklyn chic — everyday wear that pops. The sisters are known for their urban elegance and the detail feature to the backside of the garments. The line featured beautiful bold colors (maroons, forest greens, browns, blacks, and scattered touches of floral patterns) with dynamic cuts — boy jackets doubling as dresses, long skirts, tan coats, short shorts, and very short dresses with demure necklines and sophisticated hues. The presentation was flawless, and not just the clothes, but also the side-swept hair, red-wine lipstick, and black ankle boots.

The next show was Richard Chai’s Love. We were eagerly awaiting this show since it was our first time seeing his women’s line, and because we’re always impressed by his men’s collections. And by the look at the front-row seaters: Vogue‘s Virginia Smith, Elle‘s Joe Zee and the New York TimesCathy Horyn, we were in for a treat. Think again. First off, aside from the heavy-hitters, the show was half empty, only to be filled by the standing room crowd. Either people decided to skip this show, or the PR folks were clueless organizers. Second, the clothes were simply boring. What we saw was drab colors and outsized fits.

Sure his signature use of charcoals, evergreens, and cream colors work splendidly on men, but on women, it just washes them out. Like in Porter Grey we also saw long skirts, though with Love they were layered with coat vests and jackets. Lots of flowy bottoms with heavy tops. Chai did, at times, include the use of softer colors like lavender and rose with a dash of sparkly tops, but still the clothes felt heavy and dispirited. We’re not saying women can’t wear these tones or cuts, but women rarely like to wear clothes that make them look big and colorless.

Next up we went backstage for New York-based men’s fashion line Duckie Brown. Designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver delivered a UK-inspired line full of baggy pants, tweed coats, loose-fitting cardigans, and even a pearl sweatshirt. This line was so refreshing and is a real look at city life, either that or perhaps we’re just tired of seeing dudes in tight jeans. Check out the backstage footage of this show, at least to see the male models hamming it up for the camera.

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