When we arrived for check-in at rag & bone on Friday night, the woman behind the table asked, “Are your hands cold?”
“How could you tell?” we said as we shook a layer of heavy snow from our hat.
And that was when she gave us a black squishy thing. Yes, it was a hand warmer.
Call us easy, but we were quickly being won over. And once we were inside the industrial space at Moynihan Station, things got even cozier. The room was exceptionally well-heated–tropical almost–with reggae tunes to tap your feet to, samovars filled with mulled wine, and a line forming for gourmet pretzels. Blizzard? What blizzard?
Entering close behind us was Grace Coddington of Vogue, her usually voluminous flame-red hair weighed down by melting snow. Coddington, of course, is legendary in fashion, and, immediately, a woman was hurrying up to her, asking for a photo. But Coddington, patting at her hair, politely declined.
One front-row attendee who wasn’t so camera shy was Drew Barrymore, who hammed it up for photographers, tipping the brim of her wet felt fedora and giving her most winning smile over and over. A blond boy was also having a ball tossing his paper airplane into the crowd–a game that proved to be highly appropriate for the evening.
For designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville, aviation was their primary inspiration–though you might not have guessed it at first. Walking to a soundtrack made for the show by Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich, and Colin Greenwood, the models started off dressed in black quilted leather pants and skirts, sophisticated black jackets made from rubberized tweed, and V-neck sweater minidresses paired with sexy thigh-high stockings.
But soon the parade of grays and blacks turned to olive greens, bright oranges, rich purples, and Pan Am royal blues. Puffy nylon flight-jacket sleeves toughened up an otherwise standard trench coat, making it one of the highlights of the show. An orange hooded bomber jacket looked like it’d been stolen from a cockpit. And, satin blue trousers came with large patches on the knees as though the model might be joining an airline maintenance crew later. But Wainwright and Neville have always designed for the city girl who doesn’t mind getting her manicured hands a little dirty.
One look that’s been popping up all over is skirts and dresses paired with pants or skinny jeans. And if you’re going to do this, we highly recommend Tess Giberson, who created the most eye-catching patchwork leather leggings in a combination of greys, blues, and blacks. You could also try the skinny cords and waxed cotton jeans at EDUN (the line founded by Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson) that went punk rock for fall with leather biker jackets, slashed-neck dresses, and silver chain details.
Over at Creatures of the Wind, rising stars and art-school graduates Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters of Chicago tried to maintain their quirkiness while going more commercial. Many pieces, such as the glossy red polyester skirt, boxy masculine coats, and knee-length box-pleat skirt, were strong individually. And the pumps, made with satin, calfskin, and glittery crystals on the toe, were a sweet highlight of their fall “candy”-themed line. But overall the collection felt pulled in two directions.
If the men are ever looking for tips on how to do effortless cool well, they could take some pointers from Rachel Comey, who had a strong show at Pier 59 (with a live set from Blonde Redhead). Long after, she kept us thinking about her experiments with light-blue denim, baggy masculine trousers, and wool plaid pullovers. She also did an orange-and-black bomber jacket that, frankly, we liked much better than rag & bone’s attempt. So, you see, hand warmers and mulled wine will only get you so far.