More NYFW: Darrell Cortez SS15 and his Revolution Mission


Designer Darrell Cortez had us thinking not only about clothes earlier this past month during New York Fashion Week. He had us thinking about revolution. Revolution within the fashion world, that is. Cortez, below, is urging a sea-change within the fashion industry, for sure, and the clothes from his Revolution collection for Spring/Summer 2015, showed during an evening gallery-turned-runway presentation, underscored a striking, thought-provoking dialogue.

Designer Darrell Cortez

Designer Darrell Cortez taking his end-of-show bow and walk

“My inspiration comes from the colors of the South African flag — red, blue, yellow, green, black and white,” Cortez told journalist Ray Cornelius.  “These colors are reflected all throughout the entire collection including the accessories, the shoes, the clothes, trimming, and patches. It’s spring and summer looks, so I use a lot of bright colors which make it very youthful and vibrant.  My show is a social commentary on the lack of representation of African-Americans in the fashion industry across the board.”

Building upon those South African-inspired colors, using African prints, crisp cottons and easy-to-wear silhouettes, the collection included the coolest contemporary printed suit, a denim knit jumpsuit – the perfect pull-on “suit” for daywear – and swimwear that was bright, color-blocked and sexy. As a fashion industry stalwart since the early ’90s, Cortez has worked with many big-name entertainers, and these were great clothes for the likes of Diddy, Busta Rhymes and Mack Wilds. But Cortez’s biggest underlying theme this season? “Working in the industry for as long as I have,” Cortez said, “you never lose sight of the underrepresentation of Black models. Trust me, there are still more barriers that need to be broken down. I am not anti-White, but I am pro-Black.”

Strong collection. Even stronger message.

Darrell Cortez SS15_3

Darrell Cortez SS15

Darrell Cortez SS15_2

If the Pants Fit…Duckie Brown’s Latest Silhouette for SS15

Since introducing women’s wear last season, what else could Duckie Brown design duo Steven Cox and Daniel Silver do but get their hands back into men’s pants? I mean, into changing the silhouette, that is.

After all, the two are known for their ever-changing play of menswear shapes, silhouettes and proportions. This season they introduced a pant form inspired by the ’20s and ’30s — high waisted, baggy and loose in the bum achieved by using a curved seam on the trouser, with a bit of a long, dropped crotch and a slim leg.

Manifesting this new shape in plaids or khakis and topping with sporty squared-and-cropped camp shirts and bucket hats gave the collection a sort of updated my-uncle-the-retiree-in-Miami-Beach feeling. But in a very edgy, modern way.

Pale pink injected a fresh breath to a palette of grays, whites and khakis, while a shock of shiny glittering cobalt jolted gray, navy and black checked trousers and utility jackets.

In all, this was one of the most wearable “fashion” spring/summer 2015 menswear collections seen this season.

Duckie Brown S/S15 Duckie Brown S/S15 Duckie Brown S/S15 Duckie Brown S/S15 Duckie Brown S/S15 Duckie Brown S/S15

Carmen Marc Valvo AW14 – Medieval Modern

Chain mail, metallic leather, bling for days. These were gowns for the strongest of women, leaders, ladies ready for battle deep into the night. All at the hand of Carmen Marc Valvo, a master of the flowing evening dress. His AW14 styles were transformative.

After the show a very happy CMV gushed to his crowd of admirers and fans, which included the lovely Vanessa Williams. Strong women, indeed.

Carmen Marc Valvo AW14 Carmen Marc Valvo AW14

Carmen Marc Valvo Carmen Marc Valvo

Vanessa Williams at Carmen Marc Valvo

Designer Carmen Marc Valvo

Ricardo Seco AW14 –
Ask Not What Your Designer Can Do for You…

Ask what the Kennedys can do for your designer!

The 35th president of the United States and his family played a major influence in “Forever,” the AW14 menswear collection of Mexican-born designer Ricardo Seco, who showed yesterday evening at the always-impressive Angel Orensanz Foundation space.

Designer Ricardo Seco

Designer Ricardo Seco

As the show started down the runway with JFK’s voice intoning over the sound system, you realized that this model was wearing a sweatshirt printed with Jackie’s face, that one was swaggering by with a young JFK, Jr. saluting on his cashmere sweater, another one was wearing what could only be described as the original Jackie Kennedy Oleg Cassini A-line coat, replete with the oversized cloth-covered buttons and 3/4 sleeves.

Then there were the scarves. Silk scarves printed Warhol-like with Jackie-O and John John were tied low around the chests of Seco’s models, almost like a bondage style shawl. Ricardo told me after the show that he was inspired by the ’60s Kennedy era for his urban man, taking Jackie Kennedy’s penchant for pastels, A-line silhouettes and classic Americana styles and working them into a masculine, tailored collection.

He definitely got that right. Some of the covered-button coats may have looked a little like a guy playing dress up in styles from the thrift store, but stranger things have happened within the rock ‘n roll set, who, at least with dressing à la Jackie Kennedy, can place the style bar high. And as the coat kept coming down the runway in various renditions, it started to grow on me. The mohair charcoal Jackie coat was super cool. And there were other elements that I liked. The pink pants rocked. A black and grey pieced car coat worn over a “Pillboxes & Peacoats” printed T, leather shorts over coordinating pieced leggings was a little bit urban, a little bit punk. And while the scarves were surely a runway scarf trick, the sweaters printed with Jackie-O and little John John saluting will be great novelty sellers.

Seco closed the show with the Simon and Garfunkel classic “The Sound of Silence,” a song written in the aftermath of JFK’s assassination, as his models took to a tableaux on the stage behind him, the better to look at and photograph the clothes.

Ricardo Seco AW14 Ricardo Seco AW14 Ricardo Seco AW14 Ricardo Seco AW14 Ricardo Seco AW14 Ricardo Seco AW14 Ricardo Seco AW14 Ricardo Seco AW14 Ricardo Seco AW14 Ricardo Seco AW14 Ricardo Seco AW14




Noon by Noor AW14

Designing cousins Noor Al Khalifa and Haya Al Khalifa presented their take on contemporary evening wear to a front row that included The Face’s host, Nigel Barker. Colors were saturated, Swarovski crystals were plentiful and skirts were long, drapey and dramatic. My favorites were the camel coat-covered red party dress toward the beginning of the show and the burgundy floor-sweeper encrusted with bling. The super messy pony-tail hair do’s and the deep burgundy wine lip were great styling elements that accentuated the Eastern-Western influence of the Noon by Noor collection.

The Face's Nigel Barker

The Face’s Nigel Barker

Noon by Noor AW14

Noon by Noor AW14 Noon by Noor AW14 Noon by Noor AW14

Noon by Noor AW14 Noon by Noor AW14 Noon by Noor AW14

It’s in the Bag at Trina Turk and Mr Turk AW14

Handbags may have been the newest addition manifested from Trina Turk’s imagination, but the freshness came directly from the clothes themselves.

Trina Turk AW14

Her eponymous women’s collection, shown in tandem with Mr Turk menswear for AW14 at The Hudson Hotel’s The Hub venue last week, was modern yet nostalgic at the same time. Trina cited California cool as the inspiration, as though the Turks had spun along “Sunset Boulevard through LA from Silverlake to the sea.” Fresh mixes of patterns, colors, textures and cuts made their Palm Springs-focused mark. Think bold florals, vibrant reds and turqs, tweeds and plaids. Swingy shorter jacket silhouettes. Sexy and slim pants and skirts. And those handbags! Just the right amount of edge to stave off any lady-like prissiness. Trina Turk and Mr. Turk AW14

Mr Turk, designed by photographer/stylist/Trina husband Jonathan Skow, had a retro gentleman’s-punk attitude going on, echoing the womenswear with a slim fit, quirky pattern combos and color mixes. Jonathan has said the menswear is exactly his style. And he wears it well.

These two collections looked so cool, so modern, they could’ve been seen out on Lincoln Center’s Plaza, being stalked by the street style blog photogs instead of being showcased in the basement of the The Hub. These are clothes that are as perfect for jumping around from fashion show to show as they are for the upcoming Oscars Red Carpet wear – how ’bout those his-and-hers black and green jacquard tuxes? Gotta be fresh.

Mr. Turk AW14 Trina Turk and Mr. Turk AW14

Trina Turk and Mr Turk AW14 Trina Turk and Mr. Turk AW14 Trina Turk and Mr. Turk AW14

Designer Trink Turk wearing her Mr. Turk menswear

Designer Trink Turk wearing her Mr. Turk menswear

Mr. Turk designer Jonathan Skow

Mr. Turk designer Jonathan Skow

Sweet Swag Suite

Thank you, GBK! I came away from NYFW and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week last Friday feeling beautiful, pampered and loved, thanks to GBK’s Style and Gift Lounge in the Empire Hotel. Look at me! I’m positively glowing in Catherine’s photo below!

Apres Hard Candy makeover and relaxation at the GBK Celebrity Gift Lounge at The Empire Hotel

Apres Hard Candy makeover and relaxation at the GBK Celebrity Gift Lounge at The Empire Hotel. Photo courtesy of Catherine Salfino.

That was taken after makeup artist Irene Kim had worked her magic on me with Hard Candy Continue reading

Men in Skirts – Duckie Brown “Dresses” Guys for SS14

Duckie Brown’s design duo of Steven Cox and Daniel Silver never fails to impress. They always shake up things, from wide open silhouettes that prompt proportion play to standard menswear mashups. This season they opened their Spring 2014 show at Industria with Leikeli47’s “Miss America” – a catchy little number that musically insisted “I dress like a boy, talk like a girl” – and sent their Duckie dears out in skirts, layered aprons, elongated halter shirts and drop-crotch shorts. The effect was thoroughly modern, Milly! The stalwart palette of white, navy and khaki ensured a wearability and understandability that the basketball skirts may have belied. Don’t forget the style renderings of Braveheart, Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood…skirts are old-school menswear. And, really, who doesn’t like a man in a uniform?!







Tocca’s Tiny Dancer SS14

Brava, brava! Sweet and lovely, Emma Fletcher’s SS14 collection for Tocca, held at the Pier 59 Studios, embraced the dancer in us all. Off-duty, onstage, stepping lively. The dresses make you want to twirl and float, the shiny bras and panties provide for loungewear or under secrets bursting with energetic vibrancy perfect for a romantic pas de deux.