New York 02/14/09. Photos by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images.
>> Fall 2009 is jewelry's time to shine, judging by all of the collaborations debuting during Fashion Week. Besides Alexander Wang working with Paris Kain of AbraxasRex on "industrial," "animalistic" pieces, Bensoni commissioned Bing Bang's Anna Sheffield to do candy heart necklaces with pyramid pendants, Jason Wu enlisted Philip Crangi to add a "tough element" to his collection, Gilles Mendel and Subversive's Justin Giunta teamed up for chains and jewels to will appear on and worked into the J.Mendel collection, Eddie Borgo channeled his triangle obsession for Jen Kao, producing a sharp set of baubles — and he also working with Joseph Altuzarra. Not to mention a variety of other partners in jeweldom: Hervé Van der Straeten and Ruffian, Thakoon and Fenton's Dana Lorenz, DanniJo and Trovata, Roxanne Assouline and Brian Reyes . . .
Needless to say, the bijoux will be aplenty this season — especially because those partnerships are a good way to for jewelry designers get pieces out there without spending money — "You'll see a lot of collaborations going on with designers — like Irene Neuwirth is doing jewelry for Richard Chai — so you can see the talent at the same time," says CFDA executive director Steven Kolb.
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>> The CFDA has been busy lately, discussing the possibility of sponsoring sample sales for designers who don't have enough resources to do it on their own, commissioning books — including a fashion-related cookbook, and announcing an upcoming three-year partnership with Mattel. But Monday night, we'll learn which of the 2008 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nominees will take home top honors, $200,000, and business advice, who will score one of the two runners-up titles and the $50,000 that comes with them, and who will try again next year.
The first award was given in 2004, with top honors going to Proenza Schouler; since then, Trovata (2005), Doo.Ri (2006), and Rogan (2007) have taken the top prize, and the likes of 3.1 Phillip Lim, Philip Crangi, Rodarte, Thakoon, Derek Lam, and Thom Browne have all been runners-up. Without doubt, the winner generally has name recognition — and is in favor at Vogue — but tends to not be the biggest name in the group (i.e. Rogan over Phillip Lim last year).
>> After missing out on the Chanel Mobile Art opening and the Versace-hosted Whitney gala earlier this week, Anna Wintour was back in fine form — with Karl Lagerfeld at her side and Chanel on her person — at the Fashion Group International's Night of Stars last night. It was a night of family — Donatella Versace picked up the Superstar Award as Allegra Beck Versace looked on, Franca Sozzani was honored with her son Francesco Carrozzini in attendance — and friends — honorees Christopher Bailey and Francisco Costa brought Kate Bosworth and Ashley Olsen, respectively. Host Simon Doonan kept it light, at one point joking that Carla Sozzani had to make it back to the Marriott Marquis in time for a speed-dating session.
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>> Before the winner is announced Nov. 17, a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nomination will get you a piece of the twenty-page spread with Caroline Trentini in the November 2008 issue of Vogue, plus an invite to last night's celebratory cocktail party, hosted by Anna Wintour, of course.
But it's not all fun and games — the party doubled as part of the judgment process. Each of the ten nominees were assigned a different species of butterfly, a L'Oreal eye-color palette, and an evocative word as inspiration for the custom creation they made for their assigned dates — sounds a little Project Runway, no? Or maybe that's where Project Runway got the idea . . .
Alexander Wang brought Zoe Kravitz in a "barely-there dress," the Vena Cava girls dressed Raquel Zimmermann in a gown, Jason Wu paired Leighton Meester with a ladylike frock, Richard Chai was on a double date with Coco Rocha and Jamie Johnson, Swaim and Christina Hutson created an Obedient Daughters look for Chiara Clemente, and Alejandro Ingelmo put Lake Bell in some serious gladiators.
The black day dress seems a strange staple for a Spring 2009 runway and yet it kept popping up on runway after runway, as if to say things are a bit dire so maybe a conservative frock will get the attention of concerned buyers? Our gallery showcasing the trend includes Ralph Rucci, Carmen Marc Valvo, Badgley Mischka, Zac Posen, Aurelio Costarella, Vera Wang, Chris Han, Anna Sui, Richard Chai, Joanna Mastroianni, Dennis Basso, Derek Lam, Iodice, Rock and Republic, and Nicole Miller
>> Phillip Lim created the mascot skirt of Fashion Week earlier this year — not kidding, I've seen it on at least one person every day this week — and if the attendance to his newest collection's presentation is any indication, Spring 2009 will be smooth sailing for 3.1 Phillip Lim — the Tent was packed to the gills with fans, including friends Richard Chai and Irina Lazareanu, both sitting front row.
Christian Louboutin designed ruffled heels for the collection, eliciting covetousness in many — in fact, the whole Spring 2009 season is about ruffles for Phillip. The treatment in some of the dresses and skirts reminded me of a tamed version of Marc Jacobs's Spring 2007 ruffles, but among the hazy smoke that hovered on the runway, the real standouts emerged — the stiff, open-edged zipper pieces, and the jewelry Eddie Borgo made for the occasion.
>> IN PRODUCTION — Richard Chai is the twelfth, Jonathan Saunders is the thirteenth, and Thakoon Panichgul has just been named the fourteenth Target Go International designer — his collection will be available in late December. Maybe that makes Alexander McQueen the fifteenth? [Slaves to Fashion]
In case you haven't already hit up your local Target, now is the time. Richard Chai for Target hits stores and online today, so be sure to check it out. I know I will — this collection looks thoroughly modern and totally cute. Dibs on this artsy floral blouse and zippered black skirt!