Taoray Wang – NYFW September 2014
Nolcha Fashion Week – September 2014
Saunder – NYFW September 2014
Erin Fetherston – NYFW September 2014
My FIRST NYFW Experience in a Nutshell…
Style 360 Presents FTL MODA – NYFW September 2014
Francesca Liberatore – NYFW September 2014

Taoray Wang – NYFW September 2014

International designer Taoray Wang‘s (Wang Tao) Spring 2015 collection was her official launch for her namesake brand. She chose to showcase her brand during New York Fashion Week because she felt that the American fashion market was of utmost importance to China. She is known for merging European and Asian cultures and influences throughout her designs, resulting in unique and elegant looks with global appeal. She is currently one of China’s more established and successful designs to date. You can also find her on the board of Shanghai Ribo Fashion Group.

This season’s high-end luxury collection emphasizes the style and power of women from all walks of life. Wang was also inspired by the movie Black Swan‘s soft artistic message and the art of ballet. “I respect and appreciate how difficult it is for busy women to excel in today’s fast-paced environment. My clean, simple and elegant designs express the innate sense of sophistication one notices with powerful women such as my muse- Natalie Portman,” the designer explained.

I thought her collection offered strong yet classic pieces in crisp hues of radiant white, black, bright citrus, blush pink and navy blue. Voluminous sleeves, sheer, an “eagle” print, feathered skirts and dresses and refined suiting were trending on her runway presentation. Her use of her Black Swan inspiration was clearly evident in terms of the feathered fringe skirts, tuxedo jacket and dresses; as well as the structured soft jagged edging of some of the bust lines. Taoray’s debut collection was an overall refreshing and sophisticated breath of fresh air for the modern woman in crazy busy world.

Nolcha Fashion Week – September 2014

Israeli-born Rinat Brodach has always had a passion for fashion. After serving in the Israeli Air Force and gaining a stronger sense of herself and direction, she moved to San Francisco to pursue fashion design at the Academy of Art University. Her senior thesis was honored with a scholarship to study in Paris for a year. Rinat did just that and stayed another year, working for a top fashion house. In 2012, she moved to New York City, where she launched her namesake brand and commits to her extensive expertise in finishing and draping. Her Spring/Summer 2015 collection is called, “How to Expose the Heart,” which is inspired by the plight of exposing and protecting the heart. I’m sure you have heard that saying, ‘I wear my heart on my sleeve.’ Rinat goes on to explain, “Taken from everyday life where the heart is exposed, passionate, happy, sad, scared and vulnerable. Using boning to enhance the heart areas for protecting as a metaphor for the rib cage that creates a natural shield for the heart. The draping around the areas of the heart come to show us different situations and feelings after exposing the heart or protecting the heart. Sometimes art doesn’t make sense, because it comes from the heart.” Her minimal yet sculpted intricate silver accessories were designed by Orly Ruaimi. The woman who wears Rinat Brodach is strong, powerful and ready to take on the world.

At just 22, Puerto Rican designer Sofia Arana is the youngest Latin designer to showcase at Nolcha Fashion Week. She is known for the concept of ‘less is more’ when it comes to designing a collection. She starts out with a classic silhouette and plays with cutting-edge lines and flares that result in exclusive contemporary styles. Her “Gallery Girl” collection was inspired by a walk through an imaginary garden of muted-hued flowers that also have pops of color. For this being Sofia’s first time successfully showing at Nolcha , she sure had me at her garden prints, lace and flowy pieces.

Schuyler4 Collective Ltd., was launched in 1977 by Jack Makoujyis and is an exclusive U.S. Distributer of better European men’s sportswear collections. The brands are: Alberto pants, Carl Gross sport jackets, Codice knitwear and Haupt shirts. The Spring/Summer collection was easily wearable, fun and proof that men can wear prints, while maintaining a masculine edge. Oh and the vibrant floral print pants during the finale…I’m crushing HARD on them.

New York City based Mariana Valentina‘s Spring/Summer collection was titled, “Le Jardin Persian,” in which she was inspired by two films. One film shows a mystical garden where women were turning into vines and they were living in a forest; whereas the other film depicts the Persian War and is based on Persian and warrior princesses. Mariana blends the two together to create a stunning collection of whimsical evening wear with embellishment and risqué yet incredibly sexy silhouettes.

San Francisco and Paris based designer Mimi Tran may be new to the design world, but is a pro when it comes to creating handmade gowns with classic silhouettes and brilliant embellishments. This season, she created two collections, inspired by classic ‘Old Hollywood glamour’ and European style. Her ‘Old Hollywood’ collection included her signature fabrics, while the ‘European’ segment featured couture designs. Both collections were elegant and sophisticated. It seemed that each sequined panel on the fabric was perfectly sculpted to the body, creating this statuesque vision that flowed down the runway.

One of my favorite contemporary luxury brands of NFW was Charles & Ron. The self-taught duo are based in Malta and have been designing since the 90s. Since their launch, they are known as one of the leading fashion houses in the country, with their bi-annual fashion show being one of Malta’s most talked about events. Their designs are distinctively known for their Mediterranean flair. The Spring/Summer 2015 collection was titled “Humilissima Civitas” and is inspired by Malta’s capital city of Valletta and some of its historic landmarks, for example: the Triton Fountain and the designs by Renzo Piano in the newly restructured city gate. I loved the geometric print and pastel color palette that make up the blue print of easy to wear, airy silhouettes. The grided cut-out top and dress and the voluminous maxi skirt at the finale were my absolute faves!

Gregory Apparel designer Rachel Gregory embodies her continued muses for her inspiration of Spring/Summer 2015, which are the empowered women of New York City. The collection consisted of soft, wearable and feminine silhouettes in easy colors. I thought the playful halter romper with cascading ruffle detail was just the bees knees! Gregory Apparel is easy to travel with for the gal-on-the-go and relatively versatile to transition from day to night.

Sportswear brand Oiselle (wa- zell) was created by Sally Bergesen (an avid runner herself) who was tired of going to the store and finding athletic wear not fitting right. Oiselle is derived from the French word for “bird.” They presented their Spring 2015 collection on athletes and runners, instead of the usually ‘straight skinny model-type.’ The line focused on architectural lines, vibrant tones and subtle yet edgy details, all with keeping their mission of “making the runner women happy.” I thought the collection was wearable, fun and unlike the mainstream athletic clothing I’ve seen. Great work Oiselle!

Monstruosite‘s millinery collection blew me out of the water, in the best way possible (it helps that I love creating headpieces myself, so I can relate). The Florida-based brand was founded by Dolly Donshey in 2010. The Spring/Summer 2015 was titled “The Rise of Ostara” and is a celebration of Spring. The vibe explores the concept of the Spring Equinox derived from Pagean culture. Dolly breaks away from traditional millinery materials and uses more exotic materials, such as 18k gold plated paint on twine, peasant feathers, beading, flowers and other natural fibers. Every piece was statement-worthy and provided a fresh transition from a focus on just apparel.

B’VENAJ Designs was launched in 2010 by Vanessa, who created the brand’s name using the initials of her siblings: Brandi, Vanessa, Eleasha, Nathalie, Abigail and John. Vanessa’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection was named, “DIPO.” Dipo is a traditional Ghanaian festival to user in puberty. Traditional African prints and rich colors were used in the collection of dresses, separates and menswear.

New York based Jennifer Burgos presented her Spring/Summer 2015 collection with her tropical roots and the elegance of women in mind. Burgos enjoys playing with colors and different fabrics, along with keeping to her signature form-fitting and A-line silhouettes (basically anything that accentuates the body). I loved the green skirt with draping on the hips and the eye-catching green glossy long-sleeve jumpsuit.

“Project SUBWAY” was the finale of Nolcha Fashion Week runway shows (for me anyway). The second annual competition challenged emerging designers to create a one-of-a-kind look based on vegetables at SUBWAY. It was interesting seeing what the designers came up with, which included classic and avant-garde looks based on onions, tomatoes, carrots, pickles, etc. The competition was then judged by a panel of celebrities, including: Bella Thorne, Johnny Wujek, Nastia Liukin and Russell Westbrook. In the end, the onion-inspired look by Veritee Hill took home the winning prize.

For more information on Nolcha Fashion Week, please click on the link.

Saunder – NYFW September 2014

Emily Saunders launched her namesake brand- Saunder in 2011 with the mission of creating quality garments and keeping her love of New York City in mind. Everything in regards to her design and manufacturing is kept in NYC’s Garment District.

Her Spring/Summer 2015 collection was inspired by “In A Gadda Da Vida” by Iron Butterfly. This song was produced in 1968, which is considered to be the beginning of the heavy metal era. Emily explores this concept by imagining a “Rock n’ Roll Garden of Eden” and loaded it with vibrant colors, prescription pills, deconstructed snake prints, a chic mixture of textures and polished silver metallic booties with clear heels; not to mention with intense beehives that were styled on the models. The collection also took a tongue-in-cheek nod to Neely O’Hara, the stylish yet troubled actress portrayed in Valley of the Dolls. The collection takes on a 1960s twist with modern edge. She also infused a striking mod collection of accessories and jewelry, with help from Megan Isaacs for the jewelry collection. Megan gave us a fresh presentation of her bold statement jewelry, also inspired by the song.

Though I would’ve liked to have seen something other than the pills taking center stage as an influence, it was still a great collection with girly silhouettes, statement-worthy accessories and a beautiful color palette.

Erin Fetherston – NYFW September 2014

Erin Fetherston was another NYFW favorite that I was honored to have attended. Fetherston is no stranger to learning and expanding her knowledge, as she graduated from UC Berkeley and went on to study abroad at Parsons Paris. In 2005, she showcased her eponymous feminine and whimsical label during the Paris Haute Couture shows. She moved to New York City in 2007 and has become a staple designer in showing her ready-to-wear collection during New York Fashion Week.

Her Spring/Summer 2015 collection was titled- “Moonlight and Roses,” infusing her signature feminine charm with the spirit of la dolce vita; as well as equal parts Grimaldi glamour and California cool. The collection takes us on a journey through flower fields and blossoming roses through Fetherston’s use of whimsical florals in a delightful mix of laces, jacquards, printed neoprene and flowy printed organza. We even saw glimpses of swanky tops and clutches with the slogan- Charmed, I’m Sure, which is based on the short film- Charmed, I’m Sure. The film takes a witty nod to mid-century finishing schools, with the designer teaching ‘model students’ the arts of style, charm and social graces. These sloganed pieces blended in nicely with the theme and Fetherston’s overall aesthetic. I admired her entire collection, but most importantly, her use of dainty crop tops that were paired with wispy statement skirts. Every garment was carefully thought out and tailored, especially the shorts and pants, for a casual stroll under the moonlight.

My FIRST NYFW Experience in a Nutshell…

Gosh… in a way, I’m still reveling in the fact that September 2014 was the month and year I was able to attend THE New York Fashion Week. I want to thank Fashion Mingle (I literally can’t thank them enough) for allowing me to join the team to cover the intense week of everything fashion. It was a dream come true!

The boy and I drove…yes I said DROVE…from Houston to NYC, stopping at different cities along the way. We stayed at Yotel in Hell’s Kitchen, which was fairly close, but still a brief cab or subway ride to Lincoln Center. In between shows, we played tourist and WALKED EVERYWHERE (like 20 blocks from a show to our hotel) and my entire body ended up being in pain for the first few days; but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t feeling pretty amazing by the end of our NYC stay.

So, basically everything that you hear about Lincoln Center and NYFW is true. Just standing outside by the fountain and walking to the tents was a rush; as well as seeing the editors, celebrities (like the Hiltons) and bloggers in their designer threads and the swarms of street style photographers was an experience in itself. I met THE Grace Coddington, who was just as humble and lovely as can be. I had also wanted to see Bill Cunningham…and did…and that was BEYOND disappointing. I thought he would be the kind man that was portrayed in his documentary, but alas, he was quite the opposite. Anyway, once inside the tents, you get your ticket scanned, which determines where your seating assignment is. Then you can either mingle at some of the pop-ups or hang out in the media lounge, until time to line up to get into the shows. When we were able to get into the salons for the shows, it was literally like being herded in there like cattle and everyone was in a rush of sorts. I did have the chance to stay in the media pit for most of the shows… it was THE pit of all media pits…but nevertheless, I was able to conform myself into small yet decent spots and managed to get relatively good photos (I was even laying on the floor and sitting on concrete in CHANEL…but that’s how much I love blogging…) Like ALL fashion industry events, the shows ended up starting late, but you know what… I didn’t mind…I was just so entralled in the whole experience of just being there.

Would I do it all over again? HELL YES, I would! However, NYFW will longer be held at Lincoln Center after the F/W 2015 shows in February. So we shall see as to what the plan will be. I know I’m beyond curious.

Style 360 Presents FTL MODA – NYFW September 2014

Style 360 celebrated its tenth anniversary in September 2014, once again presenting an eclectic mix of Spring/Summer 2015 collections to an array of celebrities, editors and fashionistas. I attended their FTL MODA segment on September 10th at the Style 360 Pavilion. FTL MODA was founded by Ilaria Niccolini Productions, who have since been putting on runway shows worldwide since 2007 and have been the building block for Italian designers to showcase their collection on a worldwide scale.

While waiting for the show to start, guests were able to browse the several pop-up shops provided by Olivia Garden, Shimmer Jewelry Tattoos, Not Your Mother’s, Flips Audio, Scarlet & Gold, Carefree, Mehron Makeup, Leghila, Beanitos and Hello oral care products. There was also a VIP lounge provided by Cointreau. My favorite take-aways from the pop-up shops:

* Hello oral care products are VEGAN-FRIENDLY and Leaping Bunny Certified. They come in three great-tasting flavors- “Pink Grapefruit Mint,” “Supermint,” and “Mojito Mint.” Their packaging is really fun and everything is made in the USA.

* Flips Audio make HD headphones that flip over and become amplified speakers. They are pretty bad-ass!

* Leghila is an Italian handbag company who’s handbags are ultimately created from neoprene and are washable. The bags vary in numerous styles and a variety of bright colors. Best of all, the bags are cruelty-free.

Run of Show:

Fri:haend is an Italian street wear brand that was founded in May 2012 by five friends who built the company upon the foundation of friendship, a strong ambition and passion for fashion. The brand focuses on brand identity promotion by exploring serigraphic printing, digital techniques and use of exquisite yet comfortable fabrics. Their t-shirts and jackets are easily recognizable with their signature symbols: “5,” “:,” and the “hand.” In all, Fri:haend provides men a distinctive look that is rich in identity, prints, color and fabrication.

The next designer was rather a surprise to me, as she is a designer friend from Los Angeles. Kami Shade launched her career in 2004, with her eclectic collections being in numerous magazines and on many celebrities. She presented her Spring 2015 capsule collection that was bursting with bright colors, sequins and her signature swimwear. Loved the neon yellow maxi skirt and the sequin bohemian-style jumpsuit.

SoCal designer- Jaime Elyse launched her brand, elyseREUBEN in 1994, with a focus in the bridal market. Her gowns offer contemporary yet classic silhouettes in rich textures and patterned bodices (not to mention the stunning headpieces that were portrayed in the runway presentation). The gowns were stunning and each had its own unique personality. Jaime knows her craft and gives the bride-to-be and bridesmaids unique choices for the big day.

Gianni Tolentino began his path to to fashion success in the 1970s and debuted his brand in the 1980s. He has since gained recognition as one of the best fashion and costume designers in the “Made in Italy” category. He presented edgy pieces with mesh and leaf cut-outs, along with timeless cocktail dresses in vintage silhouettes. My favorites were the black sheer swing jacket and white silk shantung cigarette pants.

Francesca Liberatore – NYFW September 2014

Italian designer Francesca Liberatore graduated from the prestigious Central Saint Martins in London and has since worked from prominent design houses and participated in important initiatives. The “enfant prodige” (young prodigy) recently won the DHL Worldwide Exported Award, which allowed her to showcase her Spring/Summer 2015 collection at New York Fashion Week. This was also her American debut, as well as an introduction to her menswear collection.

Spring/Summer 2015 was inspired by the image of a bird in a polluted surrounding. Francesca wanted to take an image of a bird with a lot of plastic in its stomach and can no longer grab fish from the sea; and put a positive twist on that reflection. We see silhouette influences of retro 1970s mixed with elements of the Far West. The womenswear seems to be more baggy and layered, while still maintaining femininity with soft color palettes; while the menswear looks to be more tailored with darker hues. The designer also included her backpack and handbag collection, as well as powerful legwear. Sticking to her concept of nature, Francesca created the collection using more natural fabrics, such as: leather, suede, silk and cotton. For the menswear, I loved the use of shirt with a wing-tip collar, a plain white button-front top with ruffle detail and a suit jacket with ruffle detail on the sleeves. The womenswear had very unique shapes with edgy detailing (and styling)…not to mention a killer black jacket with pleated ruffle on the sleeves.

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