Looking Back On Fashion Week: A Roundup Of Chic Shows & Lounges

I find that Fashion Week gets crazier and craziest as the years go on. I have been going for about 25 years and miss when all the shows were more centralized–like the good ol’ days of the ’90s and ’00s when NYFW was in Bryant Park and then later Lincoln Center. Having the shows all over town with one “sort of” headquarters at 50 Varick Street makes it hard to get to back to back shows on time and can also exhaust you! I pick and chose my shows carefully since I am getting up there in years (but have not quite become a senior yet, LOL)!

I went to the Son Jung Wan show at 50 Varick Street because I feel that she is the creator of the most elegant evening wear out their. This beige sequined number was a real crowd pleaser and a gown that would look good on any figure type. I like that she designs without a slim model’s body type always in mind. This was a super crowded show with more than 200 people in the standing area and it did not disappoint. While all Wan’s gowns have clean lines they still pay homage to Hollywood’s Golden Age and one can easily picture Marilyn Monroe or Lana Turner in her evening wear. (Special thanks to Jessica Stevenson for saving the day and supplying me with fabulous runway pics!)Afterwards, I visited the Maybelline, Papyrus and Tresemme lounges–these three lounges are open to all and offer free products. Papyrus even put free postage on cards mailed directly from their lounge. These companies have been sponsors and mainstays for NYFW for five to ten years each. Papyrus had a luxury coffee “cafe” in the back of their lounge that gave everyone their much needed caffeine boost to stay awake for the shows–it takes a lot of energy to stand in lines for 30 minutes to an hour in high heels.

The Red Dress Collection (aka Go Red For Women) show–which benefits the American Heart Association–is always the go-to show for seeing celebrity models and as usual it was held at the Manhattan Center. This year’s biggest stars on the runway were Susan Lucci (who unfortunately fell down on the runway in her oversized ball gown skirt) and Eve, who performed a set once the modeling was over. One model who was particularly popular this year was Sherri Shepherd who looked more radiant than ever; it seems as if the clock has gone backwards for her. The moment the crowd went the wildest wS when Bo Derek hit the runway, proving that she is still a “10.” Since Derek stays low key so much these days, she was a big attraction for this year’s show. The Red Dress Collection show has become a full spectacular that not only includes singers each year but this season the show started out with an all-female gymnastic team. The best thing about this show besides getting some great stargazing opportunities is that all dresses are available in Macy’s for reasonable prices (the legendary department store has always been the show’s major sponsor). To keep up on when this show will be happening each year, sign up for the www.heart.org mailing list.

The Red Dress Collection’s “brother” show seems to be The Blue Jacket Collection, which benefits the Prostate Cancer Foundation. It has taken place for three years now and it’s home base is Chelsea Pier’s Pier 59 Studio. This is one of the shows with a long line and the standing line easily had 200 people on it. This is a great show for male celebrity watching and if you like handsome guys in suits and groomed to the hilt, this is a show that you do not want to miss. This year the models included Mario Cantone (who has “walked” all three years of the show), Nigel Barker, Simon Doonan, Dominic Fumusa, Steven Kolb, Alex Lundqvist, Brian Mazza, Dr. Mike, Kenneth Ferrar, Moti, Tim Taylor, Billy Porter, Buster Skrine & Eric West. There were actually two ladies in the show–RHONY’s Countess Luann deLesseps and Sonya Morgan. One of the show’s sponsors, Johnson & Johnson, provided gift bags full of their most famous products including Tylenol, Visine and Band Aids on each seat. To find out details on this show which happens every February, sign up for the www.prostatecancerfoundation.com mailing list.

The Pet Fashion Show is arguably the most fun of all the fashion shows and is held on the top floor of the Hotel Pennsylvania. Pooches dressed to the nines are in one of NYFW’s longest shows (which is entertaining every minute, BTW)—and the best part is the large “doggie dressing room” just off the ballroom where you can get up close and personal with each four-legged participant. There are awards for best costume and other pet attributes at the end of the evening plus a pet flea market that includes all the latest and greatest pet food and accessories. This year’s pet fashion show had a wedding theme and even featured nuptials exchanged between Meaghan Barkle and Harry Prince Of Tails. I just might vote the Pet Fashion Show the most creative of all the NYFW shows and never have I ever been in a room full of four or five dozen doggie bride, grooms and attendants before. It was lovely to see many disabled dogs enjoyijg being dressed up and pampered and pet expert Harison Forbes did a remarkable job as MC–he did a “bang up” job finding out the background on each pet featured. For more info, go to www.nypetfashionshow.com–there you will be able to learn about other fun NYC pet events that happen year round.

The Sweet Retreat sponsored by Mars the legendary candy company is always one of the “sweetest” NYFW lounges, both literally and figuratively. It is open to the public for two full days although I am lucky enough to attend the press preview early in the morning on the first day each year. They have a greater variety of services than any other lounge and besides the usual manis, makeup and massages, they have harder to get services like beard refreshes (with the most heavenly mint-based oil) and lash application. I got the world’s most soothing 15 minute chair massage, a blowout an an OPI mini mani (the colors were all renamed after candy)! This was the perfect place for sweettooths because all guests got access to multitudes of candy–there were easily three dozens varieties to choose from including some special items created just from Valentine’s Day. There was literally a candy tree just inside the doors where guests were handed bags to fill–and the goodies were placed in buckets hanging off the tree as well in buckets on the ground. All furniture was covered with real Mars products by creative stylists and there were photo op stations of giant lips out of Altoids as well as colorful balloons that match the colors of famous Mars products. I am Dove’s #1 fan and was thrilled to take home a 40-piece heartshaped tin. I can’t wait to go back next NYFW!

I was thrilled to be able to attend the Bumble Hive for the first time–it was a full week at Artists And Fleas on the corner of Prince and Broadway. Organized by digital marketer and award-winning lifestyle blogger Mandy Ansari of The Girl And The Bay, there was a booth to cover every aspect of lifestyle from piercings by Nine Moons Piercing( courtesy of legendary jewelry brand Mejuri) to a booth for luxury bag rental company Vivrelle. I admit that I went ballistic when I saw the dozens of designer bags including classic Chanel quilted bags that could be rented for $99 to $199 a month–and best of all, you can hold onto the bags for as long as you want as long as you pay the monthly fee! I definitely took their literature and will be renting some of the bags myself. They have all the classic designer bags every fashionista lusts after from Chanel, Fendi, Dior, Gucci, LV and more but to make things even more sweet, and they have a lot of one of a kind bags in unusual colors and shapes. There is a jumbo purple Chanel quilted bag that will be mine soon–for a few months anyway! I was impressed with the drink sponsors at the Bumble Hive including Schmirnoff–yes, I kicked back a few! I also had a blast checking out the denim customization bar by Unemployed Denim. I will be going back next Fashion Week!

The highlight of every NYFW for me is going into Caravan Stylist Studio for an afternoon of glam. Head stylist Val Starr is simply amazing–she works faster and yet more thoroughly than anyone else I know in the biz. I got hair and nails done in a half hour and I can always count on Val to blow me out in a much more updated ‘do than I came up with. When you meet Val and see her own unique fashion and beauty which is modern mixed with retro, you will immediately want her to do your hair, makeup and nails. Caravan Stylist Studio has great beauty and lifestyle sponsors, and the current ones include Sheree Cosmetics (their Humble eyeshadow is my go to color since it is a beautiful copper), Dropps all natural detergent, the eco-friendly skincare line Planted In Beauty, the legendary Patchology facial masks and Defy & Inspire Wear Resistant Nail Lacquer (which I can confirm lasted nearly a week with no chips and seemed scentless when applied). The Caravan Stylist Studio is located in the Gregory Hotel on West 35th Street just east of Sixth Avenue and can be booked for anyone wanting a beauty service by going on www.caravanstyliststudio.com.

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