FASHION WEEK RECAP: FNO, BeSpoken Clothiers and Jose Duran

Fashion Night Out (FNO) served as the official launch party for New York Fashion Week. Virtually every fashion retailer on the island of Manhattan (and for that matter, city and country wide) kept their doors open late to entice the masses to shop. They really did everything possible to ensure that everyone knew that the event was taking place—full page ads, TV spots (see below), billboards, window displays, Facebook, Twitter—you name it, they did it. However, I’m not sure the economy really got a much needed boost Friday night. Everywhere I went I saw more cocktails and celebrities than I saw shopping bags.

Fashion’s Night Out 2010 PSA from Fashion’s Night Out on Vimeo.

This year, fashion stylist extraordinaire, Hayden and I stayed in midtown and the Upper East Side for our FNO jaunts. We walked along 5th Avenue and poked our heads in Lord & Taylor, Saks, and Versace. At Versace, I ran into long time friend and designer, Takiyah Jerome. After taking a brief tour of the store, we continued our sojourn north where we bumped into stylist, Oluwakemi “Kemi” Omoyosi, and agency head Katie Sellu of Sellu Management near Barney’s. We happened to see this guy with the Swarovski crystal and studded motorcycle helmet. I had to grab a shot.

The ladies joined our little party as we headed north towards Dolce & Gabbana. As we neared D&G, all you could see was utter chaos. But Hayden and I kind of expected that since Miss Naomi (Campbell) was making an appearance there. That and friends were telling us they were lined up outside the Madison Avenue retailer at 3 PM (festivities didn’t start until 6!). Not ones for waiting on lines, our little quartet headed a few doors down to Max Mara, another amazing Italian brand. Peaking in at Max Mara gave me a chance to inquire about one of their lesser know but definitely fabulous brand, Marina Rinaldi.

A luxury lifestyle line catering to the curvier figure, Marina Rinaldi is probably Max Mara’s best kept secret. But I will let you in on something ladies….they are opening up a Madison Ave store this month. I heard it should be open by the 22nd (the perfect birthday gift—this socialite’s special day is three days earlier). I can’t wait!

We actually ended our little FNO trip there and headed back downtown for a quick bite to eat and to part ways home. I have to admit that FNO this year seemed more like bar or club hopping versus a shopping event. But a good time was had nonetheless.

The next day was an absolutely gorgeous day despite it being a day of sadness and protests (September 11th). In an effort to enjoy the sun and keep my spirits up, I headed down to the SoHo Grand Hotel to meet Hayden for the BeSpoken Clothiers Spring/Summer Presentation.

The weather was absolutely on BeSpoken’s side as the event took place in an urban “garden” under the clearest blue sky ever. Brining a modern interpretation to the age-old made-to-measure tradition, BeSpoken describes itself as part “Savile Row, part Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Can I tell you I love this line?
The looks that were showcased at the presentation were the quintessential marriage of urban and tailored styling. Beautiful, vintage like styling in a youthful skinny fit. They even tailored the wait staff in a classic “newsie” look! Hayden aptly described the new BeSpoken collection as “a 1920s flair for the urban man.”

Here are some of my favorite looks for the presentation.

With a sometime to kill before our next show, grabbed a bite at famed Lincoln Center Asian eatery Ollie’s where we bumped into fashion writer, Troy Artis. After our quick bite, we headed over to the tents. For both of us, this would be our first appearance there since Fashion Week’s move from Bryant Park.

While being nosey before our Jose Duran show, we ran into fashion maven, Stacy Armand, and make up diva, Miyako Marie Johnson. Also spotted at the tents: June Ambrose on her way out of the tents, Kimora Lee (Simmons) Hounsou on her way into a show, and Russell Simmons giving an interview.

We made our way over to the Samsung Experience at the Time Warner Center, a few blocks down from Lincoln Center at Columbus Circle. We had to wait nearly an hour and a half to be seated…but it was well worth the wait.

Jose Duran is a designer whose creativity comes through his work. After a hiatus which took him to Paris for inspiration, he came back even stronger than ever.

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A combined men’s and women’s wear collection, the line immediately made me think of a luxury spa retreat in Paris. Earthen tones of deep tans, khakis, olive, black and grey coupled with relaxed fabrics that moved evoked a calming feeling. But as each model appeared on the runway (including one of my favorites, Sessilee Lopez), the pieces started moving into a realm of evening wear glam. A quiet sophistication screaming style. Interspersed amongst the organic tones were red-carpet ready pieces in pink, green, purple and red.

Duran even changed things up a little by having male models strut their stuff on the runway in sky high wedges and relaxed jersey knit dresses….definitely making sure his celebrity filled audience ( including June Ambrose, Ebony’s Harriette Cole, Memsor Kamarake, Angela Simmons and style don Spry Lee Scott) was paying attention. A remarkable comeback for a talent with renewed passion. Jose Duran is definitely looking to be here for the long haul.

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