Sample Sale of the Week: Rent the Runway

Rent The Runway, everyone's favorite source for event dresses, is clearing out gently used dresses and accessories by Badgley Mischka, Nicole Miller, Rebecca Taylor, and more of your favorite designers for up to 95% off retail. At these prices, buying might, for once, be cheaper than renting! 2/28-3/4; 10-7 T-W, 10-7 Th-F, 10-6 Sat, 11-3 Sun; 260 5th Ave. (28th & 29th Sts.).

TheFind Guest Post: Indulge in Some Spring-Festive Pastel Denim!

I know what you're thinking – just because it's spring doesn't mean you have any desire to look like an Easter egg. In fact, you probably have an aversion to anything overtly Easter themed ever since you became old enough to dress yourself for family gatherings. But hear me out! Pastel denim is hot for spring because it's a softer take on last year's in-your-face brights, making it easier to coordinate with the rest of your wardrobe. Think of it as a stepping stone in the easier-to-pull-off direction for us gals who don't have a knack for purposeful mismatching... or just don't have the guts to go out with our thighs and derriere covered in crayola-inspired brights. But that doesn't mean this trend is "dumbed down" – pastels are fashion-forward in the sense that they challenge us fashionistas to embrace more color in our everyday basics and find our own way to make pastels look chic, no bunny ears required!

From left to right: AG Adriano Goldschmied Legging Ankle Jeans in Sulphur Crystal, DL1961 Angel Ankle Skinny Jeans in Sherbert, Siwy Hannah Skinny Jeans in Cool La La, and Rich & Skinny The Legacy Skinny in Neptune.

- Alex Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Josie Natori Fall 2012

When & where: Tuesday, February 14 at 2 p.m., Rubin Museum
Runway recap: When I think of Josie Natori, I think of lingerie. So this show took me by surprise and made me respect her versatility. Natori states that her fall collection was inspired by the nomadic culture and colors of Mongolia. Nomads seem to be trending for Fall 2012 (see Katie Gallagher)! The models are styled with dark lipstick and modern geisha-like hairdos. Colors are predominantly black, beige and grey with the occasional red, purple and deep yellow. Using silk, furs and velvets, she contradicts the nomadic theme with a sense of carefree luxury.
Bonus points: This show was unique in that it was practically on infinite loop. Natori had her models drift down the spiral staircase of the Rubin Museum then ride up the elevator to come back down again.
Where to buy: Click here to buy.

Fall 2012 Fashion Week in Review: My Favorite Shows

In no particular order...

Rebecca Taylor
With grungy layered separates in sooty shades mixed with dark sequins, I found myself shopping during this show, which is usually a good sign.

Nanette Lepore
Fall/winter no longer means you need to put your colors away. Lepore's bright collection is sure to get us through the cold, dreary months with a veritable rainbow of choices.

Monique Lhuillier
Okay, maybe my front-row seat helped, but this was one powerfully hot collection, with one sexy, fiery frock after another.

Reem Acra
Not traditionally a designer I associate with sexy, body-conscious clothing, Acra made a major move for the red carpet with a series of shiny, slinky dresses fit for Hollywood royalty.

Having gotten used to the brand's reinvention, I discovered these were some of the week's most trend-conscious and yet still totally wearable clothes.

Fall 2012 Fashion Week in Review: By the Numbers

Shows I attended: 28
Shows Mina attended: 8
Shows declined: 22
Shows I didn't get into due to overcrowding: 1
Number of seasons running that I didn't get into this particular show: 3
Shows we didn't quite make it to: 8
Shows attended that we have yet to write reviews for: 3
Tent shows: 23
Off-site shows: 13
Presentations: 14
Shows attended at "cool kids venue" Made at Milk: 4
Percentage increase from last season: 400%
Average row seated in: 5
Shows with swag: 5
Percentage increase in swag from last season: +40%
Alcoholic beverages consumed in the tents: 0
Alcoholic beverages consumed off-site: 2
Free Maybelline products received in the tents: 1
Free Tres Semmé products received in the tents: 0
Average Diet Pepsis consumed per day: 2
Average Fiber One bars consumed per day: 2
Parties attended: 0
8 p.m. or later shows invited to: 3
8 p.m. or later shows attended: 0
Pounds gained/lost: -2
Ailments caught: 1

Fall 2012 remainders: Degen, Ann Yee, Katya Leonovich, Juma, Tuleste Market & MaxMara Atelier

I kept trying to think of a clever way to organize these last few reviews from Fashion Week, and since it's been a week since it ended, what better way than to throw them all together into one big post?

Degen was actually the first show I attended, two Wednesdays ago. It reportedly drew Patti Smith, although I didn't see her. What I saw was a collection of whimsical, if slightly silly, knits, loosely inspired by "Don't ask, don't tell." There were some wearable cropped and striped styles, but I found the styling, as well as some of the more theatrical pieces (knitted pasties, anyone?) rather distracting.

After several seasons of scheduling conflicts, I finally made it to Ann Yee's presentation, in a penthouse loft in the Garment District, which was a refreshingly serene change of pace. And I'm glad I did—Yee's draped melange knits and painterly printed dresses had an earthy vibe that was a nice contrast to the extremes on the runway. Even cooler: the models were given rock candy to gnaw on (see, they do eat).

There are always some avant garde designers in the mix during Fashion Week, Katya Leonovich being one of them. She showed a mixture of sleek black-and-white looks and more outré graffiti-printed ones, the former falling into the more wearable category. Then again, there's something out there for everyone, isn't there?

Jamil Juma takes lovely, vividly colored digital prints and weaves them into a collection of very wearable silhouettes. It's such a practical way of introducing something so fashion-forward into one's wardrobe, it's amazing more designers haven't tried it.

Tuleste Market makes great on-trend costume jewelry, and for fall, they're adding an equally appealing line of footwear to the mix, featuring colorblocked, Mondrian-esque motifs. Worth mentioning: This was perhaps the only presentation I went to at which the models were smiling. (And: props to my hairstylist, the awesome Tommy Buckett, who did the hair for the show.)

Finally, I had a one-on-one walkthrough of the MaxMara Atelier capsule collection for fall, a jetsetting affair inspired by the 1963 Elizabeth Taylor film The V.I.P.s. Now, I love a good coat, and there were some amazing ones in this collection, many with dramatic collars that evoked neck pillows. There were also some practical quilted vests with fur, perfect for wearing alone or layering under the coats—or perhaps for doubling as a super-luxe travel blanket. With coats like these, you'll want to find more excuses to travel.

Sample Sale of the Week: Barneys New York Warehouse Sale

Early word on the street is that this season's Barneys Warehouse Sale is not the best in recent memory—limited inventory, recurring merchandise from past sales, not so steep markdowns—but as always, the longer you wait to go, the better the deals get, and I rarely walk out empty handed. A bit shorter than usual, this season's sale ends this weekend, so I'd recommend heading over sooner rather than later. Through 2/26; 10-9 T-Th, 9-9 F, 9-8 S-S; 255 W. 17th St. (7th & 8th Aves.).

TheFind Guest Post: Winter Must-Have: Skinny Cords in Crayola-Inspired Brights!

While much of this season's winter fashion fare seems to be all about the sexy neutrals - faux fur vests, leopard and snake print accessories, cozy charcoal sweats, etc, there's still plenty of room for color! In fact, the ultimate comfy-chic pant - skinny cords - are getting amped up with all sorts of candy colors in every shade of the rainbow. Forget military-inspired skinny cargo pants and gray denim - this season is all about pairing your favorite dreary-weather sweaters and knits with bright pops of color. And don't worry about looking like Rainbow Brite - as long as you keep the rest of your look fairly muted (let's not go overboard!), the look is fresh and fun without making you look like a human crayon (or a whole box of them, for that matter)! Electric royal blue, hot coral, festive red, banana yellow.... What colorful cords do you have your eye on?

From left to right: AG Adriano Goldschmied Stilt Cord Pants in Circuit Red, Rag & Bone Skinny Corduroy Jean in Royal Corduroy, and Current/Elliott Skinny Cord in Marigold.

- Alexandra Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Milly by Michelle Smith Fall 2012

When & where: Wednesday, February 15 at 3 p.m., the Stage, Lincoln Center 
Runway recap: It had been a few seasons since I attended a Milly show, and it seems the brand has grown into a more refined, yet still fun and flirty persona. The styling—black opaque tights, pointy pumps, berets and hair bows—hinted at a Parisian vibe, but the almost futuristic fabrics and bright colors were all American. Smith showed skirts ranging from pencil to pouf, and most of the jackets were cropped and slightly boxy, a Milly signature. What was new was the luxe look of many of the fabrics, many with an interesting texture or sheen, or in the case of a gorgeous red coat, both. Over the years, Smith has really refined the Milly look, and it's interesting to see how she explores the aesthetic—a little bit preppy, a little bit retro, and very feminine—within those constraints. Many of fall's big trends, from pepums to leather, were well-represented here, but everything still looked unmistakably Milly. Which, if you ask me, is the mark of a successful line.   
Bonus points: The shoes in the show—pointy, platformless stilettos—were custom-made by the master of that classic look, Manolo Blahnik.
Where to buy: Click here to find a store.

Nanette Lepore Fall 2012

When & where: Wednesday, February 15 at 11 a.m., the Stage, Lincoln Center
Runway recap: Nanette Lepore must know how much black, gray, navy, and brown we already have in our closets, because in her fall show, there was not one stitch of neutral color. Instead, she sent a veritable rainbow down the runway, with bright red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple looks, with a good dose of colorful prints in the mix too. Reportedly inspired by tarot cards, the collection had a hippie-gypsy vibe, with sari-like prints, gold beading, and colorful fringed accessories. It was by far the most fun show I've seen this week, and even the models, with their high, slightly frizzy ponytails, looked content. And models know best, don't they? 
Bonus points: Lepore always packs in a celeb-heavy front row, and this season did not disappoint, with Stanley Tucci, Kristen Chenoweth, Ariana Huffington, Erica Dasher and India de Beaufort (from Jane by Design, my new favorite show), Kelly Rutherford and Matthew Settle (otherwise known as Rufus and Lily from Gossip Girl), and Bobbie Thomas from the Today Show. Whew!
Where to buy: Click here for store locations.

Badgley Mischka Fall 2012

When & where: Tuesday, February 14 at 10 a.m., the Theatre, Lincoln Center 
Runway recap: The recession must be ending—or at least Badgley Mischka hope it is—because everything the design duo showed for fall was luxe: gold satin, jeweled details, metallic tweed, lamé, brocade, and beading upon beading. The palette was almost strictly black, gold, and silver, with a dose of emerald (green! subtle!) thrown in for good measure. What's even more remarkable is that, as is their practice, Badgley Mischka showed all three of their lines (namesake, couture, and Mark + James) together, and it all looked so rich, I couldn't tell what was what. Granted, my seat was in the back (and it was too dark to read the run of show), but that's an accomplishment. Silhouette-wise, nearly everything was lean and close to the body, with trumpet hems on many of the gowns, all the better to let the super-glam fabrics and embellishments take center stage.
Bonus points: Front row guests Kelly Osbourne, Kate Mara, Shay Mitchell, Erin Andrews, Kelly Bensimon, and Coco Rocha were all firmly in place, the runway had been cleared, but the show still hadn't started. Then, out came Joan Rivers, to thunderous applause from the audience. She can still bring down the house.
Where to buy: Click here for store locations.

Reem Acra Fall 2012

When & where: Monday, February 13 at 3 p.m., the Stage, Lincoln Center
Runway recap: Reem Acra's gowns frequently turn up on the red carpet, but considering Madonna wore one of her dresses to the Golden Globes last month, Acra has been thrust into the spotlight. With her fall/winter show, she used that spotlight wisely, showcasing one sexy, glimmering look after another: from short, sliver, and skintight to black, beaded, and simply beautiful. A series of cutout dresses either bared a significant amount of skin or were held together, daringly, with sheer insets of nude mesh. For the Spanx-averse, there were a few looser looks with flapper-esque silhouettes, as well as some buttery leather and lightly sequined ladylike daytime looks, but the body-conscious looks played a starring role.
Bonus points: One of the more dramatic sets I've seen this week, Acra used a bright red backdrop and a shiny runway, which, to keep clean pre-show, was roped off and carefully guarded. Without paparazzi and TV cameras and reporters crowding around, it made for an actually serene environment—a true rarity during Fashion Week.
Where to buy: Click here for store locations.

Fall 2012 quickies: Nonoo, Alice and Olivia, Walter and Negarin

Misha Nonoo (pronounced no-NEW) recently won the Fashion Group International's Rising Star Award for Women's Ready-to-Wear, and based on the super-polished yet totally accessible collection she showed on Friday, it's an honor well deserved. The looks, inspired by French actress Anouk Aimee, were refined, with ladylike peplums and godet skirts, embellished with fur, lace, and beading. There were also perfect-looking ankle-length pants and maxi dresses that looked anything but sloppy. I think this is exactly how a lot of women want to dress: pretty and pulled-together, but not too precious.

Alice and Olivia's Stacey Bendet declared 2012 the year of the dinner party, so she invited us all to a loft in Chelsea where...there were free drinks! (Hey, it's Fashion Week! Who eats?!) That said, she turned up the mega-glam for fall with sequins galore, jewel tones, graphic prints, and fun party frocks of all shapes (fall marks the launch of the brand's Gown collection), many paired appealingly with bomber jackets and blazers. Daytime looks stood next to evening looks in one big, fun, bright mishmash—in real life, not all these girls would be going to the same party, but at Alice and Olivia, all are welcome.

"Walter girls are the coolest in the room, and they're always happy," designer Walter Baker told me tonight at his presentation at the Empire Hotel (side note: having been here twice this week, I can report it looks nothing like it does on Gossip Girl). It's a bold statement, and while purchasing one of his delicious-looking coats may not make me the coolest girl in the room, it would definitely make me happy. There was a leather blazer with knit sleeves, a buttery leather vest, several belted jacquard trench coats, a cropped shearling motorcycle (that one might just be my favorite), and a bright red number that put a smile on my face. There were great dresses and separates too, as well as a new line of bags, but the outerwear stole my heart. And, perhaps, my credit card. Whatever makes you happy, right, Walter?

Negarin is a British contemporary line making its U.S. debut. Geometric pieced dresses with flattering detail at the waist, kurta-inspired tops, and belted jackets appeared to be mainstays of this collection geared toward modern working women. Everything looked very well made, if a bit too generously cut for the models (then again, isn't everything?); I got incredibly excited about the shoes until I discovered they were provided by Nicholas Kirkwood, designer of my shoe dreams. As the Rolling Stones say, you can't always get what you want.

Carlos Miele Fall 2012

When & where: Monday, February 13 at 11 a.m., the Stage, Lincoln Center
Runway recap: Some designers make me question whether they really like women or not; these are designers that tend to make backless dresses (can't wear a bra underneath), super-skintight anything (can't wear anything underneath), sheer tops (what do you wear underneath?), and so on. Carlos Miele is not one of those designers. His clothes are always sexy but never vulgar; they celebrate a woman's body–a woman with hips and breasts. (How novel!) So it was fitting that his fall collection was inspired by gauchas, which are older, country-dwelling Brazilian women. This translated into some fabulous ponchos (one made of fur) and traditional geometric motifs on a literal level, and rich gold tones and organic prints on a more figurative one. The result was one fabulous dress after another, some with flattering draping that hugged the hips, others with wide sash belts that emphasized the waist, and still more with a drape of fringe that cascaded from the shoulders downward. We have so many choices in fashion; why not choose one who celebrates women so beautifully?
Bonus points: Fashion Week hair and makeup can sometimes be a bit much, especially with designers who want to make a Statement, but Miele's models had perfectly bouncy blowouts and sun-kissed makeup. Granted, I'm a simple girl, but it was the best beauty I've seen so far this week (kudos to Rodney Cutler for Ulta and Gato for Maybelline).  
Where to buy: Carlos Miele, 408 W. 14th Street (9th Ave. & Washington St.), Meatpacking District.

Jenny Packham Fall 2012

When & where: Monday, February 13 at 9 a.m., the Studio, Lincoln Center
Runway recap: After last season's sparkly, youthful outing (sequined rompers come to mind first), Jenny Packham took a more sophisticated, mature direction with a collection inspired by 1940s film noir—and perhaps to drive home this point, Dita Von Teese sat in the front row. The silhouette was unmistakably '40s, with strong, padded shoulders and narrow-hipped skirts, some bias-cut, some softly flared. Many of the looks were adorned with Packham's ornate beading, elevating them beyond the typical wartime aesthetic. Also notable: While there were definitely a share of sleeveless looks, many gowns had sleeves—I didn't know if this was an appeal to the modest Duchess of Cambridge or to an older customer. Which brings me to the styling. With such a true interpretation of '40s glamour in the clothing, I found the victory roll hairdos and button earrings made the models look incredibly matronly; looser, more youthful hair and natural makeup would have made the collection look more modern and less costume-y.  
Bonus points: Packham's models did a full back-and-forth solo runway walk (normally there are at least two models walking at all times), which made the show go a bit longer than usual but allowed me to take, well, more than just a look at each look.
Where to buy: Shop online at

Mathieu Mirano Fall 2012

When & where: Sunday, February 12 at 7:30 p.m., the Box, Lincoln Center
Presentation recap: Mathieu Mirano's fall line is supposedly inspired by dragons and mythical women, and the pieces did reflect a sort of medieval warrioress vibe. A shimmering gown could be interpreted as chain mail, and there were quite a few robes that featured wizard-like gold embellishments. Boleros layered over structured suits, heavy embroidery work, mimicked scales, and shiny organza characterized other pieces.
Bonus points: There were literally giant dragon heads floating over the show, suspended from the ceiling.
Official website: Click here for official site.

Lela Rose Fall 2012

When & where: Sunday, February 12 at 11 a.m., the Studio, Lincoln Center
Runway recap: Having a loyal base of well-heeled socialites and ladies-who-lunch as your clients must be a wonderful thing, but what separates Lela Rose from the social pack is her ability to make clothes that aren't just pretty—they're interesting too. Rose often draws inspiration from unusual sources—this season, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava—which results in intriguing patterns and unique colors, often combined in thoughtful ways. This translated to grid-like geometric motifs constricted in checkerboard-like prints and blown up to abstract effect. Vivid shades of orange and magenta ran throughout the collection, adding a shot of brightness to all the black-and-white pieces. And, of course, there was plenty for evening as well, with embroidered tulle and chiffon gowns that subtly referenced the geometry of the previous looks. It was a perfect example of a theme and variations, and based on the audience's reaction, I think we can expect to see a lot of these looks on the fall-winter social circuit.

Bonus points: Ever the gracious hostess, Rose gave every seat in the house a gift bag stocked with goodies from Stila, Essie, Arcona, and Commando.
Where to buy: Visit for store locations.

Erin Fetherston Fall 2012

When & where: Saturday, February 11, 6-7 p.m., Milk Studios
Presentation recap: Though the venue logistics added some serious delays (15 people at a time could ride the elevator to enter the presentation space), once guests arrived in the showroom we were greeted by a live harpist who immediately erased any memory of this from our minds. The ethereal music combined with gilded tree trunks topped with forlorn-looking, dark-eyed models was a magical formula (add to this custom cocktails named after the designer). The dresses were absolutely lovely; a good percentage were floor-length gowns, and there was no shortage of chiffon, gold, sequins, and wispy patterns.
Bonus points: I'm not sure whether the "cosmic feather" pattern on some of the dresses is Fetherston's play on her name, but if it is I'm tickled.
Where to buy: Visit the official site to purchase.