New York Fashion Week Day 1: Nicholas K, Kaelen, Chadwick Bell & Tadashi Shoji

Nicholas K
Always the first official show of the week, Nicholas K is like a fashion amuse bouche: It awakens my appetite for the new season. Signature Nicholas K themes were in heavy rotation—great-looking jackets, draped tops, slouchy pants—but the color scheme this season seemed desert-inspired, beginning with sandy beige and transitioning to a delicious sunset orange (or rust, as it was called in the program). However, I later discovered, according to the press release, that the designers were inspired by the '70s Charleton Heston movie Soylent Green, which explained the super-groovy retro-futuristic styling and the earthy palette. "Soylent Green is people!"

Due to a meeting that ran over, I sadly didn't quite make it to Kaelen, but Mina did, hence this beautiful photo. Mina's review of the show via text message: "Nice! Less boho than previous years." My take? I like the more minimal, sophisticated direction she's taking, and I spotted at least one gown (the black with the nude cutouts) that would look amazing on my style idol, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Photos by Mina Kim

Chadwick Bell
For spring Chadwick Bell actually did take inspiration from the desert, the Southwest to be specific, yet with a more minimal, austere interpretation via nude, black, and white minimal dresses with sculptured peplums and really interesting sheer insets. These eventually gave way to a more ornate series of guipure lace looks in green, pink, and gold. In spite of these striking contrasts, the collection had a uniting factor in that everything was quite ladylike, with reasonable hems and bra-friendly shapes. This was the first show I ever attended with a piped-in fragrance, and I will say, Scent of Nirvana by 12.29 smelled, you guessed it, like heaven.

Tadashi Shoji
For spring 2013, Tadashi Shoji took a tour of Venice, Kazakhstan, the Gobi Desert, and Xi'an, resulting in a sweetly feminine collection heavy on lace, particularly of the Chantilly variety. Overall, the silhouettes were a bit looser than normal (you can eat dessert!), however there were some sexy banded lace gowns, which could be the thinking woman's bandage dress. More good news for comfort lovers: The shoes were either kitten-heeled or flat. Overall, colors were bright, with blue and jade green dominating, but my favorite looks were a series of watercolor ikat-print gowns hopefully coming to a red carpet near you sometime soon.
Photos by Mina Kim

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