New York Fashion Week Day 3: Ruffian, Son Jung Wan, Mara Hoffman, Rafael Cennamo, Christian Siriano, Alexandre Herchcovitch & Monique Lhuillier

On the weekends, Fashion Week starts to get a bit chaotic, both in terms of the schedule and the crowds. Thus, Mina and I ended up dividing and conquering, although we still didn't quite make it to everything. (We did, however, both make it to the Birchbox suite, which was probably the highlight of our day.) Here's what we did see.

The Ruffian boys must be gluttons for punishment, because for some reason they keep taking the 9 a.m. Saturday slot, which, as much as I love the line, is just too damn early to get me out of bed. Mina, however, lives in Manhattan and has a much shorter commute than I do, so she made it, god bless her. Her text-message review: "It was good!" Reportedly, the show was inspired by Williamsburg. Let's take a look, shall we?

Son Jung Wan
Son Jung Wan's show started off promisingly with a bright canary-yellow pleated chiffon number, followed by a series of sherbet-colored flowing tops and peplum dresses that were cheery and summery. It's clear Wan is a skilled technician who's eager to showcase her handiwork, however as the show went on, the looks became more and more overwrought, with appliqu├ęs that tended to overpower even the six-foot-tall models. A little editing would have done a world of good. 

Mara Hoffman
There were no shamans or mystics at Mara Hoffman's show this season; judging by words like "aloha" and "surf" in the run of show and the ukelele players who began the affair, she went straight to Hawaii, and it suited her signature prints quite well. The colors were bright, the patterns kaleidoscopic, and the silhouettes were a bit looser than normal, the better to hide a belly full of pina coladas. Well, except for a handful of bra tops, an emerging trend this season. Speaking of bra tops, Li'l Kim was in the audience, which was awesome, and, completely unrelated to bra tops, Hoffman's soundtrack included The Pixies' "Wave of Mutilation," which was even awesomer. I sang along, and the twentysomething blogger sitting next to me looked at me like I was nuts. That was not so awesome.

Rafael Cennamo
There are some total randoms who show at Fashion Week, and sometimes I go because they're showing in the right place at the right time and, hey, I'm curious. I'll admit, Rafael Cennamo is a designer I knew very little about before this, and after seeing his spring collection, I now feel like an a-hole, because holy Ferocia Coutura, his eveningwear is amazing. I'm talking straight-up couture quality, with the most ornate beadwork this side of Lesage and soutache that brought tears to my eyes. Ok, Rafael, you have my attention now. 


Christian Siriano
Christian Siriano's show always involves a schelpp out to the far reaches of West Chelsea, then an epically long check-in line followed by a long wait outside in either blistering heat (September) or freezing cold (February). There are few designers for whom I'd put up with this, but Siriano's show is always worth the wait, and his spring 2013 collection was his most refined one yet. He was inspired by the ballet, which is pretty much a surefire hit in my book, but while you might expect him to go all out with crazy tulle and feathers and satin, Siriano was incredibly restrained, with fluid day looks in dreamy pastels, refined metallics, and even subtle lace and brocade. The evening looks were breathtaking, with pearl-encrusted bodices, one (okay, one signature Siriano extravaganza) layered tulle confection, and, to finish the show, three pitch-perfect tulle party dresses that were pretty much the dream of every girl who's ever been to the ballet. And speaking of dreamy, I somehow ended up in the second row, which explains the quality of my photos here (yes, I took them myself!), but was even more exciting because for once, I could see the shoes. Payless fans, look for similar styles in stores next February. 

Alexandre Herchcovitch
Due to scheduing conflicts, Mina agreed to attend Brazilian avant-garde designer Alexandre Herchcovitch's show in my place, which normally is not a big deal, except the PR firm had my photo on record (high tech!) and, well, Mina and I look nothing alike, to put it mildly. Nevertheless, she got in—this is our one show this season at "cool kids" venue Made @ Milk—and this was our conversation about the show:
Mina: This collection looked like clown couture.
Me: Is that good or bad?!
Mina: Judge for yourself.

Monique Lhuiller
Two seasons ago, I got to bring a plus-one. Last season, I started in the third row and got pulled into the first, which was beyond awesome This season, Monique Lhuillier put me in the sixth row, which explains the rather unfortunate state of these photos. How far the mighty have fallen, right? Anyway, even if I had to watch Lhuillier crammed back in the standing section, I would. Her sinspiration this season was the ocean water and sea life within, with an emphasis on mermaids, and while the interpretation wasn't as literal as you'd expect in terms of color, it was beautiful nonetheless, with some of the dreamiest prints I've seen. Many of the looks had peplum-like panels at the hips, which created a womanly effect and evoked the lower half of a mermaid (yes, there were a good number of fishtail hems too). By the time the last few looks came down the runway—glittering, jewel-encrusted tulle gowns—I was ready to ditch life on land. After all, didn't Sebastian the crab say that life is better under the sea? Based on this show, I'd tend to agree. 


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