New York Fashion Week Fall 2013: Alice and Olivia, Reem Acra & Steven Alan

After exhausting myself over the weekend* ("What's a weekend?" indeed!), I found myself, gladly, with a much lighter schedule for the final few days of Fashion Week. (I also had to skip quite a few shows due to work, but that's another story.) Here's what I was up to Monday and Tuesday.

Alice and Olivia

While I've rediscovered the joy of avant-garde this season, I certainly haven't lost my ability to shop a show, which is what I found myself doing at Stacey Bendet's Alice and Olivia presentation Monday evening. Granted, I am already an enthusiastic Alice and Olivia fan, but with a theme of Parisian "Fantasy Street Style," the fall collection might as well have been called "Stuff Cheryl Wants to Buy." There were flirty flared skirts, buttery leather motorcycle jackets, patchwork furs (a big trend this season), and lace, lace, lace. And then there were bags and shoes from the label's fairly recent expansion into accessories, and the boots were so fabulous, I found myself mentally clearing room in my closet for them: over-the-knee gray suede, quilted black pointy-toe with gold studs, pointy black haircalf, a black leather spat many boots, so little time. And just when I thought things couldn't get any better, waiters waltzed by with trays of pink champagne and cake pops. Stacey, will you be my best friend?

Reem Acra

It's always interesting to see where I'm seated at a fashion show; usually it's toward the end of the runway with the press, so we have a longer look at each exit, but at Reem Acra, I was seated at the beginning of the runway—so close that I could see the models backstage before they came out onto the glossy black runway. I was also close enough to appreciate the intricate detail and craftsmanship in Acra's work (in fact, close enough that my zoom lens was too long, hence the less-than-stellar quality of my photography here), which for fall 2013 was inspired by travels to Japan and the photography of Daido Moriyama. Acra stuck to a simple palette of black, white, and red, the better to showcase her sexy fishnet-backed cutouts, which curved around the body in a very sensual way. That thought was echoed in her day dresses and coats, which draped low and gracefully across the hips to soft, flattering effect. But Acra's gowns stole the show as always, from embroidered second-skin illusion gowns to embroidered, frothy tulle confections. Look for them on the red carpet; stars would be remiss not to wear one.

Steven Alan

Runway shows are fabulous and exciting, but presentations have their place at Fashion Week, especially for designers like Steven Alan, whose quietly cool clothes would get lost under the lights and drama. Also, presentations are wonderful because you can be in and out in 10 minutes. That said, I wanted to linger over the fall collection, which had a very appealing tomboyish feel. You could say menswear is a trend for fall (although if you ask me, it's too much of a staple to be considered a trend), which puts Alan in the thick of things, but his take is subtle and even a bit androgynous—a boxy windowpane-plaid suit, oversized boyfriend shirts, cropped stovepipe pants, and updates on classics like cable-knit sweaters and chambray shirtdresses. I also found myself shopping this collection, but in a different way than Alice and Olivia above—that one is "I have to have that right now" while Steven Alan is "I will have this forever."

*A post on the rest of Sunday's shows is still forthcoming!

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