Monthly Archives: October 2011

Fashion Heaven and the Denim Therein

I won’t insult you by actually describing Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City.  There are writers far more gifted than myself who have done that before, and if you are reading this blog it is likely that you are well-versed enough in fashion to get the gist.  The industry is at no shortage for press (as is, I discovered, evidenced physically by the mad scramble at 8 am to establish a seat with a working power cord in the media tent), and there is no need to regurgitate a story that has already been told.  So I’ll just tell my story from the vantage point of the small-town girl who never dreamed she would be among the fashion week crowd but had a heck of a time pretending to fit in.

Growing up in rural Kentucky, my hometown headlines usually revolve around the subjects of teen pregnancy rates and meth lab mishaps.  Fashion is indeed an afterthought for a community that works hard for the money, dresses up for church, and has only a Super Wal-Mart from which to make their clothing choices.  Yet it was in that town that my love for fashion was born.  My only resource was Grandma’s seasonal Sears Roebuck catalogue.  That and a weekly episode of Dynasty, while holding antennae in place for picture clarity, which suddenly explains my ongoing penchant for daytime sequins!  When Grandma finally started getting the JC Penny catalogue, I thought I had received a passport to Fashion Heaven.  A ticket to Milan would not have yielded such excitement.  I poured over those catalogues like they were the Bible and I mimicked the over-the-top styles of my weekly TV show to mostly mixed reviews at school.  Long before I learned the advice of CoCo, I employed the opposite technique by always adding one more plastic bracelet before walking out the door.  I thought any look could be transformed to chic by adding a denim or silk vest.

Luckily my taste refined a bit with age.  My parents invested in satellite TV and my sister and I would hijack the only TV in the house on Saturday mornings to watch Style File on E!  We had no idea what the British host was talking about when she discussed the designer collections with the cool of a thousand cucumbers, but we knew we loved it.  And at the risk of sounding like a complete senior citizen, I must confess that my real working knowledge of fashion came with the invention of the INTERNET.  As the industry crowd would gather in Bryant Park, my sis and I would wait in front of our dial up computer for the first images of the shows to appear.  We took notes of our favorite and at the end of Fashion Week, we would present our wardrobe choices to each other for what we would be “wearing” during Awards Season to the Golden Globes, Independent Spirit and SAG Awards and of course, the Oscars.  Meaning, this is what we would pretend to be wearing as we actually sat in our fleece pajamas while the only recognizable label in the room was “Papa Johns” on a pizza box.

It was all fantasy to us, so at 33 years old, when given the chance to cover Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week for a local publication, I was kind of impressed with myself for the first time in like, ever!  Even with the approved media credentials around my neck, I fully expected to be escorted off the premises of the Lincoln Center as an imposter.  Outfitted in my favorite dress from 15 Ounce Premium Denim, I was stopped by a photographer and asked who I was wearing.  Waving my rookie flag, I got nervous and said, “I don’t think I know for sure!”  Labels were studied in advance for the following 6 days.  Studying New York street style was as much fun as watching the shows.  Socialites and celebrities dress in the designers they are there to support but for most people, it is just another day at the office.  There were a lot of great denim looks and I captured some of my favorites.  I even ended up sporting Genetic Denim and DL1961 on two occasions and felt more a part of the crowd then on my dress up days!

Every season in NY, designers will send ready-to-wear looks down the runway with new and evolving trends, but the concept of individual style and knowing what is right for your body are timeless trends.  Fashion should be accessible to everyone; from the girl on a tobacco farm in Monticello, KY to the Park Avenue Princess.  We each have a fashion evolution story that plays a part in the clothes we select.  And these looks told a tale of confidence & originality with denim…

Denim look 1: I caught this young model on her way to a show and just had to photograph her denim on denim look.  She was one of many sporting colored denim with an overwhelming number of attendees wearing red.  I love the style staple denim jacket.  The jeans look about 2 sizes too large for my taste but hey, she’s a model in NY Fashion Week; they probably fit her perfectly a week ago.  I give her look thumbs up and two sandwiches with mayonnaise on white bread!

Denim look 2: I had the pleasure of getting to know this stylish gal pretty well throughout the week.  Her self-assured looks never begged for attention but always got plenty on her way into the shows.  On this day, she paired her skinny jeans and ballet flats with a cool pink blazer that was the perfect canvas for her stunning vintage necklace.  No photo could ever do this piece justice but her ensemble is the perfect way to wear it.  She opted for denim on most days with a large, commanding accessory.  That effortless calling card got her photographed by the fashion paparazzi more than any NY socialite.

Denim look 3: White after Labor Day is a-okay.  Any lady who begs to differ should just take her matching belt, shoes and bag and go back to the country club!  Among the many white denim looks worn in the tents, this one caught my eye because it was paired with a denim shirt and suspenders (that, and I really liked her hair color!).  Cool, cute and of-the-moment.