>> This year's ten CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists have just been announced — they range from the eco-conscious (Monique Pean, Alabama Chanin) to cobblers (Esquivel Shoes) to straight-up womenswear designers (Sophie Theallet, Wayne, Ohne Titel, Gary Graham). Anna Wintour noted, “We had very strong applicant pool this year, particularly among the jewelers" — here's looking at lucky jewelry nominees Pean and House of Waris. The winner and runners-up, who are bestowed with cash prizes and industry mentorship, will be announced Nov. 16 at the annual gala.
>> It was a three-tone show for Ohne Titel this morning: black, gray, or brown, but it contrasted quite nicely with the light, bright white space; the only pops of color in the room came from the varicolored macaroons being served beforehand. Quite the show for the newly-minted 2009 Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation winners. The model cast was excitingly blue-chip — Liu Wen! Constance Jablonski! Lakshmi Menon! Eniko Mihalik! — it must be those unzipped knee-exposing stretch pants they're all gunning to take home; that and the over-the-knee, ruffled-top, lace-up back leather boots Alexa Adams and Flora Gill did in conjunction with Cesare Paciotti.
The designers say they went "darker" with "armorial" accents this season; along with the tight-fitting knit bondage dresses, the pieces fitted with studs, what looked like washers, and other assorted metallic elements organized in a pattern that reminded me of an art deco skyscraper, stood out. Also of note: Alastair McKimm, who styled Alexander Wang last season and this season, also styled this show.
>> Fall 2009 is "the make or break season" for small designers, according to Eric Wilson of The New York Times. Stores are reducing their orders by 20 percent or more for Fall, and some are already trying to cancel their Spring orders, which puts small businesses, especially those without independent financial backing, in a tenuous position. Basically, Wilson points out, "The more stores that close, the more designers will follow." And in show season, the cost of samples and putting on a show doesn't help with the strain.