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"At the time, I thought I was in the chicest place in the universe," said Peter Som of his first time at New York Fashion Week as a Parsons student. In honor of that impending chicness, we spoke with him and others — veterans and newcomers alike — to hear the experiences of their first shows, their most memorable moments, and how they plan to recover after the madness of the week is over.
Pamela Love remembers being nervous the first time Anna Wintour attended one of her shows (who wouldn't be?), and Chris Benz told us about his very own House of Style moment at Marc Jacobs's Spring 2002 show. We also heard tales from Rebecca Minkoff, Rachel Comey, Yigal Azrouel, Jenni Kayne, and many others. Read on for a look at their most memorable Fashion Week moments — and find out who was so starstruck by Chloe Sevigny that they offered to let her skip the bathroom line — here, in the gallery.
— Reporting by Christina Pérez
>> While working on her Spring 2012 collection, Reece Solomon had sunshine on her mind. "I was thinking about a tropical beach," the designer explained after her presentation Sunday night. Not that it would have been difficult to guess; nestled along driftwood-strewn tables were any number of bags just perfect for a seaside getaway. There were jute totes in stripes and chevron; oversized clutches in turquoise and cobalt; and weekend-ready carryalls in sunflower yellow. But even if it's true that everyone loves a beach, Solomon is still a downtown girl, and she definitely knows her customer. For all the bright colors and light, there was still a whole lot of city spirit on display: shapes were structured, lines were clean, and the details had just the right amount of grit.
>> Last night, Vanessa Traina launched her 14-piece capsule collection for the French brand Maje at Barneys, which has the US exclusive. She wore a black tuxedo jacket and pant from the collection, and was joined by her sisters Samantha and Victoria Traina and close designer friends like Alexander Wang, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Joseph Altuzarra, and Proenza Schouler's Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, most of whom followed her to a celebratory dinner down the street at Le Caprice.
The idea for the collection, which ranges from $150 to $490, came about while Traina was in fittings for the brand's campaign (which she's appeared in the past two seasons). She told Vogue.com: "Maje asked me to do their campaign a few seasons ago and we all got along really well. We met the day before the shoot to do fittings, and by the end of it, we’d put together the proposal for a collaboration."
Her ideas for the collection — inspired by "a lot of old '90s editorial," she told us — came easily: "I had a whole folder with me . . . working in the industry and doing consulting quite frequently, I knew what to expect from a design meeting, and I think it really helped Maje understand my vision right from the get-go."
The resultant pieces are simple, primarily silk or lace, and sans color. In fact, minus one white silk maxi dress, they're all in black. "I wear black quite, quite often," Traina explains. "Because this was a one-time collaboration, I really wanted to do something wearable and [focus on] really great separates that fit into your wardrobe. And black goes with everything, so I really just kind of went with that." She told Vogue.com, "Although I must admit, I haven’t worn anything outside of my bedroom yet."
The collection also provided Traina with her first opportunity to design a shoe: "I mean, I've worked with Joseph Altuzarra and people on their collection from head to toe, so I've kind of worked with a shoe, but he [Altuzarra] really does the crux of it, so yeah, it's the first time. It's really cool because we initially started with doing a flat, and then I just thought it would be cool if we stuck a heel on it. So it's just a sandal design."
Even though she now has more extensive design experience, Traina says the collection is a one-time thing: "I really see myself more as a stylist, and I work as a stylist and do consulting. I was really grateful for this opportunity, it was really fun to do something like this, but I think the direction that I'm going in right now with styling is really what I'm passionate about, [and] is really what I love personally."
>> Reece Hudson founders Reece Solomon and Max Stein enlisted Jak & Jil's Tommy Ton to shoot their lookbook last season on the colorful, humming streets of Manhattan. This season, however, they worked with photographer Alexander Noe and stylist Rachel Siegel to strip all those trappings away, instead going for a smudgy studio shoot devoid of any color (minus the rich greens and saddle browns highlighting the label's Spring 2011 handbag offering, that is).
The images were produced in part to showcase on the new Reece Hudson website, set to launch in the next week. Stein said via email that video will play a part on the new site, as well: "We are hoping to do a video per season going forward — either in collaboration with the lookbook or something independent. We are working on one for SS11 currently." Last season's video was a behind-the-scenes take on Ton's lookbook shoot; while the upcoming Spring vid, Stein teases, is "more 'artistic based.'"