Thursday's Ruffian show was a ladylike safari. Here's what went on behind the scenes. **All photos by Julia Silverman.
Fashionista contributor Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt. Just a few minutes past midnight last night Alice Cooper took the stage and performed his perennial hit "School’s Out," released in 1972. This was just moments after ZZ Top sang "Foxy Lady." Darling Stilettos did the CBGB Ramones classics "Blitzkrieg Pop," and Donovan Leitch--with Camp Freddy and Perry Farrell--closed the show with the Jane Addiction classic "The Mountain Song." And that’s only a partial line up of the rockers that came out to perform in celebration of the launch of Original Moonshine and the tenth anniversary of John Varvatos’ menswear collection at the former CBGB space on Bowery, now Varvatos' store selling his main, USA and Converse collections. Rock & Roll, whiskey and fashion. Designer fashion requires a narrative--a way of telling a story or relating a lifestyle that the clothes are mere accoutrements. For Mr. Varvatos, it’s his early affection for rock music that has provided the blood that has flowed through his work since launching his first collection for fall 2000. In his office it’s hard to locate a book on fashion, but the piles on his long coffee table include The Illustrated Biography of Bob Dylan, Rock Record 7, CBGB: Decade of Graffiti History and Punk, Made in the U.K – The Music Attitude 1977-1983, Who Shot Rock & Roll, and Ryan Adams and the Cardinals: A View of Other Windows. And off course a tome on The Doors, just to name a few. In reconnecting with his adolescent obsession with rock music Mr. Varvatos gives the brand a soul, or what we call "fashion."
Season after season, Jill Stuart peppers her front row with press-garnering celebs. While it's usually a smart move, at Saturday’s show, Stuart’s grocery list of reality stars vied for attention not just with each other, but also with her clothes. Not so discreet hand-holding (Kourtney Kardashian & Scott Disick) and even less discreet in-seat dancing (Brad Goreski--but hey, the man's got moves) piqued photographer's interest even after the lights went down, turning some cameras away from Stuart’s clothes and instead towards the people who court them. But unlike the celebs, the clothes showed restraint, and at times even austerity. (High-waisted, knee-skimming shorts come to mind, as does a clean navy cape that seemed more Jil Sander than Jill Stuart).
I've had some crazy experiences in my life, but the last place I expected to find myself on the first day of New York Fashion Week was in a Midtown dance studio watching Naomi Campbell bust a move. But it happened. And it was kind of amazing. Naomi and a gaggle of young models were rehearsing their Fashion's Night Out performance, which will take place tonight at Dolce & Gabbana's New York flagship on Madison Ave. The dance, put together by Campbell's friend Laurie Gibson, features Naomi fist-pumping to Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Kanye West in "Run this Town." Gibson, who's made a name for herself choreographing tons of music videos, including Lady Gaga's, is so positive and encouraging I almost wanted to jump in there. "It doesn't have to be perfect, just honest" she tells the girls. "Except for the marches--those have to be perfect--you're models!" The theme of Dolce & Gabbana's FNO party is, simply, Naomi. She's been in the business for 25 years, so they're celebrating with limited edition t-shirts featuring iconic images of Naomi taken by the likes of Patrick Demarchelier and Steven Meisel. I got the chance to chat with the Super for a few minutes. She was very humble and genuinely excited about the whole thing. "It's such an honor to work with Laurel," she told me. "I studied dance and I always wished I could do dance or performance. But I chose a career as a model instead. This is a dream come true." As for what she thinks about an entire evening dedicated to her career: "The whole thing is just really fun. It's a celebration." Click through for my photo diary of the rehearsal.