Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lilly Pulitzer 50th Anniversary Jubilee Retrospective

November 6, 2008
“Pulitzer’s Prize”

Last evening, New York Socialites came out in droves despite the inclement weather to celebrate the Lilly Pulitzer 50th Anniversary Kick-Off Party and unveiling Jubilee Retrospective. The event, which took place at Parsons the New School of Design on 5th Ave. (at 13th Street), was sponsored by Pink by Yellowglen Champagne and Hendrick’s Gin. In celebration of the Jubilee, Steinway & Sons produced a limited-edition Lilly-printed piano and Jeep Wrangler manufactured a limited-edition Lilly-print vehicle certain to stop traffic.

Most of the party goers were decked out in Lilly’s looks (vintage and new) and Pucci or “Lillyesque” and “Pucciesque” garb. Others (including me), decided to forgo the bright prints and summer frocks choosing more typical New York attire suitable for a rainy, November night. As I entered the venue, I strolled down a pink, plush carpet leading to a wall of photos supporting framed Pulitzer prints and quotes from designers complimenting Lilly. Diane von Furstenberg’s quote states: LILLY PULITZER… PALM BEACH AT ITS BEST! A TIMELESS AMERICAN STYLE! And Michael Kors’ quote says: WITH HER BOLD PRINTS AND SUNNY COLORS, LILLY TAUGHT THE WORLD ABOUT PALM BEACH STYLE. It certainly felt like a Palm Beach party (or at least the Hamptons!) as Lilly’s prints were everywhere and not just on the guests -- mannequins were posed throughout the scene dressed in her tropical brights. The raspberry gin drinks felt like summer and of course the Hibiscus printed piano helped to set the mood!

Among the expected guests were some of Lilly’s greatest supporters including: Liz Lange, Mary McFadden, Arnold Scaasi, Mario Buatta, Pamela Fiori, Amy Chan, Chris and Grace Meigher, Holly Dunlap, Gillian Minter, Bruce Addison, Muffie and Sherrell Aston, Geoffrey Bradfield, Somers Farkas (who was wearing stunning printed caftan) and Jonathan Farkas, Rachel and Ara Hovnanian, Christian Leone, Todd Romano, Rod Winterrowd, Alexia Hamm Ryan, Betty Sherrill, Wendy Vanderbilt Lehman, Kate Allen, Amy Hoadley, Elisabeth Saint-Armand, Libby Fitzgerald, Meredith Melling Burke, Ellen Gilbertson and Mark Gilbertson, Hilary Dick, Tara Rockefeller, Jill Roosevelt, Celerie Kemble, Alexandra Lebenthal and Justin Tranter of the glam rock group “Semi Precious Weapons” (who wore one of Lilly’s jackets turned inside out). I also spotted Jeffrey Banks (CFDA Emeritus Board Member and Parsons Alum) and designers Adrienne Vittadini and Steven Stolman. Unfortunately, I never did see Lilly. Additionally, Tim Marshall (Dean of Parsons the New School) and Sheila C. Johnson (Chair - Parsons Board of Governors) were in attendance. Ms. Johnson is also ambassador for CARE, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. Shop at Lilly Pulitzer (1020 Madison) through November 12 and 10% of all proceeds will be donated to Parsons in support of a CARE project helping female Guatemalan artisans to develop sustainable businesses.

Before I headed out, I ducked into a room full of ebony mannequins standing like soldiers, wearing Lilly’s dresses. I felt as if I was in a gallery studying paintings as I meandered through the rows admiring each piece. As I came to the end of the display, I could see through the front window a long line of hopefuls patiently waiting to be allowed into the building. I was glad I came early and even happier that I didn’t have to linger outside in the rain! Loyal fans I’d say. Clearly, pink and green reign supreme. Happy Anniversary.

-Stacy Lomman

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Aurelio Costarella - Spring '09, Bryant Park

Ruffles reigned supreme at Aurelio Costarella’s Spring ’09 presentation last Thursday. If asked to sum up the collection in one word, I would have to say “feminine” -- O.K., “ULTRA-feminine.” Costarella knows how to dress women. The pieces floated gracefully down the catwalk with models appearing light as feathers (well, actually they were). Sheer fabrics of silk organza and chiffon helped to portray the light, airy mood of the collection, while satin and taffeta provided luxurious shine. The color palette was minimal with just a hint of color sneaking into the mainly neutral story.

Costarella played with proportion keeping silhouettes narrow and sleek while decorating them will full, layered ruffled treatments. Fabrics were multi layered creating dimension and organza’s nature maintained crisp shapes. Asymmetry was an important factor making a statement as many models bared one shoulder (which was a recurring trend throughout Fashion Week). I particularly adored a narrow black micro mini with a huge array of ruffles piled on the right shoulder.

There seemed to be a “black tie” message in the collection as Costarella utilized black and white quite liberally and the jacket made a statement on the runway (feminized with ruffled collars and peplum backs). He also showed cigarette pants, pencil skirts and even a modified version of a tuxedo shirt. He also played with construction by finishing seams on the outside. A few pieces were decorated with sequins or beads while still in keeping with the refined impression of the collection.

Ruching was another detail Costarella repeated throughout. He handled it in such a clever way by choosing just the right spots to add insets. I also loved the way he used different fabric types in some cases when layering the volumes and volumes of ruffles. This created even more visual interest adding dimension and helping to break up the solid colors (which was particularly effective with black on black). I’m not sure how I felt about his use of the oddly colored belts (doubled up many times); however it was an interesting way to add some focus to the waist.

Costarella’s Spring ’09 collection was so beautifully orchestrated. With every designer and every season, one can certainly find a piece or two that isn’t especially their favorite. In this case, I found a couple of dresses that were ruffled “to death” (especially the one wrapping around the arms), but that is just a reflection of my personal taste. These dresses were still spectacular and the rest of the collection was just so pretty, I didn’t even care.

-Stacy Lomman