This morning I planned to go backstage (and off-site at the Gotham Hall on 36th Street) to the Cynthia Rowley runway show, and then attend several more both at the tents in Bryant Park, and around the Fashion Avenue area.
First on the agenda, though, was Cynthia Rowley’s show. I didn’t attend last season and the season before at the tents, I was standing in the back. This time, however, I was going backstage to chat with laad hair stylist Gavin Harwin for Redken. When I got there, dodging the inceasing raindrops, it was nearly 2 hours early, but Gavin was already busy at work on the models, teasing, pinning, scunching….This time, my digital voice recorder was working and I managed to get a few comments from busy Gavin on tape (you’ll have to wait until I can translate all of the comments I’ve gathered from makeup artists and hair stylists to a podcast formula…but keep coming back to this blog (or the Advice Sisters Web Site http://www.advicesisters.net ) and you’ll be among the first to know when you can hear the beauty experts speak, personally!
But I digress…as Gavin continued to style and pin, a casual, “bed-head”-type updo, he explained the style for t6he show: “hair is teased and blow-dried jut a bit to give it a rough texture, then teased again gently with a soft brush, then just pinned up loosely (there was also a tiny topknot at the bottom of the updo, sort of twisted under and secured with an elastic). Although virtually all of the models in all of the shows had their hair pinned up for Spring 2007 (and as Odile said at the Carmen Marc Valvo show the other day, “hair should be worn up, in the Spring.” What I like so much about this look is that even if you can’t manage a controlled and graceful chignon or French knot, you can still produce a facimile of an elegant “do” that works this season by adapting any one of the “pros” visions. Styling products are very important and in the case of Cynthia Rowley’s show, all the products used were “pro-style” items you can actually buy and use at home, from fantastic Redken. For this gracefully mussed updo, Gavin mostly used Redken Fabricate #03… a heat-reactive spray texturizer to add dimension, control and body (but you can also re-touch for re-styling without stickiness…a great product!). There was an assistant holding hair pins (obviously, we don’t all have a “helper”) but when I commented that this very pretty (and seemingly effortless) look didn’t seem to be something the average woman could accomplish, Gavin immediately (and rather gallantly) said: “Don’t underestimate women!”
I stand, corrected.
Looking around the room, I immediately recognized Bobbi Brown, and found myself literally gushing like a groupie about what a fan I am. But before I could get further information from Bobbi, I was informed that the networks needed to film Bobbi, and I needed to wait. I was a bit embarassed that I had barged into the filming (I really, honestly, didn’t know)–at the tents there is usually not a list kept for interviews, especially early in the preparations) but felt a bit better when Bobbi graciously thanked me (and invited me to chat with her a bit later). Later on, when things had died down a bit Bobbi took a moment to tell me that since there is a lot of color in Cynthia Rowley’s collection (thank heavens, not just ecru, black and grey) she was playing with color on the models. The good news is that Bobbi Brown is using this lovely violet theme in her own Spring 2007 collection as well. For the Cynthia Rowley show, the models were wearing a bright violet eye shadow, and a violet blush, but the color was sheer and layerable, so you can translate it to your own style and complexion. The models also were wearing a beige lip (the eye and blush colors, pop, so you don’t want to take attention away from that). The lip color was sheer and glossy, but not glittery or shimmery. It looked very fresh and pretty. As someone with a very warm and ruddy complexion, I was mentally trying to figure out how someone like me could wear this look, but one the things I have always loved about Bobbi Brown makeup is that you can wear the new colors as-is, or layer them over something else to translate the style and make it your own. As Bobbi Brown herself said, a bright violet eye and blush, and a beige lip isn’t the easiest thing to wear….she suggests for women who really don’t like that much color, you can wear a softer, more natural violet (“Orchid”) which will be available in the Spring 2007 palette. “Just put a little on your lower lid,” Bobbi suggests.
I could tell that my time was just about up, so I thanked Bobbi, and moved on to the front of the Gotham Hall, where the clothes hadn’t arrived yet (it was 11:30 and the show was supposed to start at Noon…no chance of that). I noticed that all of the Cynthia Rowley interns and other staff were wearing very chic, knee-length (or slightly above) black shirt dresses with small, matte gold buttons. The dress was very classic and appeared to flatter nearly every body type (although most of the girls were young and lithe, anyway). I asked a friendly intern (she said she’d only been with Cynthia Rowley a few weeks but was performing like a seasoned pro) if the dress actually available to the general public and apparently, it is available at Cynthia Rowley. If you want a dress you’ll pull on every time you need to look polished but chic, this is the dress to get!
There ws some time to kill before the show (I didn’t know when it would start, but I know they’e always late to very late) so I wandered around, taking in the scene, chatting with a reporter from Channel 9 news, and another one from the Middle East. There was a nice spread of lunch for the models , created by the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro (opening on September 19th at 29 West 21st Street in NYC). A delicious wrap containing prosciutto, Watercress, Argula and Chile Ricotta Cheese was featured, along with a salad of watermelon, jicama and bean sprouts with yuzu vinaigrette, and White Chocolate/Dark Chocolate dipped strawberries. There were cans of TAB Energy Drinks (all over the shows this season), champagne, and water. I did see one model dipping numerous times into the watermelon, and when my own hunger got the best of me and I picked up a wrap, she said: “aren’t those delicious?.. I can’t eat them because they have cheese and I’m lactose intolerant.” She told me the watermelon was good, too. That’s about the most conversation I’ve ever had with a model. Usually, you don’t see the models eating much, especially before a show, but the wraps must have proven irresistable, because I took some photos that show a number of girls sitting on the floor, eating them.
The clothes finally arrived, and the dresssers were getting busy, putting the clothes (and some hair ornaments made of wicker) together with shoes and other accessories. The theme of the show was: “Candy is dandy, but wicker is slicker.” The clothes, much of this collection daywear, incorporated a lot of “wicker-like” ornaments (actually embroidery, leather, and ribbon) in various colors and styles fashioned into lovely, airy designs. The white screens between which the models walked the runway, were also wicker-like patterns that echoed the patterns in the dresses and even, some flirty, open-weave, wicker-type hair ornaments in black or gold, and affixed to the side of the head like a feather or jewel might be. I didn’t get too close to many of the dresses, but I loved the color, the diversity, and the wearability of this outstandingly beautiful collection. Playful and chic, all at once, Ms. Rowley designed these, I am sure, with real women in mind. They scream “elegant” and desogmer,” but this is one of the first collections that I’ve seen for Spring 2007 where nearly everything could be worn by women of all types and ages…do-able from runway to real life. These are clothes that if I had the budget, I’d buy lots of, and wear constantly. I guess you can tell, I loved Cynthia Rowley’s collection!
I stood in the back row for a while, chatting with what turned out to be Cynthia Rowley’s nanny (she has two little girls) and listened while the nanny pointed out people important to Cynthia, such as her husband, and her mother in law. The nanny wanted to see Martha Stewart, and we did see the back of a blonde haired woman who might have been Martha, but we couldn’t be sure. Since the press weren’t all over her, I seriously doubt it. At every place, Cynthia had put a wicker basket (appropriate!) filled with the same lunch that was in the model’s dressing room backstage, along with a white napkin (probably from her home accessories line). Front row VIPs also got a signature blue and white Cynthia Rowley shopping bag filled with a very collective, red and white v-necked T-shirt featuring silk-screened dressed designed by Cynthia Rowley (and worn by all the dressers) but sponsored by Coke with a saying: “Cynthia Rowley’s COKE side of life” a Tab energy drink, a cd with two songs by Favoritesons, from their debut album “down beside your beauty” A full-sized Redken shampoo and conditioner in “All Soft” (brings new life to dry and brittle hair) and from Bobbi Brown, a gold glitter lip gloss and gold eye shadow from her new holiday collection.
The lights went down, the music started, the models strutted their stuff on the runway. People were cheering, literally after the show ended. It was the most enthusiastic reception I’ve seen given to a designer yet this week.
I wandered backstage for a moment, where photographers were shoving each other to get shots of Cynthia, her husband, and her little girls. I ducked underneath the arm of one, and fired off one or two shots of my own (helps to be short, sometimes) and then headed for home.