NEW YORK — Designers traditionally look near and far for inspiration. At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Naeem Khan, Vera Wang and Carmen Marc Valvo were among those who based their designs on faraway lands.
Shown here, models gather backstage before Naeem Khan's runway show.
The look: While traveling around the world, Khan snapped photos of tile work in Morocco, the surf in Hawaii and a sunset in Utah on his smartphone and had them turned into dazzling prints, which were the highlight of his smart spring/summer 2013 collection. He also looked to the stylized movie, W.E., which detailed the world of Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor for inspiration — the movie was directed by Madonna. (Shown here: Navy floral beaded cut-out column gown with chiffon cape from Khan's spring collection.)
Front row favorites: Julianne Hough, Jordana Brewster, Jenna Dewan Tatum and Padma Lakshmi. Alas, Matt Damon, who was front and center at Khan's February show, was missing in action. But Khan said he planned to have dinner with the actor that night.
Faces in the crowd: Houstonians Kathryn Smith and Elizabeth Vail took in the Khan show and also saw the Oscar de la Renta, Douglas Hannant and J Mendel shows.
The rose pattern prevailed in several looks from Naeem Khan, including this organza gown with a jet beaded bodice
Khan led off the show with a black and white rose print organza off-the-shoulder cocktail dress.
Backstage at the Khan show, NARS Cosmetics stylists created a subtle yet dramatic look. “The designer’s inspiration was Wallis Simpson," said James Boehmer, director of global aristry. "So to make the look more updated, we focused on a glossy, very vinyl-textured lip to contrast the matte texture of the skin.”
Khan closed his show with a series of caftans, including this nude chiffon caftan with metallic beading.
Khan acknowledges applause at the end of his show.
The look: Inspired by the romantic beauty and sensuality of India, Wang created a lovely collection of embroidered tunics over dancing skirts and Bermuda shorts, along with dresses and jackets in shades of rich blue, deep purple and dark green. The eveningwear that closed the show was pure gold, with enough bullion to fill Fort Knox. (Shown here: Azure Indian damask sleeveless sheath top with collar and damask cotton voile skirt.)
Front row favorites: Figure skater Michelle Kwan got caught up in a photographer's melee as Stacy Keilber, aka George Clooney's girlfriend, sat next to her. "It is chaotic," exclaimed the world champion figure skater.
Even though Wang designed many of Kwan's skating outfits, she had never attended a fashion show show until now. Kwan has proved that there is life after skating. She received her master's degree in international relations at Tufts University and is currently a diplomatic envoy for the U.S. State Department.
"People don't see the connection, but they both involve traveling and talking about American values," she said.
From Vera Wang, cypress green Indian damask faille Nehru collar sleeveless tailored jacket and damask long pajama trouser.
Wang shyly acknowledges the audience at the end of her show.
The look: Carmen Marc Valvo's Asian-tinged collection features patterns inspired by kimonos, folded origami layers of organza and silk jackets tied with black belts. And bold colors, like this cobalt blue one-shoulder pepum waist evening gown.
Front row favorites: Tracie Bennett, who just ended her tour de force performance as Judy Garland in the Broadway production of End of the Rainbow, before embarking on the national tour, and Hilaria Baldwin, the new wife of actor Alec Baldwin.
A face in the crowd: Chloe Dao took a break from designing in Houston to recharge her batteries with a New York fashion week visit. "It's great to look around for inspiration. To be in the center (of the fashion world) really gets the creative juices going," she said.
Valvo led off his show with a parchment and silk brocade gazar dress with guipure lace inset.
Parchment/poppy glass sequined lace and gazar skirt gown by Carmen Marc Valvo
Carmen Marc Valvo ivory silk corset and black linen pant with chain stitching embroidery
Carmen Marc Valvo ivory lace gown with chain embroidery and ruffle detail
Jade lacquer silk brocade dress from Carmen Marc Valvo