NEW YORK — Just about everywhere I went during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, I ran into Houstonians or Olympic athletes. Here are some of the notables who enjoyed the shows and the surrounding activities.
From left, Dr. Romy Morello, Debbie Festari, Crystal Saldivar and Shiva Rafferty were in the audience at the Monique Lhuillier show. "It's just classic elegance," Festari said after the collection was shown in the large tent at Lincoln Center. "It's so feminine and elegant."
Lhuillier will be in Houston on Nov. 15 to show the collection at Fashion Houston.
As Donna Karan Ambassadors, Sheridan Williams, left, and Dancie Ware had prime seats at the showing of Karan's spring 2013 collection. Sheridan is a founding member of the Ambassdors, a group of women across the nation recognized for their philanthropy and fashion savvy. Dancie is among the newest members and attended the show for the first time. Sheridan flew to New York directly from California where her daughter had just gotten married in a ceremony at the Dick Clark mansion.
Kathryn Smith, left, and Elizabeth Vail saw a slew of top shows, including Oscar de la Renta, Douglas Hannant, Naeem Khan, Michael Kors, Milly and J. Mendel. Their husbands had surprised them with tickets to the Naeem Khan show as the highest bidder at a silent auction at a River Oaks Baptist School fundraiser. They saw other shows from the American Express Skybox in a special package they had purchased. And they got into the de la Renta show through some fashion contacts.
They also saw a lot of fashion biggies when they went for a drink in the Rose Bar in the Standard Hotel, where Marc Jacobs was hosting a party. They said they had never seen so many men with small dogs. Must be a trend.
Neal Hamil, right, is making a big splash in New York as co-founder of the new Mix Models Management agency. Here he poses backstage at the Zac Posen show with his new find, 20-year-old Jamaican model Chantal Lee. She modeled in the Posen show, alongside supermodels Naomi Campbell, Coco Rocha and Karolina Kurkova.
"I'm so proud of you," Hamil told Lee after the show. "You held your own with all of these supemodels. You're beautiful!"
Supermodel Alek Wek poses backstage with Zac Posen. The designer will show his spring collection of killer ball gowns and day dresses at Fashion Houston on Nov. 13.
Lubov and Max Azria wave to the audience at the end of the Herve Leger show. They will show the collection at Fashion Houston on Nov. 14.
I ran into Chloe Dao at the Carmen Marc Valvo show. Chloe is working on her collection, which she will also show at Fashion Houston on Nov. 14, but made a quick getaway to New York to see some shows and soak in some inspiration. "It was just perfect timing," she said.
Former Houstonian Alexis Bryan Morgan is executive fashion editor of Lucky magazine. I caught up with her at the Oscar de la Renta show, where she brought her two young children.
Cesar Galindo had a really busy fashion week, with two shows. Here he strikes a pensive pose with a model wearing one of his creations on the last day of fashion week, after his upscale line, Cesar Galindo Collection, was shown to a large and enthusiastic audience.
Houston fashion producer Bambi Lynn, left, came up from Texas to help Cesar with the production of his show.
Also at the Galindo show were former Houstonian Rolando Tamez, left, and Dominque David, whobecame friends with Cesar when all three of them were contestants on Bravo's short-lived The Fashion Show in 2010.
Even though Ryan Lochte, right, and Conor Dwyer, left, have no Houston ties, the Olympians were everywhere during fashion week, so it seems a fitting way to end this photo essay. At the Ralph Lauren show, stylist Mary Alice Stephenson was thrilled to pose for a photo with the duo, who were nattily dressed in Ralph Lauren suits.