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Blizzard is talk of NY fashion week, Kenneth Cole returns and Armie Hammer touts his Texas bakery

Blizzard is talk of NY fashion week, Kenneth Cole returns and Armie Hammer touts his Texas bakery

Armie Hammer, Elizabeth Chambers, Heidi Klum, Brooke Shields
On the front row: from left, Armie Hammer, Elizabeth Chambers, Heidi Klum and Brooke Shields. Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images
Kenneth Cole, runway show, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, February 2013
At the end of the Kenneth Cole show, models came out with cell phones and photographed themselves and the audience. Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images
Armie Hammer, Elizabeth Chambers, Heidi Klum, Brooke Shields
Kenneth Cole, runway show, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, February 2013

NEW YORK — Fashion is usually the prime topic of conversation at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, but as the semi-annual extravaganza got underway all anyone could talk about was the impending "monster" blizzard that threatens to blanket the upper East Coast with as much as three feet of snow.

At least one person seemed pretty happy about the turn of events, though.

After attending the Kenneth Cole Collection fashion show Thursday night, Texas-born Elizabeth Chambers, a Los Angeles television personality, and her husband, actor Armie Hammer, were scheduled to fly back to the West Coast on Saturday. But with just about all flights out of New York canceled, Chambers was looking forward to a quiet weekend with her husband in the soon-to-be snowbound city.

 When Hammer learned that CultureMap is based in Texas, he excitedly talked about the Bird Bakery in San Antonio that he and his wife opened nearly a year ago.

"There's something really nice about being a slave to Mother Nature and there's nothing you can do," she said.

When Hammer learned he was being interviewed by CultureMap, with its Texas ties, he excitedly talked about the Bird Bakery in San Antonio that he and Chambers opened nearly a year ago.

"My wife is from San Antonio originally and I lived in Dallas for several years. We were in Montreal making a movie and my wife was incredibly bored and said, 'I'm gonna start a bakery.' So I said, 'That's great, let's start a bakery.' And we did. It's in Alamo Heights," he said.

Hammer, who said he and Chambers spend one or two weeks a month in San Antonio, revealed a secret sandwich menu to ask for if you stop by the bakery. "Order The Melissa No. 1 or the Melissa No. 2," he said, listing two sandwiches named for the bakery manager. "Those are so (good), you'll never eat another sandwich in your life."

Most of the recipes come from Chamber's late grandmother, she said. Her favorites include the carrot cake, lemon square and spice buttermilk pie.

And you thought this was a fashion story?

Sorry, I got sidetracked. Food always does that.

First fashion show

Hammer, attending his first fashion show, sat on the celebrity-packed front row, along with Heidi Klum, Brooke Shields, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Cheyenne Jackson and Rachel Dratch. He was surprised that it was over in flash (most runway shows are 12 minutes or less). "I didn't think it would be this quick," he said.

Klum was surprised to learn this was Cole's first runway show after a seven-year hiatus. "That's so crazy. He should do it every year. Maybe that makes it a more special day. That's why we're all here. We can't wait for what it will be like," she said.

Before the show began, Cole made a reference to how much the social media landscape had changed since his last runway show, with his sentiments flashed in big letters on the wall: "We don't care if people love it. We just want them to 'like' it."

Before the show began, Cole made a reference to how much the social media landscape had changed since his last runway show, with his sentiments flashed in big letters on the wall: "We don't care if people love it. We just want them to 'like' it."

 For every tweet using #KCRUNWAY during the show, Cole donated $1 to amfAR: The Foundation for AIDS Research, and he offered a limited edition bag, which he designed with Sarah Jessica Parker, that was sold online while the show was livestreamed.

And at the end of the show, each model used a cell phone to capture photos of the audience and themselves as they made their final runway walk.

Cole called his show "Urban Liberation," and it was filled with the tough urban look he is known for. Nearly every model wore boots (some knee-high), elbow-length gloves and carried a leather bag or satchel (Cole is known for his accessories).

Clothes were layered — even piled atop each other — in a Mad Max way.  One woman's metallic-collar shirt looked like a breastplate. A man's gray jacket combined a mix of tactile fabrics, with a landscape of birds in shiny 3-D fabric topping the shoulders.

The no-nonsense color palate — black, burgundy and olive green — was brightened up with metallic touches on lapels and chokers, perforated leather, and wintry prints of birds that appeared to be flying south for the winter.

A major plus: Oversized wool coats, puffer jackets, cashmere parkas and so many other pieces in the collection look like they could keep you toasty warm — a reassuring sentiment as the blizzard heads this way.

Afterwards as a pushy minder hurried him away, Cole say it was great to be back on the runway. "In some ways it felt like I was never here before and in some ways it felt like I had never left," he said.