[Originally posted at Vita.mn]
By Jahna Peloquin
In its 28th year, Macy's Glamorama didn't skimp on bombast or theatricality, adding dance segments into what was already a high-production fashion show. The additions came as a result of the merging of Glamorama with Macy's Passport shows in its L.A. and San Francisco markets, making it what may have been the longest Glamorama to date - with varying results.
As usual, the evening started out with an introduction from the Children's Cancer Research Fund, the philanthropic beneficiary of the show. But before going into the fashion segments, the show instead began with an over-the-top dance segment by choreographer-to-the-stars Brian Friedman, complete with some delightfully absurd costumes by former Project Runway contestant Chris March. (Check out my Q&A with the designer in this week's Vita.mn.) While March himself didn't make an appearance, his black winged bodysuits and looming Elizabethan collared cloaks certainly did.
The fall 2010 collection from Tommy Hilfiger set the mood of the night with a swinging '70s beatnik-meets-classic collegiate to a soundtrack of '70s rock hits ("Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf, "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" by the Doors) and swirling kaleidescope video - indicative of the groovy vibe of many collections this fall. Luxurious leathers and knits lent sophistication to natty tweeds, and Hilfiger's classic pea coats and trench coats received a youthful update. The lace-up thigh high duck boots were standouts, and the collection as a whole was Hilfiger's most fresh in years.
Next up was the fashion highlight of the evening, Jean Paul Gaultier's exotic, globe-trotting collection. Thankfully, lead stylist Laura Schara stayed true to Gaultier's vision and incorporated over-the-top headpieces from his original showing, some reaching upwards of five feet in height. It was eclecticism at its best, making the statement that modern style is a fashionable melting pot. With technicolor panoramas behind the criss-crossing models and an eclectic soundtrack, it was an indulgent treat for the senses and fashion production at its best.
It was a hard act to follow, and the Sportmax showing wasn't exactly up to task. The lower-priced brand from the house of MaxMara isn't known for the artistry of Gaultier or clout of Hilfiger. While the cuts and detail (zippers, fur trim) felt last year, the fur arm cuffs were just plain odd. The production seemed uninspired as a result.
True to form, the Versace for Men line was more about the male models than the fashion. The mostly-black collection of men's suiting and sportswear was fairly basic and executed well enough, but the point seemed to be seeing how many screams the models could elicit from the female audience members.
Sonia Rykiel offered up oversized men's suiting and her trademark coquettish dresses, accessorized by quirky headgear and geek-chic eyeglasses. The finale look, a chubby fur paired with sparkling sandals, elicited oohs and ahhs from the audience. Presented alongside a French soundtrack and disco balls, it was fairly predictable but a joy to behold for any Rykiel fan.
Returning to the '70s rock 'n roll theme was Just Cavalli, set to a modern version of "Strawberry Fields Forever" and some gorgeous video work. The collection was dominated by leather jackets, fluttery skirts and floppy hats in warm earth tones. Highlights included printed pants - a big trend for fall - for guys and girls, as was a printed deep-V gown, both romantic and sexy.
A ghostly production of Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti was wonderfully haunting and intriguing. The only problem? That meant it was hard to make out any of the actual clothing, which seems sort of against the point. (Ironically, Ferretti's initial showing of the line was without any sort of production value as to better show the clothing.) Apparently, the line embraced Ferretti's penchant for boy-girl ambiguity with a moody, Victorian feel.
Of the show's set pieces, the Marc Jacobs staging was boldest, consisting of a giant, narrow wooden door with the initials "M" and "J." It was an ideal backdrop for the dreamy, serene collection of gray tweed, silk and wool tailored classics - appropriately to the Handel aria "Sarabandel." The message was clear: all worship at the altar of Marc.
The final runway presentation was from Glamorama newcomer Issey Miyake. With looping colorful scarves, shirred and gathered pants, and cocoon-shaped jackets, the collection is said to be inspired by mathematician William Thurston's geometric models for the shape of the universe. Set to a pounding electro soundtrack and a laser-infused light show, it was an energetic, upbeat end to the fashion collections for the night.
The show's non-fashion elements were the show's only missteps, occasionally throwing the energy of the show off balance. Though the opening dance segment was imaginative and engaging, the finale dance segment, with its schlocky heaven vs. hell theme, was nearly embarrassing to watch. It served as a bookend for a Victoria's Secret-lite lingerie fashion show (with a model donning, yes, huge angel wings) and a be-winged men's underwear show, a gratuitous though crowd-pleasing annual feature of the show. An segment for Kinect for Xbox 360 was jolting in its placement and didn't even attempt to disguise itself as an all-out ad. And while the promo for Madonna's new Material Girl line at Macy's started out sweet with some adorable kids clad in the line dancing to the pop icon's greatest hits, the segment went too long and was distracted from by the Madonna videos screening in the background.
Eric Hutchinson's one-man show with a keyboard and guitar was another misstep. Coming at the middle of the show, he only served to sap the energy the show had built up and is hardly a guy that screams fashion.
Fortunately, it was not dancing or Hutchinson that ended the show, but Macy Gray, whose endearing, over-the-top stage presence and soulful rasp rounded the evening out with just the right touch of glamour and class.
All photos by Kiah Brasch
Here's a video clip montage from the show: