My craving for more of New York Fashion Week didn’t stop at The Nolcha Shows. Shortly after announcing my Instagram and Twitter takeover for the emerging womenswear designer Minan Wong, I received an invitation from another up and coming New York City-based fashion designer, Iyala Anne of the label Ane Amour. I immediately shifted some meetings in my schedule so that I could attend the brand’s NYFW debut at AMCONYC, another show exclusively for emerging and independent designers.
The day was finally here – the last day of NYFW and the day of Ane Amour’s first show. I arrived in the media lounge at Studio 450 in Chelsea. I took a lap around the space, checking out the photo booth and coffee bar and snapping a few pictures and videos of the pre-show excitement. As I was exploring the area, I was able to sneak a peek at the crew rushing to set up the runway. The space was absolutely breathtaking – crisp, clean, and white with two walls of windows letting the natural light pour in. I could already tell the ambiance was going to be perfect for a fashion show.
I hung around the check-in so I could be one of the first to enter. When the time came, I was directed to the press desk and escorted to a seat on the front row. Here, an official Ane Amour gift bag awaited me, filled with little goodies from sponsors, like fruit snacks from Go Organically, a set of false lashes from Make-Up Pro, and a yummy ginger and green tea drink from Just Chill. I continued to take in the buzz of the room with my camera as more and more people began to take their seats and the press pit began to fill up.
The hum of the pre-show chatter began to quiet as the pre-show music began to fade. A new track started to play as the doors opened, and the first look walked onto the runway. As the show progressed, I started to soak in the designer’s signature style. Everything about the Ane Amour FW16 collection is powerfully feminine – the fabrics, the colors, the patterns, and the silhouettes.
After the final walk, I lingered around the space and watched on as Iyala engaged in her post-show interviews. As things began to die down, I found a quick moment to sneak in and congratulate her on her debut at NYFW. It was such an amazing production from beginning to end and a beautiful fall/winter collection. I left reeling with excitement from the energy of the experience, then the reality set in: my first NYFW was officially over, and I’ll have to wait until the fall to get my fix again.
Iyala Anne is a NYC native and multimedia artist. In addition to designing women’s apparel, she teaches yoga, practices ballet, and writes and records music. Stay tuned for the release of her first album this year! To learn more about her label Ane Amour, check out her website and follow along with her story on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
In the past several years, platforms like social media, live streams, and blogs have allowed us to catch a glimpse into the illustrious world of New York Fashion Week. Through a tiny window on the Internet, we’ve been able to observe the fashion elite in their natural habitat, prepping models, presenting their works of art, and posing for photographers. Twice a year, I would glue myself to my computer and phone, watching another season and another set of collections unfold on my screens. This taste of NYFW wasn’t enough. It only made me hungrier to experience the fashion phenomena myself.
This week I finally had the opportunity to realize my NYFW dreams. I was tapped by the emerging womenswear designer Mimi Wong to cover the debut of her Fall/Winter 2016 collection at Nolcha, a set of shows exclusively for independent fashion designers. The minute I stepped into the lobby, I was overwhelmed by the energy. Mimi came to meet me and whisked me backstage. I acquainted myself with the area and got to work, snapping photos and video and posting them out to the loyal followers of her label, Minan Wong. For an instant I allowed myself to relish in the fact that I’d come full circle – I was the girl reporting live and sharing the experience out to the world on social media. Then I jumped back into the moment, trying to capture every inch of the excitement – the press jumping from label to label, the designers prepping their lineups, the models in hair and makeup.
Eventually I left the backstage area and made my way out to the runway. I found my seat on the second row and settled in before the show began. Other patrons were finding their places and chattering about the collections they were about to see. Flashes came from the end of the runway like bolts of lightning as the photographers took test shots. As the lights began to dim, the conversations dissipated. Music started playing, and the first look stepped out onto the catwalk. Four labels – Cute Like Mad, Virtruvius, Planet Zero Motorsports, and Fine Art of Fashion – displayed their Fall/Winter 2016 collections before Minan Wong closed the show with her latest line of vibrant, youthful, and feminine pieces using eco-friendly fibers and sustainable materials.
If you’ve ever watched a fashion show, you know the actual show is over in the blink of an eye. The lights went up and floods of people rushed out of their seats, but my work wasn’t done yet. I met Mimi again to follow along with her post-show interviews, taking snapshots and soaking up every moment I could. An hour or two later we wrapped up, said our goodbyes, and parted ways. As I stepped out onto the streets of Chelsea, I was on a high, but by the time I got back to my Upper East Side home office the buzz had dissipated. This taste of NYFW wasn’t enough. It only made me hungrier to experience the fashion phenomena again.
Several weeks ago I was chatting with fellow blogger GaBrielle Pedriani of Look Sharp, Sconnie about contests. It seems that a number of fashion outlets from magazines to social media are constantly presenting contests to their communities to boost engagement. We both admitted to being skeptics of such competitions for a long time. Surely there are hundreds upon thousands of eager followers entering these contests depending on the particular outlet hosting the competition and the prize. Then Gabby had a life changing experience that shifted her view of contests forever: she won. No, no, she won BIG.
Last fall, Marie Claire magazine partnered with Twitter and Yoplait yogurt for a contest that appealed to every fashion lover’s dream. The grand prize: an exclusive behind the scenes trip to New York Fashion Week, a meet and greet with Fashion Director Nina Garcia, and a feature in a Yoplait ad in the magazine’s November issue. The contest required participants to tweet a photo of an original look inspired by one of Yoplait’s 40 flavors. Gabby’s mixed berry inspired ensemble scored her the ultimate NYFW experience.
While Gabby’s win certainly gives me faith that real girls actually have a shot in hell at winning these contests, I would still venture to say that her victory was once in a lifetime. My contest story isn’t nearly as special, glamorous, or life-changing, but my small win is just another piece of encouraging evidence that contests are actually worth your while. If two regular gals can win, so can you!
My win was also for a contest involving social media. Last fall, one of my favorite denim lines, Level 99, hosted a series of Freebie Friday contests on Facebook. Each Freebie Friday contest had a theme that related to the particular denim style being given away. To win, followers had to answer the theme-inspired question in the comments. Instead of entering each week with a generic and ultimately underwhelming response, I waited for weeks when the theme spoke to me and tried to give an honest and personal reply, and it paid off. I won a pair of jeans!
Like I said, my win is not nearly as awe inspiring as Gabby’s, but hey, who doesn’t want a free pair of denim? The takeaway here is if you’ve ever thought of entering a contest but never actually done it because you thought, I’m never going to win, maybe next time you’ll think again. I believe Gabby would agree that an important factor to winning these contests is being genuine and true to yourself. So, keep that in mind and roll the dice. The next success story could be you!
F A S H I O N
All-Black + Neutrals + Sangria
Rebecca Taylor + Kate Spade + Diane Von Furstenberg
Boxy, Over-sized, Menswear Inspired Tops & Outerwear vs. Feminine Skirts & Dresses with Slits
Elizabeth & James + J. Mendel
Fur + Metallics + Lace + Laser Cuts
Oscar de la Renta + Tory Burch + Milly by Michelle Smith + Tadashi Shoji
Heritage Fabrics* + Floral Prints
Vera Wang + Erin Fetherston
B E A U T Y
Braids + Buns + Side-Swept Bangs
Nanette Lepore + Marissa Webb + Joie
Bold Lips + Bold Black Liner
Rebecca Minkoff + Rag & Bone
Nude + Nude + More Nude
Monique Lhuillier + Derek Lam + Altuzzara
*What are heritage fabrics?
Heritage fabrics feature patterns such as plaid, gingham, hounds-tooth, tartan, and checker.
Michael Kors is an American fashion designer known for designing classic American sportswear for women. Like many other American fashion designers, his career has followed the path of the American dream. Kors first began designing apparel as a teenager and sold his designs out of his parents basement in Long Island, New York. He attended the Fashion Institute of Technology for nine months before dropping out and taking a job at a boutique that gave him a small portion of the store to sell his designs. It was there that the fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman discovered his work and invited him to show his collection to the buyers at Bergdorf. As they say, the rest is history! His Fall 2014 collection stays true to the brand with a mix of feminine and menswear inspired pieces. The palette of the collection consists of neutrals, neutrals, and more neutrals with the predominant hues of muddy gray and taupe. Some of my favorite looks from the line are the chunky ombre sweaters and fur layering pieces.
Nanette Lepore is an American fashion designer with a youthful and feminine style. Her designs are typically bold, colorful, and flowy and feature evocative prints and contemporary silhouettes with a touch of bohemian flair. Today, she had grown into a lifestyle brand for women that includes apparel as well as swimwear, accessories, and fragrance. Her Fall 2014 collection reflects the overarching aesthetic of the brand with styles that are both modern and girly. A few of the standout looks from the line are the all-black suit with the magenta shoes that add a pop of color and the light airy dresses with asymmetric hemlines. Within the collection there is a lot of detailed texture play and interesting accessories from cross-body bags to color-blocked, waist-cinching belts. Overall, the line seems very wearable, accessible, and fresh!
Anna Sui is an American fashion designer whose hip, exuberant, and sometimes eccentric designs are inspired by her depth of cultural knowledge. For over three decades, Anna Sui’s attention to detail and dedication to creativity have contributed to the success of her global lifestyle brand, which consists of apparel, accessories, cosmetics, and fragrance. Her Fall 2014 collection reflects the brand by combining styles and silhouettes from different eras with modern patterns, textures, and colors. In classic Anna Sui fashion there is a great deal of mixing and matching of various prints and fabrics that all seem to have a touch of vintage inspiration.
REMEMBER! I’ll be watching many of the shows streaming LIVE on the Mercedes Benz site and LIVE Tweeting during the shows. After the show ends, I’ll post a clip of the final walk on my Instagram, so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @cmcross (or in the right sidebar!) for all things NYFW.