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Observations of a Concrete Jungle During Fashion Week

By Melissa Unsell for Vinously Chic.
I am succumbed by a vibrant calm upon my arrival to NYC for Fashion Week.  The city is a constant vibration of activity, diversity, and liveliness, yet I’m calm and content.  Ready to enjoy my fourth visit to the city, I almost feel as if I’m coming home, versus visiting as a tourist.  As I hop in the taxi at La Guardia, I’m quickly reminded that I have yet to become de-sensitized to the gregarious cab rides I will have to endure throughout the trip.  From calm and content to a pinball rickashaying hyper-actively, I quickly become.  If you’ve never been jerked around, just hop in a NYC taxi.  You’ll find yourself saying a little prayer, and suddenly very aware.
I arrive at the Andaz hotel and am welcomed by a door lady (yes, door lady) and no front desk.  This place exudes boutique hotel, yet it feels entirely residential and ultra chic.  A smile makes an appearance on my face as the concierge informs me that complimentary wine is served daily from 6-9pm.  Cheers to that!  And, lucky for this oenophile, they served decent new world wines from the likes of Chile, Australia and New Zealand.
I have a day to kill before the Fashion Week events commence.  First stop – Central Park (Sheep’s Meadow) for a picnic and wine.  I enjoyed a Cabernet Franc from Long Island.  It was full of vibrant and ripe flavors with well-balanced acidity and soft layered tannins.  Delicious.
And for dessert, I indulged in candied flower petals.
Up next, a 14 block stroll to the Guggenhiem.  Side note – my favorite simple pleasure is being outside and either walking or biking.  I am somehow washed over with contentment as I walk on the upper east side to the museum, surrounded by great architecture, great views of the outer edge of the park, and great weather.  Something about walkable urbanism that sends a ripple of joy through my entire being.  I saw the Lee Ufan exhibit which was quite the delight.  Take a look at some of his pieces.
After dining at Lavo that same evening, a great Italian place, it was time to return to Andaz for beauty rest – Fashion shows are the next day!  You know how you feel on Christmas Eve as a kid and on Christmas day?  This was the exact emotion and excitement I experienced.
And so, Fashion Week Show day has arrived. First up, the Bibhu Mohapatra show.  I slip on my Sevens capris, my Robert Rodriquez jacket and Bagdley Mischka necklace and energetically hop in a cab to Lincoln Center.

Upon arrival, I am stopped by an Elle Magazine photographer requesting my photo.  I was flattered, and happily obliged.  Inside the tents are people, make-up and hair product exhibits, and Mercedes cars.
I make my way to “the box” where the Bibhu show will take place, upon entering, my senses are stimulated with loud music, dark lighting, cold air, and wearable art work – the clothing!
This was a ‘presentation’ style show in which all the models took the small stage and rotated every few seconds.  The presentation lasts two hours.  I was surrounded by industry peeps, New York socialites, and celebs.  Sightings included Robert Verdi, Fern Mallis, Anne Caruso, Teddy Tinson, Bibhu himself, as well as his family.

I will admit, I hit a state of awe.  I took every opportunity to soak in the surroundings and senses.  The designs were amazing.  Bibhu use to design for J. Mendel and recently ventured out on his own.  You can check out his bio on my previous post .
The whole collection is stunning, and I definitely had some favorites.

This collection will be featured in select Neiman Marcus stores, or you can get the designs now by becoming a member of Moda Operandi.  If you haven’t heard of Moda Operandi, I totally just let you in on the biggest secret.  ;o)  This site allows members to purchase items straight from the runway before the collections even hit stores (and truth is, most designs are tweaked or altered for mass production – no true fashionista wants that, right?).  We want it right off the runway.  You have to pay the price, but for some it’s worth it.
After the show, I had some time to kill so I ventured off to the Astor House on the Upper East Side, currently housing the New York Junior League Headquarters.  Five great floors of great rooms and history.
Then, it was time to return to the Andaz and do a wardrobe change for the Tibi show!  I slipped on my vintage Prada dress and my nude platforms and pranced right out into yet another daunting cab ride.  (By now, I’m becoming more desensitized – thank goodness).  I make my trek up to the steps of Lincoln Center (it also happens to be the opening night of the Ballet – people were dressed to the nines)!  While making my way to the theatre, I spotted Ken Downing (buyer for Neiman Marcus) and Sarah Jessica Parker.  Check out the activity inside the tents:

The remainder of my trip included more great dinners and bars, the Four Seasons, Gansevoort Hotel, Rose Bar at Gramercy, and Madison and Vine.
The trip revolved around fashion, food, wine and all the great things that make New York, New York (including those crazy cab rides).  Somehow you become infected by the vibrancy.  I know I always do.  I choose to embrace it each time and always walk away more enriched by my experiences there.  It was fantastic to meld into the inclusive, elitist fashion world – a possible one-time encounter for moi (unless perhaps I can swing my way in to the Paris shows one of these days)….
For now, I return to the slower bustle of San Antonio.  And shall regress happily.




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