Scenes of Snow and Romance At Moncler
The snowflakes created a lacy curtain on the all-white stage as waiters in tail coats from another age flicked at the tables. This was the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York where Moncler Grenoble was staging a winter ball worthy of the grand days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The models appeared in white cloaks, flinging them off to walk forward in their down filled jackets that suggested a historical grandeur – but were actually high tech. Girls in furry hats wore fluffy shearling jackets – like Disney's Frozen heroine Elsa with hefty boot soles – or plaids were woven across coats and trousers, topped by a knitted bobble hat.
By the time the Blue Danube was pumped out by a live orchestra, the models in outerwear under an orgy of crystal chandeliers took a romantic step – towards the dance floor. They swung around in a waltz, gliding as perfectly as if they were performing on ice. The white cloaks flew out like wings and the audience sighed with nostalgia at a lost era of elegance. It was, after all, Saint Valentine's Day – even if most of the spectators knew they would be spending it watching yet more shows.
Why is it that the European designers are so much smarter at turning fashion shows into an emotional experience – as opposed to a familiar march down the runway?
This New York season has been filled with unmemorable ways of showing clothes – with the occasional exception. Full marks to Moncler Grenoble for offering yet again in New York an exceptional experience.
Philipp Plein’s Flashy Pageant
Madonna was watching, the models were stomping, the rappers were lined up front row and The Kills were beating at the ear drums in the packed New York Public Library. Welcome to America, Philipp Plein!
The German designer set out to take Manhattan and by the end of a crazy, flashy evening – with models dressed as the Chrysler building, the Statue of Liberty, Elvis and the Naked Cowboy – nobody in fashion could have missed the news of his first US show.
Plein has joined the club of hot creatives who thrive on showy vulgarity – and make it seem fun. You knew that Kylie Jenner would be in the audience, you guessed that one of President Trump's daughters would be there (Tiffany was) and there were more male rappers in diamonds than you could imagine.
What was the attraction? Clothes that were sexy and attention seeking: a yellow fur fringing a silver puffer coat and thigh high boots; skin tight jeans with as many crystals as slashes in the denim. A coat had a pattern of big red flowers to match scarlet stockings and shoes. Everything made a statement (silver skull and cross bones anyone?). Often there were messages on T-shirts thick with rhinestones, even if Plein himself was relatively sober in his outfit as he spoke about his excitement at showing in New York for the first time.
It was a devilish show, played out mostly in black and blood red. And it was a lesson on how to make your mark on a country that rarely – outside of Hollywood – does a show with such pizzazz.