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Sunday, September 7, 2008

New York Fashion Week: Elise Overland

Franklin Melendez braves the elements...

The scene at the Elise Overland presentation in Chelsea resembled the beginning of a big-budget, lavishly styled disaster movie—complete with lithe, precariously heeled refugees in flimsy, water-soaked dresses and editorially disheveled hair. Turns out it was simply the exiting crowd from Alexander Wang's show, myself included, caught in the monsoon that suddenly overtook most of the Eastern seaboard, apparently oblivious to our fashionable duties. We huddled together in a large industrial entryway like hideous wretches, when suddenly Ken Downing, fashion director of Neiman Marcus, ducked in from the downpour and complimented me on my decision to wear high-waters. “A bare leg doesn't get soaked!” he says by way of fashion proclamation, glimpsing at his own water-logged jeans. But like a true pro, he simply ran his finger through his hair and, with a new wet look, forged ahead. Finally the door opened and we groaned in.

The collection, presented as a rotating tableaux vivant (a dying artform!), was a welcome reminder of other climates—modern nomads imagined in washed silks and fine leathers resembling silk. Ever-present greige was reinvented once again, this time in desert hues and dusty sorbet tones. There was also a romantic rock vibe, courtesy of Lennon-like sunglasses (also a bit like that Ab Fab episode where Edie and Patsy remember their foggy days in Morocco, but I digress). “My point of departure was a trip to Marrakech, the Sahara and India,” Elise told me. “The cool desert hues inspired me. The silk was also much more my mood these days, more so than a tiny, girly dress. I still love my leathers, but I treat them so they are thinner than most fabrics.” The trip itself was quite an affair to remember, taken with pals Hope Atherton, whose latest paintings reflect a similar peachy-sandy mood, and Justin Giunta of Subversive jewelry, whose presentation on Wednesday will reveal the extent of the desert jaunt. Later I shared a cab with Justin en route to the tents and inquired about the mystical journey. “You’ll have to see it!" he blasted. "And besides, I have to blog about it myself.”

—Franklin Melendez

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