NYFW Fall 2009: Nancy Lichtenstein Goes to NOLCHA at the Plaza: An Alternative to Fashion Week
New York Fashion Week just didn’t inspire me much this year. I see more celebrities at my local supermarket (a lot of New York sports and soap stars live in my neck of the woods), and with a few exceptions, the best thing I can say about the shows was that they were tasteful.
I was actually starting to think the bad economy might be the death of fashion, until I got the invitation for NOLCHA at the Plaza, which was billed as an alternative to Fashion Week. Now, there’s nothing in the world that cheers me up like a party or a luxury hotel, so a party AT a luxury hotel was just what I needed.
The organizers of NOLCHA were smart. They got together a few fresh designers and showcased them at a cocktail party at New York’s most famous hotel. Okay, the party was not exactly A-list (lots of people fresh from work in winter coats), and the price tags on the items in there were realistic, not stratospheric. With a little lubrication, you could shut your eyes and pretend it was New York pre-Madoff. (Gina accompanied me and her company, Park Avenue Mortgage, is doing well thanks to all the people who need to refinance after losing millions in that scheme.)
NOLCHA featured six designers: Celestino, Eenamaria, Nadia Nour, emeDesigns, Vaughn Jereaux, Betty Lou Jewels and Barbara Sears Nelson. The party was so crowded–that’s a feat in itself these days–that I was only able to check out about half of them. Fortunately, the ones I saw were knockouts–truly unique merchandise at prices that won’t require smelling salts.
Celestino was something else entirely. This is a bridal line designed by Sergio Guadarrama. I know some of the fashionistas will roll their eyes at the word bridal, but this line was the most drool-worthy thing I saw this season. I didn’t recognize them as bridal when I was viewing them; I thought they were just fabulous evening wear that happened to be mostly white, and indeed, if I ever win an Oscar for best supporting blogger, Sergio will be on speed-dial for my red-carpet needs. If not, they’re enough to make me want to remarry just so I have an excuse to buy one.
I checked out Eenamaria handbags who makes sporty and colorful handbags out of environmentally friendly vinyl. These bags are very fresh, youthful and mod and they’ve got green cred and cost under $125, which you have to love.
Barbara Sears Nelson makes evening bags that are both fabulous and functional.
The front of them are fiber optic screens so they glow in the dark…on the cab ride over,
Gina and I had both agreed that the it bag was over, but we left the party wanting one of these desperately because they were truly unique.
They look like tiny magical waterfalls, they help you find your lipstick in the dark, men are fatally attracted to them (you have to see one in person to “get it”–you literally just want to run up and touch it), and they retail for between $300-$400. I can’t say they’re an “it bag” because they’re much more visionary than that. You’ll definitely start saving your pennies for one when you see them on the website.
(PS: Nancy’s favorite bag of the collection was the Sarah bag– shown below)
Find these bags at the website!
NOLCHA was definitely the highlight of Fashion Week for me and it proved that real fashion is creativity, not logos and outrageous price tags.
Thank you to Nancy Lichtenstein and Gina for their great reportage. Kudos Nancy!!