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Coastal Elegance Wealth Magazine [twitter]9/06/2013 17:30:54
Coastal Elegance Wealth Magazine and courtesy of Carolina Herrera A week in New York City is always intense, even enervating, but a week at New York City Olympus Fashion Week can leave your head throbbing. The lines. The lights. The crowds. The celebs. The parties. Gorgeous models. Oddly got-up old guys and gals. The ever-present New York chaos of sirens and motors leeching into the shows from the city streets. All against the backdrop of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, with the city factions still squabbling about what to do with the World Trade Center site. To get a jump on spring, Coastal Elegance flew up to New York to take in Fashion Week - the biggest such event in the land, with major-league designers from around the world. I brought my daughter, Savannah. At 19, she interested in fashion and photography, and I figured that the spectacle would give her a dose of reality. Bean, I think, sometime in the last decade or two). After staring the worlds of fashion and the press in the face for a solid week, Savannah may have looked at the whole thing as a bit less glamorous. But there no denying that a certain electricity runs through the events, as it does throughout Manhattan. She held her own in the photographers pit, and by the end was throwing elbows with the best of them. Graydon Carter and Anna Wintour were there at Carolina Herrera show of elegant, flowing gowns - Vanity Fair editor looking somewhat frazzled and Vogue prima donna hiding behind gigantic shades that made her look like a well-dressed grasshopper. Kevin Costner and Carmen Electra were among those in the center aisle at Max Azria evening show - the California designer drew a large coterie from Hollywood. Talk about living large: Costner seemed even bigger in person than on the screen, and his physical defects too. Paris and Nicky Hilton were flitting around, flirting with photogs lenses and then dashing away, and Savannah managed to pop off a picture of Nicky jean-clad derriere. Vera Wang received the only standing ovation I saw as she took a victory lap around the runway after her show. The crowd was with her. Besides the enormous popularity of her line, her father had died during Fashion Week. There were some pleasant surprises: Y Kei, located down on Greene Street in SoHo, turned lots of heads with its 1920s flapper-style models and outfits. Ports 1961 got applause for its flowing, sprightly designs; Joanna Mastroianni featured a chic Euro look. Daniel Franco, an upstart whose show took place down in Chelsea, got lots of good press, and drew a crowd from Project Runway. The farther downtown the shows, the looser they seemed to get. At Catherine Fullmer brand launch in the SoHo Grand Hotel courtyard on a perfect fall evening, a model blouse came loose as she trod the runway, and her breasts bounced along with her step, much to the delight of male members of the audience. Free beer was plentiful, and the female photog standing next to my daughter christened the event the beer-and-boobs show. Outside Fashion Week tents at Midtown Bryant Park, the main event, demonstrators demonstrated, as they always do in New York. Many of their causes were obscure, and New Yorkers mostly ignored them, as they do most things. One group protested Anna Sui use of fur, and showed videos of abused animals. A few days later the New York Times ran a sycophantic piece about Sui. There were parties and runway shows and celebs but mostly Fashion Week seemed to be about crowds and waiting on long lines. But it was all taken with a good dose of New York what-can-you-do humor, even when women tried to sneak into shows with fake tickets, as they sometimes did. Perhaps the lines and long waits were intentional, to heighten the intensity of the lavish shows that seldom lasted more than a few minutes as stony-faced, waif-like models pranced down the runways. The clothes looked swell, but these women would have looked good in burlap bags. Bryant Park is just behind the massive main branch of the New York Public Library, at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. This is where the biggest, best-established designers ran their shows in a group of gigantic tents, from which music constantly emanated, with a beat that can only be described as porn-flick style: unh-hunh-hunh; unh-hunh-hunh; oopa-locka, oopa-locka oooh; unhhunhhun-hah! At night in Greenwich Village in my sister apartment we tried to rest and recuperate, and listened to lovers quarrels wafting up from the street; people jabbering on their cell phones; the owners of the Vietnamese nail salon next door engaging in some sort of terrible argument apparently having to do with finances; drunkards rolling and roaring down the street and talkative types dribbling out of the sushi bars. On the streets by day we breasted the constant press of humanity, pushing and jostling for their piece of the action. A nice place to visit great-great grandfather George Sears Greene was the chief engineer of the Croton Reservoir, a massive, fortress-like structure that for much of the 19th century supplied New York City with most of its clean drinking water. The reservoir occupied the site now taken by Bryant Park, the library and, for the moment, Fashion Week. No trace remains of the reservoir, although there is a cozy bar and restaurant a block or two down 40th street called the Croton Reservoir Tavern. At times, when things were at their silliest, I wondered what old George would have made of all this glitz and glam. Would he have been surprised? Shocked, even? Probably not, I decided; he had no doubt seen plenty of change in his 98 years in New York and New England. Beside the constant dynamic change of New York City, even the tragedy at the World Trade Center begins to fade. New York, as Gay Talese wrote, is a city without time. It always changed, and always will, as will fashion.

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