Baby Phat: At some point, Baby’s got to grow up. Kimora Lee Simmons gives every impression of wanting to be perceived as a serious designer developing a serious business. That is until showtime, when all bets — not to mention anything resembling a modicum of professional decorum — are off. Yes, fashion has become a celebrity circus, especially in New York, where any Tom, Dick or Tori can send the paparazzi all agog. And certainly this is not an issue that begins and ends with Baby Phat. But the savvy apparel exec must know when to refocus her priorities. Simmons has been staging her free-for-all celeb fests for some time now, and it’s starting to irk the people who go to fashion shows for a living. Just ask André Leon Talley. (See scoop.) Getting into Simmons’ Baby Phat show at Ace Gallery on Saturday night was nothing short of a nightmare, and the raucous focus on her arrivals — Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott, Usher, Ashley Olsen, Paula Abdul, JC Chavez, Shannen Doherty and Tori Spelling, to name a few — and the pushing, shoving and ill-will the mess created, demoted the show itself to little more than a footnote.
That footnote was all about Bond, James Bond. Within that theme, Simmons worked in high-powered pantsuits, some with jet-set appeal, and plenty of come-hither furs as well as low-cut dresses and skin-baring tops, the better to seduce with, of course. She also showed a number of lean, mean, miniskirts, because Bond girls mean business and frills just won’t do.
Unfortunately, Simmons took her motif way too far, going less Bond and more bondage. The mesh leather short-shorts, slashed dresses and leather corsetry are better left to the call girls of Hunts Point. As for the patent leather bras, one is an S&M statement, three’s a crowd — and a crime. And eventually, such criminal behavior loses its luster. Racy or raunchy? Fashion pro or pretender? The sooner Kimora decides, the better.
Tracy Reese: Girls will be girls, and Tracy Reese wouldn’t have it any other way. The designer works an oh-so-pretty attitude, one that often veers toward retro with a Fifties vibe. For fall she tempered that with more than a dash of Deco, and came up with a mostly lovely collection. Gentility reigned as Reese’s good girls sashayed about in an array of proper looks, their jazzy golden shoes belying just a hint of naughtiness. Throughout, she favored a full-ish silhouette, from almost-prim princess coats and a double-bow suit to a jeune fille sweater over a Prince-of-Wales skirt, its charm heightened by a lace underskirt playing peekaboo at the hem.
"You start one way as a baby, but why shouldn't you be able to choose your own path as opposed to culturally people telling you which way to go?" - Thom Browne at his men's spring 2018 show, where he celebrated gender fluidity. #pfw #wwdmens (📷: @delphineachard)
"I think that all anyone really wants in life is to have people understand us for who we actually are, despite everything," says Ruth Negga. The actress talks "Preachers" season 2 and more on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: Dan Doperalski)