GOING FOR THE OFFBEAT
Byline: Eric Wilson
It’s not an all-expense-paid trip to Iceland, but Bob Mackie wants guests at his spring runway show to be well fed, so he’s invited them to a “picnic lunch.”
Han Feng is throwing a tea party in her Chelsea apartment, while Nicole Miller and Cesar Galindo are taking over nightclubs for their events.
On the anything-to-get-attention scale, designers here are scoring fairly low this season in comparison to the ultimate public relations bonanza from the fall collections last April — Joe Boxer’s weekend junket for 150 to Reykjavik, Iceland.
However, while several designers have scaled down the size of their shows this season, largely as a result of the smaller spaces available at 7th on Sixth’s new Chelsea Piers locale and less-expensive neighboring venues, some of them are channeling funds into side events and promotions to build excitement for Fashion Week.
Galindo, who drew attention to his critically successful show last season with Playboy playmates as models, may have scored the biggest coup this time around.
He has designed a group of Seventies-inspired dresses that will be featured at dance station KTU’s Nov. 1 bash for the 20th anniversary of “Saturday Night Fever.” The party is being held at the original 2001 Odyssey club in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, with the Bee Gees, Kool and the Gang and Denny Terio scheduled to perform.
While the Fever party isn’t connected to Fashion Week, Galindo expects to get an advance kick from the show with pearlized navy and fuchsia off-the-shoulder and tank polyester dresses. He will present his ready-to-wear collection five days later at Twilo, at 542 West 27th Street, a space he is using for free, thanks to a well-connected publicist.
And Galindo is following the show with a party at the West Village hot-spot Waterloo, but not until Nov. 10, because there were already too many parties booked the night of his show, Nov. 6.
Rifat Ozbek is commemorating his first New York showing with a party for selected guests at E&O on Houston Street, after his runway presentation at the New York State Armory on Lexington Avenue. This, of course, faces stiff competition from the Whitney Museum’s black-tie gala for its Andy Warhol exhibition, followed by a 10:30 p.m. performance by Duran Duran.
Han Feng is transforming her 1,600-square-foot apartment into a tea house to showcase her spring collection, saving at least $6,000 on the cost of an outside venue. But Feng said that just because designers like herself are spending less on their spring presentations doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll spend more to promote the events.
“Now, maybe I’ll just borrow less,” Feng said.
Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta, meanwhile, pulled out of the Piers and are showing uptown at the New-York Historical Society on Nov. 6, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively. That left poor Bob Mackie sandwiched between them at noon, 15 blocks south at Equitable Building.
Mr. Showbiz’s solution? Let them eat sandwiches.
He’s arranged for at least three private buses, at about $300 a pop, to transport the fashion flock from the Historical Society to the Equitable and back. And to make things more comfortable for them, Mackie will place a boxed lunch of chicken or grilled vegetable sandwich, a cookie, an apple and a bottle of water at each seat.