NYFW diary: Up close to Chanel couture, delicious bags and Diesel and more from the runway

DIESEL BLACK GOLD Spring 2011. Photography by Peter Stigter

Looking at my hair in the mirror on Monday morning, I was having an “updo” kind of moment.  Turns out Diesel Black Gold was thinking the same thing.  Elvis-style pompadoured models took to the runway down at Pier 92.  The colour palette of choice for spring is perfect for hitting the open desert road–rich tobacco, sand, olive and cocoa.

When it came to shoes, Diesel played the high/low card with stacked heeled ankle boots vs. flat gladiators.  It’s always strange to see models walk in flats on the runway. Lindsey Wixson could have been just another hipster kid headed to Soho House for brunch.  But then she came out and owned it.

The item to admire from afar if you’re over 21: The dusty rose short shorts. I mean it, don’t go there.

Item to snap up when it hits shelves: A vintage-inspired mini saddle bag. Perfection.

Perfection can also come in the form of a front row filled with PYTs, like it did at Monique Lhuillier back at the Lincoln Centre. 90210’s Jessica Lowndes, Alexis Bledel, Maggie Grace and Emma Roberts were all perfectly glossy, ruffled, sequined and blush-toned. Lhuillier’s front row mirrored her spring collection with a few sweet standouts, like dreamy watercolour hues and twinkling tulle (courtesy of a soft spray of sequins). The cherry-blossom printed gowns are ideal of any midsummer night’s reverie. After all, Lhuillier’s show notes did say “this collection came to me in a dream”.

Speaking of dreams, I had the most awe-inspiring visit to the 12th floor of Chanel on East 57th street. The reason? To view Karl Lagerfeld’s Fall 2010 Haute Couture collection for the house. It was also the first time that a Chanel HC collection was presented in New York.

Several racks housed the ingenious line-up of modern medieval-inspired fashion.  There were garments encrusted with jewels, beads and pearls, velvet trims, tulle-covered sequins, strands of pearls wrapped around boots, ornate gold pins that resembled castle doorknockers, jackets constructed without seams (for easier movement and flexibility, mon dieu!).

To see this incredible craftsmanship (and touch the fabrics) done by les petites mains who work in the Chanel atelier was a moment to be remembered.  Always.

I somehow floated back to the Lincoln Centre après my brush with brilliance and settled in for some good old-fashioned fun at Betsey Johnson. Campy, cool, cartwheels–Johnson is definitely a fashion crowd favourite because she stays true to herself. Who couldn’t fall in love with her winning formula: Hot pink + sequins + kooky prom frocks +biker shorts + bolts of tulle = Betsey world. The show closed with giant letters on the model’s backs that spelled out “Ride On.” We know Betsey will.

Click the images below to see looks from Diesel, Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan or read our full coverage of New York Fashion Week»