Leave it to Gary Graham to be one step ahead of the fashionistas teetering on their high-market heels to every presentation they could squeeze into to provide us with a cozy, yet sumptuous glimpse at his fall/winter 2011 collection on February 9th, a full day before the whole hoo ha of NYC Fashion Week officially began. You’re an iconoclast, Mr. Graham, and I applaud you.

The first sinewy beats of “See Birds” by Balam Acab brought models donned in Greasers rock and roll/high rococo black wigs through the off-kilter door and down the wooden plank runway in Graham’s Franklin Street boutique.

It was a gentle intro for a breathtakingly powerful presentation of high-def color balanced with earth tones, royal prints colliding and melding with old world, rural batiks, and textures from the finest chiffons to hand knits (based on Ukrainian farmer’s costumes), delicate embroidery and nubby wool.

For this next chilly season, Graham was inspired by Joseph Campbell’s “Hero With a Thousand Faces” and his description of a three-part journey that brings the hero from Departure through Initiation and Return.

The garments, from delicate gowns glammed down with Converse to jacquard robes and frock coats (1970′s meets 1770′s) in tribal stripes and Bedouin fabrics, worked as the characters themselves, revealing women in the guise of everyone from parents to shepherd, seductress, oracle and demon. It was a grand display of Graham’s subtly luxurious, ancient/modern, intelligent clothing. We were agog.

Imitation’s show at Milk’s penthouse on a dazed, sunny Sunday afternoon made for a stark, starlet-filled, yet vampiric affair: two parts Veronica Lake, one part Twilight series. Girls were bleached out with varying shades of platinum hair, coiffed into film noir tresses by Ouidad, and music began with pleading, operatic scores and dithered into darkest, cool electro by DJ Vladimir Schall.

To open the scene, some barely there lingerie pieces, one topless, and met with all the more intake of breath on a vibrant Sunday. The drama oozed from lean, minimalist Studio 54 power suits in icy tones, boasting leggy, long skirts and maxi dresses to showstopping cashmere cape coats and the vavoom, ethereal gowns and gilt mini dresses which have become Imitation/Tara Subkoff’s trademark pieces.

We sat behind Gina Gershon, Rose McGowan, Natasha Lyonne, Chloe Sevigny, Liev Schreiber and his 3-year-old son, Alexander. Not a bad scene.

The hot paprika, rock and roll grrl power of NYC’s girl vocal duo (with rock backing band) Mother Feather opened Suzanne Rae’s presentation in a Juilliard studio, a telling “pop cock rock” blaze hinting at the grungy Gibson girl, co-mingling of ultra feminine, luxe dresses and Wild West meant-to-last fabrics and looks shown on the models.

Plaids met earthy, buttery, print chiffons and cozy boucl├ęs, sustainable hemp met lace (hello, lace!), all blushing vixen and ultra-attitude rocker at once. Rae’s signature high/low The look was both modern rugged and girly, but all with a knowing sophistication, a bit like Brooklyn’s finest clad women of today, don’t you think?–Photos by MV and Eileen Murphy


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