TEXT, VIVIAN G. KELLY
TIME & PLACE
6:20p.m., Tuesday, September 14, 2009
Christie’s Auction House, Rockefeller Center @ 50th Street, NYC
The show was preceded by a champagne cocktail party that got the guests, including actress CICELY TYSON in the mood to look at some lighthearted clothes – no black this season. Ms. Tyson was memorable in her roles in Sounder and the television specials The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Roots.
After chatting with best-selling author, VICTORIA ROWELL and photographing her in a b Michael sheath dress we grabbed the designer for a quick pre-show comment.
FE: Can you give us a quickie sound bite about the collection?
B Michael: What I’m excited about is that I decided not to merchandise this collection. There’s not one black dress. We need some color, we need to feel good at this time.
He showed in the true couture fashion, the models held a sign with their exit number on it, serious jewelry by GREGORY GILIN, Paul Georg Champagne, and classical music. By “color” the designer meant soothing sherbet-toned hues, not the acid brights we’ve grown rather sick of. The b. Michael signatures were there, the early sixties silhouettes – full a-line skirts, portrait collars, sheath dresses, Peter Pan collars, and heavy silks.
One of the best dresses was an azalea curved wrap sheath cut from Italian tropical wool jersey. Instead of the perfect little black dress, try one in Lily white cut out of textured silk brocade. Mr. Michael shows that a great dress is a product of hours of labor, piecing each of the many seams together and providing an exacting fit.
If couture is beyond your financial grasp, you CAN become good friends with your local tailor. Well-altered clothes will do wonders for them, even if they’re just a simple pair of J. Crew cords that can be altered to look as if they were made to measure. We have only a few more months to go until b Michael debuts his lower priced line in January. There will be versions of the best-selling black off the shoulder day dress we’re obsessed with, on days where we dream of being Audrey Hepburn.
The crowd ooed and ahed its way through the 18 looks the designer restricted himself to. The finale was a beautiful pear green gown with intricate seam work on the waist that’s bound to be on Hollywood stylists’ Oscar racks this March.
To learn more about b Michael, visit the official website, www.bmichael.com
To learn more about Victoria Rowell’s memoir, “The Women Who Raised Me, visit www.victoriarowell.com
Runway images, courtesy of b Michael
Images of the designer, Cecily Tyson and Victoria Rowell, VGK