On Tuesday September 12th I had the pleasure of attending Alice + Olivia’s NYFW Presentation in Downtown Manhattan. I have loved Alice + Olivia’s clothing and accessories for years; I can still remember my first purchase at fifteen years old: black and white polkadot wedges. So, being invited to the presentation for the first time was an honor and as expected, designer Stacey Bendet did not disappoint.
Bendet’s inspiration for the collection was New York City’s Chelsea Hotel which opened in 1880 and, although it is no longer open to hotel guests, remains a landmark of the city’s glamorous history. Bendet found herself imagining, “Who would live in the Chelsea Hotel today and what would the rooms look like?” The designer selected a group of female artists and granted them each the task of creating a room that they would imagine inside the Chelsea Hotel today. The result? Magic.
This was one of the first rooms in the presentation and I overheard Bendet refer to it as her “Janis Joplin Garden.” The models wore beautiful floral prints that Alice + Olivia has become famous for through the years. Pops of pink and red brought the looks together cohesively. This is one garden party we’d want to be invited to.
Outside the garden sat a DJ booth that was trendier than most NYC nightclubs. A Janis Joplin quote was drawn on the wall saying, “Don’t compromise yourself/ You are all you’ve got/ There is no yesterday, no tomorrow/ It’s all the same day.”
Next up is the foyer. The floor and stairs were black and green checkered while the models wore darker floral prints. The first model wore a beautiful sequin top and blazer, but the tassel skirt stole the show. Layers of different colored sequins and tassels covered the skirt in its entirety, taking the tassel trend to brand new heights.
Welcome to the bedroom. Don’t you lie around on your bed like this? Or is it only me? Dressed in a white and red printed dress and red pointy toe heels, I have never seen someone look so tired yet so effortlessly chic all at the same time.
In the past I have heard people say, “That dress is so beautiful, I would wear it to my funeral.” I could never imagine loving a dress that much. Then, I saw this two piece gown and immediately understood. The high waisted skirt featured ruffles of steel blue tulle that cascaded to the floor. The top was covered in beading and embroidery and added a more laid back feel to a very formal skirt .The clutch was an embroidered imitation of a box of Bazooka bubblegum, which is one of the many candy clutches Bendet designed for the Spring/Summer collection.
Of all the rooms, this one was my favorite. The bathroom looked like it belongs in the Beverly Hills Hotel with its pink and white striped wallpaper and palm leaves pattern. Bendet featured a palm leaves pattern in her new collection, with this high slit maxi dress, flowy pants, cropped top, and silk kimono.
Do you see those coconuts that closely resemble a woman’s breasts? That’s exactly what they are. The artist wanted to portray how women’s breasts and nipples should not be censored because they are simply part of their bodies.
Now, we can’t ignore the elephant in the room, or in this case, the girl in the shower. The model wore a palm tree print romper that perfectly matched the shower curtain, under a pink snakeskin print jacket. She stood surrounded by yellow rubber ducks, each wearing the iconic “Stace Face” round sunglasses. Yes, they even thought of that.
The kitchen was truly one of the most creative things I have ever seen. The entire room was made out of felt, from the refrigerator, to the blender, to every snack and condiment. The ensembles were just as creative as the room itself. One model (pictured left) wore a yellow bustier top with red flowers, blue flare jeans, and red pointy toe boots. The other model (pictured right) wore the matching yellow and red floral skirt, sleek red pointy toe heels with an oversized ankle buckle, a denim overcoat, and a sequined t-shirt that has immediately been added to my “Must Buy” list.
To turn the presentation into an unforgettable production, Demi Moore and Bruce Willis’ daughter, Scout, sat in the piano room and sang five songs while playing the guitar. Her smooth, captivating voice caught everyone’s attention instantly. It was evident that celebrities love Alice + Olivia as well, as Paris Hilton, Nicky Hilton, Victoria Justice, and Demi Moore all showed up to the presentation.
I had the pleasure of attending many NYFW shows and presentations this past week, but Alice + Olivia remains my favorite. The apparent creativity, hard work and passion that went into the presentation was unparalleled. Many designers opt to display their new collections on a runway and let the garments do the talking. Bendet creates a new story with every collection and presentation that she designs. Productions like these might seem impossible to pull together flawlessly, but Stacey Bendet is doing it, and doing it well.