Betty at New York Fashion Week

Three designers' interpretations of their "ideal"woman

Front-row Seat

Betty at Fashion Week

Three designers’ interpretations of their “ideal”woman

-Jennifer Goodkind, co-host of A Fashionable Life

How a designer merges the times in which we are living with women’s collective sense of how we want to dress makes his or her runway show a hit or a miss. Today, three hits:

Derek Lam Derek Lam’s Fall collection was poetic in pale shades of gray, camel and beige. Those neutrals were jazzed up with fur trims on coats and jackets, and in the case of tops and pants, paired with contrasting black and navy pieces. I have most definitely noticed a 1970s/early ’80s movement afoot on many runways so far, and Lam showcased a clear Yves Saint Laurent influence as well. His skinny black leather pants and tuxedo jackets are a modern and appealing interpretation of YSL’s revered “Le Smoking” tuxedo suit for women.

Derek Lam Lam’s overall look of carefree luxury was, yes, slightly antithetical to the current economic conditions. But, his designs were effortlessly chic, sportswear-oriented, and he also offered essential dresses in draped jersey. I couldn’t help but think of a 2009 young Nan Kempner: long legged and monied, she was an Yves Saint Laurent devotee who housed her bikinis next to her cashmere sweaters and held a passport proclaiming that she was “always ready for a trip anywhere.” If I, too, could pack one designer to take all over the world with me, it would be Derek Lam.

MulberryThe Mulberry show was held at Soho House, a British import that has comfortably assimilated into the New York nightlife culture. Fitting for Mulberry, who was first on the scene with an “it” bag, when one of their styles was made famous by supermodel/fashion icon Kate Moss. Since then, Mulberry has successfully branched out into a tight line of clothes and accessories that are both wearable, practical and speak to women on both sides of the Pond. (They have added pet accessories for your fashion-forward pup!) Today’s runway looks were successful interpretations of outerwear (bomber jackets) and some beautiful jackets that embody the “sensible” and understatedly fashionable style of an English girl. Okay, so maybe that’s not the ideal that I am striving for but, certainly it’s a tried-and-true sensibility for many.

Tibi tunicAmy Smilovic, the designer and owner of TIBI is smart: She knows that if women are shopping at all, they’re doing so very judiciously. At a time where design may be tentative, Amy’s Fall show was anything but shy; her signature bold prints and strong colors were everywhere.

Tibi jacketThe blouses in rich and bold colors had a strong shoulder-a trend in itself that has been popping up on a lot of other runways this week. Women who are looking for those few but pivotal statement pieces know that they can count on Amy to give them contemporary looks and a little bit of color on a gray fall day.

Jennifer Goodkind is the co-host, with Jayne Chase, of A Fashionable Life ( They are fashion reporters for ABC News NOW, where they cover the red carpet, Fashion Week and the business of fashion.

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