“Got the photo with the girl crush!” gushed a blond as she reviewed the photo she had just snapped with Marchesa designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund show, held last night at NorthPark Center's Fashion at the Park. And I’ll admit, this girl had a crush on Marchesa too. But how could one not? The dresses are lush, whimsical and romantic; put one on and you’ll feel like a princess or, at least, a very rich girl. And Chapman and Craig, towering over fellow designer Thakoon Panichgul in their impossibly high Louboutin stilettos, were friendly, talkative and easy to like.
Of course, there were other designers represented at the show: Peter Som (whose textures and draping dazzled), Doo.Ri (who offered a stunning silhouette with a backless aubergine number), Michael Bastian (showing the type of all-American menswear that might grace Chuck Bass’ closet), Thakoon (whose prints and silhouettes conjured the image of a youthful but skilled heartbreaker) and 3.1 Phillip Lim (from whom we look forward to seeing even more bold accessories). But judging by audience applause -- and the starry look in attendees’ eyes as Mrs. Harvey Weinstein autographed their booklets -- Marchesa was the crowd favorite.
The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund supports up-and-comers in an industry where it’s easy to cultivate the perception of success (the press loves you, stars wear your gowns) and still be broke. Emerging designers apply to the program, and the selected finalists present five looks to the selection committee for the chance to receive $200,000 and business mentoring; Marchesa was a finalist in 2006. It’s kind of like an advanced version of Project Runway, without all the weird challenges involving trash bags and seat belts.
Speaking of PR, fans of the show may recognize Chapman from this season’s Episode 12, where she helped judge four looks inspired by flowers.
“It was the scariest thing I’ve had to do,” Chapman told Unfair Park. “I felt sorry for them.”
Knowing how difficult it is to be a young designer, she thought they should all win. Craig and Chapman say they love Dallas, but that we shouldn’t be looking for a Marchesa boutique anytime soon, because Neiman Marcus has been so good to them.
We know the ladies love Marchesa, but how well do men react to the floral, floaty and feminine looks? “I think they panic,” Chapman said, tongue-in-cheek. “Because it’s their credit card.” --Michelle Mathews
Read more Fashion At The Park Coverage here: Having a Cavalli, or: Economy? What Economy? It's Fashion at the Park!