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The First Reviews Are In! BCBG, Wang, and More

Three days down, five to go, and the critics are starting to weigh in on fall 2008's first runways: BCBG is finally outgrowing its prom-queen reputation, while Rag & Bone is living up to its CFDA-friendly one. Yigal Azrouël's tougher look went over well, and it seems that Alexander Wang is still one to watch. Let's check out the critical warm fuzzies, shall we?

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Have You Heard? There's a New Economic Freak-out Happening!

FINANCE • William A. Ackman of Pershing Hedge Funds got everyone freaking out about bond insurers by issuing a report yesterday afternoon predicting that MBIA and the Ambac Financial Group might just lose $24 billion on mortgage investments. “Here comes Ackman at the 11th hour upsetting the apple cart,” Douglas M. Peta, chief market strategist at J.& W. Seligman & Company, told the Times. “I don’t think anybody has really thought it all through, but we all understand the implications of real trouble in the bond insurers could be far reaching.” [NYT] Related! MBIA announced a $3.5 billion write-down this morning. [CNN] • Wharton is still the number-one place in the universe to pick up an MBA. [FT] • Following in the steps of other CEOs with giant mortgage-related losses, Merrill won't give its top brass any bonuses. But they will give them stock options "to promote the continuity of the management team as they continue to navigate through challenging market conditions in 2008." That's one way to hang on to staff. [Reuters]

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The Return of Aleksey Vayner

FINANCE • Aleksey Vayner, everyone's favorite bizarre self-promoting video maker, is back with a new Website and perhaps a book! Impossible may be nothing after all. [Gawker] • Goldman Sachs set new records with their $20.2 billion bonus pool, including $67.9 million for Lloyd Blankfein, but rumor has it the bank decided to stiff their back-office employees. [NYP] • Blankfein's salary still pales in comparison to hedge-fund kings like John Paulson and Paolo Pellegrini, who raked in more than $1 billion each in 2007 betting against the housing market. [NYT]

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Raquel Zimmermann Is Friday's Top Model

Friday Models
It's day three of the model walk-off and things are getting heated. Missy Rayder gets an honorable mention for one helluva comeback, popping up in the amazing Proenza show. Let's hear it for the Americans! But top honors go to Brazilian stunner Raquel Zimmerman, whose first opening show this season was also at Proenza. Jack and Lazaro know how to pick them. We can’t argue with that.

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Video: Get Sexy Backstage at Max Azria

Fab at BCBG
Fashion correspondent Fabiola Beracasa was backstage at BCBG Max Azria with a camera. See what the designer himself considers to be “relatively romantic” and find out what celebrity Arden Wohl saw at her first fashion show. And which pieces of the "sexy, sensual lingerie" will Molly Sims order?

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Fruit Lips

Stylists ditched the traditional red and peachy pink makeup this season, instead opting for more vibrant colors. Lips went the way of tangerines, creating a shocking — yet wholly intriguing — look that was fresh and fun.

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Now Entering ‘Hattytown’

Bucket Hats
Marc Jacobs may have wowed the crowds with his beautiful fedoras, but a more wearable option for fall is the bucket hat. Max Azria paired his hats with dresses, belted tunics, and skirts, all worn over tights. Abaete's were more mod than flapper, topping a sunglass-sporting model in a turtleneck dress. Proenza Schouler used them in every look, from fur-trimmed coats to belted sweaterdresses. If you can't afford the clothes, represent with a hat.

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Sheer Delights

sheerest sheer
Why dress for warmth when you can expose yourself? Designers are doling out sheer necklines for fall’s cocktail attire. Proenza Schouler’s iridescent midnight-blue dress comes with see-through ornate collar and bodice. Erin Fetherston’s black minidress covers up (sort of) with a sheer black, three-quartered sleeve overlay. And BCBG’s geometrically cut-out collar and sleeves offer slivers of skin, which will accessorize nicely with goose bumps.

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Max Azria Designs Maternity Chic

Rowland/Legend
We finally found the celebrities. Or at least knew where some of them were for twenty minutes yesterday at BCBG Max Azria. While prowling the front row pre-show in an attempt to see which starlet would be feeling our wrath this evening, we noticed that Katharine McPhee was scheduled to appear. The American Idol runner-up didn't make it, possibly because it was too stressful to make the trip from TRL — where she made an appearance this afternoon wearing casual jeans and some top that we don't remember — to the tents, where, we assume, she'd have to wear something a bit higher-flying, possibly necessitating a change in the Town Car. That sounds like a lot of work.

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Backstage at BCBG, Dinner at Craftsteak

Fabiola and Max Azria
Socialite and CIRCA creative director Fabiola Beracasa will file regular reports on her experience of the front rows, backstages, showrooms, and Champagne lounges of Fashion Week. Here is her diary from Friday, February 2. 9:30 a.m. I arrived in my office. 10 a.m. I met with an editor from a Japanese magazine called Glamorous. She wanted to shoot me during Fashion Week, so we agreed to have the camera crew come to a fitting at J. Mendel on Tuesday and also to shoot me at home on Thursday morning.

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Getting Dressed, From BCBG to the Box

Fabiola Baracasa
Socialite and CIRCA creative director Fabiola Beracasa will file daily reports on her experience of the front rows, backstages, showrooms, and Champagne lounges of Fashion Week.

11:30 a.m. I went to the BCBG/Max Azria showroom to pick out cute outfits to wear to the shows. Lubov Azria, BCBG’s creative director, was so wonderful — she gave me a sneak preview of the runway looks. It was exciting to get the inside scoop. What an honor!

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Ten Things We Liked on Friday

  • 1. Soft and comfy little leather jackets from Neal Sperling.
  • 2. Chocolate-dipped macaroons at the Yigal Azrouël show.
  • 3. Kara Ross's new line of bags in ring lizard and colored ostrich skins.

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The Fug Girls: Our First Fashion Show

Today's BCBG show was our very first fashion event, and we feel brainwashed by the pomp and circumstance. So much so that we each seriously considered accepting a free pair of tragically trendy bright-red leggings on our way out.

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Meet the Fug Girls

As celebrities come to Fashion Week to evaluate the season's new looks, so must their own outfits be judged. We leave that to the Fug Girls.

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