At this afternoon's Ohne Titel show, Carine Roitfeld was one of the last guests to slip into her seat on the same bench as the W crew, which included editor Stefano Tonchi, flashing his tanned, sock-free ankles under his gray suit pants; stylist Giovanna Battaglia, who dates Roitfeld's son, wearing a past-season Ohne Titel look; and the magazine's new style director, Edward Enninful. They were hardly the only bench full of fashion celebrities (fashlebrities? Does that word make you hate me as much as it makes me hate me?) in the room. Virginia Smith, Anna Wintour, and Mark Holgate from Vogue were there. So was V editor Cecilia Dean, CFDA executive director Stephen Kolb, Elle style director Kate Lanphear, and Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn. It was the best audience a designer could hope for, and for a label like Ohne Titel, the kind of crowd that really means something to the designers.
Backstage, Flora Gill and Alexa Adams were giddy over the turnout. "It makes me excited, actually. I’m so glad that they would come and see the show," said Adams. She and Gill admitted they would devour the reviews the next day. "I do think it’s really great to hear feedback but we also have to be really focused on what our idea is and what we believe in," Adams added. The spring 2012 show included some of the motifs we've been seeing throughout this New York Fashion Week, like all-white looks, colorful prints, stripes, and pale yellow. That yellow seems like one of the more random trends to emerge thus far. "There’s an optimism that comes from yellow, or a sense of just, I don’t know, interest, or a kind of openness," Adams said.
That optimism comes from "a stronger view of women that you see culturally right now," Adams says. "Whether it’s women in government, people like Christine LaGarde — or even the way women are portrayed in movies. Like Kick-Ass, Columbiana — I feel a lot of movies have had very powerful women, or women in leadership roles. Which is wonderful, finally." The flat sandals worn with the eveningwear also projected a sense of confidence many models lose in five-inch stilettos.
Ohne Titel is one of ten labels going to Paris next month as part of Vogue and the CFDA's initiative to help American designers gain international exposure. The ladies are grateful to the mentorship provided within the CFDA. "We met with Diane Von Furstenberg, and she had some interesting advice that was very practical, just about finding factories that can really support you," Gill explained.
The designers both wore their own designs today, and said being women certainly affects their work. "When you see something, you have to personally love it and have a connection to it. And I think because we’re women that sort of automatically happens," Adams said. "It’s not someone outside saying, 'Is that wearable?' It’s more, 'Would I wear it? Do I love it? Is it an interesting dress?'"