California Kicks Off N.Y Fashion Week

California kicked off New York Fashion Week with runway shows, events and an evening packed with parties. The official Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week began on Sept. 5, but some designers opted to jump-start the festivities a day early. Trovata, Erin Wasson X RVCA, Expose NY and Katy Rodriguez were just a few of the California-based designers and companies that helped launch the week-long fashion fest on Sept. 4. Trovata brought its Southern California sensibility of easy, effortless clothing mixed with smart tailoring to the New York runway.

Designer John Whitledge returned to his Michigan roots and created an Ivy League look with a relaxed attitude. For RVCA, a presentation and roof-top party on Manhattan’s Lower East Side was the perfect setting to launch the Spring ’09 Erin Wasson X RVCA collection. The model-cum-designer’s Los Angeles–meets–New York sense of style was a perfect fit for the Southern California surf and skate brand, which is seeking to develop its women’s category.

While some designers had runway shows, others debuted their collections at Expose NY’s brand showcase throughout the day. Expose NY bridged the coasts with a designer preview that included Los Angeles–based Good Life tee shirts; Le Doux Swimwear; and Jerome C. Rousseau, the uuml;ber-stylish new shoe line. The collections showed alongside a diverse group of brands, including House of Bastion, Oliver Goldsmith, Levi Okunov and Ana Pires.

There was no shortage of parties and events to kick off the week. Christie’s “Art + Fashion” event at Rockefeller Plaza drew the “Who’s Who” of the fashion industry, including editors, socialites and designers. It was a fashion week fecirc;te and a private preview of Christie’s fall sales lineup of Resurrection’s avant-garde fashion and impressionist, modern and contemporary art. Katy Rodriguez celebrated the evening with Agyness Deyn, Mark Haddaway, Henry Holland, Yigal Azourel, Peaches Geldoff, Fern Mallis and Ellen von Unwerth.

From Christie’s, the fashion flock filed down the street to Saks Fifth Avenue for the official kickoff of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. For the launch, Saks Fifth Avenue and Warner Bros. Studios, in partnership with CRYSTALLIZED Swarovski Elements, unveiled the “Wizard of Oz” Ruby-Slipper Collection. To celebrate the 70th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz,” the cregrave;me de la cregrave;me of shoe designers—including Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin and Sergio Rossi—reinterpreted Dorothy’s iconic ruby slippers. Shoes were on display in the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue, and the fashion crowd was out in full force to celebrate.

California designers continue to gain momentum in New York, with a strong presence on the New York runway. This season, the lineup includes Monique Lhuillier, Rock & Republic, Jenni Kayne, Juan Carlos Obando, Rodarte, Marchesa, L’Wren Scott, William Rast, Band of Outsiders/Boy, Academy of Art University, Halston, Tadashi, House of Cassette, Born Uniqorn, Koi Suwannagate, Herve Leger, Max Azria and BCBG by Max Azria.