While “Fashion Week” doesn’t officially start until Friday February 13th, it unofficially yet officially kicked off on Monday evening with the Keith Lissner Collection F/W 09 Preview and the debut of his new bridge line: Keith by Keith Lissner at the Jumeirah Essex House on Central Park South. It’s about that time of year where all the social bears come out of hibernation – like people I had not seen since October or November. Some back from St. Barths, some back from Aspen and some back from Rehab. No matter where they were, what they did or who they did, they all have one thing in common: these models, socials, media savvy individuals and style-sperts are Keith Lissner Superfans.
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Based on the name drop-worthy turnout and big smile flashers for the many photographers in the room, Mr. Lissner has a loyal group of supporters who were not about to miss his next collection’s debut. The buzz started last week via text messages, IM and Facebook Wall postings, “Are you going to Keith Lissner’s preview.” It seemed like everyone you wanted to know or go was going. In many ways, the invite to the preview was a passport to get back in the game, hit the ground running straight into this season’s Fashion Week; a fashion preview turned social reunion, if you will. Some of the “In-Crowd” supporting Keith included: Salon Tea-riffic hostess Tracy Stern, socialite Emma Snowdon-Jones, Commonwealth-Utilities designer Anthony Keegan, Social Life’s Devorah Rose, PR Gal Ariel Moses, Art Guy David Chines, Allure’s Beauty Girl Victoria Kirby, Keith’s partner Paul Vinci, socialite Melissa Berkelhammer, personal partner-in-crime Nick Dietz, celebrated author Anisha Lakhani, RHONY Alex McCord (sans Simon??), Fashion Writer Adrien Field, Tommy Hilfiger’s Suzanne Fuller, ahead of the fashion curve Jared Clark, guy in the know David Gruning, Forbes’s Leah Bourne (wearing a bowtie that was so fabulous), Celeb Blogger Tia Walker, writer/social Kristian Laliberte, writer Melissa Whitworth, Anya Primak, LA Times’s Keren Eldad (wearing a dress that Keith made especially for her), the person who taught me sexting Zev Eisenberg, Darling Cait, Trend Predictor Kim Bates, Aaron Del Guzzo, Adam Wade, Aaron Zoref, Stephanie Wei, better bags than me Carter Cramer, BFF Eric Nicholson, Cory Crayn, George Henderson, PR Wiz Laura Rubin and my most favorite editor/beauty/Keith Lissner muse Rachelle Hruska and Justin Shaffer. As the proverbial head of the table to Fashion Week, Keith Lissner’s next collection didn’t disappoint, but perhaps set the gold standard (as in Versailles Gold – the color of “Lillian” the pleated Metallic Silk Gown) for what we will be hoping to see for the coming fashion season. Drawing on rich colors of Onyx and Scarlett balanced with airy colors of Ocean and Ivory on fabrics like Duchess Satin, Silk Zibeline and Silk Charmeuse that melt to the touch, the gowns in this collection command a presence worthy of attention while allowing the women who wear them to remain the true jewel. A Lissner creation adorns the femininity of a confident woman, but the gown will never outshine her true identity, nor should it. Ask any woman who has worn Keith Lissner to a fete and she will tell you that a little bit of magic happens when you put on one of his dresses. It is like a fashion transfiguration; a symbiotic relationship where the dress brings out the woman’s best features while she in return gives the dress life. I have seen two women wear the same Keith Lissner dress and both women look amazing in it, but the inspirational style experience is completely different. It’s the magic. In this collection many of the gowns incorporate tasteful accents like crystal, appropriately accented beading, lace and his signature of Ostrich Feathers. The gowns serve a useful purpose for the lady who regularly finds herself on the red carpet or the social doyenne who serves on the board for many charities that demand her service as well as her personal style at the formal galas. There is an old world modern twist conveyed through Lissner’s signature design work that allows the looks to be timeless, in a way that a young lady might choose a Keith Lissner to wear to her Debutante Ball at the Plaza while her mother also chooses something from the collection to wear. These dresses know no age. The three that take the cake are Grace, Madeline and Raine. Grace is an amazing silk chiffon gown in Ivory with crystal accents and goddess draping which practically melts into the floor. As the name Grace evokes all things demure, it is the perfect namesake for this special creation. Madeline has her own special flair; a silk Zibeline dress in Onyx with duchess silk trim and floral, crystal and feather accents. It’s a showstopper. My favorite by far is Raine, the sexy and sweet creation in Onyx and Ivory with one shoulder of duchess silk and layered silk organza gown with Ostrich Feather and Crystal Accent. The next actress to choose Raine may or may not win an Oscar but she will end up on the “Best Dressed” list. In my opinion Fashion Week has officially begun and the bar has been set high as far as fashion and fun are concerned. The attractive group of prominent socials convened and regrouped after a holiday social pause. They planned and plotted the coming two weeks agenda from inside the Essex House while sipping their St. Germaine cocktails. While it was agreed that Keith has once again trumped his last collection, every girl in the room had the same thing on her mind, “What am I going to have to do to charm Keith into letting me borrow one of these dresses for my next big thing.”