Public School Wins First Menswear Woolmark Prize

With a Woolmark and CFDA award for menswear under their belt, Public School has officially arrived.

The International WOOLMARK Prize USA Regional Awards 2014International Woolmark Prize (US) finalists Public School (L) and M. Patmos (R).

Last night, New York’s Milk Studios played host to the 2014/15 International Woolmark Prize USA regional final, where Dao-Yi and Maxwell Osbourne, the duo behind Public School (available at Saks Fifth Avenue’s New York City and Beverly Hills locations) were crowned the victors in the prestigious prize’s first ever menswear category. Marcia Patmos, of M. Patmos took home the womenswear award, beating out Man Repeller-darling Rosie Assoulin, as well as Nonoo, Jonathan Simkhai and Whit.

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The International WOOLMARK Prize USA Regional Awards 2014International Woolmark Prize (US) finalists Public School (L) and M. Patmos (R).

Last night, New York’s Milk Studios played host to the 2014/15 International Woolmark Prize USA regional final, where Dao-Yi and Maxwell Osbourne, the duo behind Public School (available at Saks Fifth Avenue’s New York City and Beverly Hills locations) were crowned the victors in the prestigious prize’s first ever menswear category. Marcia Patmos, of M. Patmos took home the womenswear award, beating out Man Repeller-darling Rosie Assoulin, as well as Nonoo, Jonathan Simkhai and Whit.

The International WOOLMARK Prize USA Regional Awards 2014Marcia Patmos shows off her winning techniques with Merino wool.

The Woolmark Prize honors burgeoning designers in both menswear and womenswear in the states, as well as Asia, Australia, Europe, India and the Middle-East, and allots the respective finalists and winners to broaden their artistic scope in designing with Merino wool. All nominees that move on to become international finalists are awarded $50,000 AU to help jump-start their next collection, while the ultimate international winners are granted a considerable $100,000 AU prize.

The International WOOLMARK Prize USA Regional Awards 2014Saks Fifth Avenue’s Eric Jennings on the judges’ panel. 

The USA judging panel was a veritable who’s who of the American fashion industry, which included Saks Fifth Avenue’s very own Colleen Sherin, Senior Fashion Director and Eric Jennings, Vice President & Fashion Director Menswear, Home, Food and Gifts.

The International WOOLMARK Prize USA Regional Awards 2014New York fashion heavyweights take a break from adjudication for a chic photo-op.

Other USA judges included renowned designer Alexander Wang, Creative Director of Alexander Wang and Balenciaga; Ariel Foxman, Editor-in-Chief of InStyle; David Granger, Editor-in-Chief of Esquire; Malcolm Carfrae, Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer of Calvin Klein; Michelle Lee, Director of Americas for The Woolmark Company, Stefano Tonchi, Editor-in-Chief of W Magazine and Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA.

The International WOOLMARK Prize USA Regional Awards 2014Saks’ Senior Fashion Director Colleen Sherin and fellow judges making big decisions.

Despite their nascent status, Public School was able to beat out some stiff competition in their category, including New York favorite Timo Weiland. “We’re so incredibly thrilled and honored to be selected as the US representative in the first Woolmark Prize for menswear,” the duo stated after their win. “Working with wool and all of its natural benefits has been instrumental in developing the trans-seasonality and versatility of our own collection and it’s going to really help jump-start our knitwear business.”

The International WOOLMARK Prize USA Regional Awards 2014The ten finalists’ qualifying looks on display.

Next order of business for the International Woolmark Prize is selecting the rest of their regional finalists, at which point there will be one menswear winner and one womenswear winner, each of which will have their final Merino wool collections sold in over a dozen of the most prestigious fashion retailers worldwide. Stay tuned to see who makes the international cut.

Get cozied up in his and hers statement knit sweaters.

All images courtesy of the The Woolmark Company, shot by the BFA.


In Her Own Words: Nanette Lepore Talks Fashion

The New York designer talks life, family and sustaining a business.

Nanette-Lepore-interview-designer-headshot-sakspovNanette Lepore is arguably one of the most industrious contemporary designers in the New York fashion sphere. After all, she hails from the steel town of Youngstown, Ohio. No wonder industry is in her blood. That “Steel Valley” pedigree has proven invaluable to the sustainability of her brand. Offering women’s apparel, swimwear, accessories and fragrance, plus more than twenty years in the business, she knows a thing or two about today’s working woman.

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Nanette-Lepore-interview-designer-headshot-sakspovNanette Lepore is arguably one of the most industrious contemporary designers in the New York fashion sphere. After all, she hails from the steel town of Youngstown, Ohio. No wonder industry is in her blood. That “Steel Valley” pedigree has proven invaluable to the sustainability of her brand. Offering women’s apparel, swimwear, accessories and fragrance, plus more than twenty years in the business, she knows a thing or two about today’s working woman.

Nanette-Lepore-interview-daywear-sakspov“WORKING WOMAN”

Sweet Retreat Jacket   I   Journey Lace Cardigan Jacket

Lepore’s leap from factory town to the fashion epicenter was undoubtedly fueled by the bohemian influence of her creative parents. Her father was an abstract expressionist artist who taught at Youngstown State University. Her mother, “the chicest kindergarten teacher in Youngstown,” became Nanette’s style icon. Family camping trips, painting and dancing (she and her siblings still love to dance when they get together) nurtured the designer’s spirit.

Nanette-Lepore-interview-dark-separates-sakspov“STYLE ICON”

Leather/Ponte Campus Corset Top and Scholarly Skirt   I   Match Point Dress

Nanette Lepore’s eponymous line opened its first store in the East Village in 1992, with the help of her husband, the artist Bob Savage. Hailing from “Steel Valley” certainly helped shape Lepore’s ethos for keeping manufacturing local. To this day, her name and Manhattan’s Garment Center have become almost inextricable. One would be hard-pressed to find a designer living and working in New York City who has worked as hard to champion the blood, sweat and tears of local artisans, having co-founded the Save the Garment Center campaign.

It’s no secret that in the years since her launch, many of her contemporaries have shifted the tide, producing their wares abroad. But Lepore has remained firm, producing over 85% of her collections right here in the U.S. Lepore relishes keeping a close eye on production, with her offices located at just walking distance from her cutters, seamstresses and warehouse operations. “I pay great attention to the handcrafted details and fit,” says Lepore “I want everything I design to feel really special.”

Nanette-Lepore-interview-color-print-sakspov“OPTIMISTIC AND BRIGHT”

Ghostwriter Top and Novelist Skirt   I  Mystery Dress

Her designs have been worn by famous names that today include Michelle Obama, Scarlett Johansson and Taylor Swift, yet it was a fellow New Yorker who helped Lepore hit it big. “In spring 2002, Sarah Jessica Parker wore my a rainbow-striped dress on Sex and the City. The same dress was featured in Elle magazine. Everyone loved it! It was so optimistic and bright.” Today, Lepore continues to live a creative, family-filled life in her adopted city, proving it can take real grit to achieve glamor.

 

Tap into that bright optimism with more from Nanette Lepore.


Five Beauty Essentials Hand-Picked By the World’s Top Pros

Get beauty secrets from the world's top pros.

Brushes-with-Greatness-in-store-saks-event

Last Thursday, the Saks Fifth Avenue New York flagship played host to some of the biggest names in the beauty industry with our huge ‘Brushes with Greatness’ event that took over the entire main floor. Shoppers were invited to partake in the festivity, which was held in celebration of Saks’ new and improved beauty floor. The entire floor was buzzing with countless guests and some of the top professionals from the most revered beauty houses, like La Mer, Bobbi Brown and Dolce & Gabbana. ReVive was offering their world famous Line Erasing Facial, while Lancome indulged passersby with an eye mask and cooling massage. The redesigned space was chock-full of drinks, appetizers, tutorials and best of all, gifts galore. Shoppers who spent over $175 on beauty products at the event were treated to an exclusive and complementary white or cobalt mesh bag.

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Brushes-with-Greatness-in-store-saks-event

Last Thursday, the Saks Fifth Avenue New York flagship played host to some of the biggest names in the beauty industry with our huge ‘Brushes with Greatness’ event that took over the entire main floor. Shoppers were invited to partake in the festivity, which was held in celebration of Saks’ new and improved beauty floor. The entire floor was buzzing with countless guests and some of the top professionals from the most revered beauty houses, like La Mer, Bobbi Brown and Dolce & Gabbana. ReVive was offering their world famous Line Erasing Facial, while Lancome indulged passersby with an eye mask and cooling massage. The redesigned space was chock-full of drinks, appetizers, tutorials and best of all, gifts galore. Shoppers who spent over $175 on beauty products at the event were treated to an exclusive and complementary white or cobalt mesh bag.

With the creme de la creme of the beauty world on our ground floor, we’d be remiss to let them leave without spilling a few beauty secrets. We paid a quick visit to our friends at their respective Dior, Laura Mercier, Estee Lauder, ReVive and Cle’ de Peau boutiques and got the low-down on each brand’s must-have, never-leave-home-without-it item that each and every single female shopper in the room should have. Consider these five essentials as the final word on beauty on any makeup floor on or off 5th avenue.

Dior - Ricky Wilson: “One Dior product that every woman should have is the DiorShow Iconic Overcurl Mascara. It has a cult following. Once people use it they fall in love.”

Laura Mercier - Luis Soto: “Our Laura Mercier Repair Eye Serum is absolutely amazing. It helps relieve dark circles and keeps the eye-area hydrated.”

ReVive - Julia Osipova: “It would have to be the Moisturizing Renewal Cream. It’s ingredients were first used to heal burn victims – it was created by Dr. Brown, based on scientific research with Nobel Prize winning technology. I can guarantee no other product on this whole floor has been more thoroughly researched.”

Estee Lauder - Derek Miller: “My favorite is our Pure Color Envy lipstick, which offers a lot more wearability as well as more hydration. And the color in it is just magnificent. It’s sculpting so as soon as you put it on you have definition, color and it stays on all day.”

Cle’ de Peau - Andrew Sotomayor: “I have to recommend Cle’ de Peau’s Le Serum. It’s a supercharger that invigorates the skin completely. It is a great place to start with Cle’ de Peau products if you’re a newcomer to the brand because it helps complement other products you may already have. Le Serum helps you to self-rejuvinate and it is perfect for the summer climate as it is extremely light. The last thing you want in this weather is something thick and sticky.”

Check out the best sellers in beauty at Saks.


Saks x InStyle magazine Host ‘The Shoe Book’ Launch

Meet your new solemate, Assouline 'The Shoe Book'.

Saks-and-Instyle-Shoe-Book

Marigay McKee, President at Saks Fifth Avenue, Ariel Foxman of InStyle magazine and Prosper Assouline, luxury book publisher, hosted a stylish fête yesterday evening on the 8th floor of our shoe salon, to celebrate the launch of The Shoe Book. Penned by author Nancy MacDonnell, with contributions by Manolo Blahnik, Bruno Frisoni, Christian Louboutin, and Sarah Jessica Parker, The Shoe Book explores the history, allure and evolution of footwear.

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Saks-and-Instyle-Shoe-Book

Marigay McKee, President at Saks Fifth Avenue, Ariel Foxman of InStyle magazine and Prosper Assouline, luxury book publisher, hosted a stylish fête yesterday evening on the 8th floor of our shoe salon, to celebrate the launch of The Shoe Book. Penned by author Nancy MacDonnell, with contributions by Manolo Blahnik, Bruno Frisoni, Christian Louboutin, and Sarah Jessica Parker, The Shoe Book explores the history, allure and evolution of footwear.

John-Cruz-Marigay-McKee-and-Prosper-Assouline-at-Saks-and-Instyle-Shoe-Book-launch

John Cruz (left), SVP & Director of Saks Fifth Avenue New York Flagship Store, Marigay McKee and Prosper Assouline get to the business of shoes.

Author-Nancy-MacDonell-Saks-and-Instyle-magazine-host-The-Shoe-Book-event

“Assouline really wanted to add footwear to their icon series. They’ve published The Trench Book, The Leather Book, The Bikini Book amongst others, and they really wanted to create a book that talked to the history of fashion from a shoe point of view. I love shoes so it all came together,” says author Nancy MacDonnell on what lead to the creation of this unprecedented volume.

“Saks has one of the best shoe departments in the world. It’s an amazing opportunity to celebrate the launch here.”

Betty-Wang-and-Nicholas-Kirkwood-at-Saks-and-Instyle-Shoe-Book-event

The perfect pair: Betty Wang, VP, DMM of Women’s Shoes at Saks Fifth Avenue, and British shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood.

Ariel-Foxman-EIC-of-InStyle-at-The-Shoe-Book-at-Saks

Freshly inked, Ariel Foxman, Editor-in-Chief of InStyle magazine, shows off Nancy’s penmanship.

Brian-Atwood-and-Ariel-Foxman-at-Saks-and-Instyle-Shoe-Book-event

Clearly, shoes put a smile on designer Brian Atwood’s face.

Laura-Mueller-and-Vanessa-Caramalau-at-the-Saks-Instyle-Shoe-Book-launch

Get to the sole of the matter & pick up The Shoe Book.


And the CFDA Award Goes To…

A look at the winners from the 2014 CFDA Awards.

CFDA-Awards-2014-recap-SaksPOV-blog

Last night, the fashion crowd gathered at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall for the 2014 CFDA Awards. The evening honored the likes of Tom Ford (Lifetime Achievement), activist Bethann Hardison (Founder’s Award), Raf Simons for Dior (International Award), co-founder of KCD Paul Cavaco (Media Award) and philanthropist Ruth Finley (Board of Directors’ Tribute). Rihanna brought the summer sizzle to the red carpet and accepted the award of ‘Fashion Icon’ from Vogue‘s Anna Wintour.

But the evening belonged to America’s best and brightest design talent. Find out who took home top honors.

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CFDA-Awards-2014-recap-SaksPOV-blog

Last night, the fashion crowd gathered at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall for the 2014 CFDA Awards. The evening honored the likes of Tom Ford (Lifetime Achievement), activist Bethann Hardison (Founder’s Award), Raf Simons for Dior (International Award), co-founder of KCD Paul Cavaco (Media Award) and philanthropist Ruth Finley (Board of Directors’ Tribute). Rihanna brought the summer sizzle to the red carpet and accepted the award of ‘Fashion Icon’ from Vogue‘s Anna Wintour.

But the evening belonged to America’s best and brightest design talent. Find out who took home top honors.

CDFA-Awards-2014-Womenswear-Winners-Creatures-of-the-Wind-and-Joseph-Altuzarra

Joseph Altuzarra walked way with the coveted ‘Womenswear Designer of the Year’ award, while Shane Gabier & Christopher Peters of Creatures of the Wind received the ‘Swarovski’ nod in the same category.

CFDA-Award-Winners-2014-The-Row-and-Public-School

Public School‘s dynamic duo, Dao-Yi Chow & Maxwell Osbourne, walked way with ‘Menswear Designer of the Year’, who were nominated alongside Thom Browne and Marcus Wainwright & David Neville of Rag & Bone. Ashley Olsen & Mary-Kate Olsen of The Row took home ‘Accessories Designer of the Year’.

Congratulations to this years winners and nominees.

Photos from CFDA Facebook Page & Twitter @AltuzarraStudio


The Met Ball: Our Favorite Looks

The best of the best from NYC's party of the year.

In an era when New York’s social calendar is much less formal and public than in decades past, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual gala stands out. And how: the red carpet has reached Academy Awards-level hysteria, with photogs and fans alike lining Fifth Avenue for a peek at A-list faces, dresses, tuxes and — in the case of Mr. Bundchen himself, Tom Brady — a much discussed faux-hawk.

But about those dresses: what stood out? Our editors scoured the looks and chose a few of their favorites.

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Reese Witherspoon, Cara Delevingne, Rihanna & Stella McCartney & Kate Bosworth in Stella McCartney

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In an era when New York’s social calendar is much less formal and public than in decades past, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual gala stands out. And how: the red carpet has reached Academy Awards-level hysteria, with photogs and fans alike lining Fifth Avenue for a peek at A-list faces, dresses, tuxes and — in the case of Mr. Bundchen himself, Tom Brady — a much discussed faux-hawk.

But about those dresses: what stood out? Our editors scoured the looks and chose a few of their favorites.

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Reese Witherspoon, Cara Delevingne, Rihanna & Stella McCartney & Kate Bosworth in Stella McCartney

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Suki Waterhouse in Burberry, Liu Wen in Zac Posen, Hailee Steinfeld in Prabal Gurung

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Jourdan Dunn, Toni Garrn & Kendall Jenner in Topshop

 


Viktor&Rolf’s Sweet Surprise

The Dutch duo unveil their BONBON fragrance at Saks New York.

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Viktor&Rolf
, masters of intellectually-provocative couture clothing, create a different kind of provocation with their fragrances: a more subversive and sensual allure. All of those dynamics were on display Thursday evening when Saks New York welcomed Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren for their unveiling of BONBON—their long-awaited fragrance followup to Flowerbomb—now available exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue.

BONBON is exactly as it sounds: a sweet, confectionery treat for the senses, though it dries into something far more sensual and risqué. Its bottle, a sculptural bow tie, perfectly camouflages this Lady Danger aspect hidden within the scent. This was the Dutch provocateurs’ intention, they told us, as they took a moment away from their legion of fans and fashion insiders to discuss that intriguing play of “tension between things that don’t match.”

Your apparel collections are intellectually provocative, while your fragrances play to the edge of sensual provocation. Can you elaborate on the specific points of inspiration for your fragrances?
V&R: Perfume starts with language – we take an intellectual approach, first: playing on the tension between things than don’t match…perfume tells a story, and we enjoy being storytellers.

We understand that esteemed perfumiers, Serge Majoullier and Cécile Matton, helped develop BONBON. How involved were you in its creation?
V&R: We were very involved. We started with the name, which we settled on right away, and knew that we wanted something sweet…it was a pleasurable process for us. There was a precise direction around caramel, but then of course, we had to make a fragrance, and refine the scent to a perfect vision. Our scents may be successful because we feel as strongly about our scents as our customers do.

What are some key notes in BONBON for our Saks perfume connoisseurs?
V&R: There is an addictive and buttery caramel note with sexy undertones.

What are your most poignant fragrance memories, good, bad or ugly?
V&R: The old Shiseido and Dior perfume ads that we saw as kids were so impressive, and are the reason we went into fashion! They were poetic…they were stylized imagery.

Your couture collection was somewhat inspired by the new BONBON bottle. How do your fragrance and clothing businesses overlap aesthetically?
V&R: Fragrance is the border between skin and clothing. And like clothing, fragrance is conceptual and glamorous.

What’s on the horizon for a Viktor&Rolf Spring Break?
V&R: Surfing in L.A.!

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Billy Reid: The Menswear Man

Saks Fifth Avenue welcomes the designer into the fold. Again.
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Menswear is on a bit of an upswing of late. And don’t take it from us (or the men’s fashion mags, for that matter): look no further than the inveterate success of one Billy Reid. Since his surprise win of the 2010 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award (beating boldfacers Joseph Altuzarra, Eddie Borgo and Prabal Gurung, no less), Reid has become one of menswear’s leading lights, all from his home base in tiny Florence, Alabama. Now, as his collection finally arrives at Saks Fifth Avenue, he’s coming back to where it all began.

Saks New York welcomed Reid on Wednesday night as he launched his Spring/Summer 2014 collection accompanied by a Q&A with Esquire Fashion Director Nick Sullivan. Beforehand, the designer chatted with us about the menswear resurgence and what Saks has meant to his career (spoiler: it’s meant a lot).

Menswear seems to matter more than ever right now. Do you agree?
Reid: Totally. There’s been really passionate editorial support throughout menswear recently. In the last five years or so, people are really getting out the information online. All of us in menswear have benefited.

And what does that exposure do?
Reid: Really, it ushers the customer along. The younger generation cares and stays on top of it—they know the brands, they know the designers, and they care about quality. They follow that stuff. People pay attention and thank goodness men pay attention to it now.

Saks Fifth Avenue is kind of where it all began for you, isn’t it?
Reid: I started my career here. I was going to school in Dallas and I got a job at Saks. They put me in men’s suits because I knew a little bit about it. I worked with these guys in their 50s and 60s—veteran menswear, made-to-measure guys.

Sounds like a good education.
Reid: Working at Saks was unbelievable. At that time, Ralph Lauren was starting to get big. Tommy Hilfiger had just started. Armani…Versace…I got to see all of them working at Saks, studying those collections and working with those companies. I learned from some really great people working there. I had no plan going in, but those years at Saks really laid the foundation for a lot of things.

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Manolo Meets Manhattan

Inside the mind of a master at his first New York Fashion Week presentation.

The temperatures may have been steadily dropping, but even the threat of snow and ice couldn’t keep oft-jaded fashion insiders away from Manolo Blahnik’s first-ever New York Fashion Week presentation. Inside Chelsea’s Paul Kasmin Gallery, guests explored the imagination of one of fashion’s ultimate masters. The collection swung—as if in mid-flight—among the crowds while a projected quartet of films literally and figuratively illuminated Blahnik’s inspirations. As for the collection itself? A sumptuous display of east-meets-west ornamentation: here, a lushly embroidered boot; there, a pink satin bottine in crystals and studs. After taking it all in, you’re left to wonder what may have inspired this frenzied flight of fancy and why (luckily for us) Blahnik debuted it in New York. Fortunately, he was able to satisfy…

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The temperatures may have been steadily dropping, but even the threat of snow and ice couldn’t keep oft-jaded fashion insiders away from Manolo Blahnik’s first-ever New York Fashion Week presentation. Inside Chelsea’s Paul Kasmin Gallery, guests explored the imagination of one of fashion’s ultimate masters. The collection swung—as if in mid-flight—among the crowds while a projected quartet of films literally and figuratively illuminated Blahnik’s inspirations.

As for the collection itself? A sumptuous display of east-meets-west ornamentation: here, a lushly embroidered boot; there, a pink satin bottine in crystals and studs. After taking it all in, you’re left to wonder what may have inspired this frenzied flight of fancy and why (luckily for us) Blahnik debuted it in New York. Fortunately, he was able to satisfy our curiosity with his signature sense of wit.

Does your spring collection have an overarching theme?
Blahnik: There are a lot of different influences…turn-of-the-20th-century richness and elegance, Boldini paintings—especially the portraits of elegantly dressed, sophisticated women—and obviously details coming from my beloved Spain.

What’s one style rule you wish women would break? And would adhere to?
Blahnik: I wish all women always had an immaculate manicure and pedicure. Grooming is very important! But no one should wear a matching bag with shoes. It’s a trend very much of the past and I never liked it.

Why did you decide to present for the first time in New York?
Blahnik: We had a very successful London presentation last season so I decided, why not do the same in New York? I wanted people everywhere to see the thoughts behind my creations!


Lights, Camera, Fashion

The New York Fashion Film Festival unspools in Chelsea.

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Irreverence, fantasy, and an electrifying bass reverberated at the 5th annual New York Fashion Film Festival last week in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. Filmmakers, photographers and the fashion crowd packed the SVA Theater, and our own Saks Fifth Avenue editors sat front and center.

Co-founded by photographer Bon Duke, he says the festival began “out of pure will to expose what was out there and show them on a big screen compared to a small device.” This year’s edition screened 16 films, followed by fashion stalwart and iconic editor/writer Glenn O’Brien’s panel discussion about whether the showcased works were, in his words, “really films or merely screen-savers”.

On the eve of New York Fashion Week, veteran fashion consultant Julie Gilhart deliberated on the intense and fast impressions the films make: “We all see so many runway shows, and when it’s over, it’s over. [Fashion Week] is a grueling schedule. I’d rather watch a film.”

So what were the panelists’ favorites? Steven Meisel’s Show Girl, featuring an anti-fashion burlesque dancer, proved to be O’Brien’s, while Gilhart’s pick was Pierre Debusschere’s abstract Holy Flowers – Fade Into You. Photographer Cass Bird endorsed Habib Yazdi’s Somewhere in America and Matt Lambert’s The London Collections for their documentary-like portrayals of fashion in “real life”, and Sylvain Labs founder Alain Sylvain, sheepishly smiled and professed to “enjoy the hip hop.”

Four panelists, each with their own favorites. Go figure: in fashion, film, and fashion films, everyone has a feeling, but no one has a magic formula.