On Wednesday during the red carpet at the 9th Annual Style Awards ahead of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Rebecca Minkoff tipped IBTimes off about her pool party-themed Spring 2013 collection, which would be unveiled two days later. "Not your grandma's floral and a little bit of a flared pant. We're ready for it again," the designer said.
That bit of insider information is exactly what opened the show on Friday afternoon in the theatre at New York Fashion Week, if you could even keep focus on the clothes with U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte sitting front row. The collection was pool party-themed, after all. Even more impressive than the Spring 2013 collection (I promise, I'll get there. I'm not as bad as the VH1 girl who insisted upon a kiss.) was Lochte's ability to assess fashion, possibly even better than yours truly. As each model walked down the runway and crossed paths with the previous one, soon-to-be fashion designer Lochte seemed to understand exactly the pace of a runway show and directing his glance appropriately. Watch the anterior until the model crosses the previous one and watch her posterior until the next one appears. Repeat. Even five-year veteran fashion designer Lauren Conrad, seated next to the athlete, didn't keep up with the pace. Perhaps because she was frantically snapping photos of the red-and-white head wrap that went down the runway paired with embroidered bootcut jeans and a matching vest.
With an musicial intro by DJ Casside and Tennis, model Codie Young opened the show wearing a summery white top with a faded degrade floral print on the ankles of white slightly-flared (Minkoff was right) jeans. The whole show channeled the vibe of American photographer Slim Aarons, who was best known for shooting images of tanned and glamorous 1960's and 1970's socialites and celebrities lounging poolside in airy, feels-like-the-Hamptons ensembles. Minkoff's drew from that vibe using faded duotone embroidery in indigo, mustang red and Kelly green, seemingly faded by the sun florals which indeed gave it the fresher "not your grandma's" look she promised and some subtle fringe to target her youthful fanbase. By the show's close with Hilary Rhoda, the myriad of flared pants, loose-fitting shorts and flowy maxis and jumpsuits with leather, summery tweeds, lace and breezy chiffon gave the tomboy edge Minkoff was looking for without losing any femininity. Alas, onlookers realized it's September and though it's scorching hot and humid outside, summer is over and the wait for the next time we can be at the Slim Aarons-style pool scene is in 2013.