story by Charles Beckwith and Cameron Carpenter
photos by Freda Henry, Sandy Ramirez, and Charles Beckwith
It has been more than a year since Heatherette dropped off the fashion radar, and New York Fashion Week has just not been the same without their shows. Now, beloved former Heatherette duo frontman Richie Rich is back in the game with a solo label that he has bestowed with his own playful moniker.
The Richie Rich F/W 2009 show opened to great anticipation for a few hundred adoring friends and fans in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel’s uber-glitzy Grand Ballroom with two well-chosen musical acts and a par-for-the-course bizarre showgirl-boys violin rock ballet performance that worked up audience excitement to a fever pitch.
The bang-up intro paved the way for a strong showing of both the signature RR wild things and a long line of surprisingly sellable RTW ensembles. From the first flippy and feminine black looks that started the show with fun madness hair styling, you knew this was going to be both wildly fun and edgy, but also tempered by the experience of the former label’s failures enough to be commercially viable.
The most eye-catching and press/stylist jockeying pieces were the “celebutante” pink and blue patterned group of dresses and seperates in a 1920’s vein that were just over-the-top fantasticly inventive. Intermixed were bold prints and a lot of sequins. The red plaid biker jacket with diamante buttons was a smash.
There were some menswear looks that even the most stoic buyers might consider picking up, such as a bold B&W check jacket.
The blue and white geometric bodysuit was brilliant as well.
Beyond the showmanship of the singers, violinist, ballet dancers, the stream of clebutante models that closed his show– Aubrey O’Day, an appearance by the fashion world’s best-known transsexual– Amanda Lapore, smoldering male model Enrique, Tinsley Mortimer, and the finale featuring Heatherette perennial runway diva Pamela Anderson, who then accompanied Richie himself working it all the way down the catwalk on his signature roller skates, this was a show of substance, and may have showed an evolution in the designer’s mindset.
Is Richie Rich coming into his own? Even if you take away all the pomp and posturing, taken on its own terms, this is still one of the most stylish, inventive, and simply smart collections we’ve seen all week.