Designer Walter Baker, who helms a namesake line and W118 by Walter Baker, spends his weekdays working like a maniac. His weekends? Well, they’re spent working out like a maniac. For reals. But his downtime’s not all about the treadmill and the tennis court. “For Thanksgiving I go to my house in the south of Florida,” Walter tells Rue. “I like to be by the pool when it’s cold in NYC. That’s what I’m thankful for: some time to relax!” As for the rest of his weekend…

I wake up at 3AM every day – the weekends are no different – at my house in NYC. After I wake up I answer the hundreds of emails I have to go through, then go to the gym at 5AM and read WWD while I’m on the treadmill. I think I’m the only guy who’s reading WWD at the gym. Then I go to Battery Place Market and get a croissant, which I only have on the weekends. At home, my wife, Agnes, makes me a cappuccino in our Nespresso® machine. I’m obsessed. By 8AM I’m on the tennis court playing indoor singles for two hours.

In the afternoon I go shopping with Agnes. I like to go to Soho or the Upper East Side, always dressed head to toe in Rick Owens, black on black. I like checking out the stores to see what women are wearing and feeling out the vibe in NYC, and seeing my line in some of the best stores in NYC. Interacting with my customers is just a really awesome experience. Saturday nights I have dinner in the Village at Il Mulino. I have a standing reservation for every Saturday at 10PM for six people. It’s always a good time and the food is the best.

Sunday is basically rinse and repeat. I go to the gym but don’t play tennis, then watch sports in the afternoon and order in dinner.

Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.

December 7, 2012

W Hotels Fashion Next Celebrates New Designers

The fashion world may look glamorous from the outside, but as anyone who’s watched Project Runway or All on the Line knows, being a designer is far from easy. In addition to creating the actual collection, you also need the resources to show it, produce it, publicize it, and deliver it to stores – and then do it all over again (and again…and again) every three to six months. Whew.

The fashion cycle is tough enough for big-name designers with major corporate backing – it’s even harder for emerging talents who are working on a shoestring budget with little to no outside help.

Which is where W Hotels’ Fashion Next comes in. Launched three years ago, the Fashion Next program was created to discover and support young designers by sponsoring their New York Fashion Week presentations.
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September 22, 2011

Lauren David Peden

It was fashion, Italian-style, in Manhattan last week thanks to Salvatore Ferragamo’s Resort show, which injected a little Old World glamour into Uptown New York. Held in the James B. Duke Mansion overlooking Central Park, the event drew fashion’s finest, along with celebs and notables such as Eva Mendes, Freida Pinto, Ashley Greene, Emma Roberts, Rachel Roy, Olivia Chantecaille, Brad Goreski, Scott Speedman, and… need I go on?

They (and I) braved the heat (and it was seriously h-o-t) to visit the mansion, replete with a soaring marble staircase, imposing carved fireplaces, and countless urns overflowing with ivory and lilac flowers.

Fittingly, the collection (designed by Massimiliano Giornetti) was inspired by the late heiress Doris Duke (aka, “the richest girl in the world”), who grew up in the mansion. Heavy on nautical-themed looks and fringed everything (from skirts and gowns to scarves and handbags), there was a definite Thirties feel to the clothing, yet the collection never felt dated.

I especially loved a slinky white halter dress worn by Karlie Kloss and a white, double-breasted pantsuit Mariacarla Boscono wore to open the show. But what made this so special was seeing some of fashion’s finest models (Karolina Kurkova, Jac, Vanessa Traina, and Constance Jablonski also walked the runway) wearing such beautiful clothes in such a grand and intimate setting. Belissima!

Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.

July 12, 2011

BY LAUREN DAVID PEDEN/THE FASHION INFORMER

Dressed to Kilt

I’ve been covering fashion for a while now, but last Wednesday night was my first time checking out the annual “Dressed to Kilt” reception, which took place at a two-floor showroom on Madison Avenue, adjacent to the Whitney. Presented by the Scottish Textiles Industry — with a wee bit o’ help from honorary co-chairs, Sir Sean and Lady Connery — the event introduces Scottish designers to New York buyers and press.

On Tuesday night, Hammerstein Ballroom had played host to a “Dressed to Kilt” fashion show, the theme of which was “Country Chic (Where Scottish Couture Meets Country Cool),” with celebs like Rosanne Cash, Katrina Bowden, Billy Connolly, Amy Grant, Matthew Settle, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Marcus Schenkenberg walking the runway in creations by Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, and House of Holland, among others. I opted to skip that OTT tartan fest in favor of the more intimate cocktail reception the following evening, which gave me a chance to see the designs up close and talk to some of the younger talent who’d come Stateside for the occasion.
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April 11, 2011

BY LAUREN DAVID PEDEN/THE FASHION INFORMER

NYFW: Perception vs. Reality

It always makes me laugh to look at photos from the shows, when all you see are perfect-looking models in perfect-looking makeup in perfect-looking clothes. Because while there’s certainly plenty of all of the above, the fact is that if the camera were to turn just a foot, or, in some cases, an inch, to the left or right, the reality would look very different.

Between the crowds (which are usually packed in like sardines), the venues (far grittier than the typical runway glamour shots would lead you to believe), and the machinations to actually get to the events (Lincoln Center may be the official “home” to New York Fashion Week, but the shows are, in fact, spread out in different locations all over the city, with many designers opting to present in the farthest reaches of Chelsea), New York Fashion Week is often about as far from being fun and glamorous as you can imagine.
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February 16, 2011

BY LAUREN DAVID PEDEN/THE FASHION INFORMER

NYFW: Hemline Index

Okay, so it’s only Day Two of New York Fashion Week, but I’ve noticed an early trend bubbling up (or should I say down): Long skirts. Way long. As in grazing the ankle and maybe, if you’re lucky, rising just high enough to allow for a little glimpse of the lower calf.

Legend has it that women’s hemlines are predictors of the national economy, and as skirt lengths rise, so too, do our financial prospects. Lowered hems, on the other hand, traditionally equate to a sinking economy. I don’t put much stock in the Hemline Index (which was conceived back in the 1920s by the economist George Taylor), but I couldn’t help but notice a common thread among six of the seven women’s collections I’ve seen over the last two days. The aesthetics may have been wildly different from show to show, but they all had one thing in common: skirts that were long, longer, longest.
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February 14, 2011