If you really want to see what a designer is made of, show up early to a fashion show. As someone who rarely shows up early to anything, it was a particularly novel experience for this writer. As I looked around Ann Yee’s Fall 2011 Presentation setup in the glamorous Sky Room, PR girls dashed to and fro making sure the water bottles and snacks were in place and photographed before the greedy journalists got their hands on them (they needn’t have worried. This was tried and true fashion group: the snacks went untouched). The DJ set up and rolled her eyes at the mayhem. Tiny guidette makeup artists bustled around wearing more makeup than the models. Which was… a whole lot. Dark red lips lined in black, under painted-on swatches of blush and globs of purple eye shadow. In the lookbook, this type of face looked vulnerable and chic. But in person, on those bored faces lit by Blackberries and iPhones it came off as little girls playing in their Goth mommies’ makeup bag1.
The feeling in the air was a typical one for a fashion show: frenzied, frantic and self-important. And then, in came Yee. Thoughtful and focused in her black, flowy jumpsuit she was also quick to smile with a splash of bright pink on her lips. Where most designers feed the frenzy, Yee dispelled it instantly. It might be difficult for some tiny, sweet looking women to command respect with bright pink lips, but not Yee.