Model Patti Hansen at Be EcoChic
There was something different at the September 2008 Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week, among the ruffling silks, crisp denims and flash-bathed beautiful people: a growing field of green. From the historic Be EcoChic fashion show (bringing together activists, celebs and designers), to featured collections by hessnatur, John Patrick Organic, Eko-Lab, Ekovarhuset and others, there were a number of sprouts of sustainability. Natural care leader Aveda also helped reduce the environmental impact of the shows.
See larger versions of the images, as well as more selections, here.
Lauren Hutton at Be EcoChic
A radiant Lauren Hutton was captured at Be EcoChic in a fantastic steampunk coat and jodhpurs by Maggie Norris Couture.
Image captured by Margaret Teich, Associate Producer of The Lazy Environmentalist, a correspondent for Ecorazzi, and a blogger at g spotting (green trend spotting). See more of Margaret's work on TDG here.
Alek Wek at Be EcoChic
Supermodel Alek Wek dazzled in her Ralph Rucci recycled raffia jacket, white cotton pants and turtleneck, with her own wek1933 eco-bag.
Laura Turner Seydel
Environmental activist (and daughter of Ted Turner) Laura Turner Seydel models a silk evening dress printed with low-impact dyes by Carmen Marc Valvo.
Cute-as-a-button Olesya Rulin from Disney's High School Musical looked great in an organic cotton vest and lace skirt by Oranics by John Patrick.
Carl Pope and Angela Lindvall
Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, and supermodel and green activist Angela Lindvall were the emcees of the Be EcoChic green fashion show and launch event. They joked amiably about how far sustainable fashion has come, and how great it feels to be both stylish and ethical. Lindvall told the crowd, "We can definitely consume less, but it's also true that the things we do buy affect the world."
Actress Malin Ackerman (27 Dresses) looks very chic in a recycled black beaded dress by Sue Stemp, as she greets reporters.
Kimberly Pinkson of EcoMom Alliance
The beautiful, charming Kimberly Pinkson — founder of the advocacy group EcoMom Alliance — is a cofounder and adviser to the Be EcoChic campaign. Pinkson walked the runway like a natural in this green bamboo jersey gown by Elizabeth Mason Couture. Yes, that's bamboo.
Longtime environmental activist Jayni Chase looked fantastic in Laura Bennett, made of organic cotton denim and LYCRA. Her famous hubby, Chevy, also a major green booster, proudly cheered her on.
You've seen actor James Lesure before (Las Vegas, Lipstick Jungle), but you may not have seen him look this chic. Check out his recycled wool blazer by Sean John and organic T-shirt by Edun.
Carter Oosterhouse oozed confidence as he showed off these Levi's organic cotton jeans, Edun organic shirt and recycled wool blazer by Sean John. Oosterhouse is a host of the hit Trading Spaces and Red Hot and Green.
Alex Meneses from Everybody Loves Raymond and This Might Hurt wowed the Be EcoChic crowd in her Lycra and organic cotton (from ISKO) trench and sustainable shoes by Charmone.
Runway Practice at Be EcoChic
Models and celebrities (especially the celebs) practice their catwalk routines before the big show begins at the American Museum of Natural History.
Lauren Hutton Warms Up
Lauren Hutton gets her gams going before the curtain rises.
Behind the Scenes at Be EcoChic
Rehearsing the evening, (from left) are Oleysa Rulin, Carl Pope, Angela Lindvall, Lauren Hutton and a friend -- about to bring green fashion together with environmentalism and positive change in the Big Apple.
Maggie Norris and Friend
Iconoclastic designer Maggie Norris -- long a proponent of green -- and a friend arrive at Be EcoChic.
Matin Maulawizada Does Makeup
The makeup for Be EcoChic was expertly done by Matin Maulawizada of Neutrogena, a native of Afghanistan with a master's degree in molecular biology. Matin's goal was a green-inspired "look."
Leggy, striking Kelly Bensimon from The Real Housewives of New York City chats it up backstage in her vintage dress by Azzedine Alaia.
Supermodel and Be EcoChic emcee Angela Lindvall gets ready backstage.
The Neutrogena Crew
Dynamic, life-of-the-party assistant to Matin Maulawizada and the Neutrogena makeup crew.
Preparations Are Made
Be EcoChic was run as green as possible: reuse and donation of stage materials, organic and locally sourced food, low-energy lighting and carbon offsets.
Makeup backstage at Be EcoChic. Green fashion fever is also spreading to the world of cosmetics, from Aveda to Aveeno and more. Learn more about efforts now underway to green professional makeup kits.
Aveeno Project Greenhouse
Aveeno products on display at Project Greenhouse, a showcase of green lifestyle in the Be EcoChic VIP lounge.
Guests at Be EcoChic
An aspiring model (center) meets with press and others interested in green fashion.
Enjoying the Show
Some of New York's colorful characters were on hand.
Be EcoChic After Party
Even more colorful Karen Black "impersonators" entertain the show's after party.
John Patrick Organic
Starre Vartan of Eco-Chick writes that John Patrick was "totally channeling his inner hick with his Spring '09 collection, presented as a tableau vivant on the hyper-Baroque stage of an old Victorian building complex that's now the Desmond Tutu Center on the West Side of Manhattan. It was a stunning collection, filled with organic cotton check and dobby blouses, herringbone blazers, madras jackets and matching shorts, surplus cotton voile dresses, organic denim, a vegetable tanned leather moto jacket, and some pants in recycled polyester."
Read more, and see more great images of the collection, here.
Also part of fashion week was the hessnatur show by the visionary Miguel Adrover. An early pioneer, hessnatur has been making organic clothes in Europe for decades.
According to TDG's Starre Vartan, "This perfectly curated set of inspirations is fundamentally futuristic, and not in a 1960's-Jetsons way, but a very real glimpse into what's coming. Iconic designer Miguel Adrover's collection was Bladerunner meets The Hobbits, or maybe Mad Max meets Pan's Labyrinth."
Miguel Adrover of hessnatur
Miguel Adrover shares a happy moment at the show.
Adrover's stylized pieces are to be inspirational, not practical. Everyday clothes are often influenced by such work, and hopefully that will be increasingly in the direction of sustainability like these (this design is of all-natural alpaca wool, which doesn't harm the animals upon removal).
Johanna Hofring at Eko-Laborative
The following is a report by Margaret Teich: The highest compliment an eco-fashion show can get is a strong nod of approval from non-green critical friends. That is why I brought my dear friend Kora, a gold sparkle nail polish/Forever 21-obsessed photographer and tech master, and my gay bestie, Dionysus (his actual name is that of the Greek god of wine and party, which pretty much sums it up) to the Eko-Laborative show. The organic, "fair-made" and sustainable-fashion exhibition was fun for me, 'cause I love this green fashion thing; but also proved to be a hit with the homies.
The pieces were arranged in a semicircle on graceful mannequins in a well-lit room with a grand spiral staircase leading to delicious organic food and wine. No detail was left unconsidered, from the plantable seed paper upon which the show's information was printed to the live music.
Most important were the graceful gowns in organic linen, cotton, wool, silk, hemp, recycled glass, etc., dyed with low-impact Earthues. The show included 12 designers who crocheted with precision, beaded with refined skill and created looks that were both superfeminine and flattering to the female form, while still being artlike.
On view is this African Seed Pearl Magic by Johanna Hofring — organic linen dyed with Earthues and seeds from Kenya.
Another winning look was Xing-Zheng Chung-Hilyard's "High Wire Artist" dress in organic cotton and hemp, painted with Earthues.
Organic Angora "Purse"
Xing-Zheng Chung-Hilyard's hand-crocheted organic angora yarn "purse" with live fish in fish bowl. It's like one of those old-school co-op grocery bags your mom used to carry before the reusable bag trend.
Horse Dress by Mika Machida
A favorite piece was "Support Organic Farming — a Horse Dress" by Mika Machida, which was an organic cotton floor-length gown with gray graphic trim at the bottom and fantastic organic Icelandic sheep wool yarn diagonally crossing from the left shoulder down to the waist. The gray yarn looked like an honest-to-goodness horse's mane!
Brilliant atop the mannequin's head was a detailed organic cotton headpiece with organic alpaca crochet and beads.
Kaori Yamazki next to her design for "Tipi Dress," made of organic linen dyed with Earthues.
After swooping around and shmoozing it up with the other eco-fashion folk, I had to practically drag Dion and Kora from the show. That means it was a very successful sustainable style show, Margaret concludes.