Fashion Week in Review: St. Vincent at Rachel Comey, Fiery Furnaces at Vena Cava, a Grizzly Bear at Both

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How do you know if you're at a super hip Brooklyn fashion designer's show? Just look for the super hip Brooklyn band playing the catwalk. Rachel Comey scored the lovely sounds of St. Vincent while Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai of Vena Cava recruited the Fiery Furnaces to set the moods at their Spring 2010 collections. Another apparent indicator of hipness: Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear was in the audience at both (obviously he was there for the clothes, right?).

But the similarities between the two shows ended there. On Wednesday morning on a rooftop at 511 West 25th Street, Comey's models strutted around a water tower to the ethereal singing of St. Vincent's Annie Clark, who looked like one of the models herself in a bright orange dress...

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Comey's colorful spring line had a nautical theme, inspired by her vacations to the coast of Maine. There were flower-print chiffon sailor blouses, lots of practical skorts (for all those bike rides along the seashore, naturally), bikini tops paired with silk and linen "first mate" shorts, and adorable floppy sun hats (which one model had to chase after when a strong gust of wind knocked it off). Overall, it was a sunny collection made for the downtown girl who likes to play at the beach.

By contrast, Vena Cava's outstanding collection for spring appeared to be created for Comey's edgier and more sophisticated older sister. She's the woman who can't stand hiking for fear of chipping her shiny blue nail polish (which all the models were wearing). Instead, her idea of vacation is sipping cocktails indoors while keeping on her Persol shades, feeling right at home in either a Williamsburg dive bar or a chic Manhattan party.

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And what will she be wearing to the party? A camisole made entirely of safety pins, of course.

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Despite that moment of tough-girl whimsy, the spring collection was far more wearable than past Vena Cava endeavors, possibly to attract the new frugal shopper looking for items she can wear again and again. We loved all the acid-wash and especially that splatter-paint tee with shoulder pads (yes, we're actually ready to have those come back). But for the long-term, we loved classic pieces such as the black silk dress with an orange-and-white tribal-looking loop neckline (apparently inspired by the artwork of South Africa's Ndebele tribe) and a navy silk star-print dress that looks like the designers plucked the Milky Way right out of the sky and stitched it on -- perhaps to show that even with all the wearable items, Vena Cava's imagination won't be coming down to earth any time soon.


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