Fashion Week: Chris Aire - Beauty Addict

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Fashion Week: Chris Aire

Chris Aire, aka "The Iceman," "King of Bling," and "Emperor of Ice," put on his show last night at the Promenade.

Can you guess Chris Aire's specialty?

Yes, my dears, diamonds, and lots of them! Chris is a jewelry designer to the stars and put on a jewelry fashion show that was quite a spectacle.

The Clothes Who cares about the clothes? It was all about the jewels. But let's back up a little: before the show even started, none other than Cee-Lo (half of the duo Gnarls Barkley) strutted out onto the runway and treated us to a performance of Gnarls Barkley's song "Crazy." And since that song is just about everywhere these days, everyone in the house got into it and it was such a great way to kick off the show.

Then the blingfest began in earnest. First on the runway was a nearly blinding diamond bikini, followed by a cavalcade of models dripping in jewels and Aire's signature Red Gold - yellow gold with a rosy red clay cast. Red Gold was created to compliment all skin tones and I can say with confidence that it succeeds; Aire sent just about every skin tone down the runway last night and the Red Gold flattered them equally.

Many of the pieces were constructed like chain mail and fashioned into headpieces, elaborate neckwear, bikinis and even gowns. The headpieces were the standout, evoking both Egyptian headdresses and mid 20th century net veils; they were substantial but still airy (as they did not cover the whole head) and could work on the red carpet with either a very modern dress or one with '20s or '40s inspirations. Katherine Heigl could easily rock some Chris Aire jewels in her hair and everyone would swoon.

The clothes at the show were really just there to support the jewelry, but they did their job well: most of the pieces were constructed of a chocolate colored jersey that had the same "rosy/clay" cast as the Red Gold.

Tyson Beckford walked the runway in little more than a pair of pinstriped pants and of course, lots of jewels. He is sporting a mohawk these days, and quite a body too.

The crown jewel of the collection, so to speak, was a full length gown constructed completely of Red Gold and diamonds, said to be worth $50 million US. Rumor had it that Naomi Campbell was going to model it, but alas, no Naomi. The gown was gorgeous; more museum-quality than hip hop video wear.

This collection ran a high risk of looking incredibly tacky, but Aire easily sidestepped that. He seems to have achieved a delicate balance between the over the top "bling bling" excess of urban hip hop culture and the more laid back elegance that designers like Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors have channeled to define iconic American style. (In fact, Kors would have been jealous of the sleeveless jersey hoodie paired with huge gold aviators that Aire showed.) Aire wisely let the jewelry stand out here, keeping the clothes basic and clean - so the look was more Beyonce-in-St-Tropez than Lil' Jon in...wherever Lil' Jon hangs out.

The Makeup The makeup at Chris Aire was less about seasonal trends and more about gelling with the rest of Aire's collection. In keeping with the Red Gold aesthetic, models sported dewey bronze cheeks, smudgy, smoky eyes with gold on the browbones, coral bronze lips, and glowy skin. If you could sweat pure gold, this is what you'd look like after an hour in the sun.

The People Mos Def (another surprise!) closed the show with a brief 2-song set. Much to the horror of several Republicans in the house, he came out swinging against President Bush, urging us to "tell the boss he shouldn't be the boss anymore." But the song was really about rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, so no one could really get themselves in too much of a huff over it.

L'il Kim and Foxy Brown were front row, and Foxy was looking like the hip hop versoin of Ellie Mae Clampett in a red gingham dress with an inordinate amount of cleavage. She needs to let Chris Aire style her and put her in some nice chocolate jersey with a pretty bracelet. Stat!