Front Row Report, Elie Tahari: Mary J. Blige Is a Fan

A. De Vos/Patrick McMullan/Sipa USA/Sipa via AP Images
Mary J. Blige

The performer hit up the designer's spring 2015 show, along with Marlon Wayans and Ne-Yo.

"Mary J. Blige just said the nicest thing," said Elie Tahari at his spring/summer 2015 presentation in the ground-floor space of his Fifth Avenue headquarters. "She loves our clothes, also because they fit well right off the rack. This made me feel great."

Indeed, it was clear Tahari was a rock star himself at the Tuesday-evening presentation, with Blige and others — Beverly Johnson, Ne-Yo, Jessie James Decker and Marlon Wayans, among them — flocking to the designer to pay their respects. The frenzy created something of a mob scene out on this tourist-heavy section of Fifth Avenue, as passersby couldn’t resist the allure of camera flashes and models on pedestals inside.

All those whipping out their phones to take photos outside added a meta moment to the proceedings within. Tahari’s desire for spring is to highlight the marriage of nature and high tech; to showcase the latter, he crafted a black mesh dress adorned with 50 iPhones (the 5S model, in case you were wondering). The model wearing the dress stood on a pedestal near the entrance, capturing 360 degrees of the event and broadcasting it via livestream.

The dress was a gimmick, of course; along the opposite wall, models wearing Tahari’s spring/summer 2015 collection posed on a platform. Among the top trends we’ve seen in New York this week has been an idea of raw-meets-refined, the melding of textures, distressed details, polished design and forward-thinking fabrications. Tahari, who termed his collection "bohemian shipwreck," served up this idea in looks that were heavy on layering, including linen-toned separates accented with a chamois waist sash dripping in long fringe, or a sleek wrap skirt in pale blue below an off-the-shoulder top, its hem replaced by a rough-hewn edge. Tahari’s high-tech mesh and laser-cut neoprene pieces were mixed here and there throughout, well enough that they didn’t stand out amid the nature-driven vibe the designer was seeking.

“It’s been on my mind as I’ve thought about my own evolution,” he said. “There’s a desire in our society to go back to nature, to experience things that represent a more rustic idea, and comfort, but without abandoning our love of high-tech. Some of the tech meshes on the clothes, mixed with the washed linen and silk and cotton and raw edges, portray this idea."

Is that why Blige and other celebs, with their non-stop schedules, are embracing Tahari’s designs? He responded with a smile: "Smart people know good clothes."

WHEN FASHION MEETS TECH: Elie Tahari and his model at the designer's spring 2015 presentation. (Photo by A. De Vos/Patrick McMullan/Sipa USA/Sipa via AP Images)