NEW YORK CITY -- Backstage at designer Zang Toi's spring 2014 show was all about adding a fun and edgy twist to the expected beauty trends for the season -- as well as for ballerinas, Mr. Toi's inspiration for the collection he presented at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Cleveland-based Zoya Nail Polish created three custom nail polish colors inspired by the line: a soft pink (Ballet Babe), a powder blue (Boy Toi) and a jet black (Black Swan). But rather than sticking with the typical soft shades for the spring show, models sported only the black, which turned out to be a nice contrast on the runway to the feminine silhouettes and colors of Mr. Toi's designs. (Scroll to the end of the article to watch a video of Rebecca, a Zoya color expert, talk about coming up with the custom colors for the collection.)
Models' hair also wasn't just the usual ballerina chignon or slicked-back ponytail. Lead stylist Eiji (at right) of Eiji Salon explained that Rene Furterer products were used to give models' hair some delicate waves and to gather it in a twist at the nape of the neck.
Check out more sights from backstage below (Sara Bauknecht/Post-Gazette) ...
Designer Zang Toi, center, poses for pictures with models and media backstage at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Time for makeup!
A model smiles for photographers.
Join the conversation:
• Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: WVU LIVE CHAT at 1 p.m. Feel free to add early questions below.
• Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Notebook includes depth changes, DeForest update and injury report.
• Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Don't miss these players/assistant coach interviews from last night. Doug Rigg had an especially intriguing interview about his concussion on Saturday.
• Charleston Gazette: Step right up, playmakers. Offense has plenty of potential, little proof.
• Charleston Daily Mail: Mountaineers nursing injuries this week.
Join the conversation:
Nanette Lepore is an acclaimed designer with international recognition. She has celebrity-studded clientele and is a leading fashion figure in the fight to bring more manufacturing jobs back to America.
But all this success stems from humble beginnings in Youngstown, Ohio. Her mother was a kindergarten teacher and her father taught art at Youngstown State University. Immigrant grandparents were carpenters and brick layers.
"I was around people who were always making things," Ms. Lepore said. "I think that working class sort of attitude that life is work but it doesn't have to be miserable was a good way to grow up and understand about work and how it can lead to beauty."
She found her passion in sewing. "I was happiest when I was at home sewing."
She studied business administration and fashion merchandising at Youngstown State University and fine-tuned her fashion skills at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, where she's lived since the mid 1980s.
"At one point, I was considering leaving New York and moving to Pittsburgh," Ms. Lepore said. Growing up, Pittsburgh and Cleveland were the cities her family would travel to when shopping for something special. "I was tired of the grind and my husband was like, 'give it another shot.' If you can get past the 5-year mark in New York, then you can be here forever."
Ms. Lepore will showcase her spring/summer 2014 collection at 11 a.m. today at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center.
If I had to describe Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in three words, they'd be ... adrenaline, glamor and exhaustion -- all at once.
What keeps me motivated is ... my love for fashion, my love for what I do.
I find my inspiration for my collections ... I try to visit as many museums as possible. I like to travel, I love to visit flea markets. Just in general sometimes, it's a movie, people on the street -- a lot of different influences. It's also politics.
My spring/summer 2014 collection has in store ... faded romantic florals. It's a step back into prettiness.
One of the biggest challenges about presenting a collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is ... having to do it all without a rehearsal. It's like putting on a Broadway show and you never get to see it first. It's crazy, but we do it.
Looking back, one of my most comical Fashion Week moments was ... we did have a Mariachi band invade an after party once. That was very spontaneous.
When women wear my garments ... I want them to feel they are in a really well-made, handcrafted beautiful product. I want them to feel like they look expensive. I want them also to feel sexy. We pay so much attention to fit that the clothing they buy from me should feel like they're powerful and sexy.
If I could spend time with any member of the fashion community (living or deceased) it would be ... Karl Lagerfeld and Diana Vreeland.
In the next 10 years, I would like to see the fashion industry ... have manufacturing return to the U.S. I would love to see the New York City garment center be what it was when I first started. People pushing racks everywhere ... I just love that sense of excitement that you had when you knew you were right in the heart of everything.
My advice for aspiring fashion designers is ... try to find your customer before you put on a fashion show. ... Also, manufacture in America. It makes it much easier.
Photos: At right, Nanette Lepore with her daughter, Violet, at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in February 2013 at Lincoln Center. Below, fashions from Ms. Lepore's runway show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in February. Courtesy of Nanette Lepore.
Join the conversation:
-The Penguins have signed unrestricted free agent forward Chuck Kobasew to a professional tryout agreement. Kobasew, 31, appeared 37 games last season with the Avalanche and scored nine points. A first-round pick of the Flames in 2001, Kobasew (right) has also played with the Bruins and Wild in his NHL career. In 568 career NHL games, Kobasew, a right-handed shot, has scored 208 points.
-EN Says: Kobasew has shown versatility in his career in terms of being able to play either wing position. There is some offensive pop to his game but injuries and a lack of six (6-foot-0, 192 pounds) have created some inconsistency for him. His presence will add some intensity to an already tight battle for jobs among the bottom six wingers.
-Dan Byslma says three spots - two forwards and on defenseman - will be up for grabs in training camp. (PG+)
-How difficult will it be for the Penguins to move past being swept out of last season's Eastern Conference final?
-Shot location and confidence have been big factors in terms of turning Pascal Dupuis into a 20-goal scorer.
-Happy 66th birthday to former Penguins forward Garry Swain. The Penguins' first-round pick in 1968 (No. 4 overall), Swain's entire NHL career amounted to nine games and two points with the Penguins in 1968-69. After spending the next seasons in the minor leagues, Swain was released in the 1971 offseason.
-Happy 33rd birthday to former Penguins forward Mike Comrie. A free agent signing in the 2010 offseason, Comrie appeared in 21 games for the Penguins in 2010-11 and scored six points. He was not re-signed in the following offseason and retired.
Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division
-The Devils will put individual game tickets on sale tomorrow. The Penguins are scheduled to visit New Jersey Nov. 16 and Dec. 31.
-The Islanders returned defensemen Kyle Burroughs (Regina - WHL), Jesse Graham (Niagara - OHL), Loic Leduc (Cape Breton - QMJHL), Adam Pelech (Erie - OHL) and forward Victor Crus Rydberg (Plymouth - WHL) to their junior teams.
-The Maple Leafs re-signed restricted free agent forward Nazem Kadri (right) to a two-year contract worth a total of $5.8 million. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $1.72 million, Kadri's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.72 million. Kadri, 22, appeared in 48 games last season and scored 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists).
-EN Says: Kadri made some waves this summer by holding out for a bigger deal. On the eve of training camp starting, he seems to have come to his senses and agreed to a "bridge" contract which presumably will get him to a larger contract in terms of length and money. Kadri is a high-end talent.
-"Coming over to an organization is fun, you get to make a good first impression on teams and meet a bunch of new people and see how they work and compare to other organizations. It's been an interesting path, but it's always a shock, definitely." - Bruins defenseman prospect Joe Morrow on being traded twice this calendar year. Morrow, the Penguins' first-round pick in 2011, was dealt to the Stars last season in exchange for Brenden Morrow. This past offseason, he was traded by the Stars to the Bruins.
-“It’s not what it used to be but at the same time it’s better than I thought it would be. I’ve been able to do the things I normally do doing the summer and only time can tell.” - Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson on his recovery from an Achilles tendon injury suffered in Pittsburgh after a collision with former Penguins forward Matt Cooke Feb. 13.
-With forward Vincent Lecavalier gone, will forward Martin St. Louis take over as the Lightning's captain?
-Former Islanders forward Brad Boyes will attend the Panthers training camp on a tryout basis.
-According to ESPN, the Panthers are kicking the tires on unrestricted free agent goaltender Tim Thomas (right).
-The Panthers returned forward prospects Francis Beauvillier (Rimouski - QMJHL), Chris Clapperton (Blainville - QMJHL) and Alexander Delnov (Seattle - WHL) to their junior clubs.
-Former Blue Jackets forward Colton Gillies will attend the Sabres' training camp on a tryout basis.
-The Blackhawks agreed to a two-year contract extension with general manager Stan Bowman. Bowman has directed the Blackhawks to two Stanley Cup championships (2010 and 2013).
-Unsigned restricted free agent defenseman Alex Pietrangelo will not attend the start of Blues training camp.
-“People are going to talk about it. It’s inevitable. How many coaches last more than two years in this league? I’m not going to get caught up in that stuff because I’m focused on what’s real, and I know that this team has gotten better and I know that I’ve gotten better as a coach and I know that my best years are still ahead of me.” - Wild coach Mike Yeo, a former Penguins assistant, on entering the final year of his current contract.
-Former Penguins forward prospect Keven Veilleux, a 2nd-round pick in 2007, will attend the Coyotes' training camp.
-Remembering Kings scouts Garnet "Ace" Bailey and Mark Bavis (as well countless others) 12 years later:
(Photos: Kobasew-Dale MacMillan/Getty Images; Kadri-Abelimages/Getty Images; Thomas-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)