As the designer, brand ambassador, and model of her capsule collection for New York & Co., Eva Mendes has done it all. But last night, three years since her debut collection, marked another first for the celebrity designer: She hosted her first fashion show at New York Fashion Week. All the hallmarks of a typical fashion show were there—clipboard-gripping PR girls running around and talking into their earpiece (CIA-style), a labyrinth of a runway (this one snaked through each room at The Academy Mansion on the Upper East Side), and a show time that began 30 minutes late—but there were notable, very Eva characteristics that made it stand apart from the rest.
"It felt like planning an event," Mendes told us after the show. "There was so much to plan and coordinate, and I was super, super involved in every aspect: the music, the designing of the clothes, obviously, and the models—the girls are stunningly beautiful, and it was very important for me to have a mix."
There was a refreshingly diverse range of models, in terms of both background and body types. And each one sauntered down the runway in Mendes's designs, which were inspired by travel and the idea of "bringing back romance, going somewhere unexpected and dressing for the journey." Rich Bordeaux-stained velvet lace separates popped against elegant silky tie-neck blouses, tattoo-like sleeves were layered under tweedy sets, and ribbed knit dresses hugged every curve. "Oh, and the coats!" Mendes exclaimed, after listing her favorites. "The geometric one! And the pale pink! And the blue!"
Clearly, Mendes was in love with it all. And what she loved even more, was the "see now, buy now" concept, where consumers could buy the entire collection immediately after the show. That was what sold her. "I love going to fashion shows, but the idea of seeing stuff that was not of the season, I always felt was a little off," she says. "So, here we are in September showing our fall line that are instantly available. It's very exciting."
And was she at all stressed?
"Yes," she said, without hesitation. "I felt a level of anxiety when I knew everyone was sitting and waiting. I'm very punctual, and it's because I was a teacher's pet when I was a little. I just want to be a good student all the time, and I have this thing where I can't have people wait for me."
But she needn't have been anxious—the show went off without a hitch (sorry, couldn't help ourselves). Shop the entire Eva Mendes Collection for New York & Co. at nyandcompany.com.