Aspen Fashion Week 2011

JC de Castelbajac Lauren Bush Aspen Fashion Week 2011

While still in its infancy, Aspen Fashion Week’s annual winter event is on the fast track to becoming the perfect stopover on the post-Paris circuit.

For its third season, founder Lisa Johnson is working with Lauren Bush’s FEED initiative as the official charitable partner, with partial proceeds from tickets—which range in price from $1,500-$5,000—going to the six-year-old organization’s efforts to feed the hungry worldwide.

I landed for a 24-hour jam-packed trip just in time to catch the tail end of the first-ever fashion panel featuring legendary French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, former head of IMG Fashion Europe Massimo Redaelli, and Bush. Afterward, the ex-model (and niece of President George W. Bush) told me about her “Feed Our Small World” collaboration with Nordstrom and Disney.

Tiny tags on each bag detail the resources that profits go toward. “One bag provides 500 kids with vitamin supplements,” Bush told me of the supercute style hanging off her shoulder.

Following the panel, we made our way outside into the crisp sun just beneath the St.Regis hotel where lots of cushy couches and chairs were set up to watch a runway show of Rossignol by Castelbajac.

Remnants of Castelbajac’s own collection were all over the brightly colored and camouflage prints and had the same punky elements we've come to expect from the veteran designer. Prior to the show, he reminisced about his best friend Malcolm McLaren, who passed away last year.

“I came to King’s Road in ’72 and in his window there were T-shirts with chicken bones and the words ‘Sex’ and ‘Rock and Roll,’” he said. “I immediately wanted to be friends with these people who were weird like me.”

It was only appropriate that New York fashion darlings the Misshapes flew in from Paris Fashion Week (where they acted as DJs for several presentations, including Chanel) to provide the music for the show and the private after-party at the newly opened Casa Tui.

All in all, the Denver layover, the numerous Aspen flight delays, and losing my car in the parking garage of LAX for 45 minutes upon returning were well worth the effort for a day of fashion fun in the snow. Maybe next year I will even venture a ski lesson, though more likely I’ll sit and gossip with the cute instructors about their great Kjus (pronounced “shoes”) ski jackets.

Photo: Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Lauren Bush at the fashion panel during day 1 of Aspen Fashion Week 2011