Although the fashion-forward players in the ranks of the NBA are more commonly seen at the September slate of New York Fashion Week shows (when it's their off-season), this weekend's All-Star game at the Barclays Center here has allowed for a certain sartorial synergy. That was in evidence Thursday night at a pair of dinners hosted by high-profile players.
Oklahoma City Thunder fashion plate and Barney's collaborator (not to mention recently named campaign creative director for True Religion) Russell Westbrook teamed up with fashion industry trade paper WWD and Samsung Galaxy for a dinner at Toro Restaurant's Backbar in the Meatpacking District that drew the likes of designer Rachel Roy and stylist Brad Goreski. Although we didn't attend that party ourselves, according to the post-event release Westbrook was kitted out in a white Skingraft jacket, a gray coat from his Barney's collaboration, ripped white Zara jeans and Del Toro shoes.
(We've also received word that TNT is set to air a special Saturday night called "NBA All-Star All-Style" described as "the first-ever NBA fashion show," but curiously, no one moving in the New York Fashion Week circles seemed to know anything about it.)
At the same time, less than a quarter-mile away – also in the Meatpacking District -- Italian luxury brand Ermenegildo Zegna and the New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony held court at a new restaurant called Santina to kick off All-Star Weekend. The event drew the Lakers' Nick Young, the Oklahoma City Thunder's Serge Ibaka (whose accessories included an adhesive bandage across the bridge of his nose) and an eclectic crowd that included CBS "This Morning" co-anchor Gayle King, photographer Michael Avedon and the new restaurant's chef, Mario Carbone. (The label created an entire custom wardrobe for Anthony to wear over the course of the All-Star Weekend.)
Before dinner, we had a chance to chat briefly with Anthony, who was looking sharp in a two-button, notch-lapel Ermenegildo Zegna Couture suit jacket, gray trousers and navy blue turtleneck, along with his wife, La La Anthony, who wore a Roberto Cavalli animal-print gown with a neckline that plunged lower than the mid-winter Manhattan temperature.
Although the PR folks had warned us that Anthony wasn't in the mood to talk about sports, given the amped-up fashion factor of the league we couldn't resist asking the couple who they'd pick for two different style-centric all-star teams – one roster composed of their favorite designer labels and one of the NBA's most stylish players.
For the Designer All-Stars? "Zegna, of course," Carmelo Anthony answered, "and Phillip Lim," with his wife suggesting the rest of the starting lineup. "I love Alexander Wang," La La Anthony said, "and Cavalli – which I'm wearing now -- and my own line 5th & Mercer."
For the NBA Fashion All-Stars? "Russell Westbrook is fashionable," La La Anthony said. "Yeah, he's not afraid to take risks," Carmelo Anthony added. The rest of the lineup picked by the couple includes Amare Stoudemire, Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant.
We're guessing that when a team brings that kind of sartorial swagger the letters MVP are going to stand for "Most Valuable Peacock."