Hughes blog: Fashion Week hits New York City blogger attends launch of Yamaguchi's activewear line at Lord & Taylor

Sarah Hughes accompanies Kristi Yamaguchi at the launch of her activewear line.
Sarah Hughes accompanies Kristi Yamaguchi at the launch of her activewear line. (courtesy of Sarah Hughes)


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By Sarah Hughes, special to
(09/10/2012) - If Fashion Week were an Olympic sport, I'd put my wager on New York for winning the gold for the sheer number of people it attracts.

"Fashion's Night Out" -- started four years ago by the Council of Fashion Designers of America and editors of Vogue magazine, in partnership with the City of New York -- kicked off September's New York Fashion Week. Masses of people came out this year to meet designers, celebrities and athletes, to see the latest fall fashions, and, perhaps, above all, to partake in the myriad festivities.

As you can imagine, Fifth Avenue was lined with stores trying to draw people in. One sunglasses store on the block preceding Lord & Taylor was even streaming disco music that flowed out to the sidewalk, accompanied by models in gold dresses and black sunnies stylizing the entrance.

The scene inside Lord & Taylor was decidedly different. Kristi Yamaguchi, launching Tsu.ya, her new line of activewear, drew a large crowd on the store's second floor, where she was greeting customers and signing tote bags.

"Deep breath ... ready or not, here comes Tsu.ya!" Kristi tweeted on her way to the event.

If she had any jitters about the activewear's reception, they were immediately alleviated upon her arrival. Throngs of people lined up all around the podium, where she sat to sign tote bags. Although the queue to meet her continued around the corner, the atmosphere allowed people to mingle and chat.

"I love activewear," said Sarah Hutton, a twentysomething who works for The Shubert Organization, a professional theatre company.

Hutton, a figure skater, came out to Lord & Taylor specifically to meet Yamaguchi and see her Tsu.ya line.

"I'm in the market for new pants for yoga and skating," she said as she browsed the line.

Tsu.ya -- Japanese for "shiny" and a play on Yamaguchi's middle name, Tsuya -- features 18 pieces. The array includes yoga pants, tanks, jackets and tops. To add a little pizzazz, some pieces -- no doubt influenced by her skating career -- are accented with ruching, rhinestones and like-minded adornments.

Yamaguchi says the line, three years in the making, was inspired by her lifestyle as a health-conscious working mom.

"I designed the line so that, as a busy woman, you can get your workout in but also go run errands, go to the grocery store and have lunch with friends," Yamaguchi explained, "But still look good and feel good."

Hutton, for one, liked what she saw.

"Feel these," she said to me as she was debating which pieces she liked best. Then she declared, "I'm sold!"

The launch brought out support in the skating community, with Sasha Cohen running over after a class at Columbia University, where she is a student, to try on some of the clothes.

"Her line is exception, and I'm sure everyone will be wearing it soon," Cohen said as she modeled a jacket.

Coincidentally, but not surprisingly, a portion of the sales from Tsu.ya will go to Yamaguchi's Always Dream Foundation, with the goal of improving early childhood literacy. The foundation is introducing two reading programs in six different California schools this year, with plans to expand.

"It's not just a great product," Yamaguchi said. "It's also about giving back."

Now, that's something we can all get behind.

Tsu.ya is available at select Lord & Taylor stores and via the retailer's website.

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