A look back at New York Fashion Week
There was something rather ironic about the fact that Nemo, the blizzard that hit New York just as Fashion Week was starting, hit when it did. I was doing shows in the snow with Sasha Wilkins of LibertyLondonGirl.com for the first couple of days, and my favourite tweet all week came courtesy of her: “Twenty-somethings at the shows: wildly inappropriate snow wear, heels etc. Hardened show veterans/senior editors: parkas & snow boots.” I kind of wanted that blizzard to stick around for a few extra days just to see what people would pull out of those suitcases.
Sadly, the blizzard was one of the most memorable fashion experiences during New York Fashion Week. Rarely have I heard so many people saying how uninspiring they felt the shows were, and how much they wanted to go back to their hotels. (Granted, the latter was also due to Nemo.) Thank god for the Rodarte sisters, who put on a thrilling show inspired by their teenage years in Santa Cruz, and for Proenza Schouler, who went vintage Mugler and added a much-needed directional element to the whole palaver.
When shows were good, they were good, and Rodarte and Proenza Schouler proved that. As did Alexander Wang, who was one of the first to cement the grey theme, which we’ll definitely see for the rest of this show season. His show of all things fluffy and soft was great, and bodes well for his debut collection for Balenciaga in Paris next week. Victoria Beckham has become one of New York Fashion Week’s most anticipated shows, and her new androgynous vibes for her main line went down pretty amazingly with the snow-covered editors, as did her diffusion line Victoria, Victoria Beckham.
But most collections in New York seemed short of direction, short of continuity, and sadly, short of ideas, too. I’m not sure when it became appropriate to send out fifty wildly different looks, but the New York designers didn’t seem to mind – and neither did parts of their American audiences. There really wasn’t much to look at or talk about, so you can imagine our excitement when word hit the shows that Suzy Menkes had written a snappy story for T Magazine about the fashion circus, the street style photographers, and how annoying she thought it all was.
Needless to say, the waters divided like only fashion waters these days can, and it wasn’t even about old guard or new guard. Never before have I seen such a clear split between the two major camps of fashion: those who dress down (or at least dress moderately), and those who dress up (or dress in fancy dress). I’m quite fond of a lot of the people who get snapped by the fashion paparazzi and I’m happy to call them friends, but I’ve never kept quiet about my dislike for street style photography and the ridiculous circus that surrounds the shows.
And although the freak show of club kid clowns and fashion jesters outside the shows wasn’t as bad as it is in London, and although the amount of photographers and bloggers with cameras wasn’t as bad as it is in Paris, Suzy Menkes made me realise more than ever before what a commotion it’s all turned into. That’s why I kind of loved Nemo and loved that all the most important people were quite happy attending New York Fashion Week in a pair of warm boots and a parka. After all, fashion does encompass all those things.