Over the summer, Council of Fashion Designers of America president Diane von Furstenberg sent letters to Fashion Week designers beseeching them to start their shows on time this fall, rather than offer the traditional wait of 40 to 45 minutes.
Ms. von Furstenberg’s edict—coupled with Marc Jacobs’ shocking, almost arrogantly prompt 20-minutes-late start last season, following criticism levied at his more-than-two-hours-tardy start a year ago—raised the possibility of a seismic shift in Fashion Week start times.
Alas, it hasn’t occurred. The Yigal Azrouel show in Chelsea on Friday, Sept. 5, was scheduled for noon, but the lights went down at 12:34. At Rag & Bone later that day, opening model Sasha Pivovarova stalked angrily down the catwalk at 4:36 p.m., slightly more than half an hour late. At Loden Dager on Saturday at Bungalow 8, the lights went down 29 minutes late.
On Sunday, Ms. von Furstenberg showed her own collection at the tents to a packed, excitable crowd that included pop mama Jennifer Lopez, actress Uma Thurman, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, ageless wit Fran Lebowitz, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester, tennis player Venus Williams, and the designer’s husband, Barry Diller. As if to set an example, Vogue editor Anna Wintour walked briskly into the tent at 4 p.m., the exact appointed hour. But the excess of celebrities was causing gridlock in the aisles. As invitees struggled to reach their seats, photographers all but trampled the guests and each other in pursuit of Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria.
At 4:25 p.m., an unseen voice bellowed, “Ladies and gentlemen, please sit down, the show’s about to start.” This was a drastic, unusual measure. The show seemed to really want to start on time.
“This time it’s not even the cameras, it’s just people not sitting!” complained a frenzied publicist. “I don’t know how you do this day in, day out,” Mr. Carter was overheard telling someone (he had the misfortune of being seated directly across from Ms. Longoria).
When the lights finally went down, to cheers and shouts, Ms. von Furstenberg sent out a cheery collection of flowing, flowery dresses. It was 4:38 p.m.