Wednesday, February 18

Does anyone else feel slightly bad for that adorably bald Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs (if not his banker cohorts, who look like middle-aged versions of the lacrosse players we lusted after in college …), who has to trudge down to Washington every other week on a downsized corporate jet (whoosh put-put-put …) to face the showboating wrath of senators who don’t know how to open an Excel spreadsheet? (We’d be scared if Barney Frank was yelling at us!) We’ve seen what happens when banks stop making money in this town: Tom Colicchio is forced to downgrade half of beef behemoth Craftsteak to Halfsteak! (How can we maintain our righteous creative-underclass indignation when everything around here is suddenly affordable?) Luckily, the tattered flag of conspicuous consumption still waves at Bryant Park, where Fashion Week barrels on despite disappointments like Ashley Dupre showing up instead of Michelle Obama. Today’s highlights: jovial reality-TV personality Michael Kors, designer of resort wear for canceled vacations to Fiji; Oscar de la Renta, first lady clothier (of Laura Bush and Hillary, not Michelle!); Marchesa, the evening dress label designed by Harvey Weinstein’s doll-like wife; socialite favorite Phillip Lim; and industry pets Proenza Schouler, whose T-shirts cost more than our television. Today’s frightening fact about Fashion Week: The audience is packed with otherwise sensible New York women ignoring all good taste and wearing truly tacky toe-less ankle boots. Honeys, even Ms. Dupre doesn’t go there …

[Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, www.mbfashionweek.com]

mbryan@observer.com