Fashion Week Hangover

  • bryantpark Fashion Week HangoverThis September, American designers showed their spring collections just as the recession celebrated its first birthday. The big question: would the economy change Fashion Week? Yes, Anna Wintour tried to save retail with Fashion’s Night Out—but even Marie Antoinette didn’t say “let them BUY cake,” and the evening’s effects were small, if any.

    As for the clothes themselves, it was hard to say. Mostly, the economy informed the spin.

    Modest? Luxury would be tacky, out of sync with the national mood.

    Extravagant? But fashion should be fun, a fantasy!

    Challenging? Don’t play it safe; now’s a time for ideas.

    Accessible? Have to pay attention to the bottom line—what women want to wear.

    Click through to see some of the week’s standouts and how they reflected on 2009.

  • This September, American designers showed their spring collections just as the recession celebrated its first birthday. The big question: would the economy change Fashion Week? Sure, Anna Wintour tried to save retail with Fashion’s Night Out—but even Marie Antoinette didn’t say, “Let them BUY cake!” And the evening’s effects, if any, were small.

    As for the clothes themselves, it was hard to say. Mostly, the economy informed the spin. Modest? Luxury would be tacky, out of sync with the national mood. Extravagant? But fashion should be fun, a fantasy! Challenging? Don’t play it safe; now’s a time for ideas. Accessible? Have to pay attention to the bottom line—what women want to wear.

    Click through to see some of the week’s standouts and how they reflected on 2009.

     

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  • Smoke, tattoos and textile-art-type yarn-garments. These are clothes that exist outside daily life anyway. Unless, of course, we find ourselves in a post-apocalyptic hellscape with a few thousand extra dollars. Then we’re set.

  • Alexander Wang, master of intimidatingly hip sexiness, showed sportswear inspired by (of all things) sports—but in the most aestheticized, unathletic way possible. He also threw one of the week’s biggest parties, in a gas station.

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  • Ralph Lauren played “Like a Rolling Stone” and showed the now-ubiquitous “boyfriend jeans” along with '30s dresses and pinch-brim caps to create Woody-Guthrie caliber Dust-Bowl chic. Maybe we can agree that Zoolander’s “Derelicte” and Erin “homeless people inspire me” Wasson are in poor taste, but Okies are ok?

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  • Fresh off a CFDA lifetime achievement award and a Target (!) collaboration, Anna Sui created a collection with a circus/sixties theme. More interesting, though, was seeing the models try to smile, as they had apparently been instructed to do. Points to Sessilee Lopez and Liu Wen, both of whom appeared to be familiar with the experience of human emotions.

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  • Proenza Schouler showed spring clothes that were appealingly dark—albeit with a few sporty brights. There were tangles of fake shirts knotted at models’ waists, but also splashy dresses. There will always be parties, right?

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  • Jason Wu repaid Michelle Obama’s love with skirt suits, shirtdresses and tidy cocktail numbers. Black lipstick and hair netting, though, gave the clothes an un-White-House edge. With five rooms at the Saint Regis Hotel, Wu took the prize for most opulent venue.

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  • Finally, the moral of Marc Jacobs is that the Show Must Go On!  He referenced Kabuki, ballet, Vivienne Westwood, and military suiting—but regardless of the inspiration, guests from Madonna to Lady Gaga to Cathy Horyn were suitably impressed.

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