At yesterday’s Phillip Lim show at the Tents, a new runway trend was in evidence: live concerts! (Perhaps the instigator of this was, as is the case with many trends, Marc Jacobs, who famously enlisted Sonic Youth to play his fall 2008 show). Mr. Lim had hired rocker Lissie Trullie, a shaggy-haired redhead who looks like the frontman of a British boy band but is in fact a young woman from Washington, D.C. (according to Paper magazine, which named her one of its most beautiful people in 2008). But the British thing wasn’t just in our head: The models, too, had Beatles haircuts! Or at least crazy-colored Beatles wigs.
The front row was a mash-up of recognizable Fashion Week personalities: a less-ubiquitous-than-usual Leigh Lezark (not looking misshapen in that white get-up!), cheerful Ugly Betty star Becki Newton, British magazine editor and former Kate Moss paramour Jefferson Hack, Anna Wintour leaning over to chat with Lucy Liu across an aisle. Curiously, several seats down from the Vogue contingent, dating columnist and Internet personality Julia Allison sat in a pink frilly top with pink lipstick, typing into her pink PDA and looking like she was about to burst into tears. (At one point she exchanged words with one of the women working the floor in headsets; perhaps they needed her front-row seat? Hey, we’re just guessing.)
When the show started, billowing smoke poured from backstage and Ms. Trullie’s bass literally shook the poor fragile Tent. But Mr. Lim is the real deal, and though he declined to participate in fashion’s trendy ’80s revival, his clothes—moody, with lots of jackets and ruffles—were all things you’d have wanted to walk out of there wearing.
Teen Vogue editor Amy Astley had been perched front row with a vintage Prada bag on her knee before the show. “Today I went by the new Diesel store, the new Armani store, they were packed with people shopping,” she said. “It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s natural people are worried about their jobs and may not feel like splurging in a big, big way, but women have always loved fashion since caveman days, and we still love fashion, and we’re going to keep celebrating it. It’s just pulled back a little bit. You don’t see all the celebrities. I think they feel it’s a little unseemly.” She paused, and laughed: “Or maybe they’re not welcome! It’s a little quieter, for sure. This too shall pass.”
Indeed, the next time this group congregates in New York, in September 2009, it will be at Lincoln Center, not Bryant Park. “Look, I love running back and forth from my office to here,” said Ms. Astley. “We’ve been so spoiled, those of us who work at Condé Nast. Of course we’re going to miss walking one block. But this is the new story, so we’re going to go, we’re going to see how it is. I’m not going to project forward that I’m going to hate it; honestly, I think being in Lincoln center is incredible. It’s probably one of my most favorite places in New York. The Tents right now … what’s to miss? Right now? These crowds on the steps, you can barely walk up! I think a change would be O.K.”
“It would be great if we could go in the New York State Theater for one [show],” she added. “But I think we’re going to be in tents.”