New York Fashion Week

In the game of fashion telephone, by which a rumour gets whispered to someone on the benches, which gets passed on, and so on, we have reached a new level of nuttiness: over the weekend, the New York Post speculated that Donna Karan’s tears as she took her bow at the end of her 30th anniversary show for her main line (left) — which they identified as her DKNY second line — somehow indicated she might be leaving, a rumour that was picked up by British Vogue’s website, and applied only to the second line – which then got picked up and spread by, a taken-seriously-by-the-industry website, which gives the whole thing a certain sheen of corporate credibility (it brought it to my attention, anyway). But let us pause for a minute to consider the likelihood of all this. Read more

Much joy and rapture and relief greeted new Mayor Bill de Blasio’s statement to the fashion world at the end of last week that “The fashion industry…is part of how we will build a more unified city and a city where everyone has opportunities,” and the statement by an aide that de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray would “definitely be out and about” at New York Fashion Week. He got it! He knew how important fashion was, as an industry, to the health of the city! He was sending his wife to shows! Except, as far as I can tell, she never – well, showed. Read more

Today may be the day the big names – Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein – come out to play in New York, but in Paris it’s all about the new ones. The shortlist for the LVMH Young Designer’s Prize, which was launched last November by Delphine Arnault, has just been unveiled, creating much buzzing amid the fashion crowd. It includes most of the hot names in New York and London, many of which have also been finalists for the Vogue Fashion fund competitions in both countries, or the Dorchester prize, or sponsored by Giorgio Armani. And I wonder: is the competition greater among the baby brands vying for the awards, or among the mega brands bestowing them? I tend to think the answer may actually be the latter. I saw her first! No, I did! Read more

I know this is heresy of a sort, but sitting in the opening shows of New York Fashion Week, a thought keeps niggling away at the back of my mind: maybe being marketed by Mrs O (because, let’s face it, when she wears your dress it’s free global marketing on an unprecedented scale), is NOT helpful. Maybe, in fact, it creates expectations some designers are simply not ready to bear. Before you rant and rave, hear me out. Read more

It was probably inevitable after the rise of the multi-thousand-square-foot shoe department (Macy’s: 63,000 square feet; Selfridge’s, 35,000 sq ft). After all, you need something to fill that space. You need stars. And the way star are made, in fashion at least, is during fashion shows. Enter the shoe show. Once a specialty of Milan alone, this season it has gone global. New York fashion week is full of them. Read more

It’s time to call a spade a spade. Or a tulip skirt a skirt. Or something. As New York fashion week kicks off fashion month today (joy! rapture!) I think it’s about time we face up to certain realities of the form that, for whatever reason, we have seemed unwilling to acknowledge in the past. Starting with Fact #1: designers never want to show in a shared venue. Read more

Calling Bill de Blasio: Just in time for fashion week, New York has been crowned “Top Global Fashion Capital” in Digital Language Monitor’s 10th annual survey of most-discussed fashion cities. For a fashion world nervous that post-Bloomberg the City Hall regime might not be quite as friendly to the industry (smacking, as it does, of elitism), this is good news. After all, New York edged out Paris by a mere .005%, while the 2012 and 2011 winner London fell to third place. And there are more surprises! Read more

What’s the point of fashion week – or maybe more pertinently, are we missing it? I was wondering this last week at couture, as I complained about the lack of daywear and subtlety, and got told off by a young stylist, who said, simply, “Isn’t it all about the red carpet?” Maybe so, given that a Valentino dress just showed up on the Grammy red carpet on Katy Perry (left). Which got me to thinking: maybe the reason we complain so much about fashion weeks is because what we (critics, consumers, viewers) think they are for, and what brands and designers think they are for, are no longer the same thing. Reality doesn’t meet our expectations, because reality is trying to meet different expectations. Adjust the expectations, and you may change your reaction too. As the ready-to-wear shows loom (they start in NYC a week from Wednesday) I think maybe it’s time to try to pin this down. Read more

So marketing megalith IMG has just been sold to private equity firm Silver Lake Partners and talent agency William Morris Endeavor for more than $2.3 billion – which means, as those of us who follow these sorts of thing know, that assorted fashion weeks from New York to London, Berlin, Tokyo, Moscow, Miami, Toronto and Sydney have just also been sold, IMG owning the rights to those events (among others). Which has interesting implications for the debate currently raging in fashion about the purpose of fashion weeks itself: namely, are they for the trade (for buying and selling clothes) or, as fashion becomes more and more a part of pop culture and a driver of social media, are they entertainment for the public and marketing for the brands? Read more

Given the diversity debate that raged during New York Fashion Week – and which is making its way over the ocean to London, where the shows began today — thanks to a letter Bethann Hardison sent to the fashion councils of the four fashion week cities pointing out, in no uncertain terms, the extreme uniformity of the runway, I thought it might be interesting to keep a scorecard of sorts during NYFW to see if all the talk had any effect. Here’s what I found. Read more

Yesterday, at Narciso Rodriguez’s show, close readers of show notes might have noticed a little symbol next to many of the look descriptions in his running list: the Woolmark swirl. It’s the latest example of what seems to me a growing trend of industry suppliers coming out from behind the curtain to promote, publicly, their raw materials as luxury brands in themselves – the luxury behind branded luxury if you will. Aside from Woolmark, the World Gold Council has also launched an up with gold initiative (that’s me paraphrasing), both along the lines of what Saga furs and Swarovski did before them. Want to know why you see what you see on the catwalk? Cherchez les suppliers! Read more

And you thought the recent municipal jockeying to nab a glamourous, potentially global-identity-changing event ended when the IOC announced Tokyo had won the bid to host the 2020 Olympics. Hah! Apparently, London is still in campaign mode, even post-its successful Olympic Games, and now Mayor Boris Johnson has turned his eyes toward fashion. Read more

How nice, as fashion week begins, to see a new brand getting some money. Today Kering, the French luxury group formerly known as PPR, announced they were taking a minority stake in young American brand Joseph Altuzarra (that’s Joseph, left, with model Stella Tennant in Altuzarra). This makes their second recent investment in a new name – they bought a 51% stake in British brand Christopher Kane last January – and their first in a US designer. Read more

Here’s a question: what does NYFW’s Jewish problem and the Chinese version of “Project Runway” have in common? You know the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? Well, this is Six Degrees of Parsons. Read more

Forget “who to watch,” or “what shows to watch” – when it comes to New York Fashion Week, “what to watch” is far more exciting. And by what to watch”, I do not mean what digital video channel, though they are unquestionably proliferating, but rather what issues will be revealed during the next round of shows, which start – ahem – tomorrow. I guess a more colloquial way of putting it would be “what to watch for”. And when it comes to “what to watch for”, I have four main areas of focus. Read more

I’m amazed that fashion, which loves to complain about fashion weeks (which start this week!), has thus far said almost nothing about changes to the New York and Paris schedules. Maybe everyone is simply in end-of-summer re-entry shock and hasn’t had time to focus? Whatever the case, and despite the constant rumblings about the need to condense the season, truth is this time around New York and Paris have pulled a fast one that should extend their “weeks” by another day. Which may not seem like a big deal, until you start adding up the costs. Read more

Yes, it’s more Marc Jacobs news! The Jacobs show, aka the most-anticipated show of NY Fashion week due to the designer’s ability to turn on a dime season after season, has just emailed all of us fashion types to announce they are moving the show from Monday, the usual slot, to Thursday at 8pm due to “weather and production problems”.

Here are some excerpts: Read more

New York Fashion Week begins today, bringing with it the news that Occupy Wall Street is back and planning a protest. The instigator: Intern Labor Rights, an OWS spin off. The subject: unpaid interns. Seems magazines and fashion houses are exploiting them and not adhering to labour law. Seems the desire among youngsters to 1) raise their employment chances by getting useful experience in their chosen field; and 2) enter the seemingly glamorous world of fashion means there are more than enough kids willing to work for free.

Numerous tweeters have weighed in on the matter, most negatively, as has The Fashion Law Institute , which pointed out that OWS tried this before – a few lonely souls held a widely derided protest outside the Calvin Klein show last February – without much effect. Will this time around be any different?

Professor Susan Scafidi of Fashion Law said: “hard to tell,” but my guess is: “not much.”

Why? Primarily because I’m not sure Fashion Week is the most effective time for OWS to target the fashion industry. It might appear so at first – it’s when the world’s eyes are on the industry – but let’s think about it some more. Read more

John Galliano. Getty Images

So Oscar de la Renta has invited John Galliano, the ex-Dior designer whose fall from grace in 2011 for anti-Semitic remarks rocked the fashion world, back into the atelier. His atelier, to be precise. According to WWD, Mr Galliano is going to do a three week “designer in residence” stint in Mr de la Renta’s studio, beginning – well, soon. What do we think of this idea?

On the face of it, it is a surprise. But really, it’s very smart.

The surprise comes not from the fact Mr Galliano is beginning to stage a comeback (that’s been mooted for a while, and every friend of John I’ve talked to over the past year has mentioned it), but the fact he’s doing it under the auspices of Mr de la Renta. The two have never really been public collaborators before. Indeed, the classic New York society designer, favourite of first ladies, always perfectly dressed in suit and tie, and the British rebel who demolished and rebuilt an old couture house and costumed himself every season, are pretty different types. I mean, check out their portraits. Read more

My favourite fashion week moment so far, three days into the start of the New York collections, has to be Diane von Furstenberg pulling Sergey Brin out of his front-row seat and onto her catwalk to take her victory bow with her and her creative director, Yvan Mispelaere at the end of her show. And all three of them were wearing Google glass in different colours! I feel a new accessory category coming on. Read more