New York Fashion Week

Here’s a small pictorial preview of Anna Della Russo’s accessories collection for H&M, which goes on-sale Oct 4, and which she was wearing at Jason Wu’s show in New York. Read more

In one of those cosmic coincidences of timing, the last night of the Democratic convention, where President Obama talked often about the long hard, road ahead, also coincided with Fashion’s Night Out, that sybaritic extravaganza of shopping and schmoozing (well, mostly schmoozing, if you listen to retailers who Do Not Want to be Named) that also happened to mark the first day of New York Fashion Week. It made for a pretty powerful contrast. STill, my favourite fashion moment was not the Karaoke at Michael Kors, but rather what was on stage at the DNC, from Mr O’s tie to Mrs O’s new designer. Read more

What’s been happening over the last two weeks? What’s the news we can use? Here are my top three recent titbits — the ones that at first glance don’t seem so important, but on second look have outsize implications, from NY Fashion Week’s first casuality to Prada’s new super-expensive perfume, and the rise of the magazine brand as star.
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The announcement that a plutonium-powered robot named Curiosity has landed on Mars has created great excitement among space-o-philes and NASA-nicks and the rest of the science world. However, along with the frisson of expectation, I also feel a slight sinking of the stomach. See, the ready-to-wear show schedule is such that while the rest of the world is preparing to go on vacation propelled by the news, the fashion world is preparing to sit down at their desks to start creating their spring/summer collections. With space travel at the front of their minds.
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So far the hands-down best moment of New York fashion week (for me, of course) has been the Miguel Adrover show, a mad romp back in time to the days when there was an actual underground in this city’s designers, and men and women existed who just Had to Make Fashion, with nary a care for a commercial component. Read more

The colour gurus at the Pantone Colour Institute have released their predictions for top colours of Fall 2012, just in time for New York Fashion Week. And why, you ask, should non-fashion people care? Because, I say, this will give us a sense of what we are going to see on the general election trail this fall.

(It is also an indication of the shades we may be inexplicably, but inexorably drawn to as we embark on post-holiday, back-to-work shopping.) Read more

In the race to have the most connected catwalk — a race that has seen
Burberry sell direct-from-runway and Tweet each look as it appears, Dolce
and Gabbana live-stream the audience and the backstage preparations, and
every brand with a Facebook page host its show in real time — KCD, the
global publicity powerhouse, may have just trumped everyone. Today they are
announcing the “Digital Fashion Shows”, aka an “innovative information
delivery system”. Say that ten times fast. Read more

The electorate in general may be voicing ambivalence about the current administration (though it’s unclear who the alternative will be, or what they will think of him), and Wall Street may be swinging toward Mitt Romney, but one sector, at least, is standing by the current President: Fashion. In this election, as in the last, a number of America’s highest profile designers have stood up to lend their names and creative skills to fund-raising for their candidate. Today Runway to Win, a web site created by the DNC and the Obama re-election committee, is “previewing” products from 23 designers, all working under their own names, not their brand names, whose proceeds will go toward the melee to come.
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By Isabel Gorst

Our nominee for oddest moment of the just-ended New York Fashion Week came courtesy of an Uzbek.

Although the city has largely embraced foreign designers — Victoria Beckham and Preen, both British labels, show here, as do Brazilians Carlos Miele and Alexandre Herchcovitch and there was a special Korean fashion show this season — it was interesting to see IMG, the organizers of the week, buckle under pressure from human rights groups and cancel a show by the designer daughter of Islam Karimov, the authoritarian president of Uzbekistan. Read more

What is with these French fashion houses? Do they not get enough attention?

New York fashion? What’s that? Read more

Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright. Image by Vanessa Friedman.

Maybe, by watching the world’s most fashionable First Ladies, we’ve all been paying attention to the wrong high-profile women, at least as far as clothes go. Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state, put in a surprise appearance at Vera Wang, and as far as I am concerned, she left fellow celeb guests Serena Williams and Beyonce in the shade. Read more

J. Crew show. Image by Vanessa Friedman.

At the J. Crew fashion week presentation, which had bright-messy-luxe, sequins-and-slouchy, pretty-is-cool-ness (all of which, in its hands, manages to somehow not seem an oxymoron), I started chatting to Mickey Drexler, the company’s chief executive. Mr Drexler was standing with three of his board members, and all of them were wearing blazers and button-down shirts, no tie.

Anyway, we were talking about the show and the board, when Ikram Goldman, the owner of Chicago mega-boutique Ikram, and the woman who originally put the Obamas in J. Crew, came up to say hi to me. Then she turned to Mr Drexler. Read more

Dress from the Victoria line

Dress from the Victoria collection. Image by Vanessa Friedman.

Not her personally — her company. This summer Victoria Beckham expanded both her family and her family business, and in New York she unveiled both results on Monday.

The first, Harper, her new baby, sat happily on her mother’s lap as VB showed the second: not a diffusion, not a licence, but a lower-priced, looser-fitting, all-dress line called Victoria. Maybe the best way to think of it is as an alternative sartorial personality.

“I think it is!” She said of the easy crepe dresses inspired by the cartoon character Emily Le Strange and printed with line drawings of cats, the colour bloc shifts and memory jacquards curved à la sac dress at the back. “It’s the other side of my wardrobe.” In other words, there are no corsets, the basis of her signature collection, here. “Sometimes you don’t want to worry about the tummy area,” she acknowledged. Read more

New York skyline on September 11, 2011.

New York skyline on Sept 11, 2011. Getty Images.

I asked last week whether New York Fashion Week would mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

The anniversary was a difficult day and I found the psychological dissonance created by observing fashion shows on the anniversary of 9/11 while my children watched the memorial ceremony at Ground Zero — seeing a product about the future, on a day about the past — jarring.

As that rare thing, a native New Yorker, I had found it odd that, until yesterday, NY fashion had seemingly done so little to deal with, or even acknowledge the events of 9/11. Read more

Today James Scully, J Crew’s CFO, to trumpets the beginning of the brand’s international roll out. It began two weeks ago in Toronto with the opening a stand-alone store in Canada, and the launch of Canadian e-tail. Mr Scully said the company was “really pleased with the results in customer feedback so far.” Interesting, that. As far as I knew – and I was in Canada, outside of Toronto, for the last two weeks — the story all over the Globe & Mail was of how irate J Crew’s loyal Canadian customers were because when the store opened prices were up to 50% higher than they were in NYC. Guess that’s feedback, of a kind.
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So, back from my August vacation two days late thanks to Hurricane Irene, to discover, at least as far as NY fashion goes, things seem pretty much business as usual — except for Marc Jacobs, who apparently has decided he has to move his show from its usual slot at 8pm Monday the 12th, to a new closing slot on Thursday the 15th at 8:30 pm, thus extending the show week for a good five hours. Apparently, needed the extra sewing time thanks to the hurricane, which reveals a lot about the last-minute nature of what goes on the runway.  Read more

Thom Browne, the American men’s wear designer/Brooks Brothers collaborator/Moncler outerwear dabbler known for his super-shrunken little boy suits has come up with an inventive new way to solve the problem of what to do when:

1. You are a relatively small brand with no advertising muscle; and

2. You want to launch a new line and create the most buzz for your (limited) bucks. Read more

There has been much talk at the beginning of New York fashion week (whoopee!) about the incredible shrinking of the shows. Not the number of shows themselves, which is still alarmingly high, but the shrinking of the show spaces: the purported embrace of new, intimate catwalks that only allow a few hundred, instead of many hundred, attendees.

Y-3, for example, has a “new, intimate” venue downtown instead of the Park Avenue armoury; ditto Yeohlee Teng, who only has room for – count ‘em – 50, as opposed to 500. This is being blamed, variously, on: Read more

Forget all that stuff about old media fashion editors being threatened by the presence of bloggers in various fashion show front rows – that was SO last season. This season, as New York fashion week kicks off (whoopee!!! ), it’s all about old media taking on old media. Read more

The start of NY fashion week, which begins the fashion marathon that swings from here to London, Milan and Paris (and truncates the years of those of us who run this hamster wheel to 10 months instead of 12), may also be the start of a new trend — or what one American accessories designer hopes is a new trend: crowdsourcing the fashion show stylist. Read more