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Tom Ford and the New York Fashion Week Miniseries

“New York Fashion Week: The Return” had a happy ending as a Ryan Murphy’s miniseries: in a discorama rain of glitter and Technicolor, with very high production values ​​and a star-studded cast that hid a dubious story, leaving open the possibility of renewing.

In the vicinity of Lincoln Center, on the mezzanine level of the David H. Koch Theater, Tom Ford – president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, honorary co-chair of the Met Gala – presented the last show of the American season. , its runway lined with two rows of low white sofas with a mirror at one end, to better bounce the bling that followed in every corner of the room. Gigi Hadid stepped out in a shiny oversized satin jacket over a shiny emerald tank top and shiny turquoise sweatpants.

Mr. Ford had amplified the sparkle at full volume, in dazzling loungewear cut with a touch of black leather, long-haired velvet culottes and corsetry. There were spray painted silver and gold washed denim tank tops. A final “bride” wearing 24k sweatshirts, a bikini top and a silver trench coat. “Respect” sounded on the soundtrack (Jennifer Hudson, stepping out of her role as Aretha Franklin in… well, “Respect” was in the audience) followed by “Let the Sun Shine In”.

It was like the parody version of past career successes filtered through a work-at-home lens, then doused in Swarovski for re-emergence. Mr Ford recognized it in his show notes, considering moving to Los Angeles with his more laid-back philosophy. and the effects of social media, which he said has made everyone prone to the hype when it comes to looks.

He’s not wrong. At the MTV Video Music Awards, held across the river in Brooklyn at the same time as Mr. Ford’s show, Lil Nas X practically jumped off Instagram in her sparkling purple Versace dress. But it is also true that more and more what is most interesting in life, both online and offline, is not the heavily staged imagery, but the weird and the strange. individual; the object found (or subject), as opposed to the object received by force.

There is a growing fault line in New York fashion between the brands that made their name at a time at the turn of the last century when the city was shaped by its Bonfire of the Vanities, and the brands that emerged. afterwards.

More raw and raw and sometimes ridiculous, the new names have widened their borders in every sense of the word, bringing with them fashion week in other districts and underground places; change the definition of who defines dress; recalibrate what matters. They are less interested in the sacred halls of the Met or the linen-covered tables of Cipriani than in the iniquity and damage caused; are responsible not for the best dressed list, but for the communities they attract.

(The irony is that this made the Costume Institute very interested in them, and many are attending the Met Gala for the first time this year, as their clothes are part of the American Fashion Exhibition scheduled to open this year. week.)

You can see it in the choice of venues, spread across glamorous New York City sites like the Empire State Building, Little Island, Tavern on the Green, and the Rainbow Room. and the industrial streets and warehouses of Bushwick and Gowanus.

This could be seen in Telfar Clemens’ announcement that he was launching his own TV channel – TCTV, available through Apple TV and Roku – to sell his products and showcase the work of artist friends and other like-minded people. ideas directly to their audience, rather than through the filter of a gallery or retail store or Instagram.

And you could see it in the Vaquera show, which was held in Cortlandt Alley, behind Canal Street, with the sidewalks – there were no seats – lined with loud fans (including ASAP Rocky). Designers Patric DiCaprio and Bryn Taubensee were, like Mr. Ford, bridging the tension between the constraints of a pandemic and the desire to be seen in the real world. But they looked at the damage rather than covering it up: throwing a crumpled aluminum frill, like a holdover from another Miss America pageant or an old bed skirt, over basic gray sweatshirts; splash the “Go Away Evil” message on a glittery black sweater; making puffy ball gowns from what looked like trash bags.

There is of course a happy medium, as expressed in Tory Burch’s formidable tribute to Claire McCardell, aka “The Godmother of Sportswear”, who skillfully subverted the classicism of the shirt dress and the concept of American ease via color combinations and quirky fabrics. , the proportions are skewed to the side.

Ditto for Joseph Altuzarra’s update of his luxe boho scarf and shibori dresses with crochet chest plates, as the most crafty hand-crafted armor. And the padded satin hoodies and bubble organzas from Cate Holstein Khaite, held in a dark basement dripping with overgrown greenery, like a lost world.

But for all lip service paid this week to the belief that We Will Go Out Again! – and although the long-awaited first Met Gala since 2019, which will be held the evening after the end of fashion week, seems like proof beforehand – it was hard not to feel there was some magical thought. In progress; the fashion equivalent of “build it and they will come” (design it and they will wear it).

Like performances held in outdoor venues that required crowding audiences into small, stuffy elevators to get to them, it didn’t necessarily add up. And the clothes that seemed most relevant didn’t speak in a generic form of backwards glamor but in a primal affirmation of difference. In the end, maybe it’s the story that’s really something to watch.

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