Why Wasn’t NYFW Inspiring This Season?

I usually know that fashion is working if I leave a runway
presentation inspired to take action—say something new, wear
something new, try something new. It can feel like a mid-morning
espresso shot: fleeting but thrilling and highly stimulating. By
the end of fashion
week
, my brain is usually so high on these new ideas, so ready
to try something different and enlivened by the language of clothes
that when I walk into
my closet
, it’s as if the garments flock to my body and make
the ensembles themselves. We are intimately reacquainted, skating
in lockstep as if Madge and Edgar Syers. But yesterday, on the
final morning of fashion week, after I cycled through six bad
outfits in order to land on one I’ve worn 100 times before,
nearly causing me to miss my first show, I was sure: Fashion Week
in New York has lost its shine.

This is obviously an opinion of pure subjective proportion, but
the barometer of fashion’s efficacy implies the invention of
something new and yet day after day the staleness grows more
tedious. Blame the sparse schedule, that offered enough time
between shows to eat a civil meal but not enough to sink my teeth
into anything
else going on in my life
, or get out of monkey brain mode for
long enough to think a good thought.

This isn’t to say there weren’t distinct sparks of indelible
spirit: Christopher
John Rogers’
 rejection of clothes that satisfy the complete
range of female experience in the favor of zeroing in on Occasion
Clothes, capital O, capital C.

At The Row, ski hoods and monochrome gloves
accompanied the signature baggy suiting of the brand’s ongoing
novel: How to Build a Trend-Proof Wardrobe (though I’ll note that
their pursuit to avoid the trends has effectively become the trend,
and that can generate a murky pool of misunderstanding among the
brand’s most loyal followers).

For every zebra print that reminded me of the Saint Laurent of
yore at Khaite, I was pleasantly challenged by an
unlikely silhouette: the tapered trousers, the corresponding silk
scarf-print blouse–the collection was a case study in the tension
that occurs at the precipice of restraint; not quite pared back,
nor balls to walls. If there are two kinds of designers out there,
those who make looks and those who make clothes, the latter camp is
better off and Catherine Holstein’s very good at it.

I got to Michael Kors right on time in the
outfit
I’d worn 100 times before
and just as Orville Peck took the
stage in his gold fringe mask and suede fringe jacket to sing a
song to add a beat to the clack-clacks of models in billowing plaid
coats and rich wool capes and riding pants and boots, there it was,
on the crest of this scene straight out of Town & Country: the
mid-morning espresso shot. There’s a dependability about the
luxurious, American sensibility of Michael Kors and this season,
perhaps more concisely than in seasons
past
, he nailed it.

Outfit ideas poured into my prefrontal cortex as I contemplated
the hypothetical references to a horse farm on the English
countryside or Richard Gere circa Fatal Attraction, inspecting
produce at Soho’s departed Dean & Deluca supermarket and
tried to figure out why.

And after the crescendo of the season:
Marc Jacobs,
I think I got it. Guests of his
show sat in groups of 3 or 4 at small wooden tables, rounded and
innocuous, topped with paltry tea lights, in the middle of the Park
Avenue Armory. I tried to make out whether models would come from
here or there, so looked for Anna Wintour — the front-row
compass. (They would come from Park Avenue.) Then it got really
quiet and out came Karole Armitage, American dancer and
choreographer, famously known as the “punk ballerina” of the
80s. In the show notes, Marc Jacobs wrote, “It is the style in
which different people dress at the various stages, ages and times
in their lives, for all manner of occasions and moments, that
endlessly provokes my love of fashion and the possibilities of what
can be.”

Dozens of dancers appeared in Marc Jacobs, moving in grand
gesture among the hordes of models who walked in woolen jackets
that matched mini dresses and headkerchiefs; cardigans and pencil
skirts; peter pan collars and shrunken sweaters, full-length
trousers and kitten heels—but wait, it’s getting hotter! A
lamé swing coat and knit underwear? Rosettes and elbow-length
gloves? Trapeze gowns? Miley Cyrus? Miley Cyrus! And couture! The
theatrics of it all! Later in the notes, Jacobs wrote,
“Karole’s choreography brings the cultural influences of today
into conversation with a past New York I will forever love, not for
longing of time passed, but more moments that are timeless in
reference.”

I believe we’re in the early stages of an era that
Hedi Slimane catapulted to fame
with his breakout French
Bourgeois collection for Celine in 2018. That is where he asserted
that the preeminent trend would not be to reinterpret and make new
what has come before but rather to recreate it, preserving
precisely what it was. The clothes of Marc Jacobs—and Michael
Kors that morning for that matter—count because they’re loyal,
inspired by themselves and “timeless in reference” and in
practice. You can picture them on all sorts of real people, doing
all sorts of things.

I swear to you that after Marc’s show, every single guest left
grinning ear to ear assured that the shine of New York still
sparkles in the rarefied pockets of fashion, where it seems that
those
inspired by themselves
motivate us to be the same.

Photos via Vogue Runway and Getty Images.

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Why Wasn’t NYFW Inspiring This Season?
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Source: FS – NY Fashion
Why Wasn’t NYFW Inspiring This Season?