New York Fashion Week is a powerful machine churning out designer collections and events unlike any other fashion week in any other fashion capital in the world, with over 250 designers showing their creations in fewer than seven days all across the city. It's a finely orchestrated process, which serves as the backbone to a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry.
Putting aside all the glamour of the week (or lack thereof in my case, because it's horrendously straining work), one cannot forget that fashion is still indeed a business - one that helps fuel a global economy.
It employs hundreds of thousands of people across the world in myriad capacities. It creates content for magazines, television, and radio, stimulating ad revenue, and in turn, consumer spending. It's a publicity machine for the labels themselves and for those celebrities and VIPs sitting front row. It's an outlet for brands to host dinners and events, taking advantage of the expansive pool of media powerhouses in town for just a short time.
Although the end goal is the same, New York Fashion Week tends to forgo the flair and showmanship of the shows more commonly seen in Europe in order to -- dare I say it -- sell the shirt off the supermodel's back. America was built on capitalism, and New York Fashion Week smacks of it.
Routinely in New York, we see supermodels in clothes on stark white runways. Plain and simple. You see something you like. You buy it. It's business.
This is the reason so many Europeans flock to show their collections in New York...Australia's Sass & Bide, Britain's Matthew Williamson & Luella Bartley, Brazil's Carlos Miele, and most famously, Y-3, Yohji Yamamoto's line for Adidas which moved its show from Paris to New York for the Spring/Summer 2006 collection and every one since then.
Y-3's show that S/S 2006 season was LEGENDARY. It was held in a cavernous space on Wall Street, it boasted three runways and models sauntered out of a bank vault door that weighed over one ton in front of 800+ guests. Yamomoto's message for his first show in America - delivered via this obscenely extravagant showing - was that it's all about the money.
With that money comes a hierarchy of hallowed designer names. The Marc Jacobs show always makes headlines. Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karan are the other leaders of the week, having held their positions as the greatest modern American designers. Other legends in their own right: Diane von Furstenberg, Anna Sui, Michael Kors and Oscar de la Renta.
The New Guardians of the industry also have all the eyes on them, as the new groundswell leading us into the future of fashion: Peter Som, Zac Posen, Chris Benz, and Alexander Wang, among others.
It's an incredibly exciting time to be in the city. The streets are packed with gorgeous women and men running from meeting to meeting. Your favorite restaurant is suddenly booked, and you're asked to sit at the bar and wait only to notice that your friends from Paris have stolen your regular table. You can't hail a cab without a skinny Russian model begging you to give it to her first because she's late for a casting.
It's really all too fabulous.
This week, I'll be coming at you with a play-by-play of what it's like to be enveloped in this week of all things fashionable, including the parties, the shows and all the insider drama that you'll miss while sitting at home nibbling bon-bons and laughing in the face of adversity.
I'm sure by Monday morning I'll be banging on your door to let me in and run for cover! If that happens, please don't call the fashion police.