[written by NG SU ANN]
To discuss: is New York Fashion Week losing its relevance?
First off, this article written for The New York Times dissects how Fashion Week insiders are “getting a little tired of all the fuss.” For his part, meanwhile, Oscar de la Renta related to WWD that he “will slash away at his list of invitees” for his NYFW spring show – focussing on the comfort of his professional audience and attendees, the designer insisted that “it’s important for [certain industry professionals] to look at the clothes and see them. They shouldn’t have to go through 30,000 people, and 10,000 who are trying to take pictures of all of those people who are totally unrelated to the clothes.” Following in de la Renta’s lead, Tommy Hilfiger – once a celebrity magnet – has said that he, too, wanted to return the focus to fashion. “I don’t like the drama in the fashion world. I like to do our thing without the drama,” Hilfiger said backstage before his recent spring show at NYFW. Perhaps more tellingly, Tamara Mellon, former COO and co-founder of Jimmy Choo and is the designer of one of the most anticipated collections this year, has decided to skip the shows altogether.
Careful, NYFW. Seams are showing.
I’m sure you know already, you fashionista you, but I’m going to go ahead and tell you anyway: the real point of Fashion Week – a bi-annual event held in the four fashion capitals of the world, New York, London, Milan and Paris – is to allow fashion designers, brands and houses to showcase their collections to buyers, retailers and editors several months in advance of the season. Ideally, Fashion Week functions as an opportunity for designers and co. to connect with retailers and co., and for the latter to identify key trends for the season – or to decide what’s “in” and what’s “out”.
However, take into consideration the following factors: a) a conspicuous lack of buzz surrounding Fashion Week this season, b) the dizzying, overwhelming number of presentations and shows – around 350 spread over nine days for NYFW, c) the addition of haute couture, men’s wear, Pre-Fall and Resort shows in the annual cycle of fashion, d) the presence of celebrities with no direct connection to the clothes and fashion industry, but stealing thunder from the show, e) the fashion show taking place outside Lincoln Center where NYFW is held, starring publicity-hungry street style bloggers or stylists absolutely werking it for street style photographers, and f) the confused, heckled customers… well, then, it appears that, as pointed out by fashion journalist Eric Wilson, “just when fashion has become a vibrant force in popular culture, attracting a new generation of designers (and wannabes), Fashion Week is losing its relevance” by virtue of becoming more available, inclusive and mainstream. In other words, fashion insiders are – dare I say it? – so over NYFW. Even worse, the consensus is that Fashion Week has become populated with people who, well, just don’t know fashion (ouch).
Which brings me to my next point – or rather, it appears that I’ve written this article specifically for a reason to show you this:
For his latest edition of ‘Lie Witness News,’ Jimmy Kimmel and his team hounded and pursued NYFW attendees outside Lincoln Center to ask them what they thought about fictional and nonexistent designers like “Eddie Munster,” “George Costanza,” “Purina Chow”, and “Willy Loman.” The result is excruciating and painful to witness, as the self-professed fashion lovers lie their designer-pants off to back the made-up designers and their made-up designs. A real laugh-out-loud moment happened at 3:51, when Kimmel showed a picture of a female model with dog poop on her head, and the interviewee responded with, “The fact that I didn’t even see the dog poop shows that she’s a good model.” The cringe-worthy scene of the entire video, though, was Kimmel asking a pair of over-dressed fashionistas what they thought of a picture of a male model walking the runway with a watermelon covering his head, and the boy responded with the snotty, now-immortal line: “It’s called fashion – look it up.”
Maybe Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger and Tamara Mellon are right. Maybe, just maybe, NYFW has become a bit of a circus, yes?