Glossy’s daily New York Fashion Week briefing brings you on-the-ground insights and analysis from straight off the runway.
At the end of February’s New York Fashion Week — where editors, celebrities and influencers viewed glamorous new collections from some of the world’s best designers — a general consensus: Kind of boring, no?
“The energy level felt way, way down this week,” said Business of Fashion editor-in-chief Imran Amed, making a plummeting gesture with his hand.
One PR representative called it “subdued.” A front-row attendee at the All Comes From Nothing show said to her seatmate that “nothing exciting happened” this season. During the Glossy Podcast, Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downing remarked on how he was seeing the fewest number of shows this year in recent memory.
There were highlights, of course. Raf Simons, who filled the floors of his runway with popcorn, gave everyone something to talk about. Carolina Herrera’s final bow as the creative director of her namesake brand signaled a shifting of the guard. Philipp Plein threw a rowdy party in Soho.
Still, on the final day of the official run of shows, which will be capped off by Marc Jacobs tonight, Spring Studios was becoming a ghost town. At one of the last shows of the week, Marcel Ostertag, standing-room guests were asked to fill in seats. But the designer wasn’t deterred.
“The runway is the best way to present my half year of work. You don’t have to redo everything new. The runway show is the best format for a fashion collection, for the product,” he said backstage before his 3 p.m. show. “Fashion week is changing because people say, ‘Oh, it’s so boring now, blah blah blah.’ I don’t care. People come to see my show. The buyers are buying my collection and the consumer is buying, and that’s the most important thing.”
Indeed, a quiet season doesn’t mean that fashion week is dead in New York. It could be seen as a near return to normalcy — an industry beginning to refute the Instagram age. That’s a good thing for designers who have spent years succumbing to seasons of one-upmanship.
“Suddenly, everything needed to be bigger, brighter, faster — you know, a lot more bang,” said designer Rebecca Taylor. “It got to the point where, if you put a nice shirt and pants on the runway, everyone would be like, ‘OK, boring.’ So everything got splashier, and the pressure to play into that became insurmountable. As a designer, it ends up kicking you in the ass.”
You’d be hard-pressed to find a designer who, in response to talk of the fashion season crisis, doesn’t shrug off all that hyperbolic talk. They want the focus to shift back to the product anyway. It’s time fashion week followed.
There are only a few aspects of the runway show that Rebecca Taylor misses: the way the clothes move down the catwalk, the post-show euphoria (before any critiques come in), all the congratulations. But to her, all that amounts to only about 5 percent of a show production.
“Shows are 95 percent stress, drama, sweat, tears and money, and 5 percent fun. The 5 percent I do miss,” said Taylor. “Runway shows are amazing, and amazingly expensive.”
The element of the fashion show Taylor doesn’t miss is the designer habit of creating eccentric pieces specifically to flaunt on the runway, not to sell to customers. That’s a fashion industry flaw, in her eyes, and not something that her small team has the time, energy and resources for. Instead, Taylor has been showing her collection — the entirety of which is meant to be sold commercially — in one-on-one appointments with buyers in her showroom. There she can discuss every item in detail, express her inspiration and get direct feedback from a valuable, if selective, audience.
“I only had one hangover this week. That’s how you know it was lame this year. I still didn’t make it to one 9 a.m. show, though.”
Check out our full week of NYFW recaps, right here.
- Amid calendar transitions, NYFW embrace changes in stride
- Fashion week has a serious backstage problem
- Female empowerment is the weekend’s resounding theme
- The coed class
- Fashion week’s emerging camps
- It’s 2018, Ralph Lauren. Why do you think this look is still cool?
- The Raf effect: Measuring Simons’ impact at Calvin Klein
Tonight, Marc Jacobs will close New York Fashion Week, like he always does (which goes to show tradition at NYFW isn’t entirely dead). It will be the designer’s first fashion show following the latest move in his company’s ongoing restructuring: the hiring of designer John Targon to lead the label’s lower-priced, contemporary line.
From here, the fashion crowd will travel to London, then Milan, then Paris, where we’ll find out if the general fashion week malaise is a global epidemic, or something contained to New York.