The consistent and the insistent: Thom Browne, Hood by Air, Diane von Furstenberg and Altuzarra, in New York
The inconsistency of New York infuriates some. I find it quite energising. It’s difficult to write off any designer on the New York schedule – you never know when they’re going to pull it out of the bag. Of course, there are a few constants. Shayne Oliver, a relatively recent addition, will challenge convention; the sickly cyclamen and Buck’s Fizz yellow kaftans of Diane von Furstenberg will not.
Context does a lot for fashion. I’m not just talking about the world outside the tent, or salon, or wherever designers have positioned their gilt chairs for this season, but about what other designers are showing in their salon/garage/specially-erected plexiglass cube (depends on budget). Of course, part of the dance of fashion is solipsism. Or maybe megalomania. It’s rare you see designers at each others’ shows: Tim Blanks and the team of style.com were trying to interview Joseph Altuzarra, attending the Balenciaga show designed by his friend Alexander Wang, but were constantly interrupted by well-wishers. Most said something along the lines of “I didn’t expect to see you here!”
New York Fashion Week Winter 2015: Growing up is hard to do, at Altuzarra, Alexander Wang and Jason Wu
Growing pains. How’s that for a take-away from the opening leg of the New York Fashion Week shows? On the one hand, it’s a decidedly positive thing. At least there’s fresh talent gestating here. Alexander Wang’s business was founded a decade ago this year; Altuzarra launched his first handbag, an obvious development to emerge since the designer sold a minority stake to Kering in 2013. Oh, and Jason Wu had fine jewellery (he’s done the bag stuff before), as he also bagged a major investor last year via equity firm Interluxe. He’s scouting real estate for his first Manhattan store.
New York Fashion Week is a nice way to start the season, for very cynical reasons. There are lots of shows, and few new ideas. You get plenty of reflections of the season just passed – especially at the very start of a “week” where, in all honesty, we could be done, packed, and back across the Atlantic in four days if we shunted most of the chaff off the schedule.
Pre-collections are collections too: last resorts from Stella McCartney, Lanvin, Balenciaga and JW Anderson
Fashion is demanding. Especially now we’re working on a four-season system instead of two. That’s my take-away thus far from the pre-collections. Actually, let’s stop that ridiculous terminology straight away. If Nicolas Ghesquiere’s excellent show last month in Monaco proved anything, it was that pre-collections are collections too.
Paris fashion week is the great consolidator, the grounder of the fashion season. It rounds off the ideas we’ve seen emerging in the other three fashion capitals, adds a few more of its own and a distinctly Gallic flourish, and ties the whole thing up in a fancy, florid Frenchy bow. It adds the punctuation. It makes the whole thing make sense. It does usually at least. This season, however, Paris seems, somehow, subdued. It’s throwing up questions rather than answers, and bucking the trends. It’s an intriguing turn of events.
At the Prabal Gurung show, of all places, I ended up discussing Joseph Altuzarra with Natalie Kingham, the international buyer for MatchesFashion.com (as they were recently rebranded).
The third day of my Paris fashion week – the fourth overall – has just finished. Raf Simons showed his latest collection for Christian Dior this afternoon. The major editors are out in force. The week has truly begun.
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