Fashion Week kicks off in New York City this week, and you all know what that means: Lots of bad attitudes and not enough taxi cabs.
Well, I, for one, remain optimistic about this season. This despite the fact that I was just reading a news report from Bloomberg on Monday, while the stock market was plummeting and the weather forecaster was predicting snow, that said Americans are now spending less money on clothes. The headline was “The Death of Clothing.”
“Apparel has simply lost its appeal,” the story noted, and I can’t fault its reasoning. People dress more casually at work and at home, while influencers have pretty much sapped the fun out of shopping for everyone else. So why bother watching runway shows for weeks on end, you may very well wonder?
VIDEO: Back of the Cab at New York Fashion Week
But when you take a closer look at the extensive array of designer shows on offer, in New York as well as in London, Milan, and Paris this month, there is actually hope, if not for boring old clothing, then at least for fashion. I’m talking about the biggest, the boldest, and the craziest kind of fashion, which frankly, is all that really rises to the forefront of the conversation amid so many competing voices. So without further ado, here are the 10 things I am most looking forward to seeing and hearing about this month, and why you (yes, you over there in your Bonobos chinos) should be too.
1. Genderless Shows
By combining its men’s and women’s fashion events into one big Fashion Week this season, the New York shows are finally starting to reflect a more contemporary notion of diversity, at least in terms of gender. In fact, the CFDA Fashion Calendar now requires a key to identify which shows feature women’s wear, men’s wear, both, or, for the first time I can remember, that are “unisex/Non-binary.” Impressively, there are four marked in the latter category, the shows of Telfar, Eckhaus Latta, Gypsy Sport, and Vaquera, and others, like Krammer & Stoudt, that presented a fall collection on Monday using a cast of models who identify as non-binary. It’s not exactly a critical mass, but at least enough to spark a dialogue during a moment when so much else in our culture seems to be going backward.
3. Olympic Distractions
The Winter Olympics coincides with Fashion Week, once again, so we’ll likely be reading lots of think pieces and critiques on skating attire, designer uniforms for the ceremonies (Ralph Lauren’s fringed suede gloves – innocent throwback or subversive gesture?), and whichever athletes present the best branding opportunities for marketers of cereal, hatchbacks, etc.
4. Going Abroad
Bottega Veneta is showing in New York this week, rather than Milan, to promote the opening of its fancy new flagship on the Upper East Side. There are handbags designed with nods to the city’s subway maps, too. We love this new trend of designers uprooting their collections for a season or two, as it keeps things from getting stale, which in fashion, as we all know, equals death. Continuing the spirit of foreign exchange, Tommy Hilfiger will show his collection in Milan.
5. Empire State of Mind
Speaking of, Esteban Cortazar is bringing his show to New York from Paris, and that’s good news because he’s a bright young talent whose shows tend to get overlooked at the end of a very long month of shows, when everyone is exhausted and anxious about getting through the last few big events.
6. The Next Big Thing
Who will be the next big social-media modeling sensation? Now that the most obvious of the Jenners, the Hadids, and the Crawford-Gerbers have all had their turns, isn’t it about time for a new face of the season? And as models seem to be getting younger and younger by the year (remember when the CFDA urged a minimum age of 16?), I wouldn’t be surprised to see little Stormi nab the opening spot at Calvin Klein.
7. Across the pond...
In London, Christopher Bailey has announced he will be leaving Burberry in March, so his spring collection will presumably be his last for the taking of a bow. Burberry has yet to name a successor, though, and given the company’s buy-now-see-now approach to the runways, maybe he’ll make a cameo for the fall collection in September? Anyway, all the gossip will be about who will fill his shoes.
9. No Celine. But...
Without a Céline show to look forward to in Paris this season, the fashion set is suffering designer-house-revival withdrawal while waiting for Hedi Slimane to assert his vision there. Thankfully, there’s a new entrant on the Paris calendar with the return of Poiret. The nearly century-old label is a couture favorite and was the subject of a phenomenal 2007 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. And the players behind the new Poiret have real cred: Anne Chapelle, the Belgian business brains behind Ann Demeulemeester and Haider Ackermann, and designer Yiqing Yin.
10. Big, big, shows, obviously.
Who will create the biggest, most mind-boggling set? The best Instagram moment? The trendiest accessory? The wildest casting? Stay tuned, because 30 days of Fashion Week fabulousness starts now.