Saturday, September 13, 2008

New York: Fashion is Dead

Photo: Kurt Wilberding for Wall Street Journal

Those were the words being uttered, both on the streets and in the tents, following what many are saying was a particularly lackluster New York Fashion Week.
"The shows didn't really live up to my expectations," according to Julie Gilhart, senior vice president and fashion director of Barneys New York quoted in Women's Wear Daily. Many fashion-forward retailers expressed their disappointment with the very commercial collections, which did not offer much variety.
"There were some great ones, but for the most part, I think it was hard for designers to put their finger on exactly what we need and what inspires us during this period of change." Jim Wetzerl and Lance Lawson, owners of two Jake boutiques on Chicago were also quoted in Women's Wear Daily as saying, "We did feel collections looked a bit the same across the board and felt some designs seemed more phoned-in than inspired."

Amid a sea of soft pastel dresses, there were a few bright spots to be found:

Alexander Wang (video)

Although still relatively new on the New York fashion scene, Alexander Wang managed to incorporate a pastel pallette into his collection without losing the edge of his signature downtown look.

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Michael Kors (video)

The king of classic chic offered up a collection full of rich colors and fabrics. Kors played with traditional 50's silhouettes, creating sleek modern looks that stood out amongst many of the other veteran collections.

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Yigal Azrouel (video)

Yigal Azrouel continues to evolve and his Spring 2009 collection was a display of both his maturity and innovation as a designer. Yigal's woman is a strong, confident risk-taker and this collection was full of options to outfit a stylish woman for any occasion.

Photos from

Of course the uncertainty of both the financial and political futures of the US are being cited as reasons for the reservedness exhibited by designers, but buyers continue to clamor for unique pieces to keep shoppers interested. Hopefully, in six months when a new president has taken office, that security will yield a better showing in the tents for Fall 2009, or is it as Hiroto Sugawara says: are people in New York afraid of experimenting with fashion?

See also: Fashion Weak: Is This the Most Boring Fashion Week Since 9/11? (Gawker)
New York Fashion Week: Playing It Safe (The Business of Fashion)

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