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Off-White, Acne Studios, Riccardo Tisci—New York Fashion Wee
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TOPIC: Off-White, Acne Studios, Riccardo Tisci—New York Fashion Wee
#14110
Off-White, Acne Studios, Riccardo Tisci—New York Fashion Wee 3 Months, 2 Weeks ago  
Off-White, Acne Studios, Riccardo Tisci—New York Fashion Week Needs You!

Altuzarra. Proenza Schouler. Rodarte. Thom Browne. Four of America’s most creative fashion brands have departed for Paris, leaving gaping holes in this season’s New York Fashion Week calendar, with more moves still rumored. There’s been a good deal of hand-wringing about this development, with many in the industry wondering whether New York is suffering from a crisis of relevancy. What has caused this exodus? And can NYFW get its mojo back?

Reports of the death of New York Fashion Week are certainly premature. The city is home to a dynamic fashion scene and the mix of designers showing at NYFW reflects that. There are daring upstart labels like Eckhaus Latta and Chromat; there are consistently innovative (and influential) small brand stalwarts such as Zero + Maria Cornejo; there are sportswear juggernauts like Michael Kors Collection, Ralph Lauren, and Tory Burch. The Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs shows are still must-sees for anyone on the international fashion circuit, and with Raf Simons at the helm, Calvin Klein is once again essential viewing. That’s an incomplete list of what’s exciting and what’s important at New York Fashion Week, and meanwhile, for those who have observed a loss of energy in the local industry, well, there have been dips before, and NYFW has always rebounded.

But if New York is going to stage another comeback fashion-wise, the industry’s stakeholders must correctly assess the current state of affairs. The NYFW calendar has always been overcrowded. The collections shown here have long stressed retail-friendliness over directionality. And whatever the deficits of Manhattan’s venues, whether Skylight Clarkson Square or the umpteen pop-up locations all over town, it’s worth pointing out that London, Milan, and Paris aren’t exactly short of frustrations and inconveniences where show-hopping is concerned.

What is new and unique in the pressure it’s exerting on the biz, is the change in the nature of Fashion Week itself: What once was a conference for insiders, has evolved into a marketing platform, with show images disseminated worldwide in real time. Add to that the globalization of the industry, and what you get is a de-emphasis on locality, in terms of how brands identify, and an uptick in designers categorizing themselves according to sensibility. In leaving New York for Paris, Joseph Altuzarra, Thom Browne, Rodarte’s Mulleavy sisters, and Proenza’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez are saying, in essence, that their collections belong not to America, but to a certain kind of fashion conversation at which Paris particularly excels. Luxury fashion with an editorial focus: That’s Paris Fashion Week’s stock-in-trade, and if you’re trying to reach the greatest number of editors and buyers who are looking for that and only that, then Paris is the place to be.

New York Fashion Week needs to define its own strong identity. Maybe Paris is destined to own “luxury fashion with an editorial focus;” if so, we can own something else. New York is the rightful home of any brand that specializes in streetwear—a genre that deserves its own conversation, with its own sense of prestige. It’s fitting that Helmut Lang is returning to the New York Fashion Week calendar this season with a special project by Hood By Air designer Shayne Oliver; Lang, after all, essentially invented the category of high-end, forward-thinking streetwear, and in 1998, he moved his show from Paris to New York in part because he believed this city was the place where his work made the most sense. New York Fashion Week should be tempting any brand that considers Helmut Lang a forebear—and whatever the poobahs at WME-IMG or the CFDA have to do to coax Acne Studios, Off-White, Heron Preston, and Alyx to New York, they should do it.

Start talking—now—to Riccardo Tisci, who adores New York and who might focus on streetwear if he winds up going solo after his post-Givenchy time-out. Seek out any cool brand that caters to club kids or skaters, and/or earns the bulk of its dough selling tees or denim, and make the case that New York is the city that takes that business seriously. And then take it seriously, by offering institutional support, à la the British Fashion Council, to young designers working in that vein who are trying something fresh. Launch a special initiative to make New York the official capital of fashion streetwear and put Sarah Andelman in charge—now that she’s closing down Colette, she’s got the time, she’s got the eye, and she’s got the international fashion cred.

Those are just a few ideas, but the point is, New York Fashion Week can generate its own distinctive fashion buzz if we commit to owning a certain conversation. It’s not that nothing else about NYFW needs to change, but the first thing on the agenda is to take pride in the stuff this city does best.

Read more at: http://www.queeniebridesmaid.co.uk
 
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