New York Fashion Week is all about inclusion, Brooklyn and Tom Ford
New York Fashion Week officially kicks off this Friday with a reduced season and a new crop of young hopefuls; though the biggest and most watched debutant will be Tom Ford, the superstar designer who makes his inaugural season as the chairman of American fashion’s governing body.
Ever since he became Chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America in June - replacing Diane von Furstenberg - there has been more attention paid to his moves and gestures than any new fledgling talent. The Stakhanovite Texan has not been idle.
Ford straight away reduced the official season by two days to five -- very long -- days, ending Wednesday evening, September 11, albeit debuting with a Friday, Sept. 6 evening listing of three catwalks.
He also radically overhauled the organization’s board, after multiple CFDA members told him that it “wasn’t diverse enough.” This Tuesday, Ford announced the arrival of Virgil Abloh, Maria Cornejo, Kerby Jean-Raymond, and Carly Cushnie in a clear drive for greater inclusion in the organization. Though Ford went for the avuncular in the choice of a new treasurer, the famed Stan Herman who does not list his birthdate in Wikipedia, founder of 7th on Sixth and the president of the CFDA before von Furstenberg.
Between his stints at Gucci and Saint Laurent, and his own namesake brand launched in 2005, Ford has staged shows in the Big Four fashion capitals. Unlike the other three, where shows are staged in distant neighborhoods, New York shows are historically staged mostly in the borough of Manhattan.
Not this September, where a half dozen major names or red-hot new stars are crossing the East River to stage shows. Including Tory Burch, who plans a Sunday morning event at the Brooklyn Museum; Pyer Moss, Brandon Maxwell and, rumor has it, Michael Kors. In what will be the single most watched event of the season, Rihanna will host her Savage x Fenty in New York’s most populous borough on Tuesday night, while DKNY will celebrate the brand’s 30th anniversary on Sept. 9 in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
The most far-flung location, however, will unquestionably be for Tommy Hilfiger, who presents his second joint collection with sizzling hot actress and youth-quake phenomena Zendaya uptown in Harlem. Maintaining a house tradition of rocking out legendary iconic music venues, Tommy and Zendaya will host the latest installment of Hilfiger’s See Now Buy Now campaign in the Apollo Theater.
To help lure foreign press and buyers the CFDA have negotiated preferred courtesy rates for visiting editors in two Standard hotels, Highline and East Village; and two Edition hotels, Times Square and Madison Avenue. The CFDA has provided some modest transport help to visitors in notoriously traffic-jammed New York; a $200 credit with Lyft, while in New York. And, Ford’s team actively encouraged major American brands to offer senior international fashion players round-trip flights to NYC.
However, one element Ford has still not been able to reform is the famously unruly New York calendar. The official website of the CFDA on Monday listed 72 shows and presentations. Yet New York Fashion Week's "The Shows" listing, controlled by the giant agency IMG, with runways at Spring Studios on downtown Varick Street, has some 100 shows and presentations. Many times the lists overlapped, but not always. However, a rough count would indicate there are about 145 catwalks shows – which would make NYC the largest single runway season anywhere.
Technically the first models hit a catwalk for the TMall China Cool brand Peacebird at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning. However, in practice, the first major shows are on Friday evening with Rag & Bone (not listed by CFDA) and Jeremy Scott. That said, the highlight of that opening evening for visiting editors will probably Ford’s welcome dinner, which he will host in a Noho restaurant to introduce visiting editors and buyers to young American designers.
Very oddly, New York Fashion Week's The Shows does not even list Ford’s show on the Monday evening. Ahem. No other major fashion season – London, Milan or Paris – has two competing schedules. Plus ça change…
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