In New York, a special fashion week and far from celebrating

Here they are again. The pandemic may well force the cancellation of the Cannes Film Festival and the FIAC, high masses of cinema and contemporary art, the fashion weeks, for their part, will be held at all costs, in digital version if necessary. , so much does fashion abhor a vacuum. Until October 6, the four local capitals will thus offer professionals and the general public the opportunity to discover the spring-summer 2021 women’s collections (accompanied here and there by a few men’s collections). As usual, it was New York which opened the ball on September 13, for four days of presentations, the vast majority of videos broadcast on a platform called Runway360 and open to all.

A special fashion week, far from being at the party. “I don’t think the interest [des gens] is focusing on fashion right now ”, unvarnished Tom Ford, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), the organizer of the festivities, admitted to the WWD, a specialized Anglo-Saxon media that industry leaders consult every morning. Difficult to stir up the crowds with such enthusiasm …

Add to that an impressive absence of heavyweights since Marc Jacobs, The Row, Tory Burch, Proenza Schouler, Coach or Oscar de la Renta have passed their turn. Longchamp or Zimmermann, not registered on the official calendar, they decided to play it “personal”, revealing content on their respective sites.

To compensate for this lack of brilliance, the CFDA has tried to create a diversion with the presentation of its annual awards, rewarding four talents from across the Atlantic (and two internationals). But the list took on a cruel flavor when it was realized that none of the brilliant American winners – the committed Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, the stirring Telfar Clemens, the designer of big night dresses Christopher John Rogers and Gabriela Hearst that some encourage people to leave for Paris – was not on the program this month … “It’s a massacre, laments the producer of parades Alexandre de Betak. The executives of New York Fashion Week don’t want to consider change, like finding new, more promising dates when they really could have reinvented themselves. “

As long as they had a singular voice, the participants therefore had the opportunity to take advantage of the light usually reserved for major signatures. Starting with the 30-something Jason wu, the only one to have dared the physical parade with a masked audience and at a good distance. On a Manhattan rooftop, he had a wooded decor set up with faux sand and a wooden podium, for a collection in tribute to Tulum, where he got married in 2016. Easy and effective: beach dresses, sandals, hats and colorful tunics match the rolling waves of the soundtrack.

Imitation of Christ, Spring / Summer 2021.
Anna Sui, Spring-Summer 2021.

In Anna Sui, it is Midnight Cowboy, a naïve song by Ferrante & Teicher from 1969 which accompanies a pleasant film, for a radiant collection inspired in particular by the colors and the sense of light of the impressionist painter Berthe Morisot. Bobs and large flowery dresses in pastel colors are as upbeat as heart patterns or T-shirts « Take care ». A seventies spirit that we find at Imitation of Christ, a Los Angeles collective which had its quarter of an hour of glory in the early 2000s and which is reborn from its ashes, with its skaters in tie and dye or graffiti t-shirts.

Tom Ford, Spring / Summer 2021.

Floral prints that strike the retina are also part of the party at Tom Ford, in dresses and jumpsuits for women, in loose jackets and pants for men. The Texan did not make his life complicated: he contented himself with posting photos (taken by himself) of his new pieces, in which we recognize his taste for the bright flash, the leopard pattern and the models with mouths parted.

Theory, spring-summer 2021.

Theory has played the same formula: images to scroll to discover its sober and racy collection. Ditto for the cheerful Timo Weiland, who offered the boys ideas for “Dress for Zoom”. Result? A mix of elegance and comfort, sober sweaters and jackets crossed at the top to appear in the frame of the webcam; shorts, pants and sandals at the bottom to feel comfortable.

Timo Weiland, spring-summer 2021.

It was necessary to wait Chromat to kick in the anthill of this succession of images and filmed sequences that Fashion Week has become. To present a collaboration with Reebok, all of striped t-shirts in acid colors, the label specializing in urban fashion has woven an ode to the non-binary, by giving the floor to Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, young transgender athletes who launched criminal proceedings in Connecticut to remove the ban on participating in a girls’ race from which they are excluded.

Chromat, spring-summer 2021.

The other most pleasing participation was that of the brand Carolina Herrera which, paradoxically, had no clothing. On the contrary, she privileged, in four episodes, a dialogue between the sparkling founder and Wes Gordon, the artistic director responsible for bringing her heritage to life today. The first sentence pronounced by Carolina Herrera – “Today, there is no longer any mystery” – first of all fears a nostalgic digression. But it is not. The exchanges of the octogenarian and the thirty-something on New York, their meeting, their favorite color (yellow for her, sky blue for him), their love of the simplicity of a white shirt, their habit of reading reviews, are without pretentious and optimistic. A tender and amused bubble, in the middle of this Fashion Week which sorely lacked emotion and strong moments.

3D reconstruction and change of perspective

Previous fashion weeks, those devoted in July to haute couture and men’s collections, had already shown different ways to replace the physical parade with dematerialized formats, from fantastic short films to making of in the workshop, from music videos to cartoons. . New York in turn continued the search. Three new formats notably stood out. The promising Kenneth Nicholson himself staged in Grasp, a sensitive short film, like a dream stroll in Los Angeles that he inhabits, haunted by personal memories. More experimental, the Japanese of Kozaburo and their sharp fashion have opted for the 3D reconstruction of their desk with faceless digital models and video game zooms. But these are their peers from N-Hoolywood which stood out best without much effort. Since parade is impossible, they made up their minds without a sleeve effect, by showing their masculine wardrobe, sober and successful, on models simply lying on the ground, photographed from the ceiling. A clever reversal of perspective.

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