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What remains of New York Fashion Week?

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Translated by

Paul Kaplan

Published on

Feb 6 2020

A year ago, Tom Ford took the helm of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), and dangled the opening of a new and radiant era for New York fashion.

news-figcaption">An outfit of Sukeina, the brand of Omar Salam

Tom Ford had promised a much more international approach, stronger support for young creation and a season focused on a shorter duration. However, twelve months later, as journalists, buyers and influencers set sail for New York to discover the Fall-Winter 2020/21 collections, it is clear that New York Fashion Week finds itself devoid of certain big names that made his reputation – foremost among them Tom Ford himself. The designer will unveil his collection in Los Angeles on Friday night when the event kicks off.

And despite his efforts, New York Fashion Week, in its current format, now spans ten days: it begins on Monday February 3 with male presentations and ends on Wednesday February 12 with Marc Jacobs, whose the parade traditionally marks the end of the festivities.

Another alarming sign: the four biggest New York fashion houses – Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger – will be conspicuous by their absence. Tommy Hilfiger certainly organizes a parade, but in London. This emblem of American fashion is taking his traditional “See-Now-Buy-Now” show across the Atlantic, this time organized during the catwalk season in the United Kingdom.

Several other unmissable names are also missing, from Jeremy Scott, whose show is now on the Parisian couture calendar – would he have been upset that Tom Ford is parading in the same niche as his event? -, Kerby Jean-Raymond, the brand of Pyer Moss, who skips a season to test a new way of unveiling his collections, and Tomo Koizumi, who wowed the whole fashion world with his show in September.

The city is also bracing for a dramatic drop in attendance by Chinese buyers, stylists and journalists due to the coronavirus outbreak. In Milan, Camera della Moda predicts a drop of 1,000 Chinese visitors during Fashion Week, which begins on February 19. Faced with the epidemic, Chinese brands Angel Chen, Ricostru and Hui have canceled their shows in Milan.

news-figcaption">Fenty 2-20

That said, New York Fashion Week still has a few major players in the industry, including the best that the United States has produced in sportswear top of the line. Michael Kors, Tory Burch and Coach are on the call, along with those sophisticated labels that Park Avenue patrons and trendy Brooklyn loft occupants love – Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta and Vera Wang. Not to mention the guest designers, also closely watched – among them, the Senegalese creator of Sukeina, Omar Salam and the Grenadian designer Fe Noel – or LaQuan Smith, born in Queens and new on the calendar.

A season divided into two entities

Another major flaw of the New York season is that it is divided into two entities. Most of the major parades are on the official CFDA calendar, which faces a competing IMG-supported event, NYFW The Shows, most of whose parades are held at Spring Studios in the Tribeca neighborhood. The two calendars often overlap, which can be confusing for the public. Moreover, this rival event also begins with an event in Los Angeles, with the parade “M Missoni”, the new collection of Margherita Missoni intended for the youngest customers.

Another sign of the suddenly magnetic attraction of Los Angeles, the French designer Julie de Libran presented her collection (already unveiled in Paris last month), during a fashion show staged in the very chic Hancock residence Park, in partnership with Matches Fashion, Wednesday evening.

It will be understood, this season is unusual. The flagship event on opening day will not be a fashion show, but a presentation in a department store. The spotlight will be on legendary buyer Linda Fargo and Rihanna as Fenty launches at Bergdorf Goodman.

Tom Ford had justified his decision to go to the parade in Los Angeles as follows: “As President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, my priority is to bring the world’s attention to American fashion. Hard to find a scene more exposed than Los Angeles during the Oscars“.

We will not contradict him – even if, it must be said, the exile of the big boss of the CFDA is a blow to the prestige of New York Fashion Week.

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