First let’s chat about the “order” of shows as to who shows when and where. Not that many years ago, New York City was the last stop on the fashion caravan each season, but that all changed with Helmut Lang and, I do believe, Donna Karan who were leading the charge to be first rather than last. The reason being was that New York was taking a beating on several fronts; one was the jet lagged world weary buyer/critic/ media person who was by this time was over tired and ready to head home and not to New York for still more fashion and then there was the fact that the by the time New York showed, they were accused of being “me too.”
Fast forward to present day and we have New York as the kickoff of the “Fashion Marathon” and both Donna and Helmut have sold their businesses and he has retreated from the business altogether. For most of this time New York has not brought a lot to the “fashion table” except for some rare beautiful collections but certainly not much that would linger in the mind of buyer or media person at the end of the month long journey. So, not only does New York get to not be called the “me too” town but they, for the most part get to be called the “so what” town. Yes, the business has changed dramatically in the last decade but what happened to all the talent that once called New York its home?
But I digress, New York which started the month long caravan and provided even less excitement than normal but in a way they did foreshadow the season’s new esthetic… that is “ugly is the new pretty.” Yes, they managed to give hints that prints and color would also be a trend but certainly there was little if any that could have told us of the influence of the couture for this season. With very few exceptions, the New York Collections proved to be less than appealing and certainly nothing new to remember or talk about. New “it” designers tended to go overboard and failed trying to be different, and the stalwarts either tried to be different very unsuccessfully or revisited their old favorites in hopes of a salable collection. There were many who were still denied proper press coverage either because they were too different , are not personally well liked or that they simply didn’t have the influential money and PR machines behind them. These are the future of a business that is in atrophy. How many of you have heard of Norman Ambrose or Sally Lapointe or read more than a paragraph about Ralph Rucci.
As of this writing, the dates for Fall 2012 are now in jeopardy because the Italians have dug their feet in and stated that their new dates will overlap both New York and London. With shrinking budgets on all fronts, my guess is the caravan will desert New York and London and hightail it to Milan quicker than Donatella puts on her lip gloss…and with good reason. The big guns will get the opening dates in New York to get the buyers here, the little guys will lose out and show after the flock has left, and London will once again become the step child of every season. I am willing to bet that Ralph Lauren could care less about when he will show , but he is one of the very few who hasn’t a care in the world when it comes to the bi-annual fashion migrations. The rest will have to punt!