How much fashion can you pack into one day? That’s the wrong question at Fashion Week in New York.
The correct question is: How many people can you pack into one fashion show?
“My butt is small, but it’s not that small,” said a late-arriving Anna Kendrick, when she tried to take her seat (or what was left of it) on a crowded bench at the Tory Burch show on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m., the first leg of the day’s runway marathon. She squeezed in just in time to catch a terrific collection of antique-looking prints of etched chains and lockets, rich tapestry prints, and compact paisleys, one of the most surprisingly luxe viewings of the fall season yet.
Oddly enough, this was followed by two of the most amusing and off-the-wall collections of the week: First, Vera Wang, in a button-pushing mood, opened her black-and-more-black collection with a T-shirt that appeared with what could well be her call to arms on the front. It said, “You bug me,” and had what appeared to be a large bug crawling up its back. Insects and creepy-crawly things appeared all over her show as ornate jewelry, clasps, and, well, as more bugs. (Don’t worry, Oscars watchers, there were plenty of fantastic gowns there as well.)
“You bug me, buggers, bug-off, whatever!” Wang said backstage. “We have a million variations, and they all arrived really late last night. We were going sort of dark and romantic, but not sad. I wanted it to be dark, but strong and sexy.”
Second in the weird, but hilarious, department was a collection from the sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, who paid homage to their childhood obsessions, from art-geek chic (glittering pink and blue coats and funny glasses) to Star Wars, the latter appearing in the most literal sense imaginable. The show ended with gowns printed with very large, photo-print images of the Death Star, Yoda, Luke Skywalker and C-3PO, along with gasps from the audience and probably the most cell-phone photographed moment of the week.
Other highlights from Tuesday included a mirrored mini-dress moment from Diesel Black Gold and a reinvented Marc by Marc Jacobs collection by its new designers, Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley. It’s the first season in a while that the younger-skewing Jacobs collection has looked like real fashion, and, in fact, it was far more grownup than anyone had imagined, with a riff on uniforms and extreme-sports logos, with dresses and jumpsuits going by emblazoned with Bunny Hop and Revolution graphics.
In the evening came more lovely collections, including one from Oscar de la Renta, who skewed a bit younger this season with a deceptively sheer black ball gown a color-block dress that, instead of blocks of color, featured complementary panels of lavish gold embroidery over red, navy, purple, and green. And Narciso Rodriguez concluded the night with yet another sparkling display in his recent winning streak, opening with brilliant coats in red, the red-hot color of the season, and closing with the most intricate, finely beaded, superbly understated dresses and tops imaginable. Could you pack more fashion into that day?
I’d like to see you try.