And we’re off to the races. Friday September 9, 2005 marked the official first day of New York Fashion Week for the spring 2006 collections, and the always politically correct Kenneth Cole kicked things off with one of his strongest, chicest, most polished collections to date AND with his usual reminder that though fashion is big business, there are far more important things in life than superficially dwelling on our clothes, our appearance, and ourselves. Unsurprisingly, the show, which began with the pledge, “We stand Bayou”, was dedicated to the Southland and to victims of Katrina.
Kenneth enlisted Whoopi Goldberg to ‘star’ in his traditional pre show mini film, and the comedian was perfectly cast as a ‘convicted’ fashion victim who was having the ‘book’ thrown at her. Of course, the book in question was not just any book, but the hefty phone book sized issue of September Vogue, and Vogue was alluded to several times throughout the opening segment. This appeared to delight Anna Wintour, who you could see smiling beneath her trademark oversized shades as she sat front row center flanked by Virginia Smith and Sally Singer.
Speaking of Anna Wintour, though fall 2005 may well be the season of black, as noted by every major publication, including Vogue, Anna Wintour, who has been wearing black recently, ignored the funereal trend when she chose her outfit for the first day of shows. In fact, she was positively upbeat and glowing in her beige glittery tweed cardigan jacket and matching dress (which sported a bra top and was layered youthfully over a white t shirt). And she didn’t stop there, even her multiple strands of beads shined. It was quite some statement!
As for my first impression of the Bryant Park Tents the centralized location where many of the shows take place. Well, there’s good news and bad news. First the good news. New are the polite, attractive, well heeled and well dressed ‘English Gents’ standing on 6th avenue with their umbrellas, ready to hail a cab for you or perhaps lend you an umbrella should it rain. Then there are the edibles….instead of that concession which had been set up to provide the meals, we now have Wichcraft, a sandwich chain which was just reviewed in The New York Times ‘Dining In’ section. The prices may be high, but at least the quality is good and the selection is more interesting. And instead of the watery, anemic coffee that was being served last season, there is an Italian espresso and cappuccino bar which serves free steaming hot, strong, dark java (and you can even order a decaf).
Now for the bad news. Kohler’s invitingly chic and appealing designer show house-worthy latrines are now history and in their place are the familiar porto sans that we all came to ‘love’ and expect with little room to hang a bag, a jacket, or anything else for that matter. Oh well, I guess you can’t have everything. And quite frankly, vis-a-vis what’s going on the in the world, with nearly 250,000 of our fellow American citizens from the gulf coast having lost their lives, their loved ones, their jobs, their homes, and their way of life, this hardly seems like an unbearable or insurmountable inconvenience.