Fashion week hit with a mega bang after a two-year Covid lull in 2020 and 2021, with New York proving it is a force with which to be reckoned. One hundred nine designers and brands will showcase their wares from Wednesday, September 7th through Wednesday, September 14th, despite the official calendar starting Friday, September 9th. Remember in 2017 when Vogue breathlessly reported that Altuzarra and Proenza Schouler had ditched New York for Paris? Take note Big Apple fans as Altuzarra, Hilfiger, Schouler, Narciso Rodriguez, and Tom Ford came crawling back with their tail between their legs to debut their latest and greatest designs.
The quality of attendees and excitement of New York is too irresistible to ignore. The week’s highlight was Italian fashion powerhouses, Fendi and Marni, dumping millions into the New York economy with blowout parties and over-the-top fashion shows. Despite the official Fashion Week hub of Spring Studios, nearly every designer showcased offsite in either Brooklyn or downtown New York forcing influencers to endure long and pricey Uber rides. (The two most annoying terms of 2022 are influencers and GOAT).
Beginning on Wednesday, September 7th, Victor de Souza regaled Water Street with a dynamite collection that featured studded jackets, ruffled wedding gowns, and diamond masks. Wednesday night, Diesel held a party at 140 Stewart Avenue in Brooklyn that was loud and dark and contained a couple of big or “small” models -Joan Smalls amongst them.
Most of the fashion crowd was sleeping to rest up for the September 8th Saks party, which ushers in every New York fashion week with a lively red carpet and A-list entertainment. Surprisingly few celebrities showed, and singer Chloe Bailey delivered a lackluster performance; however, palpable energy pervaded the wildly groomed guests as Bar Refaeli, and ubiquitous basketballer James Harden fraternized enthusiastically.
Party-loving mayor Eric Adams hosted his Thursday night shindig at Gracie Mansion with Anna Wintour, where he astoundingly declared, “I love clothing… fashion plays a major role in my personal life.” I wish fighting crime was equally pivotal to this politician who is out a minimum of five nights a week showcasing his latest attire.
In case you were unsure whether he was using his position to social climb to the upper echelons of New York society, Adams declared the global director of Vogue, Anna Wintour, a good friend whom he texts at 1 AM in the morning. Adams continually justifies his late-night socializing with the uber-wealthy as part of helping New York get back on its feet – while his feet are extremely busy heading from one A-list event to another.
September 9th was the biggest day of fashion week as Fendi spread its powerful wings with an epic show at the Hammerstein Ballroom at 8 PM, along with two afterparties at Indochine and Le Pavillon. Harper’s Bazaar put up a good fight in the Friday night party wars as it collaborated with Bloomingdale’s, celebrating their 150th anniversary for a well-attended soiree.
The old days where Bazaar shelled out big bucks at the Plaza Hotel for “icons” to frolic in black tie and gowns were gone as it was clear Bloomingdale’s paid big for Bazaar’s guest list of editors for the Icons issue Carine Roitfeld was an unfortunate no-show. However, luminaries Heidi Klum, Julia Fox, Maye Musk, Drew Barrymore, and Lori Harvey, along with entertainer Jack Harlow, graced the festivities, including pinball games, magazine kiosks, and apparel all emblazoned with Bloomingdale’s 150th year.
Longing for the Plaza Hotel, earlier that evening, I headed to the 6:30 PM September 9th Sherri Hill show, where there were more beautiful girls in the audience and on the runway than Victoria’s Secret tryout. Hair extensions, curls, and lots of makeup accompanied by frothy, feminine, and fun attire were the order of the day – an undeniable throwback to the Pre-Me Too era without a plus-sized model or black leather outfit anywhere in the vicinity of 59th Street and 5th Avenue.
The next stop was Hammerstein ballroom, where Fendi greeted thousands of anxious fashionistas to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its Baguette in the center of New York mayhem – 34th street and 9th Avenue.
The notion of a bag drawing thousands to a venue for a multi-day celebration was disconcerting, but spending $200,000 on a Fendi fur is equally nonsensical. The unbearable traffic had me walking three avenue blocks in four-inch heels amidst unpleasant humidity. The red carpet, which was a boring beige and silver pallor with the Fendi sign emblazoned in the back, contained Grace Jones, Christy Turlington and her gorgeous daughter Grace Burns, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Moss, and Kim Kardashian (who for once did not officially pose), Jocelyn Wildenstein and her boyfriend,
Lloyd Klein (who must be a significant purchaser of Fendi), Olivia Culpo, Winnie Harlow, and the little-known in the United States actor Lee Min-ho. Lee, the South Korean Elvis with 30.7 million Instagram followers, was flanked all night by zealous fans desperate for a selfie. I was more excited to speak with up-and-coming actor Nicholas Galitzine who starred in the Netflix hit “Purple Hearts” – a top five Netflix movie despite its meager budget of $10 million.
The show was typical Fendi with big fur-brimmed hats, multiple iterations of the Baguette, and neon-colored pants and jumpsuits – I was surprised there were no anti-fur activists to enliven the predictable proceedings. Trotting out the ubiquitous and shorter-than-anticipated Bella Hadid for the finale in a plunging plumber turquoise jumpsuit was another ho-hum moment. Hadid has little cleavage and even less personality as her bored-looking face epitomized the moment.
There was undoubtedly a nod to the 90s as Linda Evangelista – whom few in the crowd recognized – joined Fendi collaborator Marc Jacobs for a concluding standing ovation. Marc proudly revealed his new face, courtesy of Dr. Andrew Jacono, whose number he may have passed to Linda – who also appeared remarkably taut as supermodel colleagues Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow, Christy Turlington, and Kate Moss hollered with approval.
A mirror doubling the show’s effect and highlighting the models at the conclusion was a gimmicky effect but not as earth-shattering as hoped. Fendi continued its spending spree by renting out Indochine and Le Pavillon for a late night dinner and cocktails, where Naomi Campbell, Kim Kardashian, and Bella Hadid joined in singing Happy Birthday to Catwoman Jocelyn Wildenstein – I wonder how many millions her cake costs.
Marni was another overhyped disappointment as Brooklyn, and the arches of the Manhattan Bridge once again became the venue for a 9 PM Saturday night collection. This was the first time they were showing outside Milan. Despite the starry crowd of Madonna, Kendall Jenner, and Doja Cat, along with the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, the clothing left me dejected and dissatisfied.
The models looked angry, unattractive, and dour; there was not one item to be coveted. The rounded shapes and cheap-looking material evoked H&M, while the chopped-up attire appeared rushed and unfinished. One plus-sized model after another strutted down the runway showing that even the Europeans are done with miniature sizes.
However, some attire was more appropriate for Planet Fitness than a high-end runway. My weekend concluded with the show-stopping collection of Tommy Hilfiger. After a two-hour Uber ride to Brooklyn’s Skyline Drive-In, attendees were greeted by torrential rain and hordes of celebrities, including Kris Jenner, Kate Moss, Shawn Mendes, Thalía, John Legend, and dozens of others. Although the clothing was predictable, Tommy was expertly showcased with models Julia Fox, Winnie Harlow, and Ashley Graham joining the finale, where drum player Travis Barker wowed the audience with a one-two punch.
Ironically, the rain heightened the excitement of the evening as nobody does celebrity extravaganza better than Hilfiger. This “it” event of the week was live-streamed to Roblox users in a “see now buy now” first. Stay tuned for the close of fashion week on Wednesday, September 14th, where iconoclast Marc Jacobs will be replaced by a predictable Tom Ford and The Blonds, Michael Kors, and Vivienne Tam.
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