Rocío ALONSO LOPEZ
7 Sept 2021
After a long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, New York opens its Spring / Summer 2022 Fashion Week with the return of in-person shows, with big names like Tom Ford and Altuzarra.
But Covid-related issues will deprive the event of its usual international variety as it takes place this week.
The pandemic overshadowed the last two fashion weeks, in September 2020 and February 2021, as both were dominated by virtual shows.
Steven Kolb, executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), says he sees space for digital and face-to-face shows.
But “there is a real optimism and energy and enthusiasm to get back to live shows,” he added.
“Of course, there is nothing that can be compared to a live show,” he insisted.
In New York, whose fashion shows precede those in London, Milan and Paris, there is no shortage of shows in iconic venues, such as the Tommy Hilfiger show at the Apollo Theater in 2019 or Michael Kors’ Studio 54 themed event there. anus.
On Thursday night, LaQuan Smith will present his collection atop the Empire State Building, culminating a day that includes shows by Moschino, Sergio Hudson and Carolina Herrera.
On Tuesday, Collina Strada founder Hillary Taymour will confirm her eco-conscious approach with a show on a Brooklyn rooftop garden.
“This is an important time for New York and we are proud to support the city and the industry,” said Michael Kors.
“We are resilient … And we are optimistic“Steven Kolb added.
The Covid factor
This year’s Fashion Week overlaps with the Metropolitan Museum of Art fashion show, a highlight of the city’s social calendar, scheduled for Monday.
This year’s Met Gala has a distinctively youthful stamp, presented by singer Billie Eilish, actor Timothee Chalamet, poet Amanda Gorman and tennis star Naomi Osaka, none of them older than 25 years.
But in a city that has been badly affected by Covid-19, and again in recent days by historic floods, the return to normalcy is slowly occurring.
Organizers of Fashion Week have announced a strict protocol: all guests and participants must be vaccinated, masks are recommended, but not for runway models, and audience size is limited.
According to the CFDA, “a large percentage” of the 91 official events will take place outdoors, while some brands continue to rely on digital presentations.
With travel to the United States still banned from many countries, “many of our regular international guests … will not make it to New York,” Kolb told AFP.
But he insisted that “he is not concerned that the impact does not reach an international audience. It will simply reach them virtually.”
Even before the pandemic, the American fashion world was facing some major defections as brands like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger dropped their high-end lines or moved their shows elsewhere. New York had also lost designers like Pyer Moss, Rihanna, and Victoria Beckham.
This time around, the CFDA has been promoting the return of Thom Browne and Joseph Altuzarra, who had previously left New York for Paris.
The week kicks off squarely on Tuesday with Christian Siriano and Collina Strada.
Also on the calendar are Liberian-American stylist Telfar Clemens, whose bag in an alternative material to leather caused a sensation, and Peter Do, the young designer who grew up on a small farm in Vietnam and is now participating in his first Fashion Week.
The week ends on Sunday with shows from big names like Tory Burch, Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford.
Meanwhile, the pandemic, which at least temporarily downplayed in-person shows, has left some designers with mixed feelings.
“I don’t think designers necessarily feel the pressure to show every season, as some of them perhaps once did,” said Cathleen Sheehan, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
“It’s a huge relief for a lot of brands because the shows are incredibly expensive,” he mentioned.
“It is less of an obligation and more of a routine. There is more freedom,” he said.
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