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Once upon a time not long ago, I would have been glued to my screen waiting for the livestreams to begin for New York Fashion Week. Bloody hell remember Fashion’s Night Out? I was one of the revellers. The weekend shows were often my favourite because the big hitters showed and then Marc Jacobs closed it off on Tuesday evening. I remember when 7pm meant 7pm not 7:01 and in the other extreme we would wait 45 minutes for shows to start and it didn’t even feel ridiculous because like a Lauryn Hill concert, we’d wait. There was always that thrill of excitement heightened by the fashion faithful on social media, the PR girls who introduced the brands to a new audience of followers who would be consumers; they made fashion fun and accessible and it felt like a community, a fashionable book club with friends all around.
And then fashion went and got a facelift.
Somewhere along the way things got staid. Cold. Out of reach. The new face of fashion did away with the core thing that made it interesting- community. It didn’t matter that we possibly could not afford the clothes off the runway, we were included and applauded our faves hence we saved for the accessories and perfumes; Marc Jacobs had a choke hold on me and my bank account but the fact that the Fran bag and co are back in circulation is a testament to the longevity of that particular vision, the days when designers did not all sew to the whirl of one machine, there was an identity embedded in their collection. Remember the Stam bag? After Jessica Stam? She too is back and to my lasting regret I should have bought the mustard when I could afford to throw away money before mortgage and real life cozzie-livs. Today, the shift in fashion has meant that the fashion girlies have moved on to the next phase of our lives with fond memories of a time when the first week in September meant happy New Year in fashion. And it meant something because September really was our January.
In the past few years, possibly since the onslaught of the pandemic give or take a season or two before, Fashion Week was well on the way before I cottoned on, the excitement has worn off. I am that girl, fashion to my core, having worked in fashion and done the rounds in London, I miss that countdown of excitement and the discovery of what designers deem to be in for the next season, how they aim to coral the masses one way or another in trend led formation. Now, we don’t give it a seconds thought as we scroll through the stills in passing; was that a low slung belt on the runway?!! A CHARM BELT!? Fashion will always be fashion, but I suppose the pandemic lifted the lid on the frailty behind the scenes and as such, when you see how sausage is made you almost certainly lose the taste for it; who wants to see the pig get slaughtered for the bacon?
The continuous dim glimmer of Fashion weeks was only brought home by the departure of Sarah Burton from Alexander McQueen and the appointment of yet another white male designer to fill her boots. It leaves one with a feeling of despair.
I miss the bombast and largesse, I miss the sure footedness and the moments of madness and sheer brilliance, crikey I might even miss the antics of l’enfant terrible. I miss the Jenny say whaaa of the front row, the kerfuffle of the bat-shite crazy trends and that space we hold for the designer making a debut with their fingers crossed as they take the final bow; their fate in the hands of the reviewers and their audience. Fashion is a lot of things, fun and raw, democratic and an absolute dictatorship, loudly crowded and quietly individual, rich in its tapestry of inspiration; watching collections evolve from some random archive of a late and great, to the new money swagger of the here and now, the boldness, the vision, the mastery and the charm of it all. I miss it all and I do hope like Stella, she gets her groove back.