Dream Weavers

The Fall 2002 Fashion Shows

If the great progressive movements of the 1960s (now there was a collective fantasy) escaped some designers' attention, nobody could ignore the sartorial revolution that went along with it. Tommy Hilfiger, who put parkas over business suits (a mixed metaphor, like a sweater with a ball gown or high heels and jeans, that is now so common it is hardly worth remarking on), played the Who's 1965 "My Generation" during his show, but what generation was he rhapsodizing about? The Who's original generation, Hilfiger's own? Those people, now in their fifties, were the first to jettison all the old rules about appropriateness in dress, tossing out neckties and garter belts and making a fetish of comfort. On the other hand, maybe Hilfiger just meant the generation of his mannequins, those fresh-cheeked fellows with the sullen, silly, implacable expressions that male models wear while they make the clothes look good.

It was easy to tell what was on the models' minds at Indigo People, an installation of menswear in a Nolita storefront where the blanket-checked jackets and trousers had a vaguely Tyrolean air, like something Cary Grant might have worn when he wasn't dressed in one of Puffy's three-piece suits. The mannequins stood in rows and the audience streamed past, an innovation that would be welcome at more shows, since, in addition to doing away with the long waits, it allows you to eavesdrop on the models' conversations. The Indigo People may have been dressed like extras in Christmas in Connecticut, but their own thoughts were traveling in dramatically different directions. "That movie Clockwork Orange is really nice, man," one model dressed like an urbane lumberjack whispered to his neighbor, who was wearing plaid moccasins. Maybe he was excited about Alex, the movie's main character, whose Droog outfit—bowler hat, cane, codpiece, and single false eyelash—offered a vision as powerful and lurid as anything cooked up on a runway. In any case, his recommendation came with a caveat: "It's an old movie, though, you know. Seventies or something."

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