Get Your Wardrobe On

The fashion industry is obsessed with green—the color of military uniforms, army fatigues, and the scads of money it will cost you to buy next fall's designs


Ben Cho has his show at the Salmagundi Club on lower Fifth Avenue and reveals an affection for Schiaparelli-esque surrealism—his dresses are held up on one shoulder by a wooden hand. (Surrealism itself was a reaction to the horrors of World War I.) Not to be outdone, James Coviello sends his models out under the watchful eyes of dead jurors at the American Bar Association. But the star venue of the week is the Box, Serge Becker's new club on Chrystie Street where the Citizens Band, a troupe of cool-kid cabaret artists, perform dressed in Edun's ecologically correct clothes. (The designers of the achingly PC line include Bono's wife.) As further proof that combat fatigue is brimming just below the surface, their program includes downtown darling Lily of the Valley singing Phil Ochs's Vietnam era "Draft Dodger Rag" and actress Zooey Deschanel trilling "When the Lights Go on Again" (not a Con-Ed blackout—it's about the London blitz.) The venue itself, with its faded wallpaper and bordello chandeliers, looks like it could pass for a replica of the Albemarle Club in 1895 where Alfred Lord Douglas's father passed Oscar Wilde that fateful note accusing him of "Posing as a Sodomite."

But just when you think that the New York runways 112 years later offer a lamentable lack of Wilde-worthy transgression, you encounter someone truly oblivious to such plebian concerns as weather and war who would make old Oscar proud. Renowned street photographer Bill Cunningham arrived at the ThreeasFour breathless with excitement over a rare creature he had just encountered preening on the Bryant Park steps wearing a Ralph Lauren upside down. And then there is "It" girl Aimee Phillips at the Box, wearing a down coat cut like a man's tuxedo she had just bought in Tokyo, and the redoubtable club doorman Kenny Kenny at Fashion Week's opening night party, chicly bald and heavily made up and resplendent in a court jester's outfit he confesses is 1980s Norma Kamali.

Even as temperatures climb and battles rage, who says there isn't still time for a little laughter in the dark?

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