The early reports on Fashion Week, which today begins its final stand at Bryant Park (they move to Lincoln Center next year), are less festive than usual. “FASHION WEAK: WHERE HAS ALL THE GLAMOUR GONE?” says the Post. “The current crop of beer and fast-food labels look like they belong at Talladega, not Bryant Park.” “Fashionistas have turned into recessionistas,” says USA Today, “fearful of spending in a tanking economy.” One designer tells them “designers don’t want to be seen as ‘Marie Antoinettes’ indifferent to economic woes.”
Newsday notices that the the ratio of expensive runway shows versus less-expensive “presentations” has shifted in the latter’s favor: from 174 to 51 last year to 131 to 66 this year. There are four fewer designers showing, and the Daily News tells us to expect fewer celebrities, too, partly because “catwalk venues [are] making way for subdued settings like homes and designers’ own workspaces,” and partly because “the money to pay for front-row seats has evaporated.”
Industry people bravely portray this as a good thing: “It puts the spotlight back on the real stars,” says one, “the designers, the models, the hair and makeup teams.” But in this buzz-driven business, readers and shoppers are more likely to pay attention to Paris Hilton than to, say, Jillian Dempsey.
Fashion bloggers, less addicted to deepthink, don’t seem as gloomy as the papers, and celebrate the event as bluebirds celebrate the spring. “Could a girl already weary with Fashion Week burnout — from viewing a full day of presentations when the Week hasn’t even officially started yet — ask for anything more?!” says Chic Today, reveling in the boldface presence of celebrity models, designers, and stylists.