New York Fashion Week back on the catwalks



Translated by

Paul Kaplan

Published on

7 sept. 2021

After a long break forced and forced by the pandemic, New York is preparing to host a Spring-Summer 2022 Fashion Week marked by the return of real public parades, organized by big houses like Tom Ford or Altuzarra.


The health restrictions linked to the health crisis will however deprive the event of some of its international guests.

The shadow of the pandemic hung over the last two New York fashion weeks, in September 2020 and February 2021, both largely transformed into digital editions. Steven Kolb, CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), believes there is no need to choose between physical catwalks and digital formats. But he observes “a real optimism, an energy and an enthusiasm around the return of the physical parades”. “Because obviously, nothing compares to a live parade”.

In New York, whose parades precede those in London, Milan and Paris, there is no shortage of iconic sets, such as the Tommy Hilfiger show at the Apollo Theater in 2019 or the event organized by Michael Kors on the theme of Studio 54 the same year.

Thursday evening, LaQuan Smith will present his collection at the top of the Empire State Building, closing a day marked by the parades of Moschino, Sergio Hudson and Carolina Herrera. On Tuesday, the founder of Collina Strada, Hillary Taymour, will unveil her eco-responsible approach through a parade organized on a rooftop garden in Brooklyn.

“This is an important moment for New York. We are proud to lend our support to the city and the entire industry,” said Michael Kors. “We are resilient,” adds Steven Kolb. “And optimistic.”

The Covid factor

This year, Fashion Week coincides with the eccentric Metropolitan Museum of Art ball, a highlight of the city’s social calendar, which will take place on Monday.

The Met Gala is resolutely turned towards the youth, with prestigious guests as singer Billie Eilish, actor Timothée Chalamet, poet Amanda Gorman and tennis star Naomi Osaka, none of whom are over 25 years old.

But in a city hard hit by Covid-19 – and again, in recent days, by historic flooding – the return to normal is slowly being done.

Fashion Week organizers have announced a strict protocol: all guests and participants will need to be vaccinated, face masks will be recommended (except for models), and events will be limited.

According to the CFDA, “a large percentage” of the 91 official events will be held outdoors, and a number of brands continue to rely on digital presentations.

And since travel to the United States is still prohibited from many countries, “a lot of our regular international guests will not be able to make it to New York,” says Steven Kolb.

He is convinced that the impact of the event will still reach an international audience, thanks to its media and digital spinoffs.

“No more routine”

Even ahead of the pandemic, New York Fashion Week had seen major defections – once-loyal houses like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger abandoning their high-end lines or moving their catwalks elsewhere in the world. New York had also lost designers like Pyer Moss, Rihanna and Victoria Beckham.

This season, the CFDA can boast of the return of Thom Browne and Joseph Altuzarra, who had left New York for Paris.

Kick-off on Tuesday, with Christian Siriano and Collina Strada.

Also on the calendar are Liberian-American designer Telfar Clemens, whose vegan leather bag caused a sensation, and Peter Do, a young designer who grew up on a small farm in Vietnam and is now participating in his first week of the fashion.

The week ends Sunday with big names like Tory Burch, Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford. At the same time, some creators are still reluctant to resume their pre-pandemic pace – which has diminished, at least for several seasons, the importance of physical presentations.

“In my opinion, designers no longer necessarily feel the need to show off every season, a pressure that was inevitable in the past,” says Cathleen Sheehan, professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

“It’s a huge relief for a lot of brands, because the catwalks are incredibly expensive.” “They feel less obligated. No more routine. A wind of freedom is blowing over the area.”

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