NEW YORK, United States — It's no secret. Fashion folk love to chatter. So what were the topics that dominated the conversation in the back of taxis and towncars as industry insiders hopped from show to show this weekend at New York Fashion Week?
Top of the list was Alexander Wang’s choice of show venue. In icy, subzero conditions that had many editors doubling up on winter parkas, negotiating the spider web of Manhattan traffic — from Lincoln Center to Spring Studios’ Tribeca showspace — was already a challenge. Then Alexander Wang decided to show in Brooklyn.
Upon a rotating set, fitted with silver heating ducts inside Duggal Greenhouse, a 100,000-square-foot industrial space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the young designer showed a series of striking looks, culminating in a finale of heat-sensitive garments in purple, green and blue. It was a Paris-scale production and a fine collection. But the question on everyone’s lips was plain: was it worth the trek?
Along with his invitations, Wang sent out discount codes for iPhone car service Uber and a map with directions to the showspace. He even went so far as to organise buses and water taxis to ferry attendees to and from Manhattan. But Alexander Fury, The Independent's fashion editor, summed up what many were thinking when he tweeted: “I'm supposed to get a BOAT to see Alex Wang? You're not Galliano, mate.”
I'm supposed to get a BOAT to see Alex Wang? You're not Galliano, mate.
— Alexander Fury (@AlexanderFury) February 6, 2014
As it turns out, the commute to Brooklyn was long but manageable. But entering and exiting the venue via a single-lane road, choked with black towncars and puzzled drivers (some searching post-show in the snow for their marooned passengers) quickly descended into a logistical nightmare that took some attendees over an hour to escape. What’s more, several said that the show could easily have been held in Manhattan at a suitably large space, like one of the many piers on the city’s Westside.
The dramatic finale of Wang, following the dramatic finale of getting to Wang. http://t.co/AwWEMpVCwd
— Christina Binkley (@BinkleyOnStyle) February 9, 2014
But the hubbub over Mr Wang's show was nothing to compare with the furore that erupted when a publicist for Valentino sent out a promotional email containing a picture of actress Amy Adams attending Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s wake holding a Valentino bag with the message, “We are pleased to announce Amy Adams carrying the Valentino Garavany [sic] Rockstud Duble [sic] bag from the Spring/Summer 2014 collection on Feb. 6 in New York.”
It was a clear case of celebrity credits gone mad and had insiders up in arms and shaking their heads in disbelief. Responding to the faux pas, Valentino released a statement soon afterwards saying, “We regret releasing a photo of Amy Adams with a Valentino bag. Unaware of the circumstances it was a mistake and we apologize to Ms. Adams.” But by that point, it was too late. The damage was already done.
— Donna Freydkin (@freydkin) February 7, 2014
On a positive note, it seemed that almost everyone was buzzing about the assured and highly cohesive collection sent out by fast-rising New York label Public School, which elegantly unites urban, hip-hop sensibilities with the stylistic vocabulary of designers like Rick Owens, Helmut Lang and Raf Simons. In a no-nonsense show without extraneous bells and whistles, at Milk Studios, Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne gave a lesson in how to stay focused on what matters most: the product. The clothes spoke for themselves, which is exactly how it should be for labels at this stage of their development.
MyTheresa.com creative director Paula Reed wrote, “If I were a cool young man, I'd wear Public School. What the heck, I may just…” Luckily for Reed, this was Public School’s first collection to include womenswear, which felt like an unforced, natural extension of their menswear.
— Paula Reed (@ProperPaulaReed) September 8, 2013