After a long break due to the pandemic, next week New York will regain the energy of physical parades and some big names like Tom Ford or Altuzarra for its “Spring-Summer 2022” Fashion Week. But in the absence of international visitors, the audience will be very American.
Against the backdrop of the health crisis, the last two editions, in September 2020 and February 2021, had been dominated by virtual presentations and parades.
“The virtual and the + in person + parades are now complementary. But there is a real optimism and a lot of enthusiasm for the return of the parades in + live +. There is nothing like it ”, says the CEO of the American Fashion Union (CFDA), Steven Kolb.
In New York, which precedes London, Milan and Paris, there is no shortage of emblematic places and sometimes serves as a setting for the parade, such as the Apollo Theater for Tommy Hilfiger or the atmosphere of Studio 54 for Michael Kors in 2019.
For this women’s fashion week, LaQuan Smith will unveil her collection at the top of the legendary Empire State Building in Manhattan on Thursday evening, closing a day that has already seen Moschino, Sergio Hudson and Carolina Herrera parade, according to the official program. Tuesday, the soul of Collina Strada, Hillary Taymour, should confirm her green fiber with a parade on a rooftop garden in Brooklyn.
“This is an important moment for New York, and we are proud to support the city and the area,” said Michael Kors when announcing his presence. “Resilient and optimistic”, also summarizes Steven Kolb.
Rare thing, Fashion week coincides this year with the traditional Met Gala, a flagship social event for New York fashion, scheduled for Monday and placed under the sign of youth, with singer Billie Eilish, actor Timothée Chalamet , poet Amanda Gorman and tennis player Naomi Osaka as co-chairs.
But in a city bruised by the Covid, and in recent days by historic floods, the return to normal is very gradual, against the backdrop of the threat of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. The organizers had to respect a strict health protocol: compulsory vaccination for all guests and participants, recommended masks – not for models during parades – and reduced public.
According to the CFDA, on an official calendar that includes 91 names, “a large percentage” of parades will take place outdoors, while some brands still rely on the all-virtual.
Another downside, with the closure of American borders to many countries, “many of the traditional international guests of Fashion week will not be able to come”, agrees Steven Kolb.
“It will be a strong American audience, but I have no worries that the impact will also be international”, he assures AFP.
Even before the health crisis, the American market had to deal with large defections like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein or Tommy Hilfiger, eager to change pace or gone to parade elsewhere. New York had also lost figures like Pyer Moss, Rihanna or Victoria Beckham.
This time, the CFDA welcomes the return of Thom Browne and puts forward that of Joseph Altuzarra on the calendar of the edition, which begins on Tuesday with Christian Siriano and Collina Strada and ends on Sunday with Tory Burch, Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford in closing. Next Saturday, when New York commemorates the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, there will be no parade around 9 a.m., when planes hit the World Trade Center towers in 2001 … But the marathon will resume at 10 a.m. .
Also on the calendar are the American-Liberian designer Telfar Clemens, who caused a sensation with his vegan leather bags during the pandemic, or Peter Do, whose first Fashion week is.
“The creators no longer feel the pressure to parade each season, that’s what is very interesting”, emphasizes to AFP Cathleen Sheehan, professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. “It can bring a lot of energy. There is less obligation and less routine ”.