Just about 350 designers showcased their Spring 2014 collections during New York’s Fashion Week held throughout Manhattan. That number is enough to cause magazine editors and buyers to have nervous breakdowns, since they have to slavishly follow a relentless schedule of back to back shows beginning in NY then continuing in London, Milan and Paris.
Fashion has become a rat race on steroids. Consumers are demanding access to luxury as well as to disposable fast fashion. Some big name designers have been working tirelessly to meet demand by designing a minimum of 4 collections in any given year–resort, spring, fall and ready-to-wear. Basically that means they are designing a new collection every month. All this leads me to believe that fashion has gone mad.
I gave into the madness last week when I attended the chock-a-block fashion world at Fashion Week at Lincoln Center last Tuesday to get a glimpse of the street style fashion and set my discerning eyes on what people in the fashion business were wearing as they exited the shows. The rest of the week I spent scouring the shows online, to get a sense of where fashion is going for Spring 2014. It is going, but not exactly where I want to go. There’s no clear direction or message.
Spring 2014 will usher in neutral palettes, especially white, not my fave. Boxy roomy jackets, culottes, other sporty and casual pieces, so sporty and casual a female might be mistaken for a surfer chick. There were some welcome surprises revealed in the Thom Browne and Marc Jacobs shows.
Thom Browne’s show was my favorite for its symbolism, theatrics, architectural construction in the garments and use of latex and rubber. The show took almost an hour to start, then when it did, the models who looked like nurses gone mad after being fired from a mental asylum, walked down the runway handing out white M&Ms in paper cups (how appropriate in a society who pops prescription pills like candy) like zombies, taking their time to exit the runway. This was ‘slow fashion’ and possibly a commentary by Thom that fashion needs to slow THE HELL DOWN in a frenetic, impatient social media engaged society. The show lasted 20 minutes, which is double the amount a normal runway show lasts. Watch the video clip to see for yourself.
I don’t anticipate the world of fashion slowing down soon. I would love designers to vocally rebuff this frenzied pace they are forced to work, in order to produce more collections year round. How can they produce creative pieces with a new sense of direction if they are constantly churning out what the lack luster world of retail encourages them? Hopefully they will reinvent themselves in a world that still innovates. Or will they simply be tossed into a fast fashion conflagration, never to return? Perhaps, but at least there is always Etsy.com or some other fashion site that allows designers to custom produce their garments when customers want them, which gives them better oversight of their stock.
I finish off with final thoughts of what some of the designers showcased for Spring 2014. Also, I had to include my fashion tableaux of some of the editors and fashion notables present at Lincoln Center’s Fashion Week.