The New York collections are entering their fifth day — or is it their fifth week? Already we’ve seen enough Miuccia, Jil and Helmut to leave the fashion faithful squirming in their seats. The most interesting notion to emerge so far is the lack of respect shown Tom Ford — save for a few fluffy sweaters on collars, New York has been mostly Gucci-free.
Tacitly or otherwise, just about everyone acknowledges the bottom-line benefits of copying, and New York is not the only city where people are quick to pick up on someone else’s good idea. Although there is some amusement value in seeing exactly which European designers are being ripped off, the important issue is whether all these clothes belong on a runway. Our vote is no. But it’s not merely the overt knockoffs that are distressing. After four days — a total of 45 shows — virtually nothing has happened. Boring!
Despite a few good collections, it’s time to take a good hard look at the schedule, one now filled with virtual unknowns and contemporary copycats. Certainly everyone has a right to be seen, but runway shows aren’t always the best answer. And if the schedule can’t be shortened, maybe it’s time for the major designers to spread out a little — why shouldn’t one or two show on opening day? No news is bad news as far as we’re concerned.

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