The complaints are percolating about the grueling logistics of this fashion week, with Alexander Wang’s debacle at the top of the list. Yet there’s an irritating righteousness to Wang’s position: Clearly, he doesn’t give a rat’s posterior about the industry audience, and he doesn’t care that we know it. We are free to participate or not as we choose.
More challenging: the waverers, those who want it both ways. They continue to respect the professional audience, and seem to value our presence. Then we show up, and it’s a mess, the original purpose of a fashion show — for a designer to unveil a collection of clothes and for retailers and press to see and evaluate it — now a secondary or lower consideration to the staging of situations worthy of endless Instagram Stories non-arcs: “Here I am at So-and-So show! Will it be worth the traffic? Kisses!”
Diane von Furstenberg’s Jonathan Saunders fell into such a quagmire. Not that his show was an outer-borough travesty. Yet neither was it a reasonable way to see a collection. The door was horrid and once you got in, a dense pack of Champagne-swilling revelers had claimed premium runway viewing in the standing-room-only setup.
Full disclosure: This reviewer was supposed to arrive at the 5 p.m. event 10 minutes early; the day’s earlier schedule didn’t cooperate. Yet while the backstage sound bite is nice, proper viewing of a collection should not require a walk-through outside the context of the show itself. Luckily, a distant column offered an unobstructed, if bad-angle view. Neiman’s Marcus’ Karen Katz was less blessed; standing at the back of a group four- or five-people deep, she couldn’t have seen anything south of the shoulders.
Column aside, standing at a bad angle is not conducive to proper viewing, especially for someone in the habit of paying attention and taking a note or two. Thus a caveat: this review is culled from imperfect in-person viewing and a photo review. A press release acknowledged the style of Andy Warhol Factory girl Jane Forth, a favorite icon of Saunders and the first model von Furstenberg used in the Seventies, While some looks drew straight lines — disco-ready dresses, belted pantsuits, fur collared leather coat — overall, this collection didn’t track tidily from a single retro reference. Rather, it was a diverse lineup unified by an abundance of visual stimuli — color, flowers, stripes, fringe — that Saunders delivered with a range from flamboyant glam to dizzying overload.