Friday, September 5, 2014

Street Style is Undead: Notes from NYFW SS2015, Day 1

The popular press has a tendency to pronounce things "dead" right at the moment when they are peaking in popularity. Street style photography is the latest victim. Despite a spate of recent reports in major newspapers, including one which quoted me in The Guardian, street style has reached its saturation point. The world has grown weary of pictures of rising style starlets promenading through the pillars of Lincoln Center.They are hungering for something more "authentic," more "genuine," more encrusted with the storied grime of the "real" street. Too bad no one told the street style photographers that. At Lincoln Center yesterday there were more of them than I have ever seen before, easily numbering in the hundreds. And the newbie bloggers and wannabe style stars were there droves. Street style may have had the soul sucked out of it. It may have lost its edge, its grit, and its emphasis on the everyday, but it is very much in motion. Street style is as animated as it has ever been, despite all sorts of proclamations to the contrary. Let's just say that street style is undead. It is a walking animated corpse of what it once was.   
The first day of New York Fashion Week is always a mixture of eager anticipation and grumbling monotony. I ran into a number of bloggers and photographers I have gotten to know these past three seasons, along with a strong contingency of Philly fashion personalities. It felt a little like a class reunion, or perhaps more accurately the first day back at school. The timing was right for that too. There was a good deal of complaining about the heat and the crowd, and no one had quite gotten into their groove yet. I too went back and forth between wanting to be there and wanting to be anywhere else. But I got some good pictures. You will be seeing a bunch of them over the next few weeks. And I got some awful ones you will not be seeing. 

I don't have too much to report to you about changes on the ground. Rumors abounded about Tommy Ton's retirement (which turned out not to be true) and Lady Gaga being turned down at the door (probably also not true, although none of us photographers could decide for sure whether or not that was, in fact, Lady Gaga — most likely not). It felt like the street style trenches of NYFW always feel, only perhaps a bit more. The crowds outside the shows have inflated (after a brief downturn last February), the cameras have gotten more expensive, and the lenses considerably bigger (the trend appearing to be away from the 85mm that used to be standard, towards 70-200mm). The photographers need bigger lenses. There are just too many people in their way.

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