I have never found New York Fashion Week quite so depressing as I did yesterday. Perhaps it was the rain, that unsteady drizzle that occasionally gave way to actual downpours and continually threatened to derail the street style show on the sidewalks. Perhaps it was those ever-growing hordes of photographers, taking shelter under awnings, bridges, and gifted Y-3 raincoats. Perhaps it was the neon vest-clad security, ushering away poseurs and documenters alike from the parking lot ramps, intersections, and other semi-interesting backdrops that we sought out amidst the chaos and construction. Or perhaps it was that odor of desperation that seems to cling more and more forcefully to the bloggers, "influencers," and other would-be fashion insiders that descend on fashion week like mosquitos on a picnic each season. Whatever magic NYFW once held for me, I didn't feel it yesterday.
But that's ok. I wasn't alone. The other photographers were largely in a foul mood too. Editors refused to stop. Models fled the scene as quickly as they could. I felt deeply cynical about fashion week, and had all sorts of half-baked social theories to employ to justify the feeling. Most of them begin with the descriptor "neoliberal." But it's not as if there is an easy culprit to blame for the exhausting spectacle fashion week has become. No one, after all, is more cynical about fashion week than the people employed in the fashion industry. They are tired of being sized-up by street style photographers, tired of having to fight their way into shows, tired of running madly across town from one show to the next.
Nonetheless, the efforts to rid fashion week of its circus-like qualities, at least for me, have made fashion week even more depressing this season. The last five years of shows at Lincoln Center had generated its own merry band of misfits who hung out in the courtyard waiting to be noticed. They wore outlandish outfits, they courted photographers, they did what they could to catch the attention of the industry. With the change of venue to Skylight Moynihan Station and Skylight Clarkson Square (along with dozens of other off-site venues) there is officially nowhere for the fashion wannabes to hang out. Call it fashion week's new zoning policy. Like a city enacting ordinances to keep the homeless out of its town center, fashion week has pushed the misfits further to the margins.
So that's enough self-pity for one post. There is still plenty of excitement to go around at fashion week, and I am going back out on Sunday, determined to experience it. In the meantime, enjoy this shot of Gilda Ambrosio from Grazia Magazine, one of my favorite shots from yesterday.