Never in a million years did I think I would ever get to see the fashion shows from New York Fashion Week live! And no, I am not special in this regard. Anyone can see them live online, streamed right to your computer for free!
I accidentally came across this discovery when I was watching the documentary, “The Tents” on Netflix. The documentary mentioned that now anyone can watch the fashion shows live online and that it has changed the nature of the fashion business. So I went Googling for the stream and came across the Mercedes-Benz fashion week website.
The Mercedes-Benz fashion week website is an interesting organizational study. There is a daily schedule of shows. You can sign up for a reminder or emails from your favorite designers. When it is time for a particular show, you just log on and wait for the show to start. There you are, front row!
Below are some of the interesting highlights from the shows.
The term “fashionably late” is justly deserved. None of the fashion shows start right on
time. For example, the official start time for Betsey Johnson’s show was 5:00 p.m. At 5:02 p.m., online viewers saw this.
At 5:16, we get a message that the show will begin “momentarily” yet from the image we can see that no one is in their seats.
At 5:21, the seats are starting to fill in.
At 5:28, we are watching people take pictures with their fashionably-dressed iPhones. Note to self: if you are ever on a live stream, do your best to turn to the person next to you and start an actual conversation or at least look around at the scene with interest rather than staring constantly into your smart phone or, worst of all, be shown in the process of taking a self-photo. (It’s practically impossible to look cool while taking a self-photo.)
At 5:36 they start rolling up the carpet to start the show.
A Show and a Performance
Fortunately, these shows are definitely worth the wait! Wow! They are not just fashion shows but also performance art pieces that make a statement about how the designer envisions the clothes should be worn.
Betsy Johnson’s “BJ kicks A” show began with models in bright outfits talking on their cell phones. After about 20 or so models came out, the models took their places on exercise mats on the runway, then “coach” Betsey Johnson came out and led them in exercises!
Yes, actual exercises like push-ups and sit-ups! You had to be a really good model to make this trick work. How do you exercise in designer clothes? Very carefully so as not to sweat in them, I imagine!
Then the show was all over just 10 minutes later! Betsey Johnson came out and turned her signature cartwheel, then fell right into the splits.
At Marc Jacobs’ show, the models wore very sleek and modern clothes with almost no frills to them at all. Dresses and skirts were knee-length. The silhouettes were simple and streamlined. The colors were primarily gray with other tones like muted reds and blues thrown in.
Hair was a big factor in this show. The female models had long, big, teased, curly hair. Makeup emphasized dark red lips and pale skin. The male models had hair that was thick, long and tousled or mohawked on top but shaved close at the nape of the neck. It’s a great look but this is a style that is going to be hard for most men to pull off as an abundance of hair on top of the head becomes a rare commodity with age.
The menswear in this show was really well done. The general style was a tailored top (such as a form-fitting sweater or jacket) with a more relaxed, flowing pant. The pant length was either flood (about mid-calf) worn with a chunky sneaker or boot or extra-long, pooling around the mid-part of the shoe. Menswear is all about subtlety and Marc Jacobs’ rebellion against formal pants was shown in his choice of hem, leaving the rest of the line very classic.
The young models all looked depressed and robotic as they walked the runway. Strangely, this seemed to work with the vibe of the show. It was almost as though the clothes and the show was designed for younger people who are struggling to take on the responsibilities of life. Marc Jacobs seemed to say, “Yes, you are being asked to take on the responsibilities of your parents and grandparents but you are going to do so in your own way. It’s OK to be serious sometimes.”
Like the Betsey Johnson show, this show didn’t last very long, about 11 minutes! At the very end, Marc Jacobs made a super-quick appearance, just poking his head out from behind the backdrop, then disappearing right back behind it. The in-fashion crowd seemed to know that this was all they were going to get and they dispersed immediately after.
This morning was the Vera Wang show. The theme of this show seemed to be “one part shapeless.” In each beige and grey outfit, Vera Wang made one aspect of the outfit not conform in any way to the body. There were huge balloon sleeves, extra folds to widen the hips (you would have to be a 34” hip supermodel to wear this!), peplum, pregnancy-like drapes at the stomach, hoop-like hems on coats and skirts, and armholes slit to the hips. While you may think these looks are completely unwearable, there was one look that I thought really worked. Wang paired oversized capes and jackets that built up the wearer’s shoulders on top with slim miniskirts on the bottom. On the right person, this top-heavy look was fun, fashionable and gave a look of strength.
Vera Wang also showed some interesting black and metallic prints. Like Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang also went with tousled, wavy/curly hair, pale skin and dark plum/red lips for her models.
At the end of the show, also like Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang just barely peeked out from behind the stage to acknowledge the applause and the crowd immediately disbanded.
We are having a ball watching these shows! What a treat! They continue until Valentine’s Day if you are interested in logging on yourself!
P.S. Happy Birthday to my fashionable mom today!
P.P.S. I have no affiliation with any fashion designer or Mercedes-Benz fashion week.