fashion week diary

Lynn Yaeger: Recession Fashion Is Medieval Nuns in Glitter Tunics

Veteran fashion critic Lynn Yaeger will be blogging for us during this week of weeks. This is her first dispatch.

There must be someone else taking the subway to Jason Wu on Friday — the way I hear it, editors at all the major mags have tossed their Louboutins and are lately chasing pavements in Uggs — but nobody seems to be headed to a fashion show as I trudge up Tenth Avenue. A half-block away, I make out the trademark blue jacket of Bill Cunningham. I am ashamed to say — but why really? There’s no one else around — that I take out my hairbrush for a quick touch-up.

Why isn’t Michelle texting me? When she was raising money for her husband’s campaign, girlfriend was in communication a hundred times a day. Now I am watching the show of the guy who designed her inaugural gown and … nothing.

Show’s over, it’s time for the tents! I mooch a ride in a cab and arrive in time for a cup of free coffee, which this year is being supplied by McDonald’s. (And I was saving my “Here’s to the Ladies Who Lunch … at McDonald’s” joke for the Carolina Herrera show.) And then go into Charlotte Ronson.

Lindsay’s here! Her gal pal, as the tabloids call her, Samantha, is spinning, and the first tune I hear is Peggy Lee singing, “You had plenty money 1922, you let other women make a fool of you.” (What’s next? “Brother Can You Spare a Dime”?) Lohan is horrifically thin and looks sad, but maybe that’s because I and the hundreds of other people in the tent can’t take our eyes off her.

Rag & bone is conveniently located in a spot that is closer to New Jersey than my apartment. Are there any celebs here? I see Simon Doonan and ask him how it’s going. “Well, retail is … challenging,” he allows. Can I quote you, Simon? “Um, sure! It’s challenging … but great!”

I go home for an hour, then out again to the Prada party, where the draw is that the laundry-bag-like clothes have been styled by Alex White. I close my eyes and see these garments lined up the aisles of Space, the Prada outlet in Woodbury Common. And I’ll probably buy one there, since I am the rare person who actually likes a rumpled laundry-bag look — but not for $2,580, the asking price for a crumpled sleeveless shift.

I start Saturday with a visit to James Coviello’s installation because (1) it’s around the corner from my house, (2) I have always had a soft spot for Coviello’s vintage sensibility, which this year features prints out of Oscar Wilde’s drawing room, and (3) he is showing in a townhouse that reminds me of the sort of the place Lily Bart inhabited before she spiraled down and started hitting the chloral. Is this where the rest of us fashion girls are headed?

With such cheery thoughts dancing in my head, I go to Alexander Wang at Roseland where everyone is very, very cheery, maybe on account of the fact that they are dispensing free alcohol. (The high point for me is the Art Deco bathrooms, which appear to be unchanged since VE Day.)

Then it’s off to Poleci, a new store in the meatpacking district (perfect timing!), where I am struck by a young woman who has “She Don’t Look Back” tattooed between her shoulder blades, followed by a trek back up to 26th and Eleventh for ThreeAsFour, where we are crammed into a freight elevator and then stand around like a herd of sad overdressed cows in a dark room for about a half-hour. “It better be worth it,” someone mutters behind me and surprise, surprise, when we finally get in — it is. Medieval nuns in black and ivory glitter tunics tending bonsais set on mirrored columns! That’s how I want to greet the most fraught era in American history in 70 years!

Lynn Yaeger: Recession Fashion Is Medieval Nuns in Glitter Tunics