fashion week diary

Lynn Yaeger: Who’s Jason Wu Dressing Now?

Veteran fashion critic Lynn Yaeger is roaming the tents for us and blogging up a storm. Here’s her latest report.

Are the big bowls of French fries at the Couture’s Council Cipriani luncheon for Dries van Noten put there simply to taunt the fashion types in attendance? Or are they meant to herald a whole new age where we don’t care if we’re chubby — why should we worry abut the old rules when we could all lose our jobs tomorrow?

As it turns out, the fries are the national food of Antwerp and are being served in honor of Dries’s hometown. But their incongruity is emblematic of the crazy week ahead: How do you present clothes on runways as if nothing has happened since last September?

It turns out you just do it. Or die trying. At Vena Cava, Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces serenade us with the cheery “He beat me, he banged me, I wish I was single again” as a parade of pretty, if slightly tame, printed frocks swish down the runway; at Jason Wu, the mirrored runway is being sprayed to a murderously slippery gloss with Windex until the very moment the show begins. The feathered mini-frocks prompt my seatmate to observe, “I guess he’s not dressing the First Lady anymore.” “Well, maybe Carla,” I reply. “Or the First Lady of Russia,” he says.

The last look presented at Charlotte Ronson, a slot that was traditionally reserved for a bride (well, okay, back in the days when Mrs. Vreeland was in the house), is a model wearing a black leather motorcycle jacket with leg-o’-mutton sleeves, a sort of Dylan McKay–meets–Laura Ingalls Wilder affair and the first thing I see that I would like to own, though I suspect it may give a whole new meaning to mutton dressed as lamb.

The considerable affection I have for Cushnie et Ochs’s slinky, artfully cut-out dresses is mitigated by my horror at the towering gladiator heels the models are wearing, even if they are hardly the only designers putting their models in these antediluvian, misogynist examples of modern torture. In fact, lots of people in the audience, who are ostensibly working press and buyers, have trussed their feet in similar footwear. Ladies, why will we cling so fiercely to the chains that bind us?

If most of the clothes on the runways so far have been slithery and pale, the people at rag & bone at least seem to appreciate that not everyone is planning to spend next summer at the Hotel Quisisana in Capri. Their show begins with a group of rough-and-ready basics in army green, decorated with brooches based on military medals.

The shoes at rag & bone are relatively more practical wedges (not that I could walk in them), but real relief is in store for the models at the Erin Wasson x RVCA show, where they are allowed to rest their dogs in what seem to be distant cousins of Frye boots. As a parade of lovelies saunters out in tiny studded dresses, holey sweaters, a T-shirt that reads Keep It Neil (why?), and other examples of dirty-sexy clothes that don’t look like they cost much money, a guy I assume is a member of Gang Gang Dance, playing throughout the show, waves a black plastic flag, working hard to keep the banner of anarchism aloft over Bryant Park.

Lynn Yaeger: Who’s Jason Wu Dressing Now?