February 22, 2009

International Fashion fights recession; Runaways from D.C. to Delhi

Fashion Week in DC kicked off with a fashion industry networking party and trunk show. Foreign Exchange (4NXc), CI Sport, Stella Bonds, Diallo of D.C. walked the podium at the Washington Times Building on February 19, 2009. Washington, D.C. is one of other 22 U.S. cities, where Fashion Week is accessible to see and be seen at; NYC and Los Angeles are not the only cities that benefit from the Fashion Week and celebrities can now meet in between the two coasts to attend a Fashion Week. And you don’t have to be 6-2 to attend it either.


(New York fashionistas were eager for Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week in New York)

Other cities and countries that hold Fashion Weeks are Amsterdam (established in 2004), Asuncion (2003), Athens (2000), Auckland (2001), Bangkok (2005), Barcelona (1981), Belgrade (1996), Cape Town (2003), Buenos Aires (2008), Copenhagen (1964), Cyprus (2008), Swahili (2008), Dubai (2006), Dublin (2006), Hong Kong (1968), Johannesburg (2007), Kiev (1997), Kingston (2001), Kuala Lumpur (2007), Lahore (2007), Lisbon, Madrid (1963), Mallorca (2009), Manila (1997), Melbourne, Milan, Montreal, Moscow (1994), Mumbai (2001), New Delhi (2000), Oslo (2004), Paris (1973), Prague (2002), Reykjavik (2000), Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Santiago (2006), Sao Paulo (1995), Sarajevo, Singapore (1987), Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney (1995), Stockholm (1995), Tashkent (2006), Tehran (2006), Ulan Bator (1988), Vancouver (2004), Warsaw (1996), Zagreb (2003.)



(Fashion Week in Berlin, Germany)

But don’t worry, you have not missed it all yet, there is always a magic of Internet, TV, radio and magazines. While you did miss the fashion runaways in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Hong Kong, Dehli and Moscow this year, there is always the magic of Internet, and the fashion fans who transfer and exchange information between the continents in no time. Our reporters in Los Angeles, New York and D.C. have covered it as well, with more detail than I would provide, because the fashion overview of this year’s Fashion Week is not the aim of my article this time, rather snapshots of fashion weeks around the world, women’s attempt to understand models and a bit of how fashion industry copies with the recession is my story today.


(A healthy-looking model at Fashion Week in Lisbon, Portugal)

We do need to admit that women love talking about other women’s sense of fashion and sense of physique – this is natural, as long as it’s not an obsession. Kate Moss is not out of the picture, no matter what the tabloids are predicting, neither she is in a rehab, nor is pregnant, according to the latest news. She might have just gained a pound or two, which on her frame looks like a pregnancy. However, while we got used to Moss’ skinniness, and even grew to love it over the years, the scary thin Lindsay Lohan shocked everyone in-attendance at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Show in New York, including all the people who’ve seen it on photos, not in person. I just wish she does not follow the examples of her personal fashion guru and consultant, Rachel Zoe, who has shrunk to the pea size from her “project” reality show, last season.


(Lindsay Lohan, designer, stylist Rachel Zoe)

On the other hand, we might ask ourselves and them - the models- how can they keep their energy run high and non-stop during a ten-shows-a-day fashion week? It is definitely not a juicy steak with mashed potatoes that they eat in-between the shows. Plus, we all know what a glass of champagne on an empty stomach can do to us. The clothing has been sewed months in advance, so one inch more can do damage to the career of a model; does that mean they stop eating during the show week at all?

Every year I expect that some genius journalist digs in and writes the truth about a “fashion week” diet, because I, along with many other people out there, do not believe that one can be so skinny and still eat like a normal human being out there. That’s the reason film Gia (1998) made such a buzz in film community and brought the starter then, Angelina Jolie, recognition and fame. The film showed the truth, as close as it could get, about the modeling industry, although, there are some exceptions to the rules, which we see in the faces of Heidi Klum, Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington, who have a healthy womanly curvy body. But this is not what my article is about.

Economy didn’t just hurt the financial and real estate sectors, it did damage to fashion world as well. During the New York Fashion Week, for example, most of the designers opt to combine their shows with the other designers (vanity is forgotten during the weak economic times). Other designers chose to showcase the designs made from simple, basic and cheap material, like paper. However, while a few designers let the grim recession mood creep into their collections, others stayed true to the richness and glamour of the fashion world and had their models glitter in gold and fabulousity, showing the autumn-winter 2009-2010 creations that might not be the most applicable outfits to today’s woman, especially the one in the workforce (that is if she is still employed.) Those money set aside on cloths, are now set aside for rent and food.

Designers, who start working on their next year collections months before the actual showcase, like many other industry professionals, could not predict the economic crisis, so a few, if any, designers around the world showed collections tailored to recessed households and individuals. And this applies to shows in London, Paris, Moscow and Delhi. I guess, even during the hard times, a girl wants to dream.

However, there were not many business outfits in the shows anyway; most of the outfits were meant for fab cocktail parties and receptions, such as the ones by Michael Kors, Narciso Rodriquez, Oscar de la Renta, Nanette Lepore and Jason W; Donna Karan and Diane von Furstenberg turned to more “functional” outfits.To the greatest surprise, and at the same time – to the greatest respect, Michelle Obama, who, by the way, graced the March cover of American Vogue, was a no-show at Fashion Week, despite the presence of some of her beloved designers, Jason Wu (Inauguration Ball gown) and Narcisco Rodriguez (Election Night dress). The U.S. First Lady chose not to attend fashion shows in the times when some people can’t even afford to shop cloths at Target, not to mention a $20,000 gown. Instead, she chose to entertain kids at the White House in the celebration of the African-American History Month and to make trips to speak and thank Departments of Transportation and Agriculture – or things and events that matter to the country and people more than fashion.

Still, after years of fashion shows around the world, New York still holds the ‘title’ of being the fashion center of the world, discovering and bringing to local and global fashionistas designers from around the world. Learn more about the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York, and its Fall 2009 / Winter 2010 collections here.

Whereas the most prominent fashion weeks are held in the fashion capitals like Milan, Paris, London and New York, in the early and mid 2000s, fashion weeks sprang up around the globe to draw attention to designers elsewhere. Here are snapshots of Fashion Week in other countries:
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Belgrade, Serbia


Berlin, Germany


Copenhagen, Denmark


Delhi, India


Florence, Italy


Hong Kong, China


Kiev, Ukraine


Lisbon, Portugal


London, UK



Madrid, Spain


Milan, Italy

Moscow, Russia

Paris, France

(Catherine Deneve, French actress, is a regular at fashion shows)

Tashken, Uzbekistan

Check out The Sartorialist for the most happening (and fashionable) faces and clothing on a street today.

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