Are Parties The New Shows?
This season, New York fashion week is all about the parties. Of course, some people—yes, Olivier Zahm, I’m talking to you—might say every season is about the parties. But this time around it feels like the extracurricular activities are threatening to become the main event, with the collections relegated to the role of warm-up act. We may still be in a recession, but apparently there are few more cost-effective brand-building strategies than persuading a celebrity to put her name on the invite and plying a thirsty crew of hipsters and editors with a few hours’ worth of free booze and maybe even some food. Tonight, for example, there is an Agent Provocateur dinner, a launch for Anna Sui’s Target line, a book party for Amanda Brooks given by Diane von Furstenberg, a pair of competing model bashes (courtesy of Women & Supreme and Ford Models, respectively), and the unveiling of Saks’ new designer floor hosted by Charlize Theron and featuring the likes of Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Vera Wang, and, of course, Christian Siriano. And fashion week doesn’t even officially start until tomorrow.
Over the coming nights, all the cool indie mags are throwing the sort of events carefully calibrated to reinforce their status as cool indie mags: the talented and slyly industrious Zahm is ascending to the Standard’s new lounge in the sky for his Purple magazine party; Jefferson Hack’s Another magazine bash is at the Jane; and Dasha Zhukova is unveiling her version of Pop at a location too cool and secret to mention (think the home of a big-shot art dealer). Love‘s Katie Grand, meanwhile, is ganging up with Alexander Wang to take over a gas station on Tenth Avenue (Love‘s owned by Condé Nast so not strictly indie, but you get the point). And here’s the proof that parties are the new shows: None of these London- and Paris-based publications are blowing their carefully husbanded budgets here because they think New York is the fashion capital of the world; they know it’s the buzz capital of the world, the city of eight million paps, bloggers, and Twitpicers. Further proof: Whereas even the most boosterish editor looks at the fashion calendar and feels her steely heart sink a little (20-plus back-to-back shows a day), planning your after-hours schedule is potentially a more rewarding experience (did I mention the free drinks?). Let’s see, it’s Tuesday the 15th, how can you get from the Sartorialist book signing (hey, Scott) to the Coco Before Chanel screening (bonsoir, Audrey), while looking in on the Ron Arad/Notify party at MoMA (hi, Linda Evangelista) and the Dsquared² eyewear launch waythehellover on the West Side Highway (big kiss, J. Lo), and still have enough energy left over for Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld’s shindig at Indochine (bisous, Carine)? This is where Red Bull comes in. Well, Red Bull and other things.
And I haven’t even mentioned half the designer parties (Marc’s doing a little something, of course, with or without Lady Gaga; Gareth Pugh’s hosting a dinner at Milk Studios and he’s not even based in New York; Calvin Klein, whose overachieving PR department may be more responsible than most for making the party as big a deal as the show, is doing dinner at the Standard Grill). My advice to any designer showing between 9 and 11 a.m. on a fashion week morning? Don’t bother stuffing those silly cosmetic freebies in the goody bag: Two Alka-Seltzers will do just fine, and, please, keep the music low.
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