New York Fashion Week: A primer

It might be cold and slushy and wholly unappealing in New York, but the fashion industry has pulled up its designer  bootstraps and stormed the city for its biannual powwow, New York Fashion Week, anyway.

Does it matter to modern women what leather crop tops and sky-high heels models wear on the catwalks, when those when those runways are the furthest thing from our own workplaces? Perhaps only if you believe that line in “The Devil Wears Prada” that it will all come trickling down eventually, “to some tragic Casual Corner” frequented by us. In the meantime, it’s fun to dream.

New York Fashion Week, which kicked off Thursday, brings us a look largely at the collections of American design houses. In recent years, the fashion press has kept close tabs on New York’s young turks, including Jason Wu, Peter Som (both of whom will present Friday); Alexander Wang (Saturday); Yigal Azrouel, Band of Outsiders and Opening Ceremony (Sunday); and The Row and  3.1 Philip Lim  (presenting Monday). Each season, however, also yields breakout stars.

Washington Post reporters will be reporting from New York all week on Style’s live Fashion Week blog. Plus, get visual updates on your smartphone by following “washingtonpost” on Snapchat and Cameo. Now get up to speed on Fashion Week with this primer:

Spring is a month away, but the runways will be a blur of coats, boots and fur.


Fashion from the Richard Chai Love Fall 2014 collection on Thursday Feb. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

In February, designers typically show their wares for fall; in September, they look ahead to spring. This week in New York designers are presenting their collections for fall 2014, giving buyers and editors a running start to get clothes and accessories into stores and onto our must-have lists before the season begins. (In retail, timing is everything.) If you’re looking for ideas for spring, New York Magazine has a fine round-up of 14 trends, including Birkenstock-inspired footwear and all things orchid, but you already knew that was coming. Hems seemed longer, trousers made a comeback and things also took a turn for the demure for spring; we wouldn’t be surprised if it stayed that way for fall.

Fashion Week? Try “Fashion Month.”
Editors have taken to calling the collective presentations Fashion Month, and with good reason.  New York Fashion Week will be a breathless run of shows that will continue through Feb. 14 from Lincoln Center to Brooklyn (where  Alexander Wang will present).

Next will come London Fashion Week from Feb. 14-Feb. 18. Once the equivalent of a fashion world trip to Coney Island, London is increasingly viewed as fresh, rather than silly, thanks to the city’s ascendant emerging designers, from Christopher Kane to Erdem, not to mention stalwarts Tom Ford and Burberry. Then it’s off to Milan for shows by Italy’s biggest designers (think: Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and Georgio Armani) from Feb. 19-24. Paris Fashion Week will shut it down, beginning March 4 with Alexander McQueen, Celine and Chloe.

Designers are scattering…
The “tents” at Bryant Park were everything. But New York fashion week, officially known as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, had been in its new perch at Lincoln Center for a scant few years before pretty much every major designer made for the exits this year. “Things fall apart. The Lincoln Center cannot hold,” Matthew Schneier wrote in the New York Times this week. Lincoln Center may have glitzed up its offerings, but shows have still fled uptown, downtown, and, in the case of Wang, taken a cold boat ride across an icky river. For those of us nowhere in the vicinity of Manhattan, none of this will really matter, but expect editors and bloggers to lodge their commuting complaints all over your Twitter feed.

…but one is returning
In October, Marc Jacobs presented his final Louis Vuitton show in Paris as a bleak, black — and quite moving — funeral for his 15-year run. Never mind that it was spring. Jacobs sent black-headdress-clad models down the runway, anyway.

But leaving Vuitton was a move intended to bring Jacobs back to his namesake label as it prepares to offer its stock for sale. But expect to see the change wield an influence over this week’s Marc Jacobs show, too. The line, which has for years hewn to a twee aesthetic over an overtly sexy one, may just be due for some updating.

Find instant fashion gratification on Instagram.

Even before the reviews roll in, the best place to see what’s on the streets and flying down the runways is on Instagram (#nyfw). Some of our favorites to follow: The Post’s Style team (@poststyle); New York Times Fashion @nytimesfashion); photographer/blogger Tamu McPherson (@tamumcpherson); the Blonde Salad’s selfie-inclined Chiara Ferragni (@chiaraferragni) and Man Repeller Leandra Medine (@manrepeller).

To watch videos of the runway shows, or to see stills of the entire collections, check out a couple of our favorites, Style.com and New York Magazine’s The Cut.

Lavanya Ramanathan is a professional eater/drinker/thinker for Weekend and the Going Out Guide. University of Texas. Northwestern University. Rap fan.
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Lavanya Ramanathan · February 7