New York gears up for a downtown Fashion Week crammed with anniversaries and debuts

It’s all about anniversaries in New York this season. Ralph Lauren will celebrate his half-century on Friday, in – where else for the ultimate WASP designer? – Central Park.


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Ralph Lauren - Fall-Winter2018 - Womenswear - New York - © PixelFormula
 
Lauren is America’s most significant fashion creator – meaning the individual who most defined American style; who elevated his fellow citizens to a new level of sophistication; the designer who among his peers has had, and aspired to have, more influence on how Americans dressed than any other single person in fashion.
 
Hence, the New York season will reach its apex Friday evening in Central Park when Lauren stages his celebratory show and black tie dinner in the heart of the green oasis, in Bethesda Terrace – an iconic zone, which was a central location in the film version of the musical Hair.
 
The final big moment will be Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty lingerie collection on Wednesday Sept. 12. It speaks volumes about the annihilation of ironic fashion – a movement led by Marc Jacobs for two decades. During his tenure at Louis Vuitton, Jacobs boasted the biggest show in America, now one wonders if his house will survive this decade.
 
Fashion will always love a debut, and all eyes will be on the debut of Irishman Niall Sloan (a Burberry veteran) at lately dormant Escada. One struggles to recall an Irish fashion designer enjoying success in Germany, even if their writers are rightly revered in central Europe.
 
And everyone and his grandmother will attend the proper runway debut of Longchamp. Somewhat staid, and family-owned, this Paris brand has nonetheless cleverly hooked up with the improbable likes of Tracey Emin, and new ambassador Kendall Jenner. It makes its true runway debut in NYC this season, and somehow people are expecting a success.


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Rodarte - Spring-Summer2018 - Womenswear - Paris - © PixelFormula
 
It will also be a biblical moment with the return of the prodigal sons, and daughters. Rodarte is back in the NYC calendar after a hiatus in Paris when the Los Angeles house won a legion of European fans for its ethereal shows during Paris couture.
 
“It’s been a fun ride showing the past two seasons during couture (thank you Chambre Syndicale) but NY will always be home so we are coming back for Spring Summer 2019,” the two Mulleavy sister partners behind Rodarte said on Instagram.
 
Elsewhere, German powerhouse Hugo Boss will stage a runway show without an official creative director – normally a recipe for a disaster. While Jason Wu, who departed Boss recently, and whom most critics and retailers felt did a handsome job injecting some menswear tailoring into Boss, will present his own line independently.
 
Expect a swarm of fashionistas for the opening of an offshoot of cult Corso Como boutique in the South Street Seaport. Though as ever in Manhattan, all roads lead to one location. This season it is the Public Hotel on Christie Street, deep in the Lower East Side. There, CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner Telfar Clemens will toast the season over the weekend with a “VIP dinner.” Much admired insider designer Christian Cowan is also planning a post-show party in the downtown hotel, created by Ian Schrager – the man who invented Studio 54. Even Tommy Hilfiger – who skipped NYC to show his latest see-now-buy-now show in Shanghai, made in collab’ with Lewis Hamilton – will get in on the downtown action. He will celebrate his partnership with the fastest driver in the world in the Public too.
 
With Donald Trump still casting a shadow over the whole season from his uptown tower on 5th Avenue, this should be the most downtown season in eons.

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