Last season, the biggest news of New York Fashion Week was the shorter, more efficient—and subsequently more jam-packed—schedule. It was CFDA chairman Tom Ford’s first order of business. This season, the calendar is missing some of NYFW’s biggest names, including Ford’s own. He’s showing in L.A., two days before the Oscars. That’s something else that’s new; typically the Academy Awards intersect with Milan Fashion Week.
The upside? The gaps in your day will give you more time to check out the city’s rising talents (Kenneth Nicholson, Dauphinette, and Keenkee included), and if you live in Los Angeles, you’re getting something of a mini Fashion Week of your own. Plenty of other designers are rethinking the fashion-show model entirely, opting for videos and pop-ups in lieu of the catwalk. Here, catch up on everything you need to know before the shows start next week.
Tom Ford Leads the Great California Migration
The Oscars were moved up this year to February 9, smack in the middle of New York Fashion Week. For a designer like Tom Ford, who not only dresses celebrities for the red carpet but invites many of them to sit front row, the obvious answer was to show in L.A., not New York. It follows a similar move he made in 2015, where A-listers including Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Jennifer Lopez attended. His front row will no doubt have just as much star power on February 7 (fingers crossed for Oscar nominees like Charlize Theron, Saoirse Ronan, and Cynthia Erivo).
Baja East’s Scott Studenberg is taking his show west as well; it will take place at the Edition hotel in West Hollywood just a few hours before Ford’s. As a Laurel Canyon resident, the decision makes sense for Studenberg. (Our only question is: Will Billy Porter be there in another remote-controlled accessory?) Margherita Missoni, who took over the M Missoni little-sister line last year, is also heading to L.A. with an event at Pink’s Hot Dogs on February 4. Later in the month on February 22, Los Angeles designer Pierre Davis will stage her latest No Sesso show at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Fashion With a Side of Art and Culture
Speaking of museums, fashion showgoers will spend a lot of time around art this month. Tory Burch is showing uptown at Sotheby’s on February 9, directly followed by Area’s show at the Africa Center (formerly known as the Museum for African Art) on Fifth Avenue. Brandon Maxwell’s show might be the most photogenic of all: He’s staging it at the American Museum of Natural History and will be the first designer to show in the Hall of North American Mammals. We’ll be attending art-filled shows in other cities too; MM6 Maison Margiela and Tommy Hilfiger are both happening at the Tate Modern in London.
The Designers You Won’t See on the NYFW Schedule
Everyone wants to talk about who isn’t showing at New York Fashion Week, so here’s our list: Hilfiger, for starters; Jeremy Scott, who just made the switch to the Paris couture calendar; Phillip Lim, who will host a party in his Great Jones Street store instead; Ralph Lauren, though he may announce alternate plans soon; Matthew Adams Dolan and Maryam Nassir Zadeh, who are both skipping the fall season; and Tanya Taylor, who is forgoing her usual presentation in favor of videos filmed with popular female comedians. In addition to wearing her fall collection in short films, they’ll be featured in her look book. Kate Spade New York is also forgoing a show or presentation and will instead share its fall 2020 collection with fans directly on social media. The brand plans to post short documentary-style video episodes as well as behind-the-scenes imagery leading up to the full lookbook reveal during NYFW Kozaburo Akasaka is also taking a fresh approach to the NYFW model with a monthlong concept shop called Phantom Ranch, where he’ll stock pieces from his personal vintage archive and host craft demonstrations for sakiori weaving. It opens February 6 at 175 Stanton Street on the Lower East Side.
Savage x Fenty Isn’t Showing, Either, But You May Still Get a Rihanna Sighting
Following her blockbuster show at Barclays last September, Rihanna is taking a break from the runway. But her presence will still be felt at NYFW: Her Fenty label is opening a pop-up at Bergdorf Goodman on February 3. The retailer will celebrate with a party on February 7, and rumor has it the Bad Gal herself may even stop by at some point during the week….
Other parties to keep on your radar: Bulgari’s B.Zero1 Rock event at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on February 6, which promises a range of “special performances”; Miu Miu’s screening of its latest Women’s Tales film series on February 11 at the Village East Cinema; and a Khaite x MyTheresa dinner, also on February 11 at the Monkey Bar, featuring a special performance by Maggie Rogers.
The Oscars Will Compete for Your Attention
Collina Strada, Jason Wu, Chromat, Kim Shui, and Palm Angels are all scheduled to take place in the evening on Sunday, right in the middle of the Oscars red carpet and awards show. Let’s just say the Vogue.com team will be working double time. Those designers are likely a bit anxious about their show attendance, but with all the up-to-the-minute coverage of stars’ outfits and the night’s winners, it will be pretty easy to stay caught up in between shows (or when you’re sitting in your seat waiting 30 minutes for one to start).
How Will Designers Address Sustainability?
Despite our best efforts to take the subway, carry a reusable water bottle, and shop more consciously, there’s no escaping the fact that Fashion Week is just not that sustainable. A runway show itself can result in a mountain of waste and require tons of energy to produce, and when you factor in the trains, planes, and automobiles people take to get there, it’s staggering that the main event lasts for just 10 minutes. That said, designers seem to be taking their carbon footprints more seriously this season; we’re expecting fewer plastic water bottles and show notes that outline how a runway’s set will be recycled or reused. At the ClimateNow conference in Paris this week, EcoAct director Cristina Raventós, who helped Gabriela Hearst stage her carbon-neutral show in September, revealed that her team has been working with other brands to do the same. Hearst even insisted on electricity-free hair and makeup, and her slicked-back ponytails tied with leather became a favorite look of the season.
Following Extinction Rebellion’s “die-ins” and protests at London Fashion Week last year, we’re also expecting X.R.’s New York team to take action during the shows next week. Yes, designers are making sustainability a bigger priority, but Extinction Rebellion’s argument is that Fashion Week shouldn’t exist at all because the model itself drives consumer desire for constant new clothes (and, as a result, constant thrown-out clothes). If and when anything happens, we’ll be reporting on it first, so watch this space for updates.
Don’t Skip Out on the New Guard
New York Fashion Week has always been a place to discover young talent, and the fall 2020 schedule is full of new names we’re excited about. Among them are Keenkee, a New York menswear label founded in 2018 by Seoul-born designer Kee Kim; Dauphinette, a wanderlust-y line of feather-trimmed dresses and flower jewelry by Olivia Cheng; Overcoat, a new project by men’s designer Ryuhei Oomaru; Slashed by Tia, the Renaissance-inspired line by Tia Adeola; and Kenneth Nicholson, whose gender-bending menswear pulls inspiration from art history and his own background in the U.S. Navy.
The New Hangouts of New York Fashion Week
The weather in February can be brutal, so finding a good place to decamp between shows—and grab a bite to eat, if you’re lucky—is crucial. Locals and international folks traveling to NYC for the week should bookmark the city’s popular new spots on Google Maps now: If you’re in Gramercy or Midtown, you’ll want to head to Veronika, the gorgeous new Roman and Williams–designed restaurant in the Fotografiska photography center. In the West Village? Try your luck at Anton’s, a new old-school Italian restaurant by Nick Anderer. And if you find yourself in Chinatown or the Lower East Side, you won’t want to miss Ernesto’s, a new Basque eatery by Ryan Bartlow. Here’s to a week of great fashion and a few good meals too.