New York Fashion Week
Sept. 13 to 17
When the Council of Fashion Designers of America released its official schedule for NYFW, it was littered with a single phrase: “digital activation.” (Thankfully, unlike earlier this summer, no one seems to be using the word “phygital.”) In most cases, this means a video, lookbook or a hybrid of the two, all of which will live on the CFDA’s new online platform, Runway360, IMG’s website, nyfw.com, and/or the designers’ social channels.
Because of this, there’s a sense that the playing field has been somewhat leveled between big names — however few they might be — and young designers. (Steven Kolb, the CFDA chief executive, said that 15 new American brands are on the schedule.) Everyone is showing in the same accessible place, with just a couple of outliers hosting events.
While details of the many “activations” aren’t public yet, several designers are using this moment to get more personal, with lookbooks photographed by and starring their friends (as in Sandy Liang’s case) or films about a designer’s cultural heritage (like an “art movie” from Bevza, the minimalist label from Kyiv, Ukraine). Released from traditional formats, brands can afford to be experimental. But in this unusual year, will that translate to more exposure?
Sunday, Sept. 13: Jason Wu will open NYFW at 5 p.m. with a runway show on the rooftop of Spring Studios. With a socially distant audience not exceeding 30 people, he’s one of just a handful of New York designers planning physical events this season. But don’t expect to see any of Mr. Wu’s signature red carpet dresses. He’ll be showing his contemporary line.
At 7:30 p.m., Harlem’s Fashion Row will host an online gala, honoring the Teen Vogue editor Lindsay Peoples Wagner, the British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, the publicist Nate Hinton and the Pyer Moss founder Kerby Jean Raymond (whose design award will be presented by Tracee Ellis Ross). Three designers — Kimberly Goldson, Rich Fresh and Kristian Loren — will then present collections.
Monday, Sept. 14: Let the digital activations begin; there are more than a dozen scheduled today. The biggest name, Carolina Herrera, will release a film at 10 a.m. It will not feature a new collection but rather a conversation between Mrs. Herrera and the label’s creative director Wes Gordon. Other designers with undisclosed digital plans include Marchesa (9 a.m.) and Collina Strada (1 p.m.) — a label that, in the Before Times, themed its colorful shows around environmental consciousness.
Ending the day is Imitation of Christ, the extremely aughts fashion/conceptual art collective. The label returned from a seven-year hiatus earlier this summer for a political protest show in Los Angeles, with three young artists acting as the new creative directors. At 9 p.m., they’ll go live with a “guerrilla-style screening” in New York and Los Angeles.
Tuesday, Sept. 15: New York Men’s Day will take place. Last season Aaron Potts, the Detroit-born Brooklynite proved himself a designer to watch with a “transeasonal, gender fluid” and, more radically, transgenerational collection that almost suffered from a surfeit of ideas. Mr. Potts (or apotts, as his label is known) appears as part of the daylong Runway360 roster that this season has brought the influential, if sometimes uncommercial, independent New York Men’s Day under the CFDA production umbrella.
Also showing are regulars like David Hart (won’t some label give this talented guy a gig as creative director?) and Timo Weiland, alongside newcomers to the local landscape like Future Lovers of Tomorrow, Teddy Vonranson and Wataru Tominaga, the Japanese designer whose boxy skate boy silhouettes and trippy pixilated patterns (think explosion in the gift wrap department at the stationery superstore Itoya) should revitalize retinas rendered numb by a steady stream of video presentations and designer lookbooks.
In real-life fashion event news, Rebecca Minkoff will take over the Spring Studios rooftop at 5 p.m. for a collection presentation — which will be streamed on nyfw.com at noon on Wednesday. Otherwise, expect more digital presentations from fashion week regulars including Anna Sui (9:30 a.m.), Badgley Mischka (10 a.m.) Naeem Khan (11 a.m.) and, later on, Chromat (4 p.m.).
Wednesday, Sept. 16: It’s the last full day of NYFW. Do you feel digitally activated yet? A live Eckhaus Latta presentation begins at 6 p.m., followed by Tom Ford, the CFDA chairman, who showed in Los Angeles instead of New York last season, and whose plans for this season include — you guessed it — uploading imagery to Runway360 at 7 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 17: At 2 p.m., Christian Siriano will stage an outdoor runway show in Connecticut, closing out New York Fashion Week (or … Tristate Fashion Week?).
Throughout the week, there will also be talks streamed on IMG’s nyfw.com with designers like Proenza Schouler (Monday) and a town hall with the newly formed Black in Fashion Council (Thursday). IMG has also partnered with Fashion Our Future 2020, a voting registration campaign, to host virtual programming and merch drops (including from Virgil Abloh) during NYFW.
Some New York designers are planning their digital presentations slightly off-calendar. On Sept. 22, Coach will release photos of its spring collection — mixed with vintage and archival Coach wear — taken by Juergen Teller.
Missing: There are so many! But to name a few: Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Prabal Gurung, Gabriela Hearst (she’s going to Paris — at some point) and Michael Kors, who plans to reduce his show collections to a mere two a year (men’s and woman’s combined), which he will unveil on a calendar more akin to the old New York Fashion Week. You know, the way it was before 1998, when it came after the European shows, till Helmut Lang got sick of everyone saying New York designers were copying the Europeans and jumped the queue to early September.
According to an announcement, the spring/summer 2021 Michael Kors Collection “will be presented sometime between mid-October and mid-November 2020, with the format of the presentation still currently under exploration.” The fall-winter collection will take place “sometime between mid-March and mid-April.”
Vague enough for you? The idea is to shrink the time between seeing and shopping, though retailers will get an early viewing.