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Nothing new at New York Fashion Week

A model presents creations from the Tom Ford spring/summer 2019 collection during New York Fashion Week in New York, US. Photo: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

A model presents creations from the Tom Ford spring/summer 2019 collection during New York Fashion Week in New York, US. Photo: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

I don’t think that there has been any modern mainstream film which has managed to delineate the importance of fashion like The Devil Wears Prada. When the hapless and clueless Andrea Sachs sniggers at Miranda Priestly’s pause over which seemingly identical teal belt to choose for a shoot, Miranda shuts her down completely by telling her that contrary to what she may think about fashion and its irrelevance to her life, even the particularly sad-looking cerulean jumper she is wearing is the result of decisions which were once made in the Vogue offices. It was a poignant scene and one which stayed with me.

With New York Fashion Week dominating the international stage in this past week, we got a taste of what the shops are going to offer us next year. However, among the yellows and blues which dominated the catwalks and the larger-than-life silhouettes, there was a sad, ‘blink and miss it’, introspective moment at Tom Ford where the iconic designer said: “I feel that fashion has somehow lost its way, and it’s easy for all of us to be swept up by trends that have lost touch with what women and men actually want to wear... So I didn’t want to make clothes that were ironic or clever, but simply clothes that were beautiful.” There, in a few lines, was a summary of how it felt to see this year’s New York offering.

The vapid confusion of it, the muddled ideas, the half-baked concepts were all overshadowed by Nicki Minaj and Cardi B’s public cat fight

Clothes have always represented the mindset of a society and in an environment which requires less and less depth from its members and where superficiality has become the order of the day, everything becomes empty of meaning. I have often written about how fashion is coming up with nothing new and basically recycling ideas with the hope that things would soon change for the better, but once again I was sorely disappointed.

As the trends become more bombastic and less wearable for no apparent reason (the ability to shock seems to have passed with McQueen’s death), designers seem to be moving further away from trying to create beautiful things and falling into the trap of creating something that is valid for less than five minutes. The quality factor too, which was once so integral to designer clothes, has all but gone down the drain. For the Instagram generation of instant gratification it wouldn’t make sense to demand quality anyway because they won’t be wearing the item next month let alone next year. In this fast, fast world where relevance is calculated through social media likes, we’re all about easy: easy money, easy sex, easy fashion.

For someone like me, this New York Fashion Week brought with it more disappointment. The vapid confusion of it, the muddled ideas, the half-baked concepts were all overshadowed by Nicki Minaj and Cardi B’s public cat fight at a fashion party. Maybe we did get the fashion week we deserved after all.

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