published September 4, 2008

Michael Angel

New York fashion week will soon be upon us and the stakes are high. As a member of our London team some seasons back and witnessing the rise of Gareth Pugh, Marios Schwab and Christopher Kane, my expectations are through the roof. Naturally New York is where it’s at. It’s my favorite city and home to my favorite shops, celebrities and personalities. Although many places remain unexplored on my roster of cities to visit, I’m convinced that the world is no match for the Big Apple. However ,in recent years (and several seasons) this city has played it safe. Namely American design. Be it the economy, the fact that we’ve seen it all or our wishing well has dried up is anyone’s guess.

Once upon a time Marc Jacobs was edgy, Proenza and Schouler were the “it boys” and Imitation of Christ was pretty cool. Well it seems we’ve gone officially commercial. After organic diets, Target capsule collections and falls from grace, America’s crass thirst for commerce has gotten the best of its artistic nature. We’ve reached the period where we’ve hit our stride and have surrendered to our comfort zones. Afterall when one discovers a formula that works, why rock the boat? But this isn’t a hitch against the aforementioned. It’s merely a desire to see something new in the city named New York. But all is not lost. For starters Alexander Wang’s fall collection left me wanting more. His neutral palette and industrialized downtown vibe was a perfect contrast to the tailored silhouettes that appeared this season. Other favorites are Rodarte for their ability to blend texture and color and L’Wren Scott for her silhouettes. But most of all I am excited to see what I’ve never seen before. There are a slew of Parson’s Grads vying for the spotlight this season and that’s always a treat. It’ll be an even sweeter treat to see who’s around this time next year.

After season upon season of supremely feminine frocks, I’ve a hunch that we’re in for a return to androgyny or at least a more subversive take on Spring 2009. Pants? Shorts? Hopefully this isn’t too much to ask. However, whatever happens this season, Papierdoll will be there in the trenches, whether sitting front row or standing in the far corners of the room. No designer will be spared. No creation unstudied and no opinion left in question. After all this isn’t politics, it’s fashion.