Fashion Week Preview: Let the shows begin!

OPINION - From September 8th until September 15th, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week will be "location central" for the tiny universe of editors, buyers, stylists, and bloggers...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

So what, we are in a near depression.

So what there was no job growth in August.

The shows must still go on — the shows that equal Fashion Week, that is.

From today, September 8th until September 15th, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week will be “location central” for the tiny universe of editors, buyers, stylists, and bloggers whose very livelihood depends upon what happens under the tents at Lincoln Center.

Trust that fashion designers are praying that despite the continued downturn in our economy, buyers will be attending shows, ready to place orders that, in turn, the world of consumers will stand ready to buy.

It will be interesting to see what designers present in this type of economy. I’ve been covering Fashion Week for many years now, and have noticed a trend. Typically whatever is going on in our world is reflected back through fashion designers’ inspiration.

When we have been at war (as we are now), there’s plenty of Army green, camouflage and military attire. When people are broke (as we are now), many designers err on the side of conservatism, featuring classic silhouettes more frequently than daring looks. When people feel desperate (as many do now), some designers present “the great escape,” showcasing fantastical or shocking clothing that makes more of a statement about the subconscious state of mind than about what one should wear to work or a party or, frankly, anywhere. When people feel afraid about the future (as plenty do now), we often see a mix of dark cloaking and monastic draping.

I predict we will see a bit of all of that — even though we will be looking at designers’ presentations for Spring/Summer 2012. While we are bound to see some color (it is about the season of vibrancy after all) I’ll bet we will see more tempered tones; more gloomy glam.

It will be interesting to see if my predictions bear out. I promise to share with you what I see during this season’s Fashion Week. I will be attending many of the shows. I plan to talk to editors, stylists, photographers and designers to take the temperature on what we will be seeing. I definitely hope to snag Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley, style maven June Ambrose, Essence magazine’s new editor-in-chief Constance C.R. White, fashion designer Tracy Reese, the African designers who are coming courtesy of Arise magazine, a hot book out of Nigeria, and plenty more.

My plan is to check out the shows in the tents as well as the show that happens on the plaza at Lincoln Center where people who are not invited to enter the hallowed halls of the invitation-only venue congregate to see and be seen. Last year I met a lovely young woman, Shavonne Cooper, who was showcasing her maiden collection on the plaza steps. She has kept in touch and is now raising money to get her line back out there again.

I definitely will be paying attention to what designers of color are doing. Right now the list is still pretty short for participation during show week. I’m sure that Tracy Reese, b Michael, Stephen Burrows, and Edwing D’Angelo are showing. Plus, Harlem’s Fashion Row will be featuring new talent the day after the Collections officially end.

For now, I’m headed to the shows of Day 1. And then I’ll be out this evening for Fashion’s Night Out — an idea that Vogue’s Anna Wintour had last year to get consumers into the stores making purchases. Celebs will be at some of these events: Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett at Giorgio Armani, Pharrell at Billionaire Boys Club, Carmelo Anthony and LaLa at Rag and Bone, Lafayette 148’s Edward Wilkerson and Jones New York’s Lloyd Boston at Lord & Taylor, Diddy, Rachel Roy and Amare Stoudimare at Macy’s. And that’s just a taste.

It’s on.