Fashion Focus: So Long Bryant Park

February 17, 2010 at 6:02 am (Fashion Focus)

In 2006, Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, pleaded with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to keep New York’s Fashion Week under the tents in Bryant Park.

While Wintour may have won the battle, it seems that due in part to the recession, that Bryant Park Corporation has won the war. After seventeen years in Bryant Park, Fashion Week will relocate to Lincoln Center starting in September 2010, making this week’s runway shows the last in the garment district.

Wintour has been seated front and center at this week’s New York Fashion Week shows, a scene that was well documented in R.J. Cutler’s  The September Issue.

On a rainy afternoon last October, I was one of the last to see The September Issue here in Raleigh. The film closed before I even had the chance to publish my blog post on The September Issue (posted October 18. 2009). It didn’t seem to really matter though that the film had closed here in Raleigh, because my September Issue blog post continues to be one of the most popular posts on this blog. If you missed The September Issue in theaters, fear not fellow fashionistas. The DVD comes out next Tuesday, February 23rd.

As I said last October on this blog, it wasn’t so much the unprecedented access to Wintour that surprised me about the movie, as much as it was the amazing artistry of Vogue’s Creative Director Grace Coddington.  Coddington’s collaboration with Vogue photographers results in visionary photographs, which taken outside the context of the magazine stand alone as works of art. Coddington is also seated front and center at many of this week’s runway shows, along with Vogue’s Editor-at-Large Andre Leon Talley, who is also featured in Cutler’s documentary.

For me, however, this month has been less about fashion and more about fantasy, diving into creating work for my upcoming Through the Looking Glass group exhibition tentatively scheduled to open at Artspace next fall. Coincidentally, while researching Louis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland online this week, I stumbled upon Grace Coddington’s Wonderland inspired photo shoot for Vogue, first published in December 2003, beautifully photographed by Annie Leibovitz. Below you will find a video containing all of the photographs from this spread.

On a sad note, the start of this week’s Fashion Week was plagued by the sudden death of Designer Alexander McQueen. McQueen’s collection was supposed to be shown at New York Fashion Week. The event was cancelled. I stumbled across McQueen’s work online last year and was dazzled by his collection which pushed the envelope.  “McQueen’s pieces were about the extreme. His runway shows featured fashions that reminded me of royal garb, with high collars, super-cinched waists, and hats.” [Elizabeth Wellington, Fashion Columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer] “We are devastated to learn of the death of Alexander McQueen,” said Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue. “He was one of the greatest talents of his generation. . . . In such a short career, Alexander McQueen’s influence was astonishing – from street style to music culture and the world’s museums. His passing marks an insurmountable loss.”

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