This is Michael Madrigale, the sommelier at Bar Boulud. I check in with him frequently during New York Fashion Week.The restaurant is right across from Lincoln Center, and Michael is the most welcoming person in the neighborhood. Michael pours some of the best wines I’ve ever tasted. Wines, in fact, that I would never otherwise have a chance to taste. Tonight he popped the cork on a 1979 Pomerol. It was earthy (he said “leathery”) and long and had a patina, as though of a pair of beloved and well worn boots. Only a very few people have tasted this wine as it now exists. Big grin.
The most common complaints about fashion runways concern the skinniness of models (fair enough) and the freakishly stylized clothes. A look at the comments posted to my column today in The Wall Street Journal (“Six Trends to Watch”) are a good example of how angry many people get about it.
Models shouldn’t be so thin. Fashion people have been conditioned to think that rail-thin is chic, but the rest of the public isn’t fooled. Setting aside all the social-influence concerns, it also doesn’t make business sense to try to sell a product by showing people how impossible it is to use - or wear - it properly. In the Mac v. PC ads, it’s no coincidence that “I”m a Mac” was a cute, slightly grungy laid-back guy-next-door. We might aspire to be like him, or to date him, but he doesn’t look at all impossible.
But freakish clothes? I’m not buying it any longer. Stores should offer plenty of serviceable clothes for people to wear in their everyday lives. But runways are for proposing new looks and attitudes. They aren’t for everyone - just the early adopters and big spenders. That’s their role. Perhaps the problem is that too many designers think they have to show on a runway.
Here’s what to look for, if you’re looking for trends.
Jason Wu will livestream his Feb. 11 New York Fashion show on the Bergdorf website, where some items from his collection will also be for sale, as preorders, on Feb. 16. This comes at the same time that Moda Operandi is launching - a site where shoppers can pre-order other runway looks. Moda’s first sale will be Alexander Wang on Feb. 16, followed by Carolina Herrera and Prabal Gurung.
Yes, people will still have to wait a few months for the clothes to be manufactured and delivered. That’s the way trunk shows have always worked. But this is democracy in action: it used to be that only a select few store customers would be invited to a trunk show. Now they’re becoming open to anyone with an internet connection.
Snow boots: check
Politically correct fake fur coat: check
Vintage fur scarf, politically correct: check
Latest-season party dresses: check
Adaptors for laptop, camera, iPhone, Blackberry: check
Mental note to buy yoga mat for hotel: check