NEW YORK - Fashion insiders pride themselves on being ahead of their time, and, with the start of New York Fashion Week on Thursday, they began previewing the outfits that will land in stores and in magazines for the spring season.
More than 100 previews are on the calendar here for retailers, editors and stylists over the next seven days, before this crowd heads for London, Milan and Paris. The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tents at Lincoln Center serve as one hub, with a smaller but growing second "home" for fashion week in Manhattan's Meatpacking district at Milk Studios. Still other designers, including Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren, choose to have their shows in other locations around the city, which keeps the crowd moving.
"I'm excited because it feels like going back to school. I'm happy to have it all start in New York," said Joe Zee, creative director of Elle magazine.
Zee, who also hosts Sundance Channel's fashion-oriented "All on the Line" TV show, says what he most hopes to see on the catwalks is newness - and no more colorblocking. He likes the look, he explains, but it's a tired trend. Same goes for platform heels. "I know women like it and I know it's more comfortable - and I don't have to wear it - but I'm done with it. I want to see a new idea."
How about happiness? That's what Diane von Furstenberg, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, expects to see a lot of. "I think we're all looking for some lightness and happiness, and I hope I am bringing that to my collection." She shows Sunday at the Lincoln Center tents.
Hilfiger's show will be held at the open-air High Line, an urban park built on an old freight line overlooking the Hudson River, which he describes as an ideal venue for springtime clothes. "I'm always excited for my own shows, but also to see what the other designers are showing; there is a creative energy in the city this time of year that I love."
Von Furstenberg says Fashion Week goes beyond industry insiders now. "People like fashion," she says. "It used to be very trade-oriented, but it's not anymore. It's accessible to everyone because of the Internet, but fashion is glamorous, and it's about dreams and aspiration and desire."