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Fashion Week Wraps Up In New York


And we're headed next to fashion week in New York. This is one of the big four see-and-be-seen events on the fashionista calendar along with London, Paris and Milan. Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan is here to talk about that - or rather, is there, but she's here on the line with us right now. Hey, Robin.

ROBIN GIVHAN: Hi there, nice to be here.

MONTAGNE: Well, the whole thing wraps up today - fashion week. What shows just briefly stuck out for you?

GIVHAN: Well, I think much to the chagrin of the fashion industry, the Kanye West show certainly stood out for the sheer massiveness of it.

MONTAGNE: Right, Madison Square Garden, yeah.

GIVHAN: Yes. And Rihanna showed her first collection for Puma which had kind of a goth theme to it as well as a little old-school hip-hop. And then there were some beautiful collections from, you know, our more traditional designers like Joseph Altuzarra and Victoria Beckham. So it's been a pretty good season so far, just in terms of the clothes.

MONTAGNE: Well one thing Tracy Reese, the designer - her new collection is all about lace and very feminine dresses, but also about Detroit.

GIVHAN: It is. And I am a Detroit native so it really hit home for me. And she wanted a different way of showing her collection. And she commissioned a film about the city and about its path and about its future and about the way that it's changing. And she showed the clothes in the context of that film, which I think said a lot about what has long inspired her collections, accented vintage style. And it also said a lot about her and where she came from.

MONTAGNE: Well, let's take a step back and consider the whole notion of these shows - fashion week themselves. There's four big ones. The fashion industry has organized itself around these runway shows forever - big moments, big splashes. But does it - is it going to continue to work when so much is on the Internet, and also people may not be willing to wait six months between seeing something for the season six months ahead on the runway and then being able to wear it?

GIVHAN: Well, that is really the question that has, you know, got the industry up in arms and has the industry really trying a lot of new and, in some cases, interesting things. I mean, some designers have decided to show their collections via Instagram. Others have said, wait a minute, instead of waiting six months, why don't I show my spring collection now because that's the collection that people will be able to buy immediately? Of course, the result was that we were looking at, you know, cotton dresses when it was three degrees outside. So there is still a disconnect. And other designers are saying, wait a minute, I'll show my fall collection, but I'll then allow customers to look at the runway show and then preorder that collection, even though they're still not going to get the clothes for six weeks - six months. So a lot of things, I think, are in flux, as well as the traditional giant runway show, which, I've argued, has been a bit abused by some design houses who didn't really have a big message and probably shouldn't have had their nice T-shirts and track pants on a runway anyway.

MONTAGNE: (Laughter).

GIVHAN: And then there's just the question of, well, if the clothes were really spectacular, wouldn't customers be excited about them six months down the road regardless of their access to them on social media?

MONTAGNE: All right, Robin Givhan writes about fashion for the Washington Post. Thanks very much.

GIVHAN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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