I have a piercing memory from my childhood that creeps up twice a year during one of the most exciting times for any fashion loving man, or woman.
I was eight years old and sitting on our living room floor in Nairobi, watching a news show on CNN where the correspondent, a raven-haired woman in her early 40s with matte red lipstick and a brown turtleneck, was covering the collections during Paris Fashion Week. Behind her, I could make out a gaggle of models walking down a tiny runway while an audience — almost all dressed in black — looked on stoically. There were cameras everywhere, flashing lights and a deep bass pumping through invisible speakers that only seemed to aid the swan-like women in heels. It was one of the most glamorous things I had ever seen, and I wanted to be part of it.
Fast forward a few decades later and this American girl is getting ready to cover her fourth (or fifth) New York Fashion Week, one of the many perks of being a writer.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America’s most important week has become the crown jewel of New York with thousands of people arriving in the city to see what designers believe to be the next “it” item on the trend list. Personally, I arrive for the artistry, the champagne and the possibility of getting a one-on-one interview with a refreshing designer on his/her newest collection.
This season, I’ll be bringing my newfound love for Italian style and sensibility to the runways of the Spring/Summer shows. I’ll be rushing into New York from Turin — a city that has birthed fashion leaders such as Elisa Giordano with her chic line Irreplaceable, Francesca Zambito of Le DangeRouge and stylist Federico Ostinu with this Baroneostu Vintage Shop.
Italians don’t just love glamour, they believe in fashion. Giordano’s Irreplaceable is a cashmere lovers’ dream come true. The luxurious line is exactly what the cool, downtown New York city girl will be wearing this fall or winter — a push on the fact that winter pieces are not restricted to season, and that cashmere is much sexier when fit perfectly. My suggestion? Take a piece from Irreplaceable’s newest collection to breakfast at The Jones before heading to see the TAORAY WANG collection at Spring Studios on Saturday morning.
La DangerRouge is ideally great for the Brooklynite who, post-Hogan McLaughlin show at Pier 59, will head on over to Gallow Green for drinks and people watching, before meeting up with friends for dinner at Colonie. Francesca’s shoes are the definition of a strong woman who takes control of her life and revels in individuality.
For the vintage loving crew, Baroneostu’s collection of tie-dye jackets, worn-in denim, and “made-you-look” T-shirts are available to help one stand out in the crowd of the well-heeled during NYFW. His pieces (which he styles himself) do 90s nostalgia without being kitsch and are remarkably comfortable. Are you grabbing a poke bowl at Chikarashi on Canal street, eating outside in the sun, and then heading over to the Academy of Arts University Graduate Show at the Skylight on Vesey? The Baroneostu “Cosmo” tie-dye jacket is just what you need for the September weather.
It’s true that during our fraught times, things like NYFW can be seen as frivolous, especially when more pressing and heavy issues are brought to our daily attention. But we could also argue that fashion week is just a different way of communicating the world around us — one that brings up important conversations and hopefully, solutions. The economic opportunities for which NYFW brings to the city of New York is just the tip of the iceberg, but we’ll save that for another story.
Given my current Italian influence, I’d like to think of NYFW as a wonderful opportunity to revise and refresh one’s ability to deduce what we deem to be “fashion”. A week focused on creativity, risk and culture, NYFW offers an opportunity for us to be inspired, amazed and downright amused (where need be). My Italian friends are always telling me to “take things easy” and enjoy moments of beauty for what they are — never expecting them to be more or less. I’ll be running around New York City with this in mind, enjoying the creations by designers who hope to reassure us that imagination is not lost, even at the hardest of times.
This is a special coverage for NYFW. Follow the hashtag #AnAmericanGirlInItaly to get daily photos and updates from the collections.