In New York City you know the seasons are about to change when those long stalks of reeds start sprouting up in the street. Pale with hollow stems, and sharp bladed leaves, they sway in groups casting minimal shadow but attracting maximum attention. Models. Clumps have been spotted all over the cobblestones of Soho for the past week making all of us feel dumpy and unkempt. With bony fingers, they clutch their black books filled with pictures of themselves as if they might disappear without photographic evidence that they are indeed there, that they exist. They are flesh and blood, just not a lot of either.
Today dawns a new Fashion Week in New York City. Just as I am craving the warm layers of autumnal clothes and my feet are longing to be reunited with boots, they will reveal to us the trends for next Spring. As I write this, excitement is building and catwalks are being assembled, anticipation rising like the clouds of condensation from the city’s manholes. I observe the proceedings from a different viewpoint this time, away from the banging of hammers and fumbling with complicated buttons and musings on a smoky eye.
I am not alone. Here the majority of the city goes about its own affairs. But small pockets of highly emotional individuals in midtown studios are subsisting in a caffeine-fuelled, sleep deprived haze of panic.
New York’s not like Milan where Fashion Week takes over and says, “This is my world. You just live in it.” New York has too many options, too much going on. That’s probably why I love it. Too many competing industries make this panting, sweating, preening city thrive. This Fashion Week, which will reportedly bring $860 million into the city, does not command centre stage; it shares billing.
Tonight I will attend a show featuring final collections from some of my students. They have been slaving over their garments for weeks, to the detriment of their portfolios, I fear. Portfolios get you jobs, careers, salaries, longevity, I announce like a curmudgeon from the head of the class, fashion shows don’t. Almost to the second, the show represents the fifteen minutes of fame we are all entitled to. Don’t you want more? But my words are left in the dirt by their racing minds. The lure of showing on the official schedule in Lincoln Center alongside all the marquee names is too powerful. I was no different from them once.
Now I appreciate the view from this different angle. At a distance but still within striking. It allows me to think more and act less. My priorities are somewhat shifted since being here. I would never have written a novel if I was still living in London or Milan. I’ve now started a second. New York brings these things out in a person. Never mind what next season will bring, what will this morning bring! Fashion is on my mind daily more than seasonally. Despite changing every six months, it somehow seems less fleeting.
Or maybe I’m just more still.
Now, what will I wear?
You can buy Silk for the Feed Dogs here.