Dry White Season

With the windows of the Marc Jacobs shop showcasing underwear
with anti-Bush slogans, and with so many fashion designers
vehemently opposed to the Bush Administration’s policies, it is
surprising that the so-called statements of Fashion Week were
anything but rebellious. It is downright disappointing to see
lily-white and blue-eyed models wearing Palm Beach-worthy printed
cocktail dresses (As Four), candy-colored baby doll dresses (Marc
Jacobs), narrow black skirts decorated with beads and feathers
(Derek Lam), and Bermuda shorts. And besides the skirt, no one was
wearing black after Labor Day.

It was as if the runways were speaking with one voice, and it
was a stern one: ‘We’re not playing vintage dress-up anymore! We’re
serious. It’s time to forget those wild feminist plans, those ratty
tangles, and dress like a rich, grown-up lady!’ At many shows the
models looked like what they in fact were — sullen teenagers who
had been forced to sit for endless hair and makeup sessions and
then be trussed up in $5,000 gowns when they’d rather be hooking up
behind their local Burger King. In one show, in which Keith
Richards and McJagger’s daughters smiled as they dressed up in
familiar Trash and Vaudeville-type gear — turquoise boots, little
skirts, and tees — the change felt remarkably refreshing, far
beyond the novelty of their clothes or the smiles on their
faces.

Fortunately, there were some transgressors, but very few.
Downtown designer Gary Graham put a model in dresses made of gold
raffia and called it ‘straw vote.’ His were the only models wearing
flat shoes. Jeremy Scott made a black and white mini-dress called
Lady Liberty, which featured the statue with a skeleton’s face.
Kenneth Cole offered a film about voting. In the show by Imitation
of Christ, someone read the Pledge of Allegiance while a Bush
look-alike sat in the audience.

Without a touch of reverence or even ironic self-consciousness,
Marc Jacobs threw a fragrance-launch after-party on the night of
September 10th. Apparently, the girls in pretty candy-colored
taffeta dresses throwing confetti didn’t remind anyone of a time
not so long ago when more than paper was falling from the
sky.
Elizabeth Dwoskin

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Dry
White Season

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