After the long hiatus, New York is finally opening its Spring/Summer 2022 Fashion week. It promises a return of in-person runway shows that will include big names like Tom Ford and Altuzarra. In a city that has been slammed by Covid- 19, and again in recent days by historic flooding, the return to normal is coming slowly.
Fashion week organizers have announced a strict protocol: all guests and participants must be vaccinated, masks are recommended (though not for runway models) and audience sizes are limited.
According to the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), "a large percentage" of the 91 official events will take place outdoors, while some labels continue to rely on digital presentations.
However, Covid related restrictions will deprive us of seeing a comeback of the usual international flavour. The Fashion weeks in September 2020 and February 2020 were overshadowed by the pandemic as they were both dominated by virtual runway shows.
Steven Kolb, chief executive of the CFDA says he sees room for both digital and in-person shows.
"There is a real optimism and energy and enthusiasm about returning to live shows," he added. "There is, of course, nothing you can compare to a live show."
The New York Fashion shows have been known to precede those of London, Milan and even Paris. LaQuan Smith will present his collection atop the Empire State Building this week. Hillary Taymour, the founder of Collina Strada, will utilize an environmentally conscious approach to organize a show on a rooftop garden in Brooklyn.
Also on the calendar are Liberian-American stylist, Telfar Clemens, whose vegan leather shopping bag created a sensation, and Peter Do, the young designer who grew up on a small farm in Vietnam and is now taking part in his first Fashion Week. The week closes on Sunday with shows by big names Tory Burch, Oscar de la Renta, and Tom Ford.
Meanwhile, not everyone shares the same excitement with the unveiling of promising events amidst the pandemic.
"I don't think designers necessarily feel the pressure to show every season, as some of them have maybe once felt," said Cathleen Sheehan, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
"It's a tremendous relief for a lot of brands because shows are incredibly expensive. "It's less of an obligation and a routine. There's more freedom."