New York Fashion Week - the 97% fat free version


Well the Fall/Winter 09/10 show season blasts off in 10 hours' time in New York, with a few shows around town, followed by the kickoff of the main Mercedes Benz Fashion Week event at Bryant Park on the morning of Friday 13th. But with big guns such as Vera Wang, Betsey Johnson and Donna Karan swapping tent shows for modest showroom presentations - and Halston announcing as late as yesterday that it is ditching even a presentation for an el cheapo video - even those who are showing are playing it lowkey. The guest list of the week's biggest show, Marc Jacobs, has been razored from 2000 to 700, with the afterparty, in addition to, frockwriter hears, the usually no-expense-spared staging, nixed altogether. Toni Maticesvki is the only Australian designer brave enough to show in this bleak economic climate. Those US retailers still standing, are cash-strapped. Chiconomics and Recessionista are the fashion buzzwords du jour. Hell, even the models are being offered half rates – at least, those who weren’t already being paid in "trade". Abbey Lee Kershaw will miss the New York leg because of a knee injury, leaving Myf Shepherd, Catherine McNeil and Stephanie Carta as the main Oz models in town. Carta was just nominated as one of New York magazine’s Top 10 models to watch at the event. But look, if they can't get full rates then at least the mods can benefit from the CFDA's new line of model health merch. Can't they?

The Council of Fashion Designers of America's model health initiative was launched in January 2007, in response to the 2006 deaths of two South American models from eating disorders.

This season the CFDA has launched a line of limited edition merchandise designed by American fashion names such as Karan and Michael Kors, all items from which incorporate the “health is beauty” mantra.

WWD got the scoop on the line in today's issue. Pictured above is a Michael Kors tote which sells for US$25 at Bryant Park. All proceeds will go back to the CFDA Foundation.

It is well worth pointing out that the CFDA model health initiative takes a softly-softly approach to the subject of model weight, instead of a more draconian position.

CFDA executive director Steven Kolb tells WWD today:

“I feel validated that the choices we made two years ago not to require Body Mass Index (BMI), doctors or a health certificate, and make it about education and awareness really resonated. There has definitely been a change.”

There sure has been a change, especially in the limbs of certain elite runway models, which appear to getting more twig-like by the season - not to mention those of some of the young women who so obsessively follow their careers. Some more high-profile than others.

These parties, and their professional entourages who appear to have turned a blind eye to the issue, really should get a grip. Because it ain't pretty.

Elite athletes are routinely subjected to drug testing.

It is however highly unlikely that we are ever likely to see this sort of procedure implemented in the fashion arena. At the very least, it would pose a logistical nightmare.

And yet frockwriter can't help thinking that backstage etc drug testing might well yield some fascinating results.