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My Fashion Week Postmortem

The Tory Burch SS24 fashion week show.
The Tory Burch SS24 fashion week show. Photo: Craig Barritt/Getty Images
Lauren Sherman
September 14, 2023

Fewer things have changed in the fashion business, post-pandemic, than industry prognosticators once imagined. Sure, suburban malls are all but dead, but people are still shopping in stores, especially at the high end, where luxury sales have rebounded and then some. Here in New York, fashion week is busier than ever, with more shows, more parties, more dinners. But one thing has changed in fashion. There used to be a sort of seasonal theme to NYFW, a connection between the collections, culturally if not always aesthetically. Maybe it was something happening in society (like Trump), maybe it was a television series or a song or an art show. Now, you rarely detect a link in the backstories. 

Consider Barbie, perhaps the last gasp of monoculture, one of the biggest films ever. Ten years ago, there would have been dozens of designers citing it in their show notes, their hair-and-makeup memos, their styling directions. This season, though, the first time Barbie came up was backstage at Gabriela Hearst, which took place on Tuesday in the Agger Fish building—a raw, beautiful warehouse located deep inside the Brooklyn Navy Yards. Hearst, the designer, takes a scholarly approach to her collections; she’s always studying with one Ph.D. or another, surrounding herself with activists and people of influence, like the chef and frequent collaborator Daniel Humm, who was holding court backstage. As she was telling us about the female druids in Celtic mythology, and their power, I mentioned that it reminded me of Greta Gerwig’s story. Hearst said she hadn’t thought about it that way, but yes, they ran in parallel.