Fashion Week Gets Political

Photo: UnBeige

Strange bedfellows and strident calls for change are de rigueur in the fashion world and so what better theme for this election year installment of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week than “Vote Fashion/Fashion Wins,” conveyed in a flurry of campaign buttons? “Our seasonal graphics will hopefully remind all elgible voters to vote in our upcoming Presidential election,” writes IMG Fashion’s Fern Mallis in her welcome letter to attendees. “We also encourage you to ‘vote fashion’ with your pens and cameras. Select the shows and collections you like best, and vote with your dollars, euros, pounds, or yen when you decide which collections to buy for the Spring/Summer 2009 season…and also decide who gets the vote for your reviews and editorial coverage.”

NYFW buttons.jpgAt least two of yesterday’s opening day shows were in step with the political theme. Perry Ellis designer John Crocco looked to “democratize preppiness” by injecting a West Coast flavor into East Coast menswear staples while Nicole Miller‘s voodoo inspiration recalled the divining of punched chads that was all the rage just eight years ago. Swaim and Christina Hudson, who design Obedient Sons & Daughters, will take a countercultural approach in their show this afternoon, inspired by the directive “Turn on, tune in, and drop out.”

Meanwhile, we reached across the aisle—or at least the snaking line for yesterday’s BCBG Max Azria show—to make a new friend in the charming Louisa Gleichman, a fan and former Vogue intern who is covering the spring shows for Six Degrees Magazine and Atlanta Magazine. We can’t wait to read her take on the macaroon-hued confections that walked the runway last night at Erin Featherston. But the best news so far this Fashion Week is the decision to elect UnBeige favorite Ralph Rucci as this year’s Mercedes-Benz Presents Designer, an honor that comes on the heels of his 2008 National Design Award for fashion design. Rucci, who will show his Chado Ralph Rucci spring collection on Friday evening, was chosen for his commitment to quality and his focus on luxury. For a better idea of Rucci’s platform, don’t miss the David Boatman-directed documentary, Ralph Rucci: A Designer and His House, which premieres September 22 on the Sundance Channel.

Previously on UnBeige:

  • Fashion Week Countdown: Koi Suwannagate
  • Fashion Week Countdown: Alexander Wang
  • Fashion Week Countdown: Tracy Reese