Fashion may be deemed a vapid industry run by a shallow elite, but due to our culture’s increasing obsession with celebrity and the equalizing effect of the recession, it’s quickly gaining appeal as a realm of fantasy and escapism for the mundane-worn masses. No longer relegated solely to the ultra-cool and absurdly rich, fashion is creeping down from its ivory tower to be shared and enjoyed by everyone.
With reality shows like Project Runway and The Rachel Zoe Project, live runway simulcasts and luxury brands like Lanvin and Jean Paul Gaultier creating lines for mass retailers, the world of high fashion is more accessible than ever. And while that’s good news for us fashion-starved common folk, it’s giving Anna Wintour heart palpitations. Here are some Fashion Week events that are daring to dabble in the mainstream:
Christian V. Siriano – Thursday 9.9
This fashion wunderkind literally stole the show as the winner of the fourth season of Project Runway, which earned him his Fashion Week debut in 2008. Now an established designer in his own right at the age of 24, Siriano has authored a book on cultivating personal style and designed affordable shoe and handbag collections for Puma and Payless Shoesource in addition to solidifying his wonderfully eccentric Christian V. Siriano fashion line. This will mark his fifth Fashion Week showing.
Fashion’s Night Out – Friday 9.10
While this second annual event designed to breathe life into the fledgling upscale retail market and prove once again fashion can save the world will bring out the usual power players and celebrities, including Ms. Wintour herself, there will be a few surprise appearances to liven up the night. Kim Gordon, who you may know as the co-founder of a little-known indie band called Sonic Youth, will debut her three-piece collection for Sportmax at the brand’s Soho boutique. Her husband and bandmate Thurston Moore will be DJing the event, undoubtedly making it the coolest party of the night. This isn’t Gordon’s first Fashion Week foray—she previously rocked out with Sonic Youth at Marc Jacob’s fall 2008 show.
Further uptown, Nicolas Ghesquière, creative director of Balenciaga, will be making a rare appearance at the brand’s meatpacking district location to show off a photo series of Cindy Sherman entitled Cindy Sherman: Untitled (Balenciaga), which will display the legendary performance artist clad in Balenciaga representing different personas. Model and burgeoning indie goddess Karen Elson will be performing live at the party.
Z Spoke – Saturday 9.11
Zac Posen, an international luxury designer loved by many a starlet and who counts Ashley Olsen among his former interns, will be showing Z Spoke, his lower-priced contemporary sportswear line at Lincoln Center.
L.A.M.B. – Thursday 9.16
Gwen Stefani has transformed herself from the spunky No Doubt front woman into the head of a formidable fashion house in the blink of a perfectly-lined eye. Not content with just being a regular rock star, Stefani went to work on her wildly successful Harajuku Lovers and L.A.M.B. lines, making herself a bona fide fashion rock star too.