Le Pays De France - Proenza Schouler opens Covid-affected New York Fashion Week

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Proenza Schouler opens Covid-affected New York Fashion Week
Proenza Schouler opens Covid-affected New York Fashion Week

Proenza Schouler opens Covid-affected New York Fashion Week

A coronavirus-impacted New York Fashion Week gets under way Friday with Fall/Winter 2022 shows by Proenza Schouler and Christian Cowan.

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Despite pandemic restrictions and the Omicron variant upsetting preparations, several brands have opted for in-person shows, including Michael Kors, Altuzarra, Tory Burch, Brandon Maxwell and Telfar.

A notable absentee is Tom Ford, chair of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) that organizes the event.

He was due to close the week next Wednesday but canceled at the end of January due to a surge of Covid-19 cases among his team.

"We have tried everything possible to avoid canceling our New York show but ultimately are faced with the sad fact that we will simply not have a completed collection in time," he said.

New York label Proenza Schouler opens the event on Friday afternoon with a show in an art gallery in Manhattan's trendy East Village.

During the brand's last turn at New York Fashion Week in September, designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez paraded a host of bright and sunny colors in a symbolic attempt at trying to turn the page on the pandemic.

Christian Cowan -- who has dressed Lady Gaga and rappers Cardi B and Lil Nas X -- will present his collection in the observatory atop the One World Trade Center skyscraper that replaced the Twin Towers felled on 9/11.

The glamorous label teased fans with what might be in store by posting an image of the "Freedom Tower" all in pink on its Instagram page.

For several years now, New York has had to deal with big names deciding to skip the event in favor of displaying their latest collections elsewhere.

Some designers are also choosing to eschew the classic runway calendar amid criticism that the frantic pace of fashion is out of step with sustainability.

The absence of top creators like Christopher John Rogers -- the CFDA's women's designer of the year 2021 -- and Kerby Jean-Raymond's Pyer Moss brand, provides an opportunity for emerging talents to grab the headlines.

That is the hope of labels such as Melke and Dauphinette, which promote sustainable and ethical fashion.

"It is really rewarding realizing that people can see the work that I've been doing and they think that it deserves a place amongst a bunch of other very successful brands," 26-year-old Emma Gage, who founded Melke during the pandemic, told AFP.

"It kind of really solidifies you as someone that people know is going to be around for a long time," she said inside her small studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn.