So you think you know fashion? To get the skinny and get in the mood for New York Fashion Week, the documentary Dressing America airs tonight and is a must see.
Dressing America: Tales From the Garment Center
WNET, New York, Tuesday night at 10, Eastern time. Produced by Pacific Street Films. Directed and produced by Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher.
The films traces the fascinating history of how and why Jews built the fashion industry as we know it today. The New York garment center was a hub rivaling Paris for decades. It inspired Jewish designers from Anne Klein, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Issac Mizrahi and Donna Karan and many others to build their own empires. You’ll meet some of colorful characters, the “garmentos”, past and present who worked in the garment district fueling enough drama for a dozen Mad Men episodes. The sewing machines of storied 7th Avenue are largely silent now that manufacturing takes place in Asia and other far flung places but the heartbeat of fashion remains New York strong.
The best designers understand and reference the past to create a new spin every season. It’s why we see an elliptical return of trends. Take this recent display of shoes at Nine West on Madison Avenue as an example. There’s a ’70s punk influence of heavy metal accents and a disco-era over-the-knee boot is straight out of Spinal Tap (3oth anniversary screening at the New York Film Fest). The low, chunky heel is back again, this season in a Breakfast at Tiffany’s meets Louis XIV court shoe (and I don’t meet basketball). Leopard is a classic, trotted out most years. Thank the fashion gods the mega platform shoe has finally died but don’t worry, it’ll be back in 2021. What goes around comes around in fashion so fasten your designer seat belt, it’s going to be dizzying week.