Beacon reviews New York Fashion Week

This article originally appeared in The Beacon student newspaper on March 2, 2009.

By Jen Herring and Marissa Barkey

Editor’s Note: Contributing writer Marissa Barkey attended this year’s Fashion Week allowing her to give her firsthand report.

Thrifty fashion has hit the “Big Apple.”  This year’s Fashion Week arrived on a budget. The economy being in recession, it was natural to expect a toned down Fashion Week this spring. Fewer designers showed fewer outfits, fewer models on the catwalks and fewer lavish parties. Several of the biggest “fashionistas” were thrown into a bit of a  financial crisis.

Michelle Obama made a statement by being a “no-show” a Fashion Week, despite the presence of her newly endorsed designers, Jason Wu (inauguration ball gown) and Narcisco Rodriguez (election night dress).  The first lady chose not to attend fashion shows because some people can’t even afford to shop for clothes at Target, let alone a $20,000 gown. Instead, she chose to stay home with her children at the White House and celebrate Black History Month. She also made plans to speak on issues  that matter more to people than fashion.

Photo by Marcio Madeira via

Photo by Marcio Madeira via

The New York Fashion Show
After years of fashion shows around the world, New York holds the title of being the fashion center of the world by bringing together local and global designers from around the globe.

Some of the fall 2009 collections show that downsizing is the trend this season on and off the runway. There are a lot of tight leather pants on the horizon and leggings with little “witch booties.” There has also been a mature look on New York’s fashion runways this season: pencil skirts skim the knee, blouses aren’t transparent, and coats and jackets have understated details that convey the working man or woman.

Marc Jacobs

“Marc Jacobs graduated from the High School of Art and Design in 1981,” according to In 1987, “Jacobs received the distinct honor of being the youngest designer ever to be awarded the fashion industry’s highest tribute: The Council of Fashion Designers of America Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent.”

Jacobs showed the 1980’s “punk princess with a rebellious streak,” the kind who wears oversized cardigan with zipper details and tight pencil skirts. He has a few outfits with cutouts and a black, slashed dress that allows flashes of colorful stockings to peek through. His models also had the biggest shoulder pads of the week.

Carolina Herrera

“After receiving a positive reaction to a fashion collection Carolina Herrera  created in 1981 as a ‘test,’ she moved with her family to New York from Caracas and formed Carolina Herrera, Ltd,” according to

While many designers embrace the 1980s, Herrera looked to the decorative elements of the 18th century. High waists and the mixing of texture silk, lace and suede and a floral motif created a lavish look.

Betsey Johnson

Betsey Johnson is “known for her celebration of the exuberant, the embellished, and the over the top. Betsey has been rocking the fashion industry with her unique and original designs since the 1960s,” according to

Johnson showed off her 2009 look, unleashing a vibrant collection “inspired by food at her Manhattan showroom, recreated as an apartment” according to, the online home for Vogue magazine. You may have seen this look in the 1980’s music videos. Think, Cindy Lauper in “Girls just Wanna have Fun.”

Jill Stuart

“Launched in 1993, Jill Stuart’s line, then called Skinclothes, is said to have really taken off when pieces from the collection were used in the 1995 movie “Clueless,” according to New York magazine. Today, the brand earns approximately $30 million annually in the U.S. but fares even better in Asia, grossing closer to $100 million.

Photo by Marcio Madeira via

Photo by Marcio Madeira via

Leather and Lace was the inspiration for Jill Stuart this season. The most dramatic and striking silhouettes were her more delicate looks, including a white minidress surrounded by cascading ruffles. For the more hard-core rock ‘n’ roll girl, there were plenty of black skinny jeans and barely-there tops.

Tracy Reese

“Reese’s style is unabashedly girly, but made to fit the lifestyles (and bodies) of real women,” according to New York Magazine. Reese ranges her look from a boyfriend’s closet to clothes that fit many of the trends emerging for fall. Her prints were artful, and her shapes softer than the sharp 1980s silhouette that is making a comeback.

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