Perhaps it is because I live in Chelsea, but Fashion Week is everywhere now when Lucille and I venture forth. It's in the traffic (yes, those two SUVs are going in the wrong direction).
Never in my WILDEST DREAMS for example, did I think my wardrobe would consist of a hair-crushing helmet, flat gym shoes, fingerless gloves and a whistle. I quite literally would not have left the house in such gear.
But that is the price of love. One that fashionistas, and non-fashionistas alike gladly pay if we choose the thrilling life of a cyclist (and not everyone wears those helmets either).
The best way to take in Fashion Week is on a bike. Bill Cunningham would know: he's been chronicling fashion for over 30 years that way. He pays more attention to fashion itself though. Lucille and I pay more attention to the events of Fashion Week and and how they play out in our neighborhood. There is evidence of them everywhere (and yes, even fashionistas need a break from those shoes).
It will also forever be associated - for New Yorkers - with the horrific events of 9/11. Even as models and photographers crowd the evening streets, the lights from the 9/11 memorial have begun to light the downtown sky.
How did we ever pull out of it? And who could have guessed there would be survival, and even joy eventually?
As far as New York was concerned, the events of 9/11 were the death knell for the garment district on 7th Avenue. The great fabric warehouses on the Lower East Side which supplied the Chelsea fashion industry were off limits to traffic for so many months - for rescue, for security reasons and Wall Street - that they finally just went under and did not return.
But fashion, perhaps the showiest proof of humanity's ability for continual self-reinvention, returns to celebrate annually. New designers have their debut. Venues presumed dead, rise again to host a new audience. Creativity, youth and fun flood the streets of Manhattan. And we need that here, as we approach 9/11.
Is it possible to mourn and celebrate at the same time? If I were in the fashion world and lived anywhere else, I might be able to stay unaware of the approach of such a momentous anniversary, at least until the day it arrived. But if you live here - or if you come here for Fashion Week - it is impossible to ignore. Celebration and mourning are ultimately part of the same fabric now, a fabric we all wear during Fashion Week in New York.
Edie Beale: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Bouvier_Beale