Past and present collide

With the last day of fashion week falling on 9/11, Vanessa Friedman finds out how designers meld these two unconnected events into their works

Published Fri, Sep 12, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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THE fact that the final day of the New York collections also happened to be Sept 11 is the sort of jarring coincidence that portends a collision of worlds: On that day, in this city, a tragedy occurred. Remembering it, how can we sit merrily by and look at skirts? It seems an impossible disconnect. Except that fashion week and 9/11 have always been intertwined: On that day, in this city, the collections had already begun. That season, they did not continue. Some businesses never did. What happened here also happened to this industry.

And while fashion has a strange discomfort with acknowledging any sort of historical memory that it cannot redesign (don't expect any memorials on seats or in programme notes; the show must go on!), this season felt less wilfully ignorant about the time-space-product continuum than others have.

The past becomes part of the present. The question for designers is the shape it takes, literally, when it does.

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