The Shows Go On

Slimmed down: Designer Alexander McQueenPhoto: AP Photos

After last week’s tears and tension, it’s time once again – with fingers crossed and eyes on Rumsfeld – to hurl ourselves into a great, frivolous New York tradition. Fashion Week has arrived! Here’s what they’re saying on the fashion street, so you’ll know what to say should you find yourself stuck in an elevator with Anna Wintour.

Glenda the Good Witch: Ever since Glenda Bailey took over Harper’s Bazaar last summer, her pages (and her editor’s photos and the way she likes to boogie down on the dance floor) have been mercilessly scrutinized. While her newsstand sales are (so much for schadenfreude) actually okay (single-issue sales are up 11 percent), subscriptions are down and so are ads, slipping 16 percent since last year. Bailey is clearly suffering from the departure of Michele Lavery – her brainy sidekick since British Marie Claire – particularly as rival Vogue moves closer to total world domination with a September issue so fat it required a special binding process. “It’s like, what’s an ad and what’s not?” complains one fashion publicist about Harper’s Bazaar. (Of course, no complainers want to go on the record: After all, you never know … )

You’ve lost so much weight! Naturally, everyone will be checking out each other’s bottom to spot who’s “gone Lagerfeld” (that is, dieted down to a hipless waif). And the prize goes to … Alexander McQueen! (Thirty pounds? Forty pounds?)

Whither our European allies? Lately, Helmut Lang has been showing in New York and making everyone feel very vital. But this year, he’s chosen Paris. Ditto Nicolas Ghesquière, the Balenciaga designer who brought half of his collection here last season. Hélas, he hit a rough patch when he was outed for copying sans credit – could that have anything to do with his decision to stay home?

He’s baaaack! Miguel Adrover went from darling (he turned Quentin Crisp’s stained mattress cover into a spiffy coat!) to pariah in near record speed (with dismal timing, last year’s “Utopia” collection, inspired by Arab villages, was shown on September 9). But now, after a year spent recovering from the collapse of his investors, the Leiber Group, he’s got a September 21 show in Bryant Park. Happily, this collection will return to urban chic (do-rag dresses). “Miguel raises the question of what themes are off-limits,” says Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan. “But I do suggest that he probably should not put a burka on the runway.”

And so is she … The Leiber Group claimed the popular Daryl K too. But now she’s having a phoenix moment of her own with a show at Henri Bendel. She’s done one-off outfits for eight cool friends (Cecily Brown and Camilla Nickerson included) and a capsule collection for the store.

Golden boy? The Talented New Guy mantle was passed last season to the Un-Adrover: Zac Posen, the 21-year-old with a golden Rolodex. As much as his flagrant self-promotion irked (there hasn’t been an envelope-opening since that Posen, bedecked in some bold little zoot suit, has missed), the clothes were pretty sharp and sexy. But can he pull it off again? “Zac is living proof of the power of buzz in this industry,” says Givhan. “He is enjoying way too much the idea of being a designer.”

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The Shows Go On