The organizers of Davos may have chosen Manhattan out of “solidarity,” but another group is in town this week for a less noble reason: For them, New York is cooler than anywhere else. Fashion designers Luella Bartley, Matthew Williamson, Jeremy Scott, and Nicolas Ghesquière will all show here rather than in Europe. Not many editors and buyers bother going to the London shows, they reason, and Paris and Milan are just too bourgie.
“If I’m going to work really hard, I want to go out afterwards and have a good time,” says Bartley, a Londoner who first showed in New York on September 9 and couldn’t wait to come back. She’s not the only one of her countrymen to feel that way. (As British style mag The Face put it, “Post-WTC … our city envy hasn’t worn off just yet.”) After all, these people loved the Strokes before we’d even heard of them (in fact, Bartley’s already moved on to a local band with even dirtier hair, A.R.E. Weapons).
Part of their affection for New York is purely practical – it’s still one of the only cities in the world to combine coolness with commerce. After Englishman Matthew Williamson had a party at Bungalow 8 last spring, he realized he should stop showing in London. “New York is the most appropriate city,” he says, “to attract buyers and press.”
But mostly, they’ve come for inspiration. “It’s the fucking coolest city on the planet,” said Jeremy Scott, who has shown his past ten collections in Paris. “London’s over. Totally. I went to Williamsburg, and the kids rock it!” Scott, clearly far too young to recall May ‘68, was getting worked up. “In Paris, there’s no history of youth culture. There’s no youth moment. The people who really wear fashion – no, the people who really get fashion – are here.”