As the New York collections open the international fashion season, one special date is marked on the global calendar of cool.
No, it is not the latest looks from Marc Jacobs or Rodarte. Another company has grabbed the attention as an online digital clock marks the hours, minutes and seconds to next Tuesday, 9 September at 10am Californian time.
The promise of a new, and so far unknown, product from Apple seems likely to have far more impact among the fashionable than the latest looks from the catwalk.
When we think of how smartphones have transformed fashion and its reporting, from selfies to bloggers to instant on-line shoppers, any digital invention is likely to have an impact beyond a single designer’s show.
From a retail perspective, cyber selling has invaded bricks-and-mortar stores. And some designers are embracing the future, from Ralph Lauren’s wearable technology Polo Tech shirts, through Tory Burch’s digital wristbands for Fitbit.
In a more terrestrial world, it is the designers who are making news. Jason Wu announced on Friday that he had sold a controlling stake in his fashion business to investment company InterLuxe.
“I’ve been eight years in business and I’m with a great partner I trust“, he said, discussing the investment in his company while standing backstage amid his sporty-de-luxe collection.
The models were surrounded by the first fruits of the collaboration: bags inspired by Jason’s friend, the actress Diane Kruger.
After starting his career with traditional but youthful uptown clothes, which caught the eye of his now-favourite customer, First Lady Michelle Obama, Jason stepped out of the city. For summer 2015, the collection was rooted in American sportswear.
The effect was noble, with some mature models wearing with great style the opening leaf-patterned tailored outfits.
I liked the mix of sporty looks and fine fabrics – a simple dress made in suede or a T-shirt in lace. When the show moved on to evening looks, there was shimmering silver, more modern than the cutaway backs held together on a fabric shoestring.
It was a good collection, showing Jason moving forward seamlessly in the direction of traditional American style in the sporty stride of Bill Blass or Michael Kors.
Yet something was missing. In this digital age, there was not a whisper of the fabrics that have transformed sportswear: breathable materials, smart treatments, infinite stretch…
Now that he has the investment as well as the design energy, it would be good to see Jason making a collection that is not just haute, but reaches out to the unknown.