Fashion week puts patience to the test


Author: Ben Tuthill

I have lost all of my patience in the past couple months. I don’t know if it’s just second semester of senior year or what. Do you walk slowly on that narrow stretch of the quad by the construction in front of Johnson Hall? Go to Hell. Do you give me a blow-by-blow plot exposition when I ask who starred in a movie? I will spill your blood. I don’t know what happened: I’m bitter and world-weary, and I haven’t even had a divorce or developed an alcohol dependency yet.

Nothing takes more patience than Fashion Week. At forty-plus collections per city the Fall/Winter season really takes it out of you. It takes at least an hour (two or three if you have slow internet) every day for almost an entire month to get through every show, and it’s almost never worth it. No matter what Vogue or the reviews say, the deep dark secret of the fashion world is that most runway shows kind of suck.

That’s not to say that high fashion is stupid, or that Fashion Week is a moronic institution, or that we’d all be better off wearing Khmer Rouge-style pantsuits or something like that. It’s just that most Fashion Weeks are just like everything else: boring, ugly and stupid.

Somehow I completely missed it this year. This is probably good thing: my lost patience has already resulted in the near-murder of several of my housemates, and I’m fairly certain that a bad Fashion Week paired with my house’s shoddy internet connection would have resulted in at least one tragic mid-February food-processor accident.

Luckily my impatience comes paired with a false sense of knowledge and expertise that allows me to call a rapid-click scan through all the major shows “satisfactory research.” I had a half-hour to kill last week and figured I’d do just that. Here’s a sampling from my notes:

Alexander Wang for Balenciaga: Disappointing.

Givenchy: Stupid.

Hèrmes: Forgot everything already.

Chanel: 80 looks?!

Raf Simons for Dior: see “Raf Simons for Dior, Spring 2012.”

Hedi Slimane for SLP: see “Hedi Slimane for SLP, Spring 2012” – but worse.

Prada: Prada.

Rick Owens: Stupid.

John Galliano for Oscar de la Renta: Die.

Tom Ford: [Foul] Tom Ford.

I honestly remember pretty much nothing. Nothing stood out. I didn’t notice any remarkable trends. Everyone just kind of did the same thing. Marc Jacobs was self-indulgent. Dolce and Gabbana was tacky. I don’t know what Thom Browne was. Does anyone know what Thom Browne was?

Even menswear got me down. Two years ago Michael Bastian was the closest thing I had to a hero. Now the faded jeans in his collection for Gant make me want to throw up. Was he this lame in 2011? His big thing then was bringing back cargo pants. Gosh. Maybe he was.

Mark McNairy – young and relatively new to the Fashion Week scene – ought to have been a breath of fresh air. He was not. A camo mac covered in daisy prints over an orange tie, no socks and corduroy saddle shoes? Somehow it already felt played out. His women’s line had sweatshirts that were printed with something that had the words “Dear,” “God,” “burn,” and “down.” It was probably funny and subversive. I don’t know. I didn’t stop to figure out what it said.

All of it sucked. All of it was a waste of time. It’s expensive and wasteful, and the only people who profit off of it are one-percent elitists and sweatshop foremen. I hate it. All of it is stupid.

At first I was annoyed, but thinking about it now I feel kind of sad. Fashion Week used to be like Christmas for me, except it was pretty much every other week and instead of getting presents I just felt bad about being poor. But it was exciting and inspiring and excessive and luxurious and new. Now, it’s just stupid. What happened to me? I’m a shadow of my former trendy self.

The last collection I looked at was Phoebe Philo’s Cèline. I used to be head-over-heals in love with Phoebe: her Pre-Fall 2011 collection with the racing stripes and the fox-tail purse charms was the reason I started taking fashion seriously. Her collections have been on a steady decline since then, from saggy hot-pink pantsuits to last year’s absolutely moronic fur slippers. My heart’s been broken too many times. I couldn’t stand the pain again this year.

Things were already bleak, though, so I figured why not. And – who’d have thought? – she was actually good. Sharp dresses with pockets, boxy coats with over-long sleeves, weird furry clutches with holes to put your arms through. Nothing mind-blowing, but all of it good.

And then: dresses with what looked to be giant, vestigial sleeves, unattached to any armholes and absolutely useless. They were knotted around the waists like 90s-style sweatshirt ties. So stupid. So pointless. But it worked.

For a second, the entire worthless world was redeemed. Everything still sucked, Fashion Week was still a complete waste of time, but that collection, for the ten minutes or so I spent admiring it at least, was worth it all. The world’s a stupid, ugly place but, every once in awhile, there’s something beautiful in it.

Patience is a virtue, I guess.

Ben Tuthill is a senior English and Comparative Literary Studies major. He can be contacted at

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