Culture Magazine

David Patrick Columbia, The Times They Are a Changin'

By Bbenzon @bbenzon
David Patrick Columbia's New York Social Diary:
Monday, September 10, 2018. The horrific heat ran down to cool on Thursday night. By Saturday the skies were overcast, the breezes getting blustery, accompanied by some light rain. Late that night the temp dropped to mid-60s. We woke up yesterday morning with a light cold rain, and 56 degrees. It was very cool. Autumn said, “on my way.”

It’s Fashion Week or thereabouts here in New York. If I sound vague it’s because I am vague about it. Oh there are shows. Today I’m attending Dennis Basso’s runway collection at Cipriani 42nd Street. I hear it's drawing a big crowd. On the whole, however, the dynamic vibe that used to fill the air because of the Fashion Week is not apparent. The excitement in the air is gone.

But then, so is a lot of business. A little more than a year ago we ran a photographer’s record of empty retail spaces on Madison Avenue between 58th and 92nd Street. There were fifty of them. It was a phenomenon. I got some very politely worded responses telling me that showing this was really a “negative” in itself. Now masses of empty retail/store windows are all over Manhattan.

This phenomenon is not unique to New York. In another era, this would have been called a Depression. Now people tend to cite Amazon as the reason. Or the internet in general. However, whatever the actual economic explanation, one thing is certain: we’ve changed. And you’re seeing it in the fashion of the world right now. The costume is changing. Yes, there’s still a “majority” of the styles of the past half century, but more than that the message has changed.

Fashion portends, explains and extends. It goes with the territory; it’s an important factor in history.

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