New York: The fashion world stood still when the World Trade Centers came down in the middle of New York Fashion Week a decade ago, but the shows went on Sunday with moments of reflection and remembrance from the tents at Lincoln Center to venues within distance of ground zero.
"On a day like this, we're all American," U2's Bono said after the spring preview downtown for Edun, the African-inspired brand he founded with his wife, Ali Hewson.
In an intimate hall at the New York Public Library's flagship, guests at Victoria Beckham's show twice stopped in their tracks on the way to their seats for moments of silence — one for each tower — as scheduled by the designer.
All Fashion Week events are proceeding as planned through Thursday, in contrast to the jarring halt of the September previews after the terrorist attacks, said Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Lincoln Center's fashion director.
On the front row at Lela Rose, she described the conflicting mood on the tragedy's anniversary: "Today is a day that is very exciting, but there is also a certain calmness, you know? Everyone can sort of just look at each other today and know exactly what each other is thinking."
Oscar de la Renta said he watched the anniversary unfold on TV in the morning before heading to the tents. "I was in tears. But I say this country is about the rebirth, all over again. It's like the phoenix bird reborn from its ashes."
Linda Fargo, senior vice president of fashion at Bergdorf Goodman, wore a patriotic blue blouse and red trousers on the Beckham front row. "I didn't expect to be so emotional today, but I am."
Designer Tracy Reese had been scheduled for her first New York Fashion Week show on Sept. 11, 2001, and is proud to mark the anniversary at the tents on the same date this year. "At the end of the day, New York is unlike any other city in the world. Everyone worked together to pick ourselves back up."
Several designers said they've made donations to various organisations in memory of the dead, including Derek Lam to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and Donna Karan to Action America, an initiative to turn September 11 into a day of positive action and volunteerism.
"We remember that day 10 years ago that changed our city forever," Karan said in her show notes. "We remember the courage, the inspiration, the compassion. How we came together, reaffirming our strength to the world. There truly is no place anywhere like our beloved city, New York. Our inspiration."
After eight days of spring previews in New York, shows move to London, then Milan and Paris.
Her crisp, clean and sophisticated collection showed off her skills as a dressmaker.
Beckham added several outerwear pieces to the repertoire — including hooded satin jackets — but she mostly stepped back from the looser silhouette that she experimented with last season.
Even the dresses with pleated skirts were built with tight bodices.
Beckham has made her hallmark out of well-cut geometric clothes, and it's OK for her to stick with it. It's the style that suits her best, anyway, as she showed off her post-baby figure in a zip-back shift while she took it all in from the front row.
In recent seasons, Beckham narrated from a perch next to the runway in an intimate townhouse venue. On Sunday, however, she was quiet in the library's long, narrow Astor Hall.
View Slideshow of the New York Fashion Week
The heart and soul of Karan's DKNY brand is New York, and on this anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she paid tribute to her hometown using one of its most recognizable symbols as backdrop — the yellow taxi.
Models in loose shirtdresses, sheer sundresses, floppy hats and knee-length board shorts faced a bank of photographers with the doors of the Chelsea studio flung open to display a perfectly positioned taxi.
But New York is only a thread in the nation's larger fabric, Karan said in her notes. She offered several cheerful looks in bold red, white and blue floral print. There were red-and-blue striped outfits, too.
Diane von Furstenberg's spring collection, dubbed "Beginnings," seemed more about renewal. The looks were fresh and breezy, but not overly frilly or frivolous.
"The light appears and changes everything," she said in notes for guests that included Oscar de la Renta and Valentino.
Von Furstenberg was faced with a challenge from the start. As president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, she helps set the international calendar of style previews. New York's spring shows are always the second week of September, therefore always crossing Sept. 11.
This year, on the milestone 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, it fell on the day of von Furstenberg's usual time slot.
She couldn't really change it, nor did she want to, she said in an interview earlier this week, but she had to acknowledge it, too. She found the appropriate balance by handing out American flags to the front row as she took her bow — hand in hand with creative director Yvan Mispelaere.
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