London Fashion Week’s Latest Youthquake

Simone Rocha, fall 2017. Credit Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

Simone Rocha, fall 2017. Credit Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

It was Friday, the first day of London Fashion Week, and Donatella Versace was sitting in a hotel in Mayfair, finishing the preperations for her hard-driving, techno-fabulous Versus Versace show scheduled the next day.

Ms. Versace lives in Milan, and so does Versus Versace, but a few seasons ago she moved the show to London. She would be back in Milan in a few days to stage the Versace show, but for Versus, its rebellious little sister (the line that was created for Donatella, Gianni Versace’s rebellious little sister), London felt right.

“I think youth culture starts here,” Ms. Versace said, in her Marlboro rasp. “British people have more courage than the others.”

Versus Versace, fall 2017. Credit Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

Versus Versace, fall 2017. Credit Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

It had a steady feeder supply in a handful of fine universities churning out graduates, and strong support for its fledglings, like sponsorships and incubator programs.

The opening days of fashion week, which runs through Tuesday, are a display of its hometown ingenuity, the make-do of young designers running riot.

At Fashion East, the talent hatchery run by the East End den mother Lulu Kennedy, four upstarts had installed themselves in no less than the Tate Modern: three on the runway, one in a static presentation just outside.

Matty Bovan, fall 2017. Credit Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

Matty Bovan, fall 2017. Credit Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

Fashion East can feel ragtag, but the standouts this season were remarkably assured, particularly the magpie, “Mad Max” glamour of Matty Bovan, only a year and change out of Central St. Martins but already under the wing of Katie Grand, a top stylist and editor of Love magazine. And the plasticized elegance of Supriya Lele, a new Royal College of Art graduate, who mined her Anglo-Indian heritage for a collection that featured latex and gaffer tape, but whose overall effect was serene rather than seamy.

They are still so early in their careers that it feels almost irresponsible to shine a light; Ms. Lele, for example, hasn’t even worked out how to produce her collection for sale. But the rise from obscurity to fame in London fashion can be astonishingly fast. Consider how many of those ranked among the city’s most creative, and now known worldwide, began at Fashion East themselves only a few years ago — Jonathan Anderson and Simone Rocha among them.

Supriya Lele, fall 2017. Credit Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

Supriya Lele, fall 2017. Credit Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

 

Mr. Anderson and Ms. Rocha have become two of the must-sees of the London schedule, and their shows mark the moment when the week kicks into high gear. Mr. Anderson spoke of a “style odyssey” — a woman sent on a journey, her J.W. Anderson traveling wardrobe a mash-up of the rough and the refined, ostrich feathers blooming out of plain wool and linen skirts, metal mesh dresses with high-top sneakers. “Things that shouldn’t really work,” Mr. Anderson said.

“Things that shouldn’t really work” are the Anderson specialty: His collections typically pile an unholy assemblage of elements together and trust the process to guide the result. But this time, many of the things that didn’t really work didn’t, really.

Mr. Anderson’s draped jersey dresses looked pasted in from a less interesting collection; likewise the sneakers, with their un-salvageable scent of the shopping mall. Mr. Anderson said he’d been aiming for something feminine, but his sense of the body sometimes falls short. It was an interesting, and potentially clever, move to fit his travelers with pockets aplenty but hard to imagine the woman who would want two hanging open on her chest.

J.W. Anderson, fall 2017. Credit Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

J.W. Anderson, fall 2017. Credit Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

Ms. Rocha was also thinking of feminine dressing. “When people hear ‘femininity,’ they think it’s all soft and girlie,” she said. “And it’s not. I think you can still be very strong.”

She was also thinking of travelers: In an uncertain world at a time of fraught crossings, she bundled her women in stern, nearly martial tailoring, in suave velvet bonded to sponge — softness girded with strength. Ms. Rocha’s signatures are gauzy layers and sheer dresses embroidered with flowers and pearls. Girlishness in excelsis.

She kept that emphasis, and the flowers, but gave them a new spine. The result was fantastic.

“The world is a bit upside down at the moment,” she said. But her women (of all ages, mind, from teenage models to the great elder stateswomen of runways past) clutched their (faux) furs around them, strapped on their packs and soldiered on.

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Margaret Howell, fall 2017. Credit Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

It’s apples and oranges of course, but it made you all the more grateful for the blessed relief of Margaret Howell’s schlumpy austerity the next day. Every exuberant Saturday night needs its sorbet of a Sunday morning.

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Burberry draws on sculptor Henry Moore in fashion highlight

LONDON — All eyes were on Burberry and creative director Christopher Bailey Monday night as London Fashion Week reached its starry climax.

Bailey didn’t disappoint, drawing on the sculptor Henry Moore for inspiration in a startling new collection that built on the English heritage brand’s traditional appeal.

The Burberry spectacle capped four days of shows that highlighted London’s claim to be an international fashion hub that rivals Paris, Milan and New York.

Buyers, devoted fans and journalists — including American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour — enjoyed spring-like temperatures as they viewed offerings from Burberry, Christopher Kane, Erdem and Aspinal of London on Monday.

The shows continue Tuesday before the fashion circus moves on to Milan.

BURBERRY CONTINUES TO MINE BRITAIN’S ARTISTIC HERITAGE

No fashion house pays as much attention to English heritage as Burberry, which paid homage to the late English sculptor Henry Moore with the autumn and winter collection unveiled to a packed house Monday night.

The catwalk space was adorned with some of Moore’s outsized sculptures and guests were treated to a display of his drawings before the show.

Bailey said he sought to make the clothes three-dimensional and textured much like Moore’s sculptures — which look smooth from a distance but are actually textured and detailed when viewed up close.

He told The Associated Press he used the color palette that Moore often wore when he worked and pointed proudly to one of Moore’s striped work aprons on display behind glass at the Burberry Makers House in London’s Soho neighborhood.

“Henry Moore has been a huge influence on me my whole life,” Bailey said of the sculptor known for his monumental works.

“I grew up very close to where he was born. I’m very privileged that we had a sculpture park close by. My formative years were spent there,” he continued. “He’s been a big influence, but I never really got under the skin of his work, and for this collection it just felt right.”

Bailey said the sculptural shapes of the collection were taken from Moore, as was the lacing he used on many pieces. The stripes came from Moore’s apron, and the rope motif — seen by some as nautical — came from the abstract shapes Moore created with ropes.

Burberry has for several years shunned the recorded music heard at many shows in favor of live performances. Monday’s show was enlivened by English singer-songwriter Anna Calvi, backed by her band and the Heritage Orchestra and Choir.

The music, the sculptures and the evocative collection justified Burberry’s status as a London fashion fixture.

CHRISTOPHER KANE SEEKS ‘TOUGHER FEMININITY’ IN ECLECTIC SHOW

One of London’s favorite designers, Christopher Kane, mixed new technology with tried-and-true craftsmanship to produce a stellar show Monday at the Tate Britain museum.

Kane used space-age techniques, including holographic foiled lace and iridescent full-print knits, along with a traditional weaving process from the early days of mechanization. Most striking was the use of a Gainsborough silk reworking of a French damask from the 18th century that was styled into very contemporary dresses.

Kane’s approach gave the outfits an old-meets-new mystique, and the use of Asian motifs, including billowing silk prints, expanded his range. Triangular shapes appeared on the front of many dresses and Kane made good use of the pink floral theme that has been popular in shows this year.

“We wanted to express a tougher femininity this season,” said Kane. “(I was) looking at abstract shapes, hard angles, and sharp jags” inspired in part by female factory workers.

Leading hatmaker Stephen Jones called the show “fantastic.”

“There was so much fashion that was new,” he said. “The colors. The pearlescent knitwear. Everything about it. That Gainsborough silk — you see that in Buckingham Palace! It was great to see it here in a show.”

Singer Katy Perry sat in the front row, adding her star power to the proceedings.

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FULL-LENGTH DRESSES TAKE THE HONORS AT ERDEM

The Erdem show at the Old Selfridges Hotel showed a remarkable unity of vision despite a wide range of colors, fabrics and mood.

Canada-born designer Erdem Moralioglu focused almost entirely on long, tightly fitting, ultra-feminine dresses. Instead of exposing wide swaths of his models’ flesh, as other designers are doing, he chose to emphasize the female form in its entirety, only rarely choosing to unveil a hint of cleavage.

Most of the outfits featured high necks and long sleeves with elaborate detailing, intricate beadwork and delicate embroidery. Oversize coats or high boots seemed to explode with color. The beauty was in the detailing, which gave each piece an individual feel.

Some were sparkly, some were subtle and subdued. Despite their differences, the pieces complemented each other, making the entire collection come alive.

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ASPINAL LOOKS TO WEST END FOR INSPIRATION

Aspinal of London, a luxury handbag maker, took inspiration from the theaters of London’s West End to present a collection that celebrated its heritage with a nod to the elegance of a bygone era.

In a champagne presentation at the exclusive Claridge’s hotel, the classic British brand arranged its designs for autumn-winter 2017 under spotlights that showed off their craftsmanship and fine details.

Among the more notable pieces were the hand-embellished “Pegasus” collection, which includes bags decorated with a flying horse sprinkled with 23-carat gold dust and Swarovski details. On the other side of the spectrum was the Editor’s Clutch, a simple but elegant bag that features three pockets and a detachable cross-body strap.

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Danica Kirka in London contributed to this story.

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Beyond fashion: How Melania Trump is modeling herself after Jackie Kennedy

Melania Trump wore a Jackie Kennedy-esque powder-blue suit for her husband’s inauguration. (Pool photo by Jack Gruber/USA Today)

Melania Trump wore a Jackie Kennedy-esque powder-blue suit for her husband’s inauguration. (Pool photo by Jack Gruber/USA Today)

Starting with that powder-blue inauguration ensemble, plenty of first-lady watchers have noticed that Melania Trump’s fashion choices have seemed one pillbox hat away from copying Jackie Kennedy, perhaps the biggest style icon to occupy the White House.

But fashion isn’t the only way in which Trump seems to be channeling the timeless former first lady.

Trump’s public presence has been slight, so there’s not much to go on, but there are a few clues among the breadcrumbs that point in the direction of Camelot.

Like the glamorous Kennedy before her, Trump says she plans to focus on historical preservation at the White House. Kennedy oversaw an overhaul of the furnishings and decor at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. that was based on scholarly research and a vision of the building not as a museum but a reflection of all the administrations that had passed through it.

In a statement announcing that the White House would soon resume public tours after an unusual break, Trump sounded a Jackie-esque note. “The White House is a remarkable and historic site, and we are excited to share its beauty and history,” she said. “I am committed to the restoration and preservation of our nation’s most recognizable landmark.”

And her choice of Tham Kannalikham as her White House decorator seems to underscore that mission. Kannalikham is a relatively under-the-radar designer who isn’t known for the kind of over-the-top design the Trumps favor at their hotels and properties — or their gilded Manhattan digs. According to Architectural Digest, she’s a history buff: “Eighteenth-century buildings, interiors, and culture — French, English, American, Irish — are definitely among Kannalikham’s passions, and she’s been a regular presence at events hosted by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art,” the magazine reports.

In a 1999 New York Times interview, Trump said she would look to Jackie Kennedy and Betty Ford as role models should she ever be first lady (Donald Trump had begun his decades-long flirtation with running for office). And like Kennedy, Melania Trump is a more private person than her outgoing husband, and is protective of their son’s privacy.

But perhaps the most obvious way the new first lady has aligned herself with Kennedy was evidenced in a telling line in the statement announcing that Trump has hired Anna Cristina Niceta Lloyd, an events planner with an Arlington-based catering company. The statement went Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon in a painful effort to link the current and former first ladies.

“Ms. Niceta Lloyd is married to Thomas Lloyd, grandson of the late Bunny Mellon, wife of Paul Mellon, friend and mentor to Jacqueline Kennedy,” it noted.

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How can fashion represent America in 2017?

A final look at the highlights of New York Fashion Week.

Fall 2017 looks from Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren and Victoria Beckham. (Left and right, Jonas Gustavsson; center, Marcelo Soubhia; MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Fall 2017 looks from Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren and Victoria Beckham. (Left and right, Jonas Gustavsson; center, Marcelo Soubhia; MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

NEW YORK — The last show here for the fall 2017 season was mounted Thursday afternoon by Marc Jacobs and was inspired by hip-hop. Jacobs saw the documentary “Hip-hop Evolution” several months ago, and it made him nostalgic for his high school years in New York — when rap was emerging as popular music, a new fashion aesthetic was being created, and the definition of Americana was shifting.

His stripped-down production began at the stroke of the hour, when a single model began her walk across the cracked wooden floor of the Park Avenue Armory. There was no elaborate set design. In fact, there was no set at all. There were just two long rows of chairs lined up facing each other, only 326 in total. There was no music. The models walked in silence, without even the soft clicks of cameras —photographers were asked to wait outside to capture the models as they emerged.

It was a gorgeous and wondrous 10 minutes.

Marc Jacobs fall/winter 2017 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Marc Jacobs fall/winter 2017 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Marc Jacobs fall/winter 2017 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Marc Jacobs fall/winter 2017 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Marc Jacobs fall/winter 2017 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Marc Jacobs fall/winter 2017 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

That’s how long it took for the women to saunter down the runway with their woven coats with furry collars, their gold sequined minis, flared trousers, throwback sweat suits, huge platform boots, giant gold hoop earrings and Stephen Jones-designed takes on Kangol caps.

It was a diverse cast of models walking in this show with its late ’70s/early ’80s retro vibe. They evoked a stylish, city girl look from the time before hip-hop turned ghetto fabulous and triggered an arms race for Gucci and Louis Vuitton. There was more style back then than fashion — at least the kind that came with fancy French and Italian labels.

The collection didn’t reproduce the clothes of the era. Jacobs isn’t doing hip-hop, per se. This was that time period as seen through the eyes of Jacobs, a New York City kid attending the High School of Art and Design. It was his memory — both accurate and false.

Or, as he put it in the show notes, “an acknowledgement and gesture of my respect for the polish and consideration applied to fashion from a generation that will forever be the foundation of youth culture street style.”

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Marc Jacobs fall/winter 2017 collection (Stefan Knauer/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

With this collection, Jacobs dove headlong into the murky waters of cultural appropriation, a phrase used here with some trepidation. American popular culture, after all, does not exist in hermetically sealed bubbles. Forms of dress and music spring up because of cross-fertilization. Sometimes styles are born in direct opposition to another.

But last season, Jacobs caused consternation with his use of multi-colored wool dreadlocks on the runway. His beauty team said the inspiration was punk and Boy George, among other things. But no where in that mix did they mention black people. And that omission caused outrage.

Typically, Jacobs does not leave mission statements for his audience. So the inclusion of an insert explaining the source of his inspiration, a page headlined “Respect,” was an exception and served as a direct rebuke to those guardians of culture who would stand ready to call him disrespectful.

But there was no need for a statement: There was beauty and sophistication in this collection. There was humor. The collection wasn’t a caricature. And it wasn’t mocking. If anything, it struck a note of awe.

Marc Jacobs fall/winter 2017 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Marc Jacobs fall/winter 2017 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Jacobs served as a fine finish to the season here, with a collection that was deeply American in a manner that felt vibrant and particularly relevant. Hip-hop, after all, was nurtured in urban centers by black and brown youths. It spoke of ingenuity, ambition, protest and confidence. Now, of course, it is a global language — one that speaks just as profoundly to immigrants in the suburbs of Paris as it does to ambitious, middle-class young men recording mix tapes.

Ralph Lauren, with its enormous cultural footprint, speaks of a different vision of America. There is nothing messy, tumultuous, tacky or ugly in his version. He presented what he calls his February 2017 collection. In September, Lauren turned fashion’s seasonal calendar upside down when he decided to present a see-now/buy-now show. So the clothes that he put on the runway Wednesday evening are now available for purchase in various flagship stores and online.

Ralph Lauren fall/winter 2017 collection. (Marcelo Soubhia/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Ralph Lauren fall/winter 2017 collection. (Marcelo Soubhia/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

The collection was tasteful and restrained. Some of it was beautiful, especially a simple, gold silk caftan-style evening gown. But much of it was flat. Cold. Rote. The clothes could have been from five years ago or 10. In part, that is because Lauren is a classicist. He works within a vocabulary that he established decades ago. It defines his brand; it has built his legacy; it’s what customers understand. But Lauren has not used that powerful vocabulary to speak to the moment, to the right-now.

This is not a plea for Lauren to be political or to dive into some social issue. But while the brand is fretting about when exactly its merchandise should turn up in stores, it doesn’t seem to giving the same urgent attention to what is on the runway.

The clothes weren’t fanciful enough to be transporting. And they weren’t real enough to be soulful. They seemed detached. Do people wear leather motocross pants? Does a woman want silk britches? Maybe. But it will take some convincing, and Lauren doesn’t make much of a case. It is as though his name on the label should be convincing enough.

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Ralph Lauren fall/winter 2017 collection. (Marcelo Soubhia/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Ralph Lauren fall/winter 2017 collection. (Marcelo Soubhia/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Ralph Lauren fall/winter 2017 collection. (Marcelo Soubhia/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Clothes don’t have to have a message. They don’t need to come with a story attached. But what gives them a vibrancy are the details and flourishes from a designer who is forever curious — listening to new music, attending the reading of a new author, taking in an artful film. That awareness comes through the clothes in subtle ways. The collection that Lauren presented looked as though it was sketched in a soundproof room.

Mostly, though, this was a raucous season for women’s fashion. There were countless expressions of displeasure with the Trump administration and exhortations for female power, immigrant rights and human rights, in general.

The designer Sophie Theallet, who took an early stand against dressing the first lady, created a collection of printed dresses and multi-textured evening gowns that through their silhouettes and proportions are meant to serve as a kind of protective armor. She also included embellishments of bees — a symbol of femininity, Theallet said during a presentation at her showroom. And so the abundance of bees “represents an army of women.”

Bee details on evening gown by Sophie Theallet for fall/winter 2017. (Robin Givhan/The Washington Post)

Bee details on evening gown by Sophie Theallet for fall/winter 2017. (Robin Givhan/The Washington Post)

Other designers had nothing to say politically — at least not publicly. They simply created collections that elevated the needs of professional women. Victoria Beckham offered beautiful printed dresses and tailored blazers. And Gabriela Hearst, in her first formal show, exhibited a keen eye for a sleek overcoat and the kind of woolen separates that a woman could wear into the boardroom. Narciso Rodriguez offered distinct ideas on female power dressing, too. He likes lean trousers in black or bold colors paired with streamlined leather tops. In short, ladies, there are professional alternatives; you can give those sleeveless sheaths a rest.

 

Victoria Beckham fall/winter 2017 collection. (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Victoria Beckham fall/winter 2017 collection. (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Gabriela Hearst fall/winter 2017 collection (Ze Takahashi/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Gabriela Hearst fall/winter 2017 collection (Ze Takahashi/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Derek Lam once again showed his collection to editors and retailers in several small group presentations. It afforded him the opportunity to answer questions and gave his audience a chance to really see this clothes and not just glimpse them as a model rushed by.

His trousers with double layers of light, contrasting fabric looked as comfortable as pajamas, but a lot more stylish. He also favored high-waisted, full pants and luxurious blouses. Lam also has a knack for a head-turning coat — and his black and white, dyed-mink coat could make one long for a polar vortex.

Derek Lam, fall/winter 2017 (Derek Lam)

Derek Lam, fall/winter 2017 (Derek Lam)

J.Crew showed a quirky mix of Fair Isle sweaters over pleated skirts and crinolines, as well as full trousers and dramatics blouses — all of it on nonprofessional models. This was good fashion and perhaps, if the quality and fit are as good as the aesthetics, the company may once again find its financial groove.

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J. Crew fall/winter 2017 collection (Ze Takahashi/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

J. Crew fall/winter 2017 collection (Ze Takahashi/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

J. Crew fall/winter 2017 collection (Ze Takahashi/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

If there was any thread that connected the collections for fall, it was the question of what it means to be a U.S. designer. How do you speak your mind? How do you represent America in this moment? In the aftermath of the Women’s March, how do you create fashion that speaks to women’s desires and needs? What comes after pink pussy hats?

This was a season in which women of all color walked the runways. So did women wearing hijabs, as well as plus-size women, older models and women who are not professional models at all. Female poets recited quartets; female protesters raised their voices; and designers spoke up about everything from human rights to the humanity of the American story in all of its windswept, Midwestern glory.

Coach fall/winter 2017 collection (Olivier Claisse/MCV Photo)

Coach fall/winter 2017 collection (Olivier Claisse/MCV Photo)

And in the midst of it all, there were sleek and colorful trousers, fur-trimmed stadium coats, exuberant blouses and strong-shouldered tailoring. There were fanciful handbags, metallic fabrics and sexy, high-heeled pumps.

For fall 2017, Seventh Avenue reflected the times. And still managed to give us fashion.

 

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Seeing Fashion Week from the First Row

Laura Brown, the editor in chief of InStyle magazine, at the Proenza Schouler show on Monday. Credit Danny Ghitis for The New York Times

Laura Brown, the editor in chief of InStyle magazine, at the Proenza Schouler show on Monday. Credit Danny Ghitis for The New York Times

Over the course of her 15 years in New York, Ms. Brown, who is from Sydney and still speaks with a pronounced Australian accent, has become a prominent figure in the fashion industry, appearing as a judge on Bravo’s “The Fashion Show,” interviewing Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton for Harper’s Bazaar and accumulating 119,000 followers on her Instagram account, where she posts photos with friends like Karolina Kurkova and Christy Turlington.

Yet Ms. Brown insists that when it comes to street style, she is not the one the photographers are after.

“People are always rushing past me to get to Nicky Hilton or something,” she said.

Ms. Brown rushed from one show to another on Monday. Credit Danny Ghitis for The New York Times

Ms. Brown rushed from one show to another on Monday. Credit Danny Ghitis for The New York Times

She took a sip of iced coffee, a routine unaffected by the 38-degree weather. “I know it’s weird,” she said. “I don’t mind hot coffee, but this feels like a refreshing beverage.”

So far that morning she had seen The Row (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s collection) and sat in the front row at Carolina Herrera. “I bolted backstage after the show,” she said. “I’m always the first one. Security is like, ‘What are you doing?’ I’m like, ‘I’m a friend! Not going to harm her!’”

Ms. Brown hoped that her day would end by 10 p.m. She goes to certain designers’ dinners during fashion week — Diane von Furstenberg’s, for example — but mostly avoids late-night parties. “I’m a bit of a nana,” she said. “I burn bright and I flame out early.”

Still, she had made time for one big bash the week before: InStyle’s party for its March issue, the first that she had edited from front to back since leaving her post as executive editor of special projects at Harper’s Bazaar in August.

As part of her mission at InStyle, Ms. Brown wants the magazine to become more relatable, and to reflect the hybrid roles of many of today’s celebrities. Hence, the inclusion of contributors like the writer and actress Lena Dunham, the fashion blogger and entrepreneur Leandra Medine, and the actress and model Hari Nef. Hence also, the cover star, Emily Ratajkowski, a model and actress known for her activist side (she campaigned for Bernie Sanders last year).

When the car drew close to the Zimmermann show, Ms. Brown jumped out and jogged-slash-teetered down the remaining block, arriving with minutes to spare. After the show, she dashed off in search of the bathroom.

It took her 15 minutes to get there.

On the way, she chatted with Malcolm Carfrae, former head of communications for Ralph Lauren; congratulated Nicky Zimmermann; and posed for photos with Olivia Culpo, 2012 winner of the Miss USA pageant, and Shay Mitchell, an actress.

Back outside, her hobnobbing duties done, Ms. Brown grabbed Ruthie Friedlander, who runs InStyle’s website, and Sam Broekema, the magazine’s accessories director, and hopped back into her car.

Inside, Mr. Broekema and Ms. Brown flipped through a stack of photos: accessories for the May issue that needed Ms. Brown’s approval.

“It’s the new Panther from Cartier,” Mr. Broekema said in a French accent.

“Can you say ‘Panther’ again?” Ms. Brown said. “The only French I know is ‘I’m tired’ or ‘I need my wine’ French.”

The designer Rosie Assoulin gave Ms. Brown a tour of her presentation on Monday. Credit Danny Ghitis for The New York Times

The designer Rosie Assoulin gave Ms. Brown a tour of her presentation on Monday. Credit Danny Ghitis for The New York Times

At Rosie Assoulin’s presentation downtown, Ms. Brown and Ms. Assoulin wove between the models, Ms. Brown capturing everything on video. “Can you do the thing where you explain?” she said as Ms. Assoulin pointed out details. “Explain! Explain!”

After checking out every look and greeting Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, the editor of Vogue Arabia, Ms. Brown huddled with Ms. Medine and Emily Weiss, founder of the Glossier skin care line. She showed them a photo of two of her favorite looks, then posted it to Instagram (caption: “I love you @rosie_assoulin!!!”).

Between shows, Ms. Brown recalled her first fashion weeks, in London in the late 1990s. “I snuck into a couple of McQueen shows, but then I started to get invited,” she said. “I would be in, like, Row J or something.”

It is Row J no more. The last stop before lunch was Proenza Schouler, where Ms. Brown was planted in the front, as she is at every show.

Part of Ms. Brown’s job is to know the right people, the interesting characters, the up-and-comers and the established players. The shows are a chance to pay her respects to the designers she knows and to take a peek at the ones she is curious about. The accumulated knowledge helps her choose looks for shoots and decide which designers to team up with for articles.

It is a lot of socializing, and fashion is full of personalities — and sometimes drama. The secret to Ms. Brown’s success may be how effectively she keeps her head above it. “Go be mad at something else,” she said. “I’m a nice girl and I’m happy to be here.”

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Sinister Siblings From ‘The Great Comet’ Go to Fashion Week

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If it was the latter, Ms. Gray could hardly blame them.

She hadn’t read the classic novel when she and Mr. Steele debuted as the scheming siblings in in its first Off Broadway production in 2012.

“When I first picked the book up, I cheated and just read the 73-page section the show is based on,” Ms. Gray said, upon arriving at the Whitney in a burgundy leather jacket from AllSaints, along with a smart looking Tory Burch two-tone guipure lace Carolina dress and ’80s-inspired ankle boots from Ms. Burch.

Mr. Steele wore his own vintage black leather jacket, with a borrowed burgundy and black polka-dot shirt, borrowed black slacks and borrowed black and red loafers from AllSaints. Behind them was a stylist named Michael Fusco.

“He’s here to make sure we don’t look like morons,” Mr. Steele said with a glance, as Mr. Fusco adjusted his jacket collar.

On their way into the museum, they ran into the veteran magazine editor and critic Hal Rubenstein, whom Mr. Steele had met over the summer at a charity gala. “I was at your benefit,” Mr. Steele said.

“I saw your show,” Mr. Rubenstein said. “It was a wonderful evening.”

A few minutes later, a nervous Mr. Steele and Ms. Gray were introduced to Anna Wintour, who had seen it, too.

“I saw it! I loved it,” Ms. Wintour said, going on to marvel at how gloriously “awful” their characters managed to be.

In their front-row seats, the duo chatted about what it has been like to take part in a show that started small before settling at the Imperial Theater in Times Square.

Both actors said they struggled for years before being cast in an early production of “The Great Comet” in 2012. Ms. Gray, who is 35 and lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, with her boyfriend and young son, worked over the years for the jewelry company Dinosaur Designs. Mr. Steele, who lives in Harlem and is unmarried, did everything from being a nanny to manning sample sales. (Although he is in his 30s, he asked that his age not be printed).

Given the quirky format of the show, neither saw its ultimate commercial viability as self-assured.

The 2012 production took place in a faux supper club, broke the fourth wall and featured techno-inspired dance numbers and progressive casting choices, which is how Ms. Gray (who is black), and Mr. Steele (who is white), ended up playing biological siblings.

Mr. Steele and Ms. Gray. Credit Jessica Lehrman for The New York Times

Mr. Steele and Ms. Gray. Credit Jessica Lehrman for The New York Times

The audience often got inebriated and unruly, Ms. Gray said. ”There was a little groping of the ladies,” she said.

“And there was the famous incident when someone threw a cellphone,” Mr. Steele said, referring to the time in 2013 when Kevin Williamson, a writer from National Review, earned plaudits among the cast for taking the device of a texting seatmate and hurling it into the distance.

Yet here they were five years later, being photographed by the fashion paparazzi, still not exactly famous but not anonymous either. Around 9:30 a.m., the muslin came up and the models began their march.

Roxy Music blared and Ms. Gray joked with Mr. Steele, who noted the similarities to the opulence of the models and their characters in “The Great Comet.” “They’re all Kuragins,” she said.

Like all fashion shows, it was considerably shorter than a Russian novel. Ten minutes later, the pair headed over to meet Ms. Burch, who was holding court in a corner with a gaggle of editors. “Thank you so much for coming,” Ms. Burch said, before apologizing for not having yet been to see them on Broadway.

The three posed for pictures, and then Ms. Gray and Mr. Steele exited onto the street and walked over to the nearby Standard Hotel for avocado toast.

“There’s no dairy in it, right?” Mr. Steele asked the waiter.

Although “The Great Comet” has been on Broadway just two months, Ms. Gray and Mr. Steele have each performed it more than 400 times in its various incarnations. Both said that next fall might be a good time for them to leave.

Mr. Steele has had surgery and extensive physical therapy that he attributes to all the stair-climbing he does in the show. It also gets exhausting, he said, playing one of those people who “peaked in high school.”

Ms. Gray seemed more upbeat. Before departing the restaurant shortly before 11 a.m., she recalled some advice she got early in her career: “If you stand in line long enough, you will get served.”

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Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand hits the bargain bin

Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand is getting a lot of attention — not to mention free advertising from her father’s presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway — but all the hubbub isn’t translating into full-price sales online.

Discounting is rife online for the brand, with 44 percent of all Ivanka Trump products being sold at prices that are on average 49 percent off, according to Edited.

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WWD asked the fashion-focused big data firm, which tracks more than 90,000 brands and retailers worldwide, to dig into the brand’s online standings given all the media attention it has received over the last few weeks.

Katie Smith, senior fashion and retail market analyst at Edited, said the brand has “low market penetration,” with almost half the goods that arrived in the online market between the start of 2015 and mid 2016 ending up being discounted by 60 percent or more. On average, 10 percent of goods in the U.S. see such steep price cuts.

“Ivanka Trump doesn’t rank highly on the lists of most-stocked brands at department stores — Jessica Simpson’s brand out-stocks it, for example,” Smith said. “The Ivanka Trump line is not such a high performing brand that retailers will forfeit large profits by scrapping it. It’s too early to tell if the brand will struggle due to the recent boycotting — and that’s in part because it’s now linking to its stockists via its own web site, which it was not back in October.”

The “Shop” page on the Ivanka Trump web site links out to merchants such as Dillard’s, Lord & Taylor, Amazon, Macy’s, Zappos and more.

Edited’s data showed that 15 merchants still carry the brand online. Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor, corporate siblings at Hudson’s Bay Co., carry the largest assortments. Thirty-five percent of Hudson’s Bay’s offering of the brand is marked down, by an average of 53 percent, and 60 percent of Lord & Taylor’s assortment is on markdown, by an average of 46 percent.

Elitify in India and El Corte Inglés in Spain have stopped carrying the brand from a year ago and in the U.S., Rue La La and Nordstrom-owned HauteLook in the U.S. have dropped the label.

Nordstrom, which recently said it will drop the collection, saying it wasn’t performing, has only two products online from the brand. Nordstrom’s decision set off a firestorm of controversy, with President Trump tweeting, “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” The brand was further defended by Conway in a TV appearance — a defense that has gotten the presidential insider into ethical hot water.

The first daughter as taken a formal leave of absence from her company and the Trump Organization and has decamped to Washington where her husband, Jared Kushner, serves as senior adviser to the president.

And the brand appears to be adjusting to her absence.

New arrivals from the Ivanka Trump brand over the past month were down 32 percent from a year ago.

While the label’s biggest categories online are accessories and footwear, the brand now seems to be pushing more tops, a category that’s seen the number of new product offerings rise 79 percent from a year earlier.

Edited’s Smith predicted that the brand would most likely pivot and “will better harness the attention and find ways to sell direct to its shoppers.”

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