When New York Fashion Week officially opens today, a lot of attention will be on
what’s new, namely an unprecedented emphasis on green; and a retooling of what’s
old, namely Halston and Bill Blass.


But there’s plenty more to watch. The economy and even the writers’
strike will also have an effect on the more than 100 collections to be shown at
the eight-day preview of fall clothes for buyers, editors and stylists.


The standard-bearers of American style, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and
Calvin Klein among them, will give some direction to retailers for the coming
months, a time when many expect consumers to pull back on their purchases. And
celebrities out of work and deprived of red carpets during the writers’ strike
are expected to turn up in bigger numbers.


An eco-friendly runway will jump-start the proceedings. Earth Pledge’s
FutureFashion show features many top-tier designers — including some from Europe
like Versace and Bottega Veneta — and their organic- or sustainable-fabric
styles on a platform made of raw-cut kumbuk wood from Sri Lanka that will later
be turned into furniture.


“It won’t look ‘green,’” said Alexandre de Betak of show producer Bureau
Betak. “It’s maybe not what people expect of a green fashion show. We’ve used
unexpected materials for a modern, contemporary look.”

And erase that image of scratchy, unsophisticated hippie clothes.

“Designers have all embraced this enthusiastically. They’ve asked a lot
of questions, which is an opportunity for us to learn from them as well as teach
them. They’ve all been interested to see the possible materials,” reported
Leslie Hoffman, executive director of Earth Pledge, a non-profit group
specializing in finding sustainable solutions for business.

Looks from FutureFashion will go straight from the runway to the windows
of Barneys New York on Madison Avenue.

Other hints of green include Aveda handing out reusable aluminum water
bottles backstage at Rag & Bone, Thakoon, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Rodarte.
Rodarte also created an organic fabric scarf to place in a tote bag made of old
billboard material from sponsor Lexus that will be given out to the front

Halston returns to the runway after a years-long hiatus, with movie mogul
Harvey Weinstein as its leading investor. Stylist Rachel Zoe and Jimmy Choo
founder Tamara Mellon are also advisers, and the new designer is Marco Zanini,
formerly of Versace.

Company founder Roy Halston Frowick died in 1990, and Halston has seen a
steady parade of designers since then.

“I’m curious to know how they’re going to make that simple chiffon dress
— which was the beauty of Halston — and translate it to now without being called
‘boring,’” said Candy Pratts Price, executive fashion director at Style.com.

Pratts Price is equally interested in what young designer Peter Som will
do for venerable label Blass.