Partying With Bills Cunningham and Clinton... Retail Video Stars...

As if the media don't have enough to do covering fashion week, the parties turn the race into an ultramarathon.

Correction Appended Friday September 12, 2008 12:01 AM

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EVEN THE STORES ARE COVERING FASHION WEEK: It seems everybody wants a piece of the fashion week game. As if the bloggers and online correspondents weren’t enough, now retail fashion directors are covering the shows for video diaries on the Web sites of Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Nordstrom. Michael Fink, vice president and fashion director of Saks, reports from the hive of activity that is backstage, where he asks designers such as Carolina Hererra and Peter Som to describe their spring collections in three words. Fink predicts in one segment that styles “are going to be a little more pared down.”

Barneys New York, not surprisingly, takes a slightly irreverent approach with a loosely formatted trend tutorial, “Today’s Big Thought from Julie Gilhart and Simon Doonan.” Barneys’ senior vice president and fashion director, Gilhart, and creative director, Doonan, are seen discussing big ideas over a rack of clothes in someone’s office. “The big thought for spring is black,” Gilhart says as images of models wearing skimpy black dresses with revealing slashes and teddy bears in black leather S&M costumes appear. “It’s not that sort of trampy, let-it-all-hang-out look,” observes Doonan.

Doonan said he and Gilhart have an unusual chemistry. “Julie and I are a funny juxtaposition because I’m sort of animated and try to be very telegenic and she’s just being Julie,” he said. “She spends a lot of time trying not to laugh and maintain the seriousness of this.” Barneys is producing seven videos, including “Leather: You’re Not a Hired Assassin,” where viewers will learn not to wear leather from head to toe.

Nordstrom’s executive vice president for designer fashion, Jeffrey Kalinsky, appears in “Town Car Chronicles.” After opening graphics of line drawings of the Manhattan skyline, the camera cuts to Kalinsky in the back seat of a Town Car. Describing Marc Jacobs’ collection, he says: “It was a tour de force. There was so much mixing and matching and mismatching. It just worked perfectly together. The feeling I had tonight when I left that show, that’s why I’m in fashion and that’s why I love fashion shows.”

— Sharon Edelson
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