So far the hands-down best moment of New York fashion week (for me, of course) has been the Miguel Adrover show, a mad romp back in time to the days when there was an actual underground in this city’s design scene, and men and women existed who just Had to Make Fashion, with nary a care for a commercial component.

Held in a second-floor walk-up on the Lower East Side, the show — the designer’s first in New York in eight years, since his brand was backed by a group that then went bankrupt – featured multi-layered garments upcycled from various textiles he found: men’s pinstriped suiting, bath towels, old sports warm-up suits, a baseball jersey, an American flag (goodness knows what the Republican party will make of this if they get ahold of it), and a Fashion’s Night Out T-shirt circa 2010, which had been transformed into part of a skirt. There was a suit made of cut-out felt ferns sprouting real ferns, models tossing handfulls of decrepit currency onto the runways, and leather pumps, the tips made from stuffed leather gloves, fingers fashioned into unprintable gestures.

It was, in other words, a celebration of all that is singular and individual about one person’s imagination. None of the clothes could be reproduced exactly in a factory if you tried.

If that sounds silly — the show was actually called “Out of my mind” – it seemed quite smart, demonstrating succinctly that the modus operandi of New York fashion since everyone almost went under after 9/11, which focuses on building a business via clothes department stores can sell, has also meant the loss of its manic, magic soul, and produced a generation of designers who are indistinguishable from one another (see tomorrow’s review).

London has this sort of crazy non-commercial creativity in spades (arguably too many spades), but NY doesn’t, and Adrover’s show was a useful reminder of what used to be — and frankly, what makes fashion wonderful. What we need is something between the two. After all, the audience left Adrover’s show with helpless smiles on their faces, which, given it was the end of a long, cold day, means something.

Also — note bene — the designer’s approach may be cannier than it first appears. Upcycling/sustainable fashion is a growing trend, as evinced by the BAFTAs, where Viola Davis wore a custom-designed eco-Valentino dress made for the Green Carpet Challenge (the brand’s first foray ever into “green” dressing), Michael Fassbender and Colin Firth “wore tuxedos made for the GCC by Giorgio Armani from organic wool with accents in recycled PET (formerly plastic bottles)” and Livia Firth wore “a sustainable tuxedo with a stunning trouser suit made from ethical and organic New Zealand wool and silk (in conversion to organic) to GCC criteria by Paul Smith.” (All those factoids are from the Green Carpet Challenge folks.)

Adrover may very well benefit from being at the forefront of this trend. It would be pretty to think so, anyway.

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