Teenager Tavi Gevinson was the true star of New York Fashion Week
There were florals, thigh-high boots, Victoria Beckham in a painted-on tan and Madonna in Gucci and new wrinkleless skin. But the true star of New York Fashion Week, which closed on Thursday, was Tavi Gevinson, a diminutive teenage fashion blogger from the suburbs of Chicago.
The fashion world has gone out of its way to court Tavi, who describes herself as a “tiny 13-year-old dork that sits inside all day wearing awkward jackets and pretty hats”. This month she is on the cover of Dasha Zhukova’s relaunched Pop magazine, interviewed by Pixie Geldof in Katie Grand’s new issue of Love, and has been pictured on the front rows of this season’s biggest fashion shows, with editors and celebrities seated behind her.
Gevinson’s blog was initially assumed to be a fake created by fashion insiders because it was so professional, and features analysis of magazines and photographs of her daily outfits. In December, eight months after she launched it, she received an email from Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind the award-winning fashion label Rodarte.
“Knowing that they read my blog, I had an extreme moment of ‘fangirling’,” Gevinson said. She has since become their muse, posting excitable photos of their studio and helping them present their line. “Tavi makes you think about things differently,” said Kate Mulleavy, “makes you see things differently.”
Her swift rise to fashion fame highlights the role the internet has played in breaking down traditional barriers to entry, with bloggers being cited as influences by high-profile designers including Marc Jacobs.
“Tavi’s amazing,” says Charlie Porter, deputy editor of the style journal Fantastic Man. “She’s so inquisitive, with such a sharp, curious eye. But I think she needs to be careful to grow on her own terms, and not let people treat her as a novelty fashion figure. There are 10 seasons of shows before she turns 18 – that’s a long time in fashion. I hope she stays independent. I hope she keeps on blogging, and doesn’t compromise herself. I hope she sees her blog as the thing, rather than as a path to somewhere else.”
Gevinson recently posted an extract from her barmitzvah speech. “As I said earlier, the Nazarites wore just enough to keep them warm, believing that that was the wish of God. Over this past year I have become increasingly interested in clothing, and have developed a clearer understanding of the idea that clothing can be art… Rei Kawakubo, who many regard as the first conceptual designer and whose clothes can often inspire uncomfortable thoughts or feelings in people, is my favourite designer in the world… Using fashion as self-expression can go beyond wearing a shirt with a slogan, as clothing has the ability to evoke an entire feel, or atmosphere, or emotion, or world.” She has also posted a video of her performing a rap about the Comme des Garcons collection for H&M.
She took a week off school to attend New York Fashion Week. Her father, a teacher, chaperoned her from venue to venue, waiting outside while she was welcomed in. “I’m very surprised at how things have blown up,” she said.
She is currently uploading her thoughts on the New York shows to Pop‘s website – her first foray into paid journalism. “For one week I was in a utopia full of people who can recognise that my jacket is Luella and appreciate that I stuck an upside-down doll in its chest pocket,” she wrote on Friday.
Asked earlier whether her classmates read her blog, she said no. Asked whether they understood her style, she admitted: “A lot of them don’t get it, but some do.”