The First Trend of New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week began with a lunch and a dinner — despite the fact that fashion people famously don’t eat.

They do, however, love a metaphor for change. Could it have been a coincidence that Diane von Furstenberg, who recently gave up her mantle as chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and Tom Ford, who assumed it, each had their own foodie idea?

It really was more like a message: This season is not going to be like all other seasons.

“Someone asked me, ‘Why a dinner?’” Mr. Ford said Friday evening at Indochine, the palm-sprinkled Vietnamese restaurant on Lafayette Street that has been a fashion canteen since it opened in 1984.

“When you’ve had dinner with someone,” Mr. Ford said, “seen them, talked to them, you look at what they do in a very different way.” He’s a director. You can’t blame him for trying to shape the scene.

The previous day, at her headquarters on 14th Street, Ms. von Furstenberg had invited 30 women over to inaugurate her post-CFDA life.

“It is a relief to finally be out of that box and do things without feeling everyone has to follow,” said Ms. von Furstenberg, who had used her new freedom to skip a show and instead focus on an idea. Which also happened to be what she said was the idea behind her clothes, and which she had decided was time to turn into a “movement.”

“In charge!” she said, which was shorthand for her brand of female empowerment, as well as the name of a new networking platform she has created with LinkedIn. She was wearing a necklace she had designed with the words “In Charge” in diamond-studded script; her “In Charge” manifesto had been painted on the walls, and she had put together a tossed salad of entrepreneurs, artists and C.E.O.s to kick it off.

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