It's rare for two major world spectacles to coincide, and rarer still for both to begin with shocking deaths, but here we are, a few days into New York Fashion Week and the Vancouver Olympics, still wondering if it's OK to cheer.
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The events are taking place on opposite sides of the continent and showcase seemingly opposite poles of human endeavor, but they serve a shared purpose: celebrating skill and ingenuity, turning bright young talents into heroes, churning out new models of physical perfection over which the rest of us can obsess for the rest of this long, cold winter.
But in the wake of those two deaths last week—designer Alexander McQueen's apparent suicide, discovered February 11, the first day of Fashion Week, and 21-year-old Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili's fatal crash during a practice run just hours before the start of the Olympics—both now proceed under a pall.
At first, there were touching memorials—flowers at the McQueen store in Manhattan and under the Olympic rings—and tearful moments of silence. Then, gradually, the old spirit returned. More than 65 million people watched the Olympic Opening Ceremony on NBC. While in New York, Kirsten Dunst, Chloe Sevigny, Jason Schwartzman, and Alexander Wang-clad throngs showed up for Saturday night's Opening Ceremony party at the Ace Hotel.
Already the parallel spectacles have yielded new stars: In Vancouver, there are Torah Bright, the aptly named Australian snowboard princess, and women's freestyle mogul gold-medalist, American Hannah Kearney. In New York, designer Prabal Gurung is fashion's " next big thing," and model Jacqueline Jablonski, the sloe-eyed goddess du jour.
The media frenzy around both events has also continued unabated. Bob Costas and his fashion counterpart, supermodel Coco Rocha (who's been tweeting and broadcasting non-stop for "Fashion Week TV"), have ably guided viewers through heartbreak and triumph, through Apolo Anton Ohno's medal-winning skate and Diane von Furstenberg's latest array of textured knitwear.
There have been bloopers to lighten the mood: The Olympic torch failed to rise and the Korean short track speedskating team wiped out together. While the normally steady Agyness Deyn fell twice during a runway walk at Naomi Campbell's benefit for Haiti. And there have been touching instances of patriotism: The U.S. athletes in their Ralph Lauren-designed uniforms marching together on Friday night; the large American flag hoisted high above Marc Jacobs' show.
And, of course, there have been plenty of VIPs preening for the cameras. The Bidens, Donald Sutherland, Sarah McLachlan, k.d. lang and Arnold Schwarzenegger took time out for the Winter Games. And who hasn't made an appearance at Fashion Week? It's been difficult to walk through Bryant Park without running into Jared Leto, Victoria Beckham, Mena Suvari, Amber Rose, or the cast of Gossip Girl.
And there's still much to come. VIEW OUR GALLERY of the highs and lows of the Olympics and Fashion Week.