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Fashion: Down and out in NYC

Fall fashion normally refers to the season, but last week’s Hervé Léger show in New York was more pratfall than catwalk. Up-and-coming models Monica ‘Jac’ Jagaciak and Karolin Wolter fell, and many more slipped, as they stalked down the slick wooden runway, but they clambered back on to their six-inch spike heels to applause. Designer Max Azria was upbeat: “I don’t care! If people talk about that instead of the clothes, that would be ridiculous.”

He needn’t worry. Cast your mind back to Naomi Campbell’s defining fall during Vivienne Westwood’s spring/ summer ’94 show. The humbling sight of the world’s angriest woman dropping to her derrière and giggling into a feather boa is enough to melt even the hardest fashion hack’s heart. The shoes in question – cobalt-blue crocodile platforms – were even part of the V&A’s Precious Objects exhibition in 2000 and went on a nationwide tour.

In 2006, the unfortunate Kamila W fell not once but twice, first landing on her knees and then on her bottom, after wobbling on jelly legs for what seemed like an eternity. So impressive is the bendiness of Kamila’s limbs, that the clip has had no fewer than 650,000 views on YouTube. Sadly, her career proved less elastic and she hasn’t surfaced since.

Last week’s Léger show also featured bright young thing Katie Fogarty, who stumbled, fell and stumbled again at last season’s Prada show, another catwalk wipeout. This time round, her look of grim determination was as fierce as her outfit.