Top looks from Phillip Lim (left) and Alexander Wang (right)
Maybe it was the fact that it was held during the Chinese New Year holiday, but New York Fashion Week came and went so quickly. There were plenty of real life clothes you want to wear come autumn, with top trends including cover-ups (doh), plenty of quilting, houndstooth and Glen plaid while fabrics like velvet, vinyl and leather made a comeback in modern guises. Although the palette was dark (black, white, grey and navy) fabrics were inventive and cutting edge. Here is our pick of the best shows.
3.1 Phillip Lim
Lim is my go-to for classic items with a feminine edge so I was pleasantly surprised with his latest collection (apparently it was inspired by cool biker chicks). Cue the leather sweatshirts with zips and metallic slouchy knits (I’ll leave the badges behind, thanks very much). All of it was executed in Lim’s elegant style. The coats were gorgeous, ranging from oversized mannish shapes to patchwork styles made from embossed neoprene, in colour combinations like pink/white/black.
Alex Wang is finally sprucing up his own collection (and rightly so, especially if he is going to be at the helm of Balenciaga!) It was more about a couture inspired silhouette with 1920s-inspired drop-waist coats in several shades of grey and collarless jackets, many with stiff sleeves. Basics were spruced up with detailing like origami folds, pleating and volume. I am hankering after those luxe fur sweaters and cut-out evening tops. Everything still had Wang’s signature sporty vibe (fur boxing gloves and knit hoodies made an appearance) but he definitely upped the ante with more luxe fabrics and textures.
Altuzarra (left) and Calvin Klein (right)
After last season’s folksy collection, Joseph Altuzarra stripped away all the ethnic references to create one of his most refined collections. He says he was inspired by different tribes of women in the city but they all shared a common denominator- they are fierce and powerful. Tightly tailored double-breasted suit jackets came with vinyl across the shoulders and arms, and were worn with skinny trousers or pencil skirts (vinyl was also used for buttons). Sexy leather dresses opened up at the bottom to reveal sheer black mesh panels. Some editors said it was very Carine Roitfeld. That works for us.
Francisco Costa is the king of sexy minimalism but this season there was definitely less sex and more severity. Mannish jackets with sloped shoulders came buckled at the waist with glossy belts (strips of vinyl or leather also decorated waists). Glen plaid came on a tailored dress with a deep V neckline and pleated skirt. Like all his collections the beauty could be seen up close – wool was dotted with precise square cut outs and leather was embroidered with metal.
Marc Jacobs’ show was delayed for a few days but it seemed worth the wait. A giant sun took centre stage (apparently inspired by artist Olafur Eliasson’s The Weather Project) which cast a grey shadow on all the clothes. When models came out the second time round (with the lights on) you could see finally see the pyjama inspired silhouettes with loose button down tops and wide trousers. Other signatures included retro-inspired fur coats, dresses, hot pants and cable knit sweaters. What really shone (pardon the pun) were the metallic fabrics which were embellished with everything from sequins to glitter. Fabulous.
Oscar de la Renta
Okay I have to be honest – I am not a fan of Oscar de la Renta. The look is way too uptown/ ladies-that-lunch for me. I was however intrigued to see how his latest collection would pan out since John Galliano joined the design studio. While it was still vintage Oscar through and through, you couldn’t deny the Galliano touches in the stunning evening gowns (a shocking pink gown was embroidered with gold), capes, gathered bar-inspired jackets and whimsical colours. Whether or not Oscar is the right brand for him, I am just happy to see his magic return to the runway.
Proenza Schouler (left) and Victoria Beckham (right)
I have always been a fan of the Proenza Schouler boys but was excited to see them take a step back and refine their tailoring and silhouettes this season. So many of the rounded jackets harked back to Balenciaga (he’s obviously been on everyone’s minds this season) but were modernised with asymmetrical hems and shorter lengths. Knee length skirts and modest shift dresses completed the look. Innovative fabrics also stood out (especially the tweed interwoven with leather). Everything was done in black and white, adding to the purity of the lines. As for the bags and shoes? Simple and refined, just the way we like it.
Victoria Beckham paid tribute to her British heritage with traditional fabrics like flannels, tweed, wool and cashmere. Her mannish coats came in checked flannel but were updated with a panel of blue at the hem. Three quarter length skirts and retro shift dresses also fit in with the modest yet chic vibe. Fortunately she didn’t forget her bread and butter, so there were plenty of skin tight VB dresses, this time with round puffy shoulders. My favourite piece by far was the tuxedo jacket cum cape with slits all the way to the underarms. Its tres tres chic.