Home to Mood Fabrics and young bustling designers, New York Fashion Week always hits especially close to home. This year, we saw all sorts of themes—psychedelic brattiness, redefined grunge, and futuristic loungewear. It feels very much like what I’ve been seeing on the sidewalk over the past few months mixed with quarantine staples and trippy couture. Begging the question, if New Yorkers aren’t massively defining streetwear, who is?
Most, if not all, shows were presented digitally. Suffice it to say that the parade of fashion week attendees was sorely missed this year. Here’s what caught our eye at NYFW.
Mixing but not matching, and it’s okay
Pattern and textile mixing, in a way, communicates the juxtaposition of today: we are in a tragic global pandemic and the best thing we can do is stay home in our pajamas. It’s the hard and the soft, one feeding and balancing the other, that I found particularly poignant in these collections. Carolina Herrera showcased a stunning sequined emerald slip dress with soft pink organza ruffles along the decolletage and sleeves, and it resonated with this aforementioned sentiment. Gabriela Hearst’s mixing of the toughness in a woven leather coat and the coziness of a loosely ribbed knit dress was also genius. In terms of pattern mixing, I’d find it hard to specify a brand that didn’t mix all sorts of prints and motifs. However, I’d say the assortment from the whimsical NYC-based brand, Collina Strada, was the most experimental when it came to this practice. In fact, some of her looks featured 4 prints in one! Imagine this: a lacey yellow floral long sleeve with streaks of pink underneath a short-sleeve button-up covered in daisies and geckos, on top of these two, a chevron vest in varying shades of brown and mustard, and on top of all of this, a multicolored ribbon-striped camisole dress with the same lace detailing as the initial layer. Just wow.
Caroline Herrera and Collina Strada letting us know that playing dress up is always encouraged!
Winners always quilt!
Quilting is a theme I’ve noticed in nearly every fashion week. Whether it be an enormous quilted puffer or a handbag that can double as a pillow, designers, at large, have really taken to this technique. Which makes sense; not only does quilting add dimension, but it resonates with our newfound comfort necessities. Vaquera presented both a stunning diamond-quilted oversized cropped jacket with the kind of collar particular to floppy suits from the ‘70s and red puffer suits with the same diamond pattern that looked so high fashion yet so snug. Jason Wu, who was one of the few that presented a show with a physical audience (very intimate, models even handed out flowers to guests!), displayed a giant but intricately patterned wavy quilted puffer in the perfect violet tone. And sustainable brand, Private Policy, also presented diagonally quilted skirts, bombers, and coats, in non-puffer versions. Cozy yet haute.
Two iterations of quilting: puffed red-orange looks on the left by Vaquera, and a flat, utilitarian ensemble from Private Policy.
Can’t answer, stuck in cyberspace
Anna Sui’s panoply of all things space-mania was especially pleasing. Inspired by the pulpy George Harrison film starring the ever graceful Janke Birkin, Wonderwall, Sui’s collection was as playful and interstellar as the OG production. Featuring wavy, optically-deceiving jacquards, sparkly knits, and loads of cow print, I think the Zenon trilogy might be making a stylistic return (maybe this time with galactic cattle?). PH5 presented a collection that I can only describe as Star Trek Prep. Classic knits take on some very inventive tailoring with some looks featuring hems that were cut to look like they were perfectly melting off of the model. In terms of print, they took the classic prep pattern: plaid, and manipulated it ever so slightly to appear like a diagram of string theory or something of The Matrix ilk, and applied this theme of speeding, digital-era lines to shoes, accessories, and the rest of the collection.
Anna Sui took us back to the looks particular to a psychedelic Rocky Horror Picture Show showing in a ‘70s East Village. PH5 made me want to enroll in a non-existent aeronautics fashion program with these Matrix-y prints.
The Fringe Movement
Jason Wu produced a collection of pop-art references, prints on prints on prints, and loooooads of fringe. Some outerwear included details of fringe bursting through tight piping and sleek tailoring at waist level, while other coats and trenches had the detail only at the hem, but in tight festive bunches, and most looks overall featured netted bodices that broke out into tassels. Similarly, Libertine’s “Gothic Parade” jacket stopped me in my digital tracks. I wouldn’t even know if I’d call it a fringed jacket or a pleated jacket, but the volume and movement in this piece are simply praise-worthy. It’s simple yet celebratory, it’s the kind of thing I’d wear to my last New Year’s Eve, to put it like that. Picture a black blazer, simple and sleek, along the sleeves are strips of netted trimming bordered with multicolored rhinestone and folded on top of another as they run down the length of the jacket until a few vibrant strips remain hanging. Chef’s kiss.
Two wildly different interpretations of fringe by Jason Wu and Libertine. Gorgeous.
There were too many brands at NYFW—Project Runway veteran, Christian Siriano, the American classic, Coach, and prolific red-carpet designer, Prabal Gurung, to name a few—that were just as stunning as those mentioned above. I’d argue that NYFW is the most diverse, so many niche brands from all over the US (and even Latin America) displaying alongside established pillars of fashion like Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta, always makes for an explosive few weeks of style and expression.
Stay tuned for our Paris Fashion Week insider. A bientot!