New York Fashion Week is in a state of flux and has been for several seasons now. As designers move their shows elsewhere or opt for less conventional ways of showing their collections, the city is beginning to question its future in the world of fashion. However, this uncertainty presents an interesting opportunity for transformation. As larger conversations around sustainability and the democratization of creativity redefine the industry, NYFW may just need to evolve with it. Focusing on a promising roster of designers, both legacy and emerging, is a good place to start as we strive to redefine New York’s place in the fashion industry.
Sustainability, a topic that is slowly weaving its way into every aspect of the industry, was a driving factor for many designers. Adopting a “less, but better” attitude, designers like Partow kept their collections small (under 20 looks) and focused on creating timeless, trendless looks guaranteed to last. Many designers stuck to what they do best. The Row’s precise tailoring and refined layers resulted in a collection of instant classics. Despite the inherent uniformity that comes with minimalist looks, designers found ways to bring their unique interpretation to wardrobe staples like trench coats, oversized suiting, and luxury outerwear.
One of the most important takeaways of the season? Leather. Leather everything, from blazers to dresses to trousers to skirts. Complementary to all this leather was knit fabrics. Full knit looks were prominent at Jonathan Simkhai and Gabriela Hearst, where models were sent down the runway in midi and maxi dresses that were as chic as they were comfortable. This long silhouette was a theme in most of the collections this season, including Michael Kors, Ulla Johnson, Rag & Bone, Rachel Comey.
Cutouts came in all forms. The waist cutouts seen last season at Saint Laurent continued to gain popularity, appearing on the runway at Eckhaus Latta and Prabal Gurung. Area and Dion Lee incorporated cutouts in suiting for an edgy update to the modern staple. Self-Portrait and Khaite relied heavily on ruching to add interest to some of the more simple looks in their collections. Other designers added interest by playing with traditional silhouettes. The rounded shoulder sleeve, or puff shoulder, is an evolution of the puff sleeve that brings the same romantic undertones to sophisticated suiting and workwear.
Read on for the 3 most prominent design aesthetics you should be buying into next fall.
The underlying theme of the shows this season was minimalism. Whether for sustainability or simply for aesthetic reasons, designers approached each collection with an eye for timeless design and no-frills styling. Possibly the clearest indication of this movement toward minimalism was Marc Jacobs’ shift from playful to pared back. His collection this season was a far cry from his spring/summer 2020 collection, which was full of camp-inspired looks and whimsical details. This season, he approached 1960s styling through a minimalist lens, sticking to simplistic suiting and a soft palette. The Row continued to do what they do best: precise tailoring and refined layers. Their collection celebrates a certain modern modesty as turtlenecks were layered under button-downs and gloved sleeves extended far past the wrist.
A selection of designers invited us into their most enchanted nightmares this season. St. Bartholomew’s church in Midtown was the perfect backdrop for the gothic imaginings of Rodarte’s Laura and Kate Mulleavy. What started as a collection of 40s-inspired polka-dot day dresses and pretty florals quickly evolved into something much darker. This transformation was not dissimilar to witnessing prey transform into predator. Riddled with cobweb motifs, foreboding veils, and blood-red roses, the undead inspiration was apparent throughout. Anna Sui also went full vamp with a collection inspired by 1970s horror films. A lesson in juxtaposition, the collection paired vinyl leather with ditsy floral chiffon and butterfly prints with gothic chokers. The styling made just as much of an impact as the garments themselves. Rolled-up pouf hairstyles and sinister headpieces brought the Victorian era to life.
Punk met rock-and-roll met high fashion this season, as designers appealed to the rebellious spirit in all of us. Aptly described as “happy punk,” Monse’s collection sought beauty in the chaos. Models stomped down the runway in chunky lug sole boots, fishnet tights, and an ample amount of tartan. R13 celebrated street culture and music history, noting U2 as an inspiration. Chris Leba let the materials and fit do the talking. His interpretation of this rebellious trend had models sporting distressed denim, heavy leather, and low slung jeans.
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