That’s a wrap! The models have sashayed, the designers have shown, and now editors, buyers, photographers and influencers are hopping across the pond to see what London has up its sleeve.
As for New York, much has been made of an industry and city in-flux with key players like Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, Joseph Altuzarra and more decamping to Paris. Even Alexander Wang declared this his last show during the traditional Fashion Week schedule, while scads more are moving towards smaller presentations instead. Yet some designers are still pulling out all the stops to deliver must-see moments with pomp and pop, but on their own terms.
If the fashion show is just that, a show, then Raf Simons is the auteur du jour. His third collection for Calvin Klein continues to eschew the namesake’s love for minimalism in favor of eye-catching and head scratching. The American Stock Exchange was the actual setting but you wouldn’t have known from art world meets bread basket farmland aesthetic. Hello barnsides scrawled with Andy warhol. Sterling Ruby sculptures held court above as models traipsed through popcorn piled up calf-deep. The whole presentation felt topsy-turvy: up is down, the return to rustic is the way forward. A nod to our confusing times? As for the clothes, they too alluded to a certain level of insecurity as mylar fire-retardant blankets were reimagined as frilly lace-edged dresses that mingled with reflective stripes, oversized knits with scrambled images, his and hers firemen’s jackets, and protective hazmat boots. Omnipresent knit hats resembled ski masks with just the essential parts of the face exposed. If Raf is a director, the film he presented here is clearly a dystopian vision but with logo-emblazoned bags of sweet buttery popcorn.
Monse designers Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim aren’t afraid to make headlines. At the last minute, they ditched their plum spot on NYFW’s official calendar (a dis that would have been unheard of / career suicide just a few years back) and staged a guerilla film / lookbook shoot with throwback supe, Erin Wasson. And before anyone claims this was completely capricious, they had good reason: this shoot will create far more shareable content for all of Monse’s digital and social outlets, and cost dramatically less than the runway they had planned. Plus, with Pre-Fall and Resort proving to be their bread and butter, Monse presented a Fall collection far more focused on sales than moving the needle. Not that there weren’t any wows. Wasson’s bad girl attitude made oversized knits, deconstructed menswear and Scotch tape plaids feel young, edgy and fresh. The highlight of this mashup of late 90’s / early 2000’s influences was the Galliano-esque print splashed on dresses, tops and clutches, which looked like newsprint, but was actually black and white fabric patterns — a not-so-subtle wink at our currently ubiquitous cries of “fake news” perhaps?
The fashion industry pendulum swings hard and fast. Marc Jacobs, once the icon of downtown, youthful energy, is now feeling the need to reposition and recapture audience share in a Millennial-based retail market. But once a showman, always a showman, and with Jacobs the performance must go on. Closing out NYFW (another sign that you are no longer the scrappy upstart, but a figurehead of the establishment), Jacobs sent out a firm “more is more” message. Volume. Color. Fabrics. Everything was bold, grand and in-your-face. Sweaters were embellished. Hair was dyed to match. Fur stoles draped to the floor. A retro inverted triangle silhouette dominated. There was definitely an 80’s Claude Montana, baddest b in the room aura, but with these robust layers, swaddled scarves and wide brimmed hats, one also got a whiff of some bad hombres — ahem, chicas. And make no mistake, these bandits were storming the Park Avenue Armory looking to capture more than the attention of press, buyers, Cardi B and other front row attendants. They’re here to steal back the spotlight. For Marc Jacobs, and New York Fashion Week as a whole, it couldn’t come too soon.