New York is the most commercial of the four main fashion cities. London is known for the raw creativity and young talent, Milan for the sexy Italian fashion, and Paris for the elegance and established houses. This fashion week has been no different. It is still predominantly commercial (read: ready to wear in its most literal sense) but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I think it can be easy to think all the good designers show in Europe but that is not really true. Take Joseph Altuzarra, a fairly young designer who shows in New York, who loved and lauded in fashion – he shows in New York. I think the fact that New York’s schedule is so packed makes it more difficult to split the good from the bad, and it is definitely easy to be overwhelmed just looking at the amount of names. However, there are some shining stars on that show schedule that cannot be ignored.
I like Jason Wu, mainly because he is consistent. Season upon season, collections full of sophisticated designs are sent down the runway and they are often faultless. There are touches of fur all throughout the collection, along with crocodile, cashmere and silk. It all screams luxury yet it isn’t over the top. It is the type of collection that a rich woman will walk into the store and buy because she genuinely likes the pieces, materials and overall quality, not just the name on the tag. If I had the money, I think I could live in this collection. The outerwear is strong: a belted fur coat for the chilly evenings when you still want to look glamorous, a long overcoat for day-to-day usage. There are office appropriate looks, as well as looks for fancy dinners, nights out and even weekend-wear. It has everything that I could want… well minus denim. However, in the fantasy in my head I am a wealthy Manhattanite who flounces between her fun job at the office and charity galas and events. You know, the kind of stuff I’ll never actually do. However, I loved this collection and although it wasn’t exactly out-there, it was stunning. There’s nothing wrong with playing it safe if you execute things to a standard as high as this.
If Altuzarra as a brand is known for one thing it is the shoes. In particular, the lace up, high legged heels that Kim Kardashian has been sporting for the past year or so. Now they are sold everywhere from Zara to Missguided, with some high-end brands making their own version. Who did it first isn’t the point here, but Altuzarra certainly is loved for them. This season marked the debut of his first bag, and while it will be as popular as his shoes is the big question. I’m not so sure. It is a saddle shape, slightly (and I say slightly) reminiscent of the Gucci “Jackie” bag, with tassels and braiding, and it comes in many different colours and leathers. The collection itself was classic Altuzarra. Thigh high slits were rife, as were touches of fur (well more than touches, the fur was huge), mainly on jacket lapels. Some pieces felt a little bit heritage mixed with sex. There was Prince of Wales check blazers and coats teamed up with lace or sheer fabrics underneath. However, my personal favourite looks were towards the end of the show, and were more glitzy evening wear than country. In particular, I adored this wrap-front, sparkling ensemble including the shoes. The model twinkled as she walked.
The Olsen twins’ line is one of the most talked about luxury brands of the moment, and I understand why. Mary Kate and Ashley are no amateurs and have certainly proven themselves in fashion, no mean feat considering they are essentially celebrity designers. I wrote a post at length on this before if you’d like to read more. I think the understated luxury, the sophisticated but relaxed elegance, of The Row is essential in its success. The colour palette of browns worked brilliantly. I think I prefer brown and other neutral colours at the moment over black, they are softer and just look more comfortable. Yes, there may be such thing as too much black – something that I would never have admitted 6 months ago. Their oversized fit works for them, especially in the jumpers that I have heard nothing but positivity about. I adore the belted coats and the long, sweeping dusters. Even the tailoring didn’t look rigid. I’m crazy about this dress, minus the trousers underneath. Once again, another hit for The Row. I can bet already that it will be a best seller: if I were a buyer, I’d take the lot.
I stand by my review of Sally LaPointe’s pre-fall collection, and I will give a similar one to this show. Whilst it wasn’t quite as good as the previous collection (purely because I didn’t want it all, like literally every single piece like last season), it was still brilliant. The clothes are unfussy, relaxed and luxurious – for the modern woman, of course. There are fur accents on many pieces, something that is considered a signature of the designer, and a few strictly evening pieces. My favourite look was the white oversized v-neck and fringed skirt combo, paired with some grey mules.
There were few things wrong with this collection. The colour palette was spot on, the cosy-but-luxurious knit pieces worked brilliantly, the fur accents (made of shearling, not real fur) added a little something extra to the looks to take them from average to brilliant. Ralph Lauren is the King of American fashion and has been for decades, that is a given. Despite this, I sometimes find his collections boring. However, I loved this one. The little black dress in my collage (bottom row on the far right) is a piece that I want in my wardrobe when it comes out. It is timeless, elegant and just looks expensive. Also, I adore the suede trousers and belted cardigans, such a good look. I get the feeling that the fairly newly introduced Polo line for women was slightly unnecessary, especially when the mainline looks so good.
And the rest….
Kanye West x Adidas Originals was underwhelming. There were a couple of good pieces (this coat for example) and I did like the pointy-toed boots, but overall this whole body-stocking thing is just not for me nor were the wig caps…
I liked this particular outfit from Rebecca Minkoff’s Patti Smith-inspired collection. It looks so cosy.
I usually adore Alexander Wang but this time around I didn’t. I don’t know if it was the ridiculous boots that the models could barely walk in or the deathly stares that they were giving, but I couldn’t connect. I liked a few looks (such as x, y & z) but overall it was a miss for me.
Protagonist made its NYFW debut this season and produced a collection full of brilliant basics, the kind of pieces that every woman would want in their wardrobe. I particularly loved this shirt-dress as it is so nipped in at the waist.
I loved these two (x & y) looks at Diane von Furstenberg, and I felt like they were slightly unexpected, perhaps more overtly sexy than what the brand usually goes for. It helps that Grace Mahary is wearing one of the dresses as she makes pretty much anything looks great.
There were quite a few looks that I loved at Zac Posen, including this blue dress with the interesting neckline. I felt that this dress was slightly off-brand, it looks more clubbing-party-girl than I would imagine the Zac Posen client to be. Also, I am in love with the top of this dress. It is the most stunning thing ever and I just love the way the mesh moulds around the model’s body and forms sleeves. However, from the waist down I am not crazy about it.
Natasha Poly looked insane opening Michael Kors in this incredible fur coat. You could not miss it as it was all over Instagram. The whole look was strong, including the bag (and for the most part I hate Michael Kors bags).
This was said to be Proenza Schouler’s most creative, let-loose collection in years and I think that is clear to see through the designs. Some of it may not be the most wearable but at least it is gaining attention which, hopefully for the brand, will translate into sales – perhaps of accessories. I loved this dress, the tights underneath not so much.
I adored Tibi. The laid-back, day-to-day elegance of this collection was unparalleled by any other brands this fashion week. The clothes were soft and so wearable. Look at these this look for example; a cosy sweater but this time with knitted cropped pants. It took me a while to come around to this whole knitwear thing (especially on the bottom half) but I cannot resist the warmth that they provide, especially with the sub-zero temperatures that we are experiencing in many places.
Finally, I liked Marc Jacobs and the whole Diana Vreeland reference. Often I don’t get Marc’s own line and I much preferred his work at Louis Vuitton. Now that he focuses on his own line full time, it is the only offering we get from him. I loved these three looks (x, y & z)