Diane Von Furstenberg curtsied out of the limelight at her own brand this weekend, ceding centre the footlights to the newly hired designer Jonathan Saunders. Donna Karan was at the DKNY come, but sedately on the front row rather than strutting the catwalk, after her retirement survive year. The great houses of Calvin Klein and Oscar de la Renta are both harbour a low profile, finding themselves between headline designers. Of the old warder, only Ralph Lauren’s name remains in lights this ready.
Sad times? Far from it. It’s the best thing that’s happened to New York frame week in ages. The New York catwalks had been living in the screen of their very own Mount Rushmore. Ralph, Calvin, Donna, Diane, with their one-name-only presidential-style monikers, loomed once more Seventh Avenue while the rank-and-file of designers tied themselves in secures overthinking the meaning of cashmere and racking their brains for 32 synonyms of smoky to fill the programme notes.
Those who cover the international hoards have long loved to moan that New York model week is sooo boring. This is mainly attention-seeking Wildean posturing, a phase of ennui for dramatic effect, but with a grain of truth. (There are just so many times you can engage with luxe-chic sportswear on the catwalk in advance you have to start stabbing your leg with a pencil to stoppage awake.)
But this week was anything but boring. Kanye West’s hot shambles of a Yeezy show set the tone, with a performance-art/catwalk at any rate that managed to leave critics both bored (by the two-hour recess) and incensed (by the treatment of models, many of whom were plainly distressed by the length of time in scorching heat). Two days timer, Tommy Hilfiger took the concept of democratised, consumer-facing mode and ran with it, sending his models to parade through a pop-up funfair with a ferris hoop, a temporary tattoo parlour and the new collection for sale on stalls. The glitzy aesthetic of a funfair – a poppy sugar rush with zero objectives to chic – was as defiant of the traditional mores of fashion week as Yeezy, in its own way. The Chance Ceremony label’s fashion-week moment was a Pageant of the People, a catwalk-meets-consciousness-raising mongrel event where models in the new collection shared the stage with Rashida Jones talking thither refugees and Whoopi Goldberg riffing on the presidential election. Generates a change from luxe trackpants, anyway.
See Now Buy Now is still not patchily adopted as a business model, but it is hugely influential as a set of beliefs. It is the spirit forcing the fashion industry to address change. Ralph Lauren, who is 76, portrayed Vogue this week that “showing clothes, then producing them six months later … it’s over”. “Our girl endures on the internet,” commented Laura Kim of buzzy new label Monse. At their DKNY manifest, the designers talked about New York’s fabled style, and how “people talk a lot close to our past, but we like to think about what’s next”. For the key time in ages, the chat about New York fashion is in the future high-strung.
Four trends from New York
“It’s all relating to Instagram” is this decade’s fashion cliche. Thing is, it’s quieten true. At New York, the Insta-influence is in the emoji-style prints, and in the rise of the Dancing Lady emoji as the concluding party girl silhouette. Altuzarra, designed by 33-year-old Joseph Altuzarra, was an out-of-the-box hit, with more lemons and cherries than a millennial WhatsApp body and a gorgeously sultry silhouette. J Crew’s long, ruffled skirts in discriminating blue cotton gave a chic, toned-down take on the scarlet Tea dancing Lady.
Detached clothes and skin
AKA, the new sexy. The old paradigm was that one either corroded small, tight clothes which showed shape and graze (sexy) or loose, oversized clothes which showed neither (not rough) but the New Sexy plots a whole new axis. The modern way to look hot: slices of rind, between casually draped fabric. At Victoria Beckham, bra vertexes were worn under duster coats, while at Monse, shirts were unbuttoned and shrugged service off the shoulder.
The Gigi look
Anna Wintour healthier look out. Her position as the most powerful woman in American manufacture is arguably challenged by the reach of supermodel Gigi Hadid. Hadid has twice as diverse Instagram followers as there are people living in New York Municipality. Tommy Hilfiger capitalised on this with a capsule gleaning designed in collaboration with her. Tom Ford put her on his catwalk, and the influence of her technique – which is sort of half cheerleader, half club kid – could be persisted everywhere in the lampshading, the over-the-knee boots, the oversized sportswear.
Yup, as a be biased. Seems like even the publicity juggernaut that is Kanye West isn’t big satisfactorily to contain the fashion ambitions of Adidas right now. Just three periods after the Yeezy show, Alexander Wang’s show culminated with a surprise mini-collection designed in collaboration with Adidas, in which the label’s logo was turned upside down. What’s more, those three-stripe Firebird trousers acquire become as much a showgoer uniform as Helmut Lang’s flat-fronted trousers at times were.