NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 12: Models pose backstage for TRESemme at the Oscar de la Renta show for NYFW on February 12, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for TRESemme)
Over the past few years, New York Fashion Week has been charged with a sense of purpose. It reflected the political and social climate immediately, commenting on the 2016 presidential election, the #MeToo and Times Up movements and was the standard-bearer of size and race inclusivity—something that is still sorely lacking in other fashion capitals. These headline-making attributes were celebrated and received tremendous media coverage.
But for the Fall 2019 season, little attention was given to these initiatives. And that’s perhaps a good thing.
Indeed, New York’s fashion industry has shown that being culturally woke isn’t a fleeting trend like peplum or shoulder pads. It’s a mindset that need be continually enforced. And though there is still progress to be made with some stragglers, a good amount of runway shows and presentations were packed with models of all shapes and colors. They showcased how diversity is no longer a gimmick: It is the norm.
There were also seemingly fewer complaints made by the old guard about who is worthy enough to attend New York Fashion Week. Social media personalities and those not in traditional media have progressively found their footing, seeing how fashion magazines and lifestyle websites have been cutting staff or folding altogether. More significant, according to a report conducted by Launchmetrics for the Spring 2019 season, their impact has greater value than that generated by magazines and newspapers, 49% over 32%. This is probably why influencers and journalists sat should-to-shoulder, and no one demurred—at least publicly.
And speaking of sitting, the front rows were almost devoid of Hollywood folk. There were, of course, appearances by the bottom feeders, C-listers who are making careers out of attending fashion week (apparently, celebrity news is now fashion news). But the heavy hitters, the Kardashians and multi-award winners, were noticeably absent.
This put the focus on what New York Fashion Week is really all about—the clothes. Designers, big and small, placed all their efforts in creating collections that were subtly thought-provoking and overtly beautiful. Political leanings were at a minimum, as quality fashion took center stage.
Impactful, seductive and timeless are great ways to describe Elvis Presley. They are also sentiments that apply to Sally Lapointe’s impressive collection for Fall 2019, which was inspired by the undisputed king of rock and rock—specifically his ’68 Comeback Special. “When I was watching the movie, the biggest thing that struck me was his uniform; his sense of attitude, confidence and sex appeal,” she said after the show. “That’s what I what I wanted my clothes to look like.”
This was most evident in the all-black looks and biker hats in leather. That said, they weren’t exact replicas of Presley’s costumes, but rather a starting point for a lineup that was incredibly feminine and powerful at the same time. There were striped sequin tops and trousers that flowed on the body; snake-printed trench coats and jackets that cocooned over the shoulders elegantly; and plush fox-fur coats that brought the drama. All were anchored in monochromatic jewel tones: ruby red, amethyst and chrysoprase green. What Lapointe presented was sweeping symphony of luxury, a superb gesture that will have women, as Presley would have said, all shook up.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 12: A model walks the runway at the Sally LaPointe fashion show during New York Fashion Week on February 12, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Peter White/WireImage)
Designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia took the beaten path, and it worked in their favor. They showed a collection inspired by the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, Spain, which was highlighted by the elaborate set modeled after the 8th-century structure. Apparently, according to Vogue, the location was a favorite of the brand’s namesake designer, who often referenced the city with pieces made of intricate lace work, embroideries and other eye-catching appliqués. And Kim and Garcia faithfully followed suit.
They presented charming tea dresses and ball gowns with sweetheart necklines and sleek suits that came in range of saturated colors indicative of a spice market: turmeric silk, paprika wool and saffron velvet. Indeed, sweet and spicy is the best way to describe the lineup. From a chevron gown in hot pink to the sharp oversized tweed coats, the duo truly captured the spirit of Oscar de la Renta and made showgoers thirsty for more. (Luckily, there were Fiji water bottles on hand for those that literally felt that way).
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 12: Model Maartje Verhoef walks the runway at the Oscar de la Renta fashion show during New York Fashion Week on February 12, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Peter White/WireImage)
A gypsy spirit—albeit, a very posh one—permeated through Longchamp’s second runway presentation at New York Fashion Week. The storied French brand—known for its practical travel accessories, particularly the Le Pliage bag—showed an assortment of pieces that spoke to wanderlust, to rock stars and their fans who traipsed from city to city with a song in their head and spring in their step. Think Mariane Faithful and Patti Smith. Their style masterfully blended hard and soft elements—attributes that also apply to creative director Sophie Delafontaine’s designs.
For example, printed flowing long dresses with slick leather jackets, grosgrain ribbons with silver studs; flirty skirts with biker boots. She also debuted the new LGP logo for the brand, which was cast on a number of pieces, including La Voyageuse, Longchamp’s just-introduced, appropriately-named handbag.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 09: Model Sara Grace Wallerstedt walks the runway at the Longchamp fashion show during New York Fashion Week on February 09, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Peter White/WireImage)
“The collection is a juxtaposition of utilitarian and decorative elements, using embellishments as structural components to the clothes,” said designer Dion Lee about the inspiration of his Fall 2019 collection in an email after his runway show. Clearly, words are not his forte. But what the Australian native lacks in pithy sound bites, he more than makes up for in imagining clothes that are attention-grabbing.
This season, he zoned in on corsets, pairing them with blazers and loose-fit, floor-grazing trousers; adding feathers on the boning; or putting them over white button-downs. Even the looks that didn’t have these fancy girdles—the slinky silk dresses and elaborate ribbed sweaters—where cut in way that gave the appearance of a wasp-waist. The collection was refined and romantic; it was visual poetry—no words required.
NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 10: Models walk the runway for the Dion Lee fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows on February 10, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)
Before the womenswear presentation started on Thursday, a few days prior was New York Fashion Week: Men’s. It doesn’t receive that much attention, as the big menswear labels show in Milan and London in January. But there are still a handful of labels to see stateside—namely, Todd Snyder. For Fall 2019, the eponymous designer presented a collection chock full of assorted prints, textures and vibrant colors. “Think shag carpet and wood paneling,” he said through his rep several days after the show. “I used this as my inspiration for the runway theme. The collection is an irreverent view of American college prep mixed with British rock and roll.”
The former was evident in the selection of quirky varsity sweater and pullovers that featured the Iowa State logo (Snyder’s alma mater), while the latter came in the form of Paul Weller-style, ankle-length pants that were paired with white socks and black penny loafers. Overall, the lineup was the best kind of absurd, it was original; it was amusingly cool. Take note, Europe.
NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 04: Models walk the runway at Todd Snyder fashion show during men’s New York Fashion Week at Pier 59 Studios on February 4, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Designer Lela Rose is the consummate hostess. Her presentations always have a bevy of refreshing cocktails, light bites and performances. For Fall 2019, fashion’s ultimate event planner outdid herself, staging a conformation show akin to the ones by the Westminster Kennel Club, which had its ceremony that night. To be sure, hers was far chicer. Models, dressed in the brand’s trademark garden-party attire, walked down an elaborate set complete with white picket fences and artificial turf. Each glided to a podium holding dogs of different breeds, as moderators Robert Verdi and Jenna Bush Hager threw out quips like “this is really style unleashed” and “these bitches can hit the catwalk.”
This canine cynosure could have been distracting, but it wasn’t. The prim and proper qualities of the designs—like bishop-sleeve blouses paired with elegant silk trousers and ankle-length gowns with decadent floral embroideries—really shined through. Indeed, Rose gave a whole new meaning to the title best in show.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 11: Model Ana Cristina walks the runway at the Lela Rose fashion show during New York Fashion Week on February 11, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Peter White/WireImage)
Like Lela Rose, Brandon Maxwell also hosted a mini soirée—though his was more Lower West Side than Upper East. He served fried chicken, deceptively stiff drinks and Fiji water bottles for good measure. But right after the cocktail hour, in a makeshift grand hallway, he brought the party back uptown with a lineup of elegant dresses and spiffy suits.
He has proven time and again that he is a master of black and white, using the color combination in captivating ways—like an oversized turtleneck matched with a high-slit skirt and a cape-sleeve blouse with palazzo pants. That said, his best pieces were dresses made of iridescent chartreuse and bright pink satin. Hopefully he will do more with vibrant hues in the future, as he really has an eye for it.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 09: Model Grace Elizabeth walks the runway at the Brandon Maxwell fashion show during New York Fashion Week on February 09, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Peter White/FilmMagic,)
Studio One Eighty-Nine had a long line outside Spring Studios, the venue for its Fall 2019 presentation. Supposedly, the brand was staging a performance, which is why security had everyone waiting for over half an hour. Most left after 20 minutes: a very reasonable time considering the steep drop in temperature that day. But those that stayed—and were finally allowed entry—were warmed up instantly by designers Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah’s collection.
They showed options for men, women and children that were distinctly urbane and dutifully sprightly. There were elegant kimonos, a fitted wide-leg jumpsuit with blouson sleeves and floor-length ruffle skirts. The suits, which came in a range of indigo and batik textiles, were particularly striking. “This is our Sunday Best collection,” said Dawson to the crowd. “You see a lot of ancient [African] techniques that are still so beautiful today.” Great as the designs were, the overriding mission of the brand is to create sustainable pieces that work with local artisans in communities to produce African and African-inspired apparel and accessories. “It’s about more than fashion,” said Erwiah. “We’re here with purpose and a reason.”
NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 11: Models pose during the Studio189 FW19 presentation during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Spring Studios on February 11, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Cynthia Edorh/WireImage)
Though Victor Li is very young, having graduated design school in 2017, he presented a collection that was well beyond his years. For Fall 2019, he was inspired by a recent trip to Hokkaido, Japan, where he took elements from the region’s snowy hilltops and vibrant, lush pastures and infused them into laidback suits, kimono-style tops and polished outerwear.
More appreciable, he is really pushing the boundaries of soft colors in menswear. The range of sherbet pink, violet and sky blue throughout the lineup were punctuated by the deft tailoring of corduroy, cashmere and linen. “There’s nothing loud here,” he said in a statement. “We’ve strived for design that’s handsome and timeless, while giving our guy sophisticated details and function.”
Zadig and Volatire is known for crafting fantastic luxury streetwear with a French twist. For Fall 2019, however, designer Cecilia Bönström looked across the Atlantic and took inspiration from urban cities with predominant basketball teams: the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies. Logos from these NBA champions were placed on a number of sweaters that were paired with loose-fit bumster pants, beanies and either biker boots or sneakers. There were also a short sequin dresses, faux-fur coats and casual suites in shadowy hues that embodied a harmonious cross between masculine and feminine.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 11: A model walks the runway at the Zadig & Voltaire fashion show during New York Fashion Week on February 11, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Peter White/WireImage)
As a lifestyle writer and market editor, I like to keep abreast of the newest and greatest in the worlds of fashion, beauty and home décor. I live in New York City and c…
Post time: May-30-2019