Revving Up – While it is arguably the youngest fashion capital, New York once again shows us what it means to be a city that never sleeps
New York Fashion Week went through quite a shakeup for the spring/ summer 2019 season. Alexander Wang, for example, showed his collection earlier in 2018, in June. Public School, meanwhile, was absent entirely, along with Helmut Lang. While the impact of these departures clearly resonated across the Big Apple’s fashion scene, NYFW S/S 2019 still managed to become something people still talked about a good six months later.
With new designers making their debuts and established names showcasing their latest creations, there’s plenty to reminisce about when it comes to New York Fashion Week’s spring/summer 2019 edition.
New Kids on the Block
Now, most of the new debuts at New York Fashion Week spring/summer 2019 were in womenswear. There was Escada, a 40-year-old brand that was quite big in the ’80s and ’90s, and is now returning to the scene. There’s also Cushnie and the Budapest-based fashion label Nanushka.
New menswear pieces, however, popped up at the runway of CDLM. This also marked the first solo collection by Chris Peters, one of the founders of Creatures of the Wind. Muted colors and simple lines seemed to be the order of the day for CDLM, although there was also a sense of wonder and curiosity throughout the collection. It’s not exactly a game changer of any sort, but the show certainly showcased New York Fashion Week’s reputation as being much more open and curious.
The New Yorkers
Speaking of things being shaken up, big changes are happening at Boss. First of all, spring 2019 marks the brand’s first collection following the departure of (former) artistic director Jason Wu. This is also the label’s very first co-ed show with menswear and womenswear sharing a runway. Finally, a minor one: The show didn’t open with a suit, something that’s been basically integral to Boss.
In short, it was a light collection, especially with its pastel shades and loosened-up silhouettes. On the other hand, there’s a sporty edge to the pieces, with touches of surf attire here and there—think drawstrings and wetsuit zippers—which gives Boss’ lineup a subtle L.A. vibe.
Things were a bit livelier at Coach 1941, where models basically had to compete for attention with a huge iron dinosaur looming over them. The dinosaur, by the way, was made using discarded metal, which tied in with Stuart Vever’s main idea for the collection: scavenging and salvaging. As has become usual for the brand, American pop culture references were everywhere, from prints featuring scenes from classic Disney animated features to patchwork and denim.
Naturally, leather goods were also at the forefront of Coach’s offerings of the year. Special mention goes to the Patagonia-style shearling jackets and backpacks adorned with patches. Perhaps the best way to describe the collection as a whole is that it contains all you need to attend a spring or summer music festival.
And it seems that we could really use some positive vibes just around now, what with the doom and gloom that seems to permeate just about all aspects of life. On that note, if Coach brings you festival vibes, Michael Kors was in New York to take you to the beach. Naturally, there were plenty of colors reminiscent of days spent idling at a sunny beach. But the truly loud pieces were mainly designed for the ladies; the brand’s menswear offerings tended to be more monochromatic, albeit still airy, light and fun.
Material wise, Kors introduced cashmere in shirts and sweaters, light cotton, lace along with metallic brocades. For accessories, the collection featured canvas totes and cashmere beach towels—among others—to reinforce the spring holiday vibe. For sure, this was one of the most low-key yet desirable collections of the entire season.
The relaxed vacation vibes continues, and grows stronger, at Todd Snyder. It certainly helped that models were passing out free beer to the audience. Anyway, for this collection, Snyder went retro. Think of Hawaiian shirts, knitted polo shirts and other leisure staples. There were also plenty of sport references, thanks in no small part to the labels longrunning partnerships.
Moving on to the big city, Raf Simons dove into cinema through his designs for CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC. To be exact, he chose Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws,” the original one that is, and Mike Nichols’ “The Graduate” as his collection references. And he was quite explicit in terms of referencing these two cinematic masterpieces.
There were, for instance, “Jaws” posters with the CK logo printed on tank tops and T-shirts. Rubber scuba gear also appeared and featured prominently. And for “The Graduate,” there were graduation caps and gowns. Of course, there were more than enough pieces to entice the more mundane-minded audience members looking for everyday wear, including striped sweaters and tailored blazers, alongside the aforementioned T-shirts. It was, all in all, quite a fun collection that once again highlighted Simons’ unique approach to designing.
Much like what happened in the preceeding fall/winter event, this season’s New York Fashion Week saw designers and brands not only express their creativity, but also their criticism against American politics—something that remains quite relevant today, a good half year after the last show ended. While some used subtle allusions or outright references on their pieces, the most notable way New York’s fashion scene expressed their message of diversity and inclusivity was in the way it chose those that would display the pieces of the season.
The models at New York Fashion Week spring/summer 2019 was a textbook case of the kind of diversity that the whole world could use more of. It was especially heartening to see those suffering from disabilities showcase just how able they can be on a runway. It’s hard to say what real effect inclusivity in fashion might have in the real world, but this is surely a step in the right direction—for New York and for the rest of the world.
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