WILD AT HEART – New York Fashion Week embraces fall fashion with thrill and confidence with the use of wild prints, spirited colors and skilled showmanship.
Things escalate quickly in New York. After the last spring’s lineup, which was somewhat of a letdown, New York Fashion Week stepped up its game in February by presenting fall collections filled with theatrics—and new notable names like Tom Ford and Bottega Veneta. There’s Calvin Klein 205W39NYC, who buried their show with 50,000 gallons of popcorn to make it look like a snowstorm, Coach’s “Blair Witch Project” themed runway, Raf Simon’s feast-of-a-show decorated with red wine, bread and fruit that guests are encouraged to enjoy as well as Phillip Plein’s snowy blizzard atmosphere, complete with a spaceship and Irina Shayk walking with a robot. And these are just a few examples of what happened during that particular fashion week.
Quite naturally, the clothes, too, reflected this season’s more forceful energy. The looked more dynamic, conceptually bold and aggressive through the use of wild animal prints and a wider color palette. But rest assured, there’s something for everyone, even for those who like things to be a little bit more classic.
As a matter of fact, one of the most dominant colors this fall and winter in New York is gray, with many designers displaying top-to-bottom gray looks, most notably in the form of handsome suits, as showcased by Suitsupply, Theory, Nick Graham, Tom Ford and most of all, Joseph Abboud, who remarked: “It’s time to reconstruct menswear. I hate the athleisure thing.”
But much to his disappointment, many designers also adopted gray palettes in athleisure pieces. Amidst the swarm of gray, though, popped up colorful hues like red, pink, orange and, most of all, yellow. Even Boss displayed one look-at-me yellow coat amid its neutral-colored offerings. Todd Snyder also spun the color wheel in the same direction for his New York fashion show.
Raf Simons, on the other hand, utilized bright colors to deliver a message about drug use and addiction. The word “DRUGS” was plastered over bright yellow or tangerine orange hoodies, while ’80s-style strong-shouldered boxy coats were showcased in full blue or red. Meanwhile, more subdued pieces like gray or black coats were visibly lined with yellow, sometimes paired with skinny cargo pants in the same bright color.
Ovadia & Sons, Feng Chen Wang, Abasi Rosborough and Sanchez-Kane (who deserves honorable mention for its sexually-charged clothes) were also among the designers with colorful collections. But Michael Kors and Bottega Veneta were easily the highlights.
For Michael Kors, the collection was specifically made to celebrate each customer’s individual style. As such, there are no specific focal points as the collection featured pretty much everything. The idea at Bottega Veneta—who hopped from Milan to New York to celebrate the opening of its Madison Avenue flagship store—the idea was pretty much the same. It was a collection that celebrated the diverse personalities of the city’s denizens.
Another notable element of Bottega Veneta’s collection was its use of animal prints—which is, of course, also the dominant pattern across last fall’s New York Fashion Week alongside plaid. Maier communicated this mainly through zebra and tiger stripes, in the form of shirts and exceptionally wonderful shearling coats.
Tom Ford, on the other hand, utilized mostly python prints in his luxuriously sporty collection: On jackets, tight pants, ties and shirts. There were some touches of zebra and tiger stripes, but those mostly appeared on his new underwear line, which he debuted at the show with his new watch line. One important thing to remember is that this was Tom Ford’s first true menswear show, so expectations were unsurprisingly high.
All in all, both designers displayed novel collections that reflect New York’s more rebellious spirit. On that note, as mentioned earlier, plaid was also exuberantly interpreted with lively colors and gripping combinations. Michael Kors, for instance, offers plaid in bright yellow and red, not only in suits and pants, but also on scarves and handbags. Then there was Ovadia & Sons, who opened their look with black ankle pants decorated with plaid detailing while Calvin Klein layered an oversized plaid coat with a fireman jacket while Bottega Veneta exhibited a compelling purple-and-white plaid jacket.
The United States
But of course, no overview of NYFW would be complete without special mention to the city itself. As touched on several times before and like they did for any other season, designers looked to America for inspiration—from its diverse history, endless character, social issues or even, political upheaval. And two of New York’s major fashion houses, Calvin Klein and Coach, really shined in this regard.
For one, both of them highlighted the darker side of life in the United States. Raf Simons opened Calvin Klein’s show with fireman’s jackets, geared up with thigh-high hazmat boots, nylon vests, knitted balaclava and astronaut gloves, giving the impression that the models were preparing for bad weather or a full-blown apocalypse. In a way, the concept resembled Phillip Plein’s snowboard-themed and latex-heavy clothes filled with space gear and chunky, strappy outerwear.
But Simons was much more creative conceptually. He represented not only the dark side of America, but, as he said, a “wider, more universal” view of America, a place where “there is no cultural hierarchy.” In a sense, his Calvin Klein collection presented one of the most thought provoking collections of NYFW for this season. A similar concept was also presented by Stuart Vevers from Coach, who, much like Simons and also Maier of Bottega Veneta and Ingo Wilts of Boss, displayed an outsider’s view of America.
Vevers’ take, however, was dominated by his obsession of the American West—this time seen through a gothic lens. It was a collection that explored the tension between New York City and the American southwest. Colors were dominantly black, prints were somber, the mood was eerie and the attitude much, much darker.
In the end, one couldn’t help but notice that New York this fall season is much bolder, wilder and more vibrant than its usual normcore personality. Yes, the debate that NYFW, or Fashion Week in general, is heading to its downfall is still alive and well, but the clothes that are paraded each time paint a very different picture.
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