Top Takeaways from New York Fashion Week Fall 2017
As most people expected, New York Fashion Week Fall 2017 was an extremely political affair, with many designers using their collections to directly or indirectly take a stand. This display of solidarity with immigrants, with women and with humanity was heartening to watch. All the shows in general were more timid than usual, with even Marc Jacobs, New York’s best and biggest showman opting instead to show his collection in the most functional way possible without music or a set. While the spectacle of shows was missing, the clothes themselves had a warmth and optimism about them — from bright colours to feminist slogans.
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Raf Simons’ debut collection for Calvin Klein was among the buzziest shows of the New York calendar. The clothes paid homage to many elements of Americana – from the varsity knit sleeves on sheer blouses to quilted coats and denim — all shown with Simons’ own artistic twist. As a testament to his vision, the collection showed many new pieces and fresh concepts, from suits, feathered dresses and big coats wrapped in plastic to formal seeming trousers with the side lines of track pants in contrasting colours. Signature Calvin Klein tailoring was on display too.
This collection by Joseph Altuzarra was influenced by the flawed real-ness of Renaissance paintings and by Lady Macbeth. Naturally then, it was a sharp and dressed up collection, where the luxurious and posh juxtaposed with the hardy and functional. Big flamboyant coats, luxurious textures like velvet and quilting, jackets embellished with pearls, jacquard dresses and well-tailored suits were worn with knee-high combat boots, black leather opera gloves and biker pants. All in all, it was a sexy collection for the woman who takes care to dress up, but is no less tough for it.
In a bold move, designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, newly appointed creative directors at Oscar de la Renta showed their collection for Monse on the same runway, back-to-back with the storied fashion house. The label started out with their signature strengths – playing with shirting and with tailoring. There were off-shoulder wool suit jackets, ruffled and deconstructed shirts and slashed dresses. Monochrome looks gave way to bursts of primary colours. The collection was glamorous, with an edge. It was also very contemporary, in that it encompassed almost all the current trends doing the rounds of the runways.
The label that will be moving its show to Paris later this year, showed a stellar collection as goodbye to New York. Geometric shapes were everywhere, from the asymmetric hemlines to the graphic cutouts and patterns and even in the layering. The collection also displayed bold use of colour, lots of patent leather and texture play. Full of interesting details, the highlights of the collection were the deconstructed outerwear that included shearling jackets and cloth coats with a zip on the inside of the arm. Another standout element was the sexy, cool new treatment of their logo that had been horizontally slashed and printed on the extra long zipper pulls of jackets and bags.
This relatively unknown , but industry favourite designer has been making her mark with memorable collections every year since her label launched in 2013. She brought her signature brand of warmth and whimsy to yet another collection of standout daywear pieces and less formal eveningwear pieces. This time her influences appeared to be vintage furniture — the models wore dresses in what appeared to be upholstery fabrics. The florals ranged from wallpaper to vintage sofas and lounges. There was a Persian rug-inspired silk robe and a puffer jacket that was buttoned and textured to look like a couch. Prints were expertly mixed and the silhouettes were long and dramatic. The prettiest dress was made of real flowers that had been pressed between sheer layers of fabric. Fun elements that rounded out the collection included urn-shaped earrings and shoes that were reminiscent of vintage ones, with wooden heels that resembled couch legs.
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From left to right: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Gabriela Hearst, Naeem Khan, Oscar de la Renta, Prabal Gurung, Tibi
The pantsuit, which can also be read as political in light of the last elections in the USA, was ubiquitous on the New York runways. Floral printed ones, formal embroidered ones, pink and powerful ones, straight up business ones – there was a pantsuit for every type of lady. Styling options were also diverse, with lots of designers trading in the button-down shirt for a casual t-shirt.
From left to right: Calvin Klein, Adam Selman, Coach, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger
Designers were paying homage to America and its various sartorial staples in their own styles. From defining the modern cowgirl with a new take on her boots and recreating the prairie life to highlighting denim, sportswear and the hip-hop subculture, there was nostalgia for America everywhere.
From left to right: Creatures of Comfort, Marchesa, Prabal Gurung, Public School, Alice + Olivia
Fashion, like everything else in America currently, took a political turn, with many designers who have stayed apolitical in the past using their platform to make comments, to protest and to let their stances known on pressing hot-button issues. The CFDA had pink buttons that read ‘Fashion Stands With Planned Parenthood’ and among the people sporting them were Marchesa designers Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman. Adam Lippes has models with signs that said ‘My Body, My Choice’. Prabal Gurung replaced his usual finale line-up of gowns with models in pantsuits and t-shirts with feminist slogans on them. Some other designers and brands that also made political statements, whether through their collections or personally included Jonathan Simkhai, Tome, Alice + Olivia, Jeremy Scott, Public School, and Creatures of Comfort.
From left to right: Alexander Wang, Creatures of the Wind, Jenny Packham, Thom Browne, Tory Burch, Rosie Assoulin
There were a plethora of looks in checks, from plaid to tartan and everything in between, with multiple designers clashing more than one size and colour of checks in one look. Wear them on dresses, skirts, pantsuits and sweaters. While some designers reserved the checks for formal use, others subverted its formality by pairing it with leather, playing with textures and creating ball gowns with them. Another mini-trend was the use of the bright plaid of the 70s.
From left to right: Dion Lee, Gabriela Hearst, Jason Wu, Jill Stuart, Tome, Ulla Johnson
Designers continued crushing on velvet. Fall 2017 saw it being used more specifically in rich jewel tones to create formal eveningwear looks.
From left to right: Creatures of Comfort, Sally LaPointe, Diane von Furstenberg, Delpozo, Michael Kors Collection, Oscar de la Renta
Metallic continued to rule the runway. Add bursts of it to your outfit, or go all out and compete with a disco ball. While the silver and gold hints were almost used to make looks edgy, coloured metallics were used to add sophistication and sheen to the looks.
From left to right: Calvin Klein, Tibi, Sies Marjan, Delpozo, Oscar de la Renta, Theory
While this trend is hardly revolutionary, colour blocking showed up in most collections. Apart from the aesthetics, seeing so many bright colours during Fall shows also appeared as a sign of people’s hopefulness and optimism. The best part about the trend is, all separates you already own can now be mixed and matched to create new and newly-fashionable combinations. All you need is confidence!
From left to right: Brock Collection, Rosie Assoulin, Adam Lippes, Coach, Hellessy, Delpozo
This season’s florals had a distinctly vintage vibe that ranged from wallpaper flowers at Rosie Assoulin to soft prairie florals at Coach.
From left to right: The Row, Creatures of Comfort, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors Collection, Victoria Beckham, Coach
Naturally fall fashion shows will have an abundance of outerwear options, but this year designers kept things oversize and cozy. Some had droopy shoulders, others were wide and belted and yet others had dramatic large and long silhouettes. This didn’t necessarily mean they were all slouchy options, although there were plenty of those too.
From left to right: Hellessy, Jill Stuart, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Narciso Rodriguez, Tibi, Tome
Once again, hardly a new styling tip but this season designers paired dresses and tunics over pants to create neat, new shapes and silhouettes. Keep things bold and interesting by wearing pants and a skirt in the same print a la Maryam Nassir Zadeh or keep it sexy in a cut-out tunic with slits worn over trousers like Narciso Rodriguez.