It's that time again: New York Fashion Week has returned to the city for more than a week of runway shows, presentations and beyond.
The twice-annual fashion event runs through Sept. 15.
We review the spring/summer collections, from your favorite iconic designers to those making their NYFW debuts.
Keep checking back for real-time updates from New York Fashion Week....
It's that time again: New York Fashion Week has returned to the city for more than a week of runway shows, presentations and beyond.
The twice-annual fashion event runs through Sept. 15.
We review the spring/summer collections, from your favorite iconic designers to those making their NYFW debuts.
Keep checking back for real-time updates from New York Fashion Week.
Uh oh, there's a leak on the stage at Hammerstein Ballroom. That must've been the first thought of a lot of Marc Jacobs fans as they showed up for his spring runway show -- the finale of New York Fashion Week -- held at the midtown theater near Penn Station. There were...well...puddles of water on the long, wide runway jutting out into the audience. And light bulbs hanging at various heights from the ceiling. It's Jacobs, so you know not to be TOO worried; this is all part of the plan.
When the models strutted out, the runway looked like pavement at night after rain, and from the steamy mist came these women dressed to light up the darkness. Their clothes -- a cavalcade of ruffly, sheer dresses and embroidered coats and jackets with massive puffs of feathers on shoulders -- were done up in sparkly metallics and shine, shine, shine. Looking at the line feels like stepping into a vintage clothing store; so many surprises. And those mega-platform boots -- whoa!
All the major models-of-the-moment were there (Gigi and Bella Hadid, Karlie Kloss, Adriana Lima, some newcomer named Kendall Jenner -- ever heard of her?), their hair done up in yarn-like dreadlocks. It was, as they say, quite a scene. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Instead of his traditional runway show, J. Mendel designer Gilles Mendel decided to switch things up, displaying his spring line in an East Village penthouse at the hip Standard East Village hotel. In the bright sunlit space, he chatted about the line's craftsmanship and his inspiration. As in seasons past, it was photography that got his creative juices flowing.
The work of Spanish photographer Emilio Jimenez (who shoots body parts overlaid with intriguing shadows -- of ferns, leaves and such) and Viviane Sassen (who is Dutch and shoots anatomy in abstract forms) comes to life here, but in 3-D form, and textured in silk, tulle and mink. "I took this idea and tried to translate it into clothes with a graphic, transparent play," says Mendel.
And so there is a flowing leaf-print dress with a cut-out leather jacket, or silk brocade printed like foliage. But in a sea of stunning dresses and geometric lace pants, the fur is most unusual, cut into strips and sewn on tulle for an airy, striped coat, a latticework jacket, or sculpted into round floral buds on a pink bolero. All playing with shadow and light, just like the photographs.
These don't have the weightiness of traditional furs. "They're more playful, seasonless," and can be worn anytime, he says, then -- "OK, except when it's really, really, really cold outside," he adds, laughing.
Photographers have always inspired him, from Helmut Newton to Avedon. "I spend most of my day studying images -- photographs, architecture, paintings -- because you never know where the next idea may come from." (Joseph V. Amodio)
Ralph Lauren built a huge, square, sky-lit structure in front of his flagship store on Madison Avenue Wednesday night, closing off the street. An exclusive group of guests (about one-third of the size of his usual shows) were invited to preview his first runway-to-retail show in what has been a strong movement by designers to provide their customers with instant shopping gratification.
The space was beautiful, if not, despite the number of guests, less intimate than his shows in seasons past. Top models -- such as Stella Tennant, Liya Kebede and Kendall Jenner -- walked the runway in savory Lauren classics like tailored pinstriped pants amped up with floral embroidery. There were Navajo prints and fringed western pieces; one in pale suede was worn both on the runway and by Lauren's wife, Ricky. As of Thursday, shoppers will be able to purchase a lush shearling poncho, a graphic serape and a great leather jacket. A series of sequin dresses in bright colors, some with stunning leather harness straps, and some flowing purple satin looks will be for sale, too. Many of the ensembles were worn with Lauren's thick, signature belts (natch, also available).
"I have always been inspired by the rugged beauty and romance of the American West. The September Collection is imbued with that spirit, but reinterpreted in a modern glamorous way for the woman whose style is both personal and luxurious," said Ralph Lauren in a statement.
As the models took their finale walk, curtains on the store's huge store windows flew open revealing the collection in the window and some sort of hologram of horses galloping...it was breathtaking. And like Pied Piperettes, the models led the assembled into the store.
Inside, white-coated men served Champagne. David Lauren invited guests upstairs to see the collection, already displayed and purchase-ready. The Laurens seemed delighted to meet and greet.
Are you ready to shop? It's all there at Ralph Lauren waiting for you. (Anne Bratskeir)
It was a major froth fest at Marchesa, where designers Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman sent a poetic, dramatic lineup of evening looks down the runway.
Inspired by sunrise to the deepest part of the night, the show opened with some beauties in blush -- a fit and flare halter neck in tulle with satin ribbon detail and a gigantic tulle ballgown with ombre treatment at the waist. Darker looks included a stellar black number with gold embroidery, and a knockout confection with a gold lame bodice and a smoky blue tulle skirt.
And speaking of gold, for Academy Award-going gals, may we suggest the one shoulder Grecian gown of gold lame...it will match your Oscar. (Anne Bratskeir)
Anna Sui is fond of the Old West. Frontier themes pop up in her collections from time to time. This is one of those times, her line brimming with a wardrobe for an eclectic cowboy or cowgirl, as seen through a 1960s The Mamas & The Papas type of lens.
That translates to Western fringe jackets -- we're talkin' long, Grande Ole Opry fringe -- and cowboy hats, granny dresses and satin jackets embroidered with a cowgirl and lasso. Particularly eye-catching (and less prairie girl, if that isn't your thing) was the sexy librarian midriff top and long skirt, worn with bright red cat-eye frames. Or the shirt-dress in men's blue-stripe shirting material with black lace cuffs. Outta nowhere -- as if Sui suddenly changed the channel and discovered reruns of "Friday Night Lights" -- letterman jackets and sequined zip-front track jackets appear. It's certainly on-trend but seems slightly outside the theme.
But who cares, as long as it sells, right? Like those vintage Florida tourist tees, cut as a midriff. Just enough flash of skin and old-timey heritage to keep the Sui girls looking forward to the weekend. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Bibhu Mohapatra has steadily gained a loyal fan base since introducing his line in 2009 to the point where the seams were almost bursting at his packed house on Wednesday afternoon at Moynihan Station. In past seasons, Mohapatra, who was formerly the creative director of high-end brand, J. Mendel, has offered daywear as well as evening, with a somewhat architectural feel. Today he let go, presenting a sometimes wildly elaborate, lushly embellished collection of mostly eveningwear, much of it drop-dead gorgeous.
It will be a crying shame if some celeb doesn't snatch up the radiant purple gown, embellished with clusters of pearls and sequins, that boasted a pink underskirt visible by way of a thigh-high split. There were lovely stained glass prints, and several sparkly bodices worn over clothes that were very clever. A red confection covered in pearls featured a pink back cape, and a few ensembles were sparsely decorated with feathers...both real and feather-shaped crystal designs.
If there was a misstep here, it was gilding the lily situation...the occasional addition of an unneeded ruffle or unnecessary fabric... and some of the stiff, traditional gowns read old school. We're guessing that Mohapatra's inspiration, "the females of the Belle Époque, celebrating the optimism, prosperity and cultural innovations of the prolific time," led him down that path. But not to worry, there was plenty that the females of 2017 will absolutely love. (Anne Bratskeir)
The Spanish brand known for architectural designs and an astounding and stately elegance did not disappoint at its spring runway show on Wednesday at Pier 59 Studios at Chelsea Piers.
The label's founder, the late designer Jesus del Pozo, started out in menswear, and also designed for opera and the ballet, and so a strong sense of structure -- and mind-blowing drama -- are part of this brand's DNA. This season brings silk dresses in the shape of bells, sleeves sculpted like calla lilies, intricately beaded gowns in search of a coronation. It is fashion for a select few, to be sure, but not merely the (these days) much-maligned elite, but for the woman who truly appreciates a work of art.
"So beautiful, no?" said Jorge Viladoms Weber, a pianist who played on a Steinway grand piano as the models glided by. The Phillip Glass-like piece "was perfect for this, it sort of brings you into a trance." As do the clothes.
When del Pozo died in 2011, the label one-wordified the brand name to give it a more modern feel and handed the reins to architecture student-turned-designer Josep Font. Things change, but the spirit of this Spanish legend lives on. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Naeem Khan dedicated his to show to Halston, "my mentor ... whom I worked for in the '70s," said program notes. Indeed his first looks were reminiscent and certainly, for Khan, minimalist. Body-hugging jersey, colorblocked gowns and dresses were incredibly vibrant and graphic with swirls and giant geometrics. They were both retro and modern and definitely statement makers. As the show unfolded, Khan moved toward more familiar territory: huge florals in red and green awash with crystals; a threadwork embroidered caftan with pearl details; a crew neck, legging and cape ensemble in a wild abstract print that was drenched in sequins. Actually, Halston might have done a look like that, but his would've been substantially pared down. The skirts on several ball gowns were huge -- one strapless number with a navy front and a red back, and another in red satin with large floral applique on the bodice. In keeping with that '70s theme, a jazzy, bright yellow jumpsuit was comprised entirely of fringe, which actually turned out to be opaque glass. It was groovy. (Anne Bratskeir)
There's a lot of griping at New York Fashion Week -- the crowds, the lines, the locations -- but sometimes a designer makes it so fun and delightful that all is forgotten. This was the case at Michael Kors' Wednesday morning show at Spring Studios where Rufus Wainwright and an orchestra performed upbeat Judy Garland songs live as Kors' sprightly lineup of 56 looks jaunted down the runway. Wonderful!
Kors, who earlier in the week called his runway "optimistic," presented a series of graphic, bright spring florals in silk georgette -- dresses and tops --- some of these boasting intricate 3-D embroideries. Playing with proportion -- oversized and sharply tailored -- the lineup included romantic ruffled pieces such as gorgeous white shirts that he paired with fit to the body skirts, some dark, that flared at the bottom. Strong shoulder jackets, coats and vests were matched with relaxed trousers, and there were lustworthy, extravagantly oversized cashmere pullovers along with chic shrunken varieties. A couple of retro-looking bathing suits read couture -- high-waisted bikinis -- one, in a savory shade of nutmeg boasted a thick belt, a flippy double ruffled hem and floral tortoiseshell embellishment.
Colors ranged from brilliant aqua, azalea, tangerine and palm to more fall-like shades of navy, chambray and sand with black and white thrown into the mix.
And there's good news for instant gratification seekers. In keeping with the see now/buy now trend, a selection of looks straight off the runway became available immediately after the show at michaelkors.com and the Michael Kors stores on Bleeker Street and Madison Avenue.
Wainwright was fabulous and perhaps a touch distracting while closing the show with "Get Happy," which Garland performed in her film "Summer Stock" in 1950. Though political messages have been few and far between this fashion week, Wainwright made one when he said, before the finale, "Weren't those ladies just gorgeous? You know what? I'm with her." His last lines were, "C'mon and get happy. Get ready. Go Hillary." Rather than his traditionally energetic runway finale romp, Kors met Wainwright center stage, waved, and off the dynamic duo went. Happy indeed. (Anne Bratskeir)
For fans of "Archie" comics, this is a very, very good year. The comic is celebrating its 75th anniversary, a new "Betty and Veronica #1" comic just hit (sassier, and less fighting over boys), and a TV series on the CW, called "Riverdale," will debut next month. (It's been called "'Archie' meets 'Twin Peaks'" -- expect goofy dates, milkshakes ... and a murder mystery). And then there's this new line of clothes, launching this fall and expanding into a larger collection for spring.
There are the looks you'd expect -- tees and sweaters, emblazoned with those familiar faces -- and others that are surprisingly on-trend (letterman jackets), or clever (trompe l'oeil dresses with drawn-on bows or pockets -- even drawn-on pencils sticking out of the pockets). Kudos to designer Rachel Antonoff, who actually read and collected the comics as a kid.
The runway show itself was clever in concept -- instead of just clomping down the runway, the models acted out a story, complete with cartoony backdrops and thought bubbles that appeared over their heads. They actually got Lena Dunham (yes, as in "Girls") to write the thought-bubble script, but nobody seemed to consider that performing this in essentially a garage-like space with no stage and everybody standing meant that only the people right in front could see anything. (The photographers were originally supposed to shoot from BEHIND the audience, until someone had the brainstorm to let them get in front.) We got there early, so were right up front, too. Otherwise, our thought bubble would have read: "@#*!%**!!!" (Joseph V. Amodio)
Feminists may bristle at things like fairy tales, and they're right -- women get treated HORRIBLY in those stories (imprisoned in towers, hexed into comas, yadda, yadda) and guys just have to show up and kiss them to save the day. But ... the clothes. Fairy tales live on, at least in part, because the wardrobes are somehow so satisfying to young girls. The sweeping skirts, the glitter, the proclivity for pink. Those girls may grow up, but they don't forget.
Enter Monique Lhuillier, the Filipino designer who made her mark in bridal wear 20 years ago and then expanded into clothes for every other day of the year. Her dreamy sensibility is as evident as ever in her spring line, with its pastel shades, soft lines and those lavender summer mink jackets, "dahling" ...well, they may have you saying, "dahling." One blush dress flaunts tulle straps and heart-shaped sequins, another glides by with a flutter of ostrich feathers, and a third embroidered gown literally jangles, as if its circular paillettes are softly whispering as she glides by. The best was a baby blue and pink chiffon gown, high in front, the shoulders dappled with flower petals of hand-painted lacquer.
Her dresses may not be for everyone (there's an overt sweetness that may not play for some), but they make the wearer look regal yet somehow still approachable. It's like she can turn any customer into the Duchess of Cambridge. Not a bad trick. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Reem Acra handed out a little card at her Tuesday evening show at the Mercantile Annex on West 38th Street that read: "When you have the keys to the secret garden. Do you use it? Do you hide it?"
Let us interpret: If you're a gorgeous, leggy, extremely wealthy woman, you will use your key and wear any one of Acra's astoundingly fantastical cocktail dresses -- tiny, shapely minis drenched in embellishment and beyond fun to look at; they were truly dazzling.
If you're hiding the key, you might consider her ball gowns. These elaborate, blown-out confections, while dramatic, were not as striking as the minis.
Acra is no stranger to the red carpet, having dressed luminaries such as Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Halle Berry. A feast for the eye. (Anne Bratskeir)
Chiara Boni La Petite Robe
Chiara Boni La Petite Robe: An adorable show from this reasonably priced, excellent dressy dress resource opened with a film of beautiful women with curlers in their hair in an old-time beauty salon.
Out came the models with big, tousled hair, and instead of blank stairs and hunched walks, these girls worked it -- so much so that audience members were hooting and hollering, "You go girl."
It was refreshingly spirited and featured an array of jersey dresses with a '50s feel in a color palette of blush, blue and black. In fact, a black jersey gown with a cutout at the neckline was absolutely stunning. (Anne Bratskeir)
Alice + Olivia
Stacey Bendet proves with her Alice + Olivia line that mere embroidery, when done right, can magically transport you to a romantic Roman garden. The dresses are stunners, all, and steeped in a bit of mystical allure -- the designs are inspired by Tarot cards.
Even better -- there is now a new line of sunglasses to go with your alluring dress. Bendet's shades debut features oversized cat and mod shapes as eclectic as the brand's signature style. (Joseph V. Amodio)
It was quintessential Tory Burch at the designer's packed early morning show at the Whitney Museum Tuesday morning. In notes, Burch called the collection, "East Coast meets West Coast," a delightful mash-up of hostess chic and cool prep. True to her inspiration, Burch worked the yacht club set exceptionally well with a sense of humor and not a hint of lockjaw: a neat, piped jacket topped a linen pant with a sailboat pattern; a sweater printed with the word "Ahoy" was paired with a cotton twill sailor pant and for rainy days an apple green patent vinyl anorak. It was all very buttoned up.
On a more relaxed front, the looks -- such as a breezy two-piece orange eyelet crop top and skirt, an ethereal floral empire strapless organza confection and the all-over garden prints, many heavily embellished with rhinestones -- will have take-it-easy types swooning.
And don't forget about basic boho, a Burch calling card. Here it included a fringed multi-color macramé skirt worn over a bikini bottom and a dazzling embroidered hot pink caftan in shantung silk.
Accessories were notable: chokers with pearls the size of golf balls and the best shoes -- suede fringe cork bottom mules and soft moccasins. (Anne Bratskeir)
Why bother with color? Vera Wang put out a dramatic study in black and a wee bit of white at her late morning show at the Skylight at Moynihan Station. With a lineup that read Victoriana-meets-modern, the designer sliced off shoulders on jackets and offered mega-elongated sleeves in the sultry mix. L-o-n-g skirts, many super sheer, unfortunately made it difficult for models to navigate the runway but, oh, how they billowed as they trailed the models. "It almost looked like the way jellyfish move," said Teyana Taylor, who's burning up the screen in Kanye West's newest video, "Fade." And if you're going to embellish, why go small? Giant gumball-sized black and white pearls dappled several looks, these, too, sometimes causing issues for the models as they rolled on the runway. "I felt like I was channeling Coco Chanel with all the black and white and pearls," said Wang backstage. The audience was star-studded and included Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, "The Color Purple" Tony Award winner, Cynthia Erivo, who liked the fact that the collection was, "just on the edge of risqué," and Chloe Sevigny. And despite a few runway malfunctions, it was gorgeous. "I just loved it," said Taylor. "I'm planning my wedding now and I want Vera to make my wedding dress." (Anne Bratskeir)
As Sigmund Freud might've said (were he a fashionisto), sometimes a dress is just a dress. And it's true, you can't read too much symbolism into these things, but when a dress and jacket hit the runway with the DKNY logo trailing long threads to the floor, as if the letters DKNY were unraveling before our very eyes, one couldn't help but think, "Ummm...awkwaaaard."
That's because no one's quite sure what will happen to the brand -- or its still newish creative directors, Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, who took over from founder Donna Karan with the spring 2016 line -- what with LVMH selling it this summer to G-III, a firm that owns various brands (Bass) and licenses (Calvin Klein, Ivanka Trump). They went through with this fashion show but it's unclear what direction the new owners will take, and with what designers at the helm.
Chow and Osborne have taken the brand in an edgier, experimental direction, and the jury's still out on whether the DKNY customer will evolve, or bail. There was a slew of conceptual pieces here, likely meant to be more buzzy than functional (the pants sliced open at the hip, or sweaters with overly long sleeves, which look cool in pictures but the constant pulling up of sleeves would drive a person nuts). They hit the sweet spot with various hooded tops, sweaters and parkas (cozy, useful) and a sheer tulle coat that felt futuristic yet feminine.
An oversized blue anorak was emblazoned with the eerily prophetic phrase "Everything was different in the future." Well, as far as this label's concerned, that's still to be seen. Stay tuned. (Joseph V. Amodio)
It was something old, something new at Zac Posen's packed house at Spring Studios on Monday night. Old? The craftsmanship and precision tailoring he is known for, and in many cases, the hour-glass silhouettes that are a Posen signature. New? Technical fabrics that distinctly changed up the look. Some of the evening looks appeared to be transparent and were made of surgical mesh -- magical -- with beaded embellishments that seemed to float in the air. One gigantic strapless empire waist, tea-length dress in blush will most certainly make its way onto a fearless starlet. And there are plenty of pretty curvy cocktails and shorts ensembles -- (yes shorts), several in vivid hues of magenta, citrus green and coral with swirly metallic embroidery.
Cascade backs were gorgeous, but on several looks, pointy, architectural pleats rose from the hip -- which could be dicey on most figures.
Whippet slim tricotine pieces -- in black -- a trench, slim pant and moto jacket -- were not as eye catching as the rest of the lineup but may have been the best of all. (Anne Bratskeir)
Rag & Bone
There goes Marcus Wainwright again -- the designer behind Rag & Bone churned out another season of workwear meets street, somehow managing to balance a sense of heritage with a modern snap.
The quilted snap jacket, in fact, is a must-have, doing double duty as outerwear or a workmanlike blazer to wear with jeans. Keep the denim fuller cut, somewhat faded, and if the weather gets fierce there's a great cape with a large flap pocket on front. And for your everyday essentials? A retro fanny pack tricked out mod in patent leather. See? Old CAN meet new. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Correction: A previous version of this review incorrectly stated that David Neville was still a designer for Rag & Bone; Neville is no longer with the brand
Who says prairie skirts can't be in the same collection as metallic pants? Vivienne Tam brought together futuristic textures with soft silhouettes in a look she described as "space cowboy," all in the name of Houston. Tam said she became fascinated with the Texas city after visiting a friend there for the first time.
"I was just so inspired by the city of Houston," Tam said. "The city, the culture, the energy."
Delicate lace dresses that are up-close homages to the Lone Star state were contrasted against louder mentions of the city; a dress covered in NASA logos screamed a reference to Houston's space station. Models dressed in metallic silver and denim were followed by looks that were straight out of a Western film -- button-down shirts, flared pants and fringed bags added a '70s flair to a slow, Texas swagger.
But the pieces that truly shone were those that combined Houston with Vivienne -- bold floral print garments peppered with references to the southern state.
Only Tam could pull off such a direct inspiration -- many may see such blatant mentions as tacky or unwearable. Yet her delicate draping and fun color palate could only make the audience smile, leaving the impression of an optimistic collection. (Dana Reszutek)
Picture a country club pool, and a gaggle of ladies arriving, done up in bulky coats and shower caps, all clucking and prattling on as they enter and line up on either side of the pool. They wear mismatched shoes (fabulous platforms with heels in the shape of anchors, sailboats, spouting whales). They carry bright totes. Wear Gaga-worthy frames and neon lipstick. A man in a shrunken suit and cat mask wanders through.
With me so far? That's the ethereal, "Mad Men" meets "Alice in Wonderland" world that Thom Browne created for his spring runway show, always a standout theatrical event that few can match. Maybe Marc Jacobs. Maybe.
The feline fella eventually coaxes the ladies to change -- off go the coats and bonnets, revealing long dresses with trompe l'oeil layers, as if they're wearing suits, cardigans and jackets. These patchwork dresses, vaguely '60s in style, are made of fabrics that look like Colorforms you might have played with as a girl, or paper dolls, as if these ladies wear outfits that are drawn on.
If people are wearing mismatched shoes and drawn-on dresses a year from now, it'll be because of this show. The man is a trendsetter. His shrunken suits for men seemed odd when they first debuted. Now men's suits are leaner than ever before.
Eventually, as is no doubt a common occurrence at this trippy pool, a tall lady wearing a silver headpiece like a disco ball in the shape of a dog's head -- uh huh -- steps out, spotlights hit the silvery headpiece and a swirl of stars appear on the ceiling. The ladies take this opportunity to disrobe again, reclining on the tile floor in retro bathing suits, halters and high-waist bikinis in the label's signature red and blue stripe. The music, which started as big band swing, has morphed into dreamy Henry Mancini-like Muzak. It's the end of a long day. They've gossiped, they've tolerated the freaky cat guy. Time, finally, to relax. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Oscar de la Renta
The sun streamed into the Oscar de la Renta show through the gigantic windows at the Morgan Library on Monday afternoon. Fashion's heavyweights were all there -- de la Renta clients included -- dressed to the nines, to see what this interim moment for the house would be like. Shortly before his death in 2014, de la Renta appointed Peter Copping as creative director but in less that two years, Copping exited. In February the buzzy Monse designers, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim, who worked at de la Renta years ago, will take over. So this was a rare moment for the in-house design team to strut their stuff.
The show opened with a variety of white and ivory confections in organza such as an ivory lace caftan, an airy eyelet number and a hammered silk chiffon tea-length frock with ladder lace trim. From there it moved into more recognizable Oscar territory with a series of uber-luxe gypsy brocades - multi-colored paisleys - one multi-colored tweed suit worn with a black sequin bandeau. Further on in the 45-look lineup came the drama - a pleated gown in navy and gold lame; a fiery red cocktail frock with giant ruffles that swirled around the model's body; a hand-smocked organza dress with sci-fi billowing sleeves, all worn with flat sandals.
But who would take the finale walk? Some nine people from the design team joyously bounded down the runway. They held up their arms and blew kisses to a balcony above where the tailors and seamstresses watched the show. For a moment there, we thought they were reaching up to the heavens, where their old boss was likely watching, and smiling. (Anne Bratskeir)
A huge thank you to Lela Rose who bought lunch for an intimate group of fashion folks at Café Altro Paradiso restaurant on Spring Street. As guests munched on kale salads and prosciutto and sipped tequila drinks meant to match the palette -- (it was called "Pretty in Peach" and she handed out the recipe) -- models meandered amidst the tables showing off Rose's lovely lineup of looks meant to go from day to dinner in feminine, vibrant hues. The designer is known for love of entertaining and food - at a previous show she handed out potholders made of a signature fabric. It was such a lovely respite from the fast track of fashion week, and the clothes were lovely, too.
Models wearing giant sunglasses with daisies on the frames sauntered in fit-and-flare dresses in luscious shades of poppy, peach and lemon. One retro-looking ensemble featured a cool off-the-shoulder tube knit topper over slim pants in a bright geometric print. A black gown with of lace and sheer pleats was stunning and a flirty, tiered cocktail was amped up with metallic ribbon.
It was everything a fashionable gal could want, including a take-away dessert -- jars of homemade chocolate hazelnut biscotti. Yum all around. (Anne Bratskeir)
She may have lost her bid for a Grand Slam at this year's U.S. Open, but Serena Williams scored high points with the fashion crowd at the runway show for her fall collection. Held Sept. 12 at KiA/Style360, a fashion venue on West 46th Street, the display drew Anna Wintour to the front row, seated next to Venus Williams.
The line, a mix of cozy sweater dresses, lace maxis worn over shorts, and a striped fur vest, live-streamed on HSN when the models hit the runway. Score -- luv, Serena. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Wallflowers, beware! Jeremy Scott is not just a designer but a fashion phenomenon, and after decades in the biz, outfitting hotties from Rihanna to Britney Spears, his cult following is only getting larger -- which means shyness may soon be outlawed. There's just no room for it. Not with clothes like these -- a midriff dress with a cityscape print dripping in green slime, or the jackets and other pieces emblazoned with garish faces, the handbag like a giant tube of toothpaste (labeled "Jeremy -- original cool mint"), or those spangly disco dresses with swirling Saturn rings straight outta "The Jetsons."
In this, one of his biggest and most crowded shows yet, the designer proved once again how the appeal of his wacky, tongue-in-chic designs is infectious. How much he's commenting on or just plain reveling in American excess and turned-on-high-spin consumerism is always murky. No doubt his current stint as creative director at Moschino has given him a taste of the good life -- selling at high volume. And there's no question he knows what sells: Those tees blaring "New York" and "Rated X" are gonna fly off shelves. (Joseph V. Amodio)
For the past few seasons, Carolina Herrera has chosen to show her swanky collection in a garden room at the Frick Collection on the Upper East Side, and it is a perfect showcase for the designer's elegant and gorgeously tailored vision.
For spring, Herrera let loose a bit, not only with her silos, but with the gravitas of the collection. No ladies who lunch stiff suitings here -- instead, plenty of denim -- a blown-out strapless ball gown, a body grazing day dress, and even a coat dress that featured an ample leg-flashing slit. Evening looks revolved around sheer (but not overtly) dresses and gowns, several one-shoulder jobs with twisted straps, in black and white. There were crinkly metallics and bold awning stripes. And, hallelujah -- most of the ensembles were worn with flats, and in a few cases florals, that matched the fabric of the skirt. In one case, Herrera gave a stylish wink to formality with a tremendous striped ball skirt that grazed the feet of the audience and was topped with a cropped sweater, styled to look like a rugby shirt with the No. 3 on the arm. Fun and fabulous. (Anne Bratskeir)
A downtown event space was transformed into a beachfront paradise for the Rosie Assoulin presentation. Between packing peanut "sand," a stack of beach chairs and palm trees, the only thing missing was the waves -- unless you count the seemingly effortless beach waves some of the models were rocking.
The space set the stage for Assoulin's spring/summer 2017 collection, which was heavy on floral sundresses, ruffled tops and striped color block patterns, some of which shimmered in the "sun." Most looks were topped off with floppy hats and wicker bags. Models sipped sparkling lemonade and snacked on Sour Patch Kids and taffy candies.
One business look (a grey pinstripe suit and capri combo) sneaked into the presentation and seemed out of place along a shoreline of vibrant color. (Meghan Giannotta)
It's strange to say this about a brand specializing in blinged-out corsets and thigh-high boots, but the spring collection of design duo Phillipe and David Blond seemed more ... accessible than in seasons past. The show, of course, was still raucous -- it's always a hot ticket for the edgy downtown set and young celebs (Kelly Osbourne and "Orange Is the New Black's" Vicky Jeudy and Dascha Polanco sat front row).
For spring the label offers oversized, spangly silver tanks for both men and women -- one model wore hers as a dress with a distressed white tank top underneath. Another model sported a platinum sweatshirt dress with a pleated silver cape that looked like wings. Or there was the metallic bodysuit cut so high it would've gotten Simone Biles and the rest of the Final Five thrown out of the Summer Olympics.
Out there? Sure ... but it's easy to imagine these styles being worn by eager club-hoppers.
"It's a little bit of alien, a little bit of goddess," said Phillipe Blond, chatting with American Express cardholders at a private meet-and-greet in the Amex VIP Lounge at Milk Studios, just after the runway show. They're celebrating their 10th anniversary, David Blond explained, and so "we wanted to take the line to a different place."
Of course, there were still the massive permed wigs and a wind machine to keep things properly ... Blondish. Accessible? Yes. Over the top? Always. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Many designers put a lot of thought into crafting just the right soundtrack for their runway show, but it doesn't get much better than hearing the late great Maya Angelou reciting her poem "Phenomenal Woman." That was the way Prabal Gurung chose to conclude his spring runway show, and it seemed to speak as much to another upcoming collection of his -- more on that in a second -- as to his general outlook on the Gurung customer.
In the poem, Angelou, speaking for the average woman everywhere, talks about how pretty girls sometimes don't quite get how she can be so confident or feel good about herself. She admits, "I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size." But she feels a sense of power in her curves and full-fledged hips. "I'm a woman / Phenomenally."
That spirit was on hand, if not in the models themselves (who seemed standard size 2s and 0s), than in their pace -- Gurung's ladies are strong, walk fast, have places to go -- and the fierce way they owned the clothes. Like the luxe cashmere boucle sweater, yanked off one shoulder. The trousers fluttering with a cuff of ostrich feathers. The various stunner beaded dresses. Or the dresses, tops and skirts slashed to reveal flashes of skin, one electric blue skirt slashed and pinned back together in strips like a car wash curtain.
As for that future collection? Gurung has been working on a hotly anticipated collaboration with Lane Bryant, once again proving that "phenomenal" has nothing to do with dress size. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Time to check Netflix or Hulu for the 1990 David Lynch film "Wild at Heart," which stars a carefree Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage. Joseph Altuzarra had it on the brain when designing his spring collection. With Lynch as inspiration, it's no wonder that the clothes seemed romantic and kitschy, with... something else, a little darker, pulsing just under the surface.
"I wanted the collection to feel happy, vibrant and erotically charged," the designer wrote in his program, and the clothing obliged. A mix of flirty ruffle dresses in cherry prints, or tougher python, hit the runway. Nipped jackets and slit skirts in gingham seem perfect for lunching with the gals, and those teensy (we're talking major exposure here) "flounce bras" in crepe de chine paired with a ruffly skirt, well, I'm not quite sure where the average woman is going to wear that, but kudos to anyone who tries.
With the cute cherries vs. python, the ruffles vs. those massive hoop earrings, there was almost a bit of a country gal, city gal rivalry going on, but no worries. In this collection, there's something for everyone. (Joseph V. Amodio)
There was nothing morbid about Tracy Reese's "show" set in the New York Marble Cemetery where strewn rose petals created a path from one vignette to another. Real women of all shapes and sizes -- artists, painters, writers -- modeled Reese's cheery spring collection. A dancer wearing a classic Tracy Reese floral twirled around to the sounds of a string trio that played at the event. And speaking of real women... Whoopi Goldberg was in the house. Reese had one mission; "To make all women feel beautiful." Yay! (Anne Bratskeir)
Carmen Marc Valvo
Oh, how refreshing it was to see spring 2017 through Carmen Marc Valvo's eyes. His stylized, pared-down collection featured models made up to look like dolls with giant puffs of hair topped with little girl bows in frocks and gowns that while girlish, were easy to wear.
Silhouettes seemed simple -- dropped waists, empire, bubble -- but Valvo's handiwork was not. Many pieces featured stunning three-dimensional floral embroidery -- even a few bathing suits. The palate was predominately black, white and nude with a few poppy numbers, though they didn't work as well as the rest.
But best of all, most of Valvo's models wore sneakers -- his own design -- that not only looked great, and so modern with the dresses, but everybody wanted a pair. As for the doll theme... he took it to the seats, gifting every guest with, what else? A Carmen Marc Valvo lollipop. (Anne Bratskeir)
British designer Jenny Packham (she's a favorite of the Royals) lined up all sorts of glamor in her Sunday afternoon show and within her 31-look collection, there was something for everybody. For rocker girls who party, there was a formal a gold illusion beaded top with wide-leg embellished trousers, or an uber blinged-out black and gold gown with wide sleeves. A surprising little floral embroidered tulle shorts outfit and a fiery red chiffon mini, with a ruffled hem and blousy sleeves, was just the thing for jet-setting hippie girls. Mothers of the bride and maybe queen mothers will swoon for several satiny pale pink jobs along with an elegant, albeit restrained, auburn skirt and shirt ensemble. But we liked the last gown, an off-the-shoulder Calder-inspired print in black and ivory for the Duchess of Cambridge. Cheerio! (Anne Bratskeir)
Erin Fetherston's spring line is for the woman who doesn't mind flaunting her girly side every now and again. There are plenty of softly flowing peasant dresses, many in pale pink silk. Even her shawl-collar suits, many in a pale silvery gray, were cut for the female form and worn without a top -- just a sexy low-cut plunge. All the looks were ultra-feminine and the dresses were worn with flat sandals -- flip-flops, really -- for a casual, laid-back and unfettered look. No need for torturous stilettos. (Joseph V. Amodio)
The emphasis wasn't so much on style, as it was on lifestyle at J. Crew's spring presentation held in a gloriously sunlit event space at Spring Studios in TriBeCa.
Turns out, the models weren't models at all, but staffers and friends of the brand, ages 13 to 70.
Yes, there were plenty of examples of classics reinterpreted with a slightly eclectic edge -- which this brand does so well -- like the shoulder-baring tops, flowing ruffled skirts, denim, chambray and nautical stripes. But look beyond the clothes at the models and you see... us. Young women, older women and kids, slender forms and fuller figures, even -- gasp -- a model wearing glasses. And the same was true for the men.
Yes, the brand was actually acknowledging that clothes tend to be worn by folks over age 21, and a wee bit larger than a size two. In the world of fashion, that's not only refreshing -- it's a revolution. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Tome designers Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin are continually influenced by art made by women and have been inspired by the likes of Grace Jones, Germaine Greer, Georgia O'Keeffe, Yoko Ono and Madonna. Notably, the design duo focused on prints this season. These included graphic harlequin prints (some dappled with crystal), madras plaids and eye-catching metallic florals -- all made by women's collectives in India with a vision of empowering women and their communities.
Individual style seemed to be the calling card at their Sunday afternoon show, where ruffles reigned supreme and models (one a senior) wore quirky combinations: a bright fuchsia coat topped a ruffled blouse and hammered silver skirt, a long, pale skirt daringly split to the waist was paired with a sturdy cropped jacket in melon, and a plaid, cottony, off-the-shoulder mountainous ruffled blouse matched a high-low taffeta skirt with a long train.
The effect of the entire show conjured a crazy quilt of styles: "Out of Africa"-meets-"Downton Abbey"-meets Indian princess -meets modern cool girl. Something for everybody. (Anne Bratskeir)
At Victoria Beckham's downtown morning show at Cipriani two moments of silence were observed commemorating the 15th anniversary of Sept. 11. It was incredibly poignant and respectful.
After that it, was all about the clothes. Beckham, who is known for her bodycon silhouettes loosened up significantly with garments that skimmed gracefully rather than clung. Stars of the show included crushed summer-weight velvet numbers in lilac and white, and crinkly washed satin dresses that could easily go from day to night. Some ensembles had bra tops and paper bag waists along with matching soft bags that punctuated the ease of this lineup. Beckham herself called it, "a collection with an assured free spirit."
Off the runway, hubby David Beckham was a paparazzi magnet (still hunky after all these years). He sat front-row with son, Brooklyn. (Anne Bratskeir)
Let's start with the end and work backward: Alexander Wang sure knows how to throw a party. He held his mega-event at Pier 94, on the Hudson, and like Tommy Hilfiger's carnival the night before, it needed a pier. This event was massive.
After his shows (yes, there was more than one), a wall opened up revealing a huge party space behind the runway, complete with the guilty pleasures we all share -- a 7-Eleven truck filled with candy, chips and other munchies (yes, there were Slurpees), a McDonald's truck churning out fresh-cooked cheeseburgers and fries, a graffiti station (that's right, we all got to tag a Lexus SUV, which was oddly invigorating), plus a D.J. spinning tunes and more.
Prior to that was the surprise collection -- revealed as a sort of encore to his regular line -- introduced with an edgy video, followed by his models storming the runway in his new Adidas Originals by Alexander Wang collection, a special collaboration featuring 84 unisex pieces of apparel and footwear --including hoodies, track jackets, shorts, and more -- with that cheeky Wang appeal. (The Adidas logo, for instance, is flipped upside down).
And prior to that, of course, came his regular, eponymous spring line, which featured menswear-inspired fabrics, like the blue-striped shirt material used for strappy bralettes, paired with shorts and, perhaps, a pinstripe blazer with the sleeves ripped off. Sport was another key influence here, and some of the best looks were the gray scuba-like dresses with candy-colored trim. Extra points also go to the sheen-white mini dress with top-stitching on the front, similar to that of a large baseball. As if that wasn't interesting enough, the back is bare and sexy.
Some designers put on a runway show. On Saturday night, Wang put on two shows AND hosted a party of enormous proportions. The man goes and goes... non-stop. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Jonathan Simkhai's heavenly runway boasted fluid silhouettes with an ethereal feel in a peaceful palette of ivory, sand, blush and indigo, with a touch of tie-dye and chambray. Simkhai's customer, a cosmopolitan individual, will swoon for his lineup of floaty dresses, gowns and tops that are intentionally unraveled, but still refined. Trims are artful and statement-making: lace, rope, mirrors and pearls -- one topper featured an entire back belt of them.
This designer is playful with fabric, such as in the case of an airy summer-weight sweater paired with a silken charmeuse skirt, trailed with scarf-like strips. Fabrics overall were luxe and included chiffon -- sometimes shredded -- double georgette and embroidered cotton poplin. The collection was romantic without the cliché. Ruffles were deconstructed and Simkhai's signature necklines evolved from Edwardian to collarbone-baring with deep v-necks. There was even a sexy undercurrent to many of his cuts. The styles were splendid, even covetable. However, amid Simkhai's evening dresses, there were a few bras designed with an asymmetrical approach -- one-sided with a cutout -- that were dubious. (Anne Bratskeir)
Band of Outsiders
Band of Outsiders may have a major Tokyo fanbase, but the look here was straight-up red, white and blue, with a spring collection that was an homage to "sunny suburbia," where "comfort is king," according to the program notes.
Appropriating shapes and styles of the masses, and then flipping them, is a radical notion, and the looks here didn't disappoint. One model dressed up a basketball jersey tee by wearing it under a silver gray shorts suit. Another wore basketball jersey shorts with a charcoal pinstripe blazer. There was the standard high school dude's plaid flannel button-down, cut oversized and worn as a dress. A ribbed periwinkle cardigan coat looked as comfy as a bathrobe.
These are clothes that'll take you from campus to mall to date night downtown and never look out of place. Which a true outsider will hate ... or secretly crave. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Thank you, Olivia Palermo, for finally making some sense of the "see now, buy now" trend that has left designers perplexed and unsure of what to show on the runway. As brand ambassador for Banana Republic, she curated a limited-edition selection of 15 styles from the label's spring line, which are available for purchase now, while supplies last.
So, if life just won't be worth living without being able to buy runway styles right now, then you can snap up a cute floral top with asymmetrical straps ($68), one-shoulder diagonal striped party dress ($158), or an Italian suede two-tone shoulder bag ($148), among others.
The rest of the spring line is something to look forward to -- the pleated shirtdress that was paired with white, sailor trouser jeans, the carnival stripe button-down shirt and pants that looked as comfy as pajamas, or the classic pea coat staple Banana does so well.
That system makes more sense than showing fall clothes now, which some designers have taken to doing, even though their lines are already in stores. Not that Palermo dreamed that idea up herself -- it likely came out if some executive brainstorming session. But, thanking her seems better than "Thank you, random, nameless exec." (Joseph V. Amodio)
Christian Siriano's ladylike collection of airy dresses and wide-leg pants was modeled by a diverse group of women of all sizes. The best of the lineup included nautical-feeling, cotton dresses and tops with sexy, black frocks. Several styles had open weaves and swooping, low backs. Other glamorous white silk evening ensembles, embellished with icy crystals, also made appearances. Front-row at Siriano's star-packed house included Christina Hendricks, Jaimie Alexander, Pamela Anderson and Ashley Graham. (Anne Bratskeir)
New York Fashion Week is underway, and we have all the reviews you need to read, from Rebecca Minkoff (pictured) to Lacoste.
You get the feeling Jill Stuart was hooked on the Olympics this summer, given the unexpected sporty edge to her signature wispy and diaphanous dresses. Remember those skin-tight arm warmers the gymnasts wore, or the leg warmers on track stars? Stuart did up her own club-hopping versions, pairing a wispy one-shoulder top with sparkly metallic arm warmers, or a flowing pink dress with burgundy footless tights.
Her sweet, silky frocks, with handkerchief hems, catch the breeze just so, making them real eye-catchers. But the sporty styling shows these women are not to be messed with, and are ready for action, if not the uneven parallel bars. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Lacoste designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista dreamed up a rooftop tennis match set in Capri as inspiration for his Saturday morning show at Spring Studios on Varick Street, where the set was landscaped with palms and ferns. The show opened with cushy hooded Rocky-esque bathrobes, embossed with the Lacoste logo on the back. There were the expected classic pieces -- striped polos, sweatpants (nerdy, cute and pulled up high). Unexpected looks also hit the runway, such as a to-die-for lipstick red vinyl coat dress called "techno Brigitte" (as in Brigitte Bardot). High-belted, terry cloth bustier dresses begged to be worn by the pool, and a pale, pink dress-suit looked couture. A section of the show featured garbs splattered with colored crocodile graffiti and free-spirited brush strokes.
Costume designer Katie Irish was there on the hunt for clothes for the hit FX show, "The Americans." Set in the '80s, Irish said Lacoste is a great resource. "The polo shirts are so classic and [the main characters] are trying to be so American," she said.
Irish said that Lacoste often provides the show with archival pieces, "but for stunt sequences, we need multiples, because we keep repeating the same scene. I have my eye on a couple of terry cloth dresses from this show," she added. "But overall, there were some very forward thinking pieces." Indeed. (Anne Bratskeir)
Tadashi Shoji's evening show opened with a little animated film depicting animals of Noah's Ark floating upwards, which in notes suggested "a spiritual declaration. The playful imagery captures your dreamlike desires to rise." Forgive us Tadashi Shoji but we didn't get it...at all, at least the Noah's Ark part.
What did rise were some billowing l-o-n-g parachute skirts that went airborne when the models strode down the runway. One of these, white, featured a plunging neckline and a jewel embroidered tulle back, was quite dramatic.
Much of the collection was lingerie-inspired. There were loads of slip dresses, corsets, bustiers and quite a bit of very sheer lace fabric. So here's the big question: Will you feel OK wearing a visible high-waisted panty and bra under your emerald green fitted gown to your next cocktail party? Maybe. But Shoji is a mainstream resource and some of these looks read more boudoir than ballroom.
That said, overall it was a good showing with cool ostrich-trimmed mini dresses (wait is that the Noah's Arc part?), smart wide-leg jumpsuits that boasted harness straps hanging loose and some lovely party dresses sure to get, um, a rise out of shoppers. (Anne Bratskeir)
We were all thinking the same thing -- "Tommy...wow" -- but the concept here is #tommynow, Tommy Hilfiger's take on the "see now, buy now" phenomenon. The "wow" reaction had to do with the fact that Tommy didn't just mount a runway show -- he created a full carnival, complete with fried food, spinny rides and a Ferris wheel on a pier at South Street Seaport.
Oh, yeah, and there was fashion, too, with models storming down the runway in his fall 2016 gear -- and debuting the new Tommy x Gigi capsule collection created with runway hottie Gigi Hadid.
The looks were classic Tommy -- midriff sailor shirts, fisherman's knit sweater dresses, denim cutoffs, oversize satin bombers and a massive furry hoodie emblazoned with an anchor on front -- all very nautical and hyper Americana, which he does so well.
It was hard to know exactly which pieces Gigi -- who walked the show -- had a hand in, but the leather jacket with her name on back, and those gray military capes with "Hadid" on the shoulder are sure to fly. Consumers were able to shop the looks online and elsewhere as soon as they hit the runway.
What? You haven't bought anything yet? Well, if you were here you could do so at the pop-up shop on the pier, then run back for another lobster roll, maybe some fried mozzarella and a spin on the Tornado.
And if you get Taylor Swift -- who sat front row -- to join you for a spin, all the better. (There's no chance of that, but in the fan fiction version of this extravaganza we DEFINITELY all rode the Tornado with Taylor. And got matching tattoos at the tattoo shop. Don't worry, Tay' -- they're only temporary.) (Joseph V. Amodio)
Nicole Miller's early evening downtown show was inspired, she said, by "vintage Panamanian craftsmanship combined with New York influences." It was saucy and sassy and not a bit gimmicky. Colorful tweeds and stripes, festive tile prints, airy eyelets, embroidery (some mirrored), and a bit of ruffle gave the collection an exotic, flirty flair. Miller toughed it all up and added urban edge with leather pieces such as the cool moto jacket with an embroidered back, an oversized military jacket and wide high-low bell-bottoms. Dresses are this designer's sweet spot, and these were very good, pretty, in mostly easy silos and perfect for the fiesta. Guaranteed to be sought after by many a gal headed to the party like all those "Bachelor in Paradise" ladies in Miller's front row. (Anne Bratskeir)
Becca McCharen-Tran is a rising star in the fashion world in part because of her architectural and intriguing designs, but also because her hyper-sexy swimwear and activewear somehow manages to look wearable, whether you're Beyonce (who she's dressed) or...um...not Beyonce.
Her spring line is inspired by water sports -- there are scuba-like jackets paired with bikini bottoms, sheer-paneled maillots, a fab fishnet hoodie dress -- and to get her staff in the right mood, she took them out for a surf lesson, she explained at a Q&A session post-show at the American Express VIP Lounge, which sits near the runway at Milk Studios in Chelsea.
Her audience for the chat session -- random American Express cardholders who bought tickets to view the runway show, then hang with the designer sipping Champagne -- is a good example of Becca's broad appeal. Let's just say there were some mom types here who you wouldn't think would rock some of Chromat's naughtier looks -- with bondage straps and D-ring clasps. But they seemed to get that this is all in good fun. They also appreciated that many of the Chromat models are unapologetically plus-size. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Perhaps best of all was Becca's bow at the end of the fashion show, when she stepped out on the runway, along with members of her team. "It's definitely more than me who does it," she said later, "so why should I be the only one to take a bow?" If this is the fashion designer of the future, we say, "Bring it!!" (Joseph V. Amodio)
Cushnie et Ochs
Hey, all you sexy sirens -- take heart. We know how hard it is to find clothes that show off just how fabulous you really are -- skirts that are never slit high enough, necklines never low enough and bathing suits that make you feel like a nun. Well Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs are the designing duo that's got you covered -- and uncovered, in all the right places.
Their spring line is drenched in sex appeal, from the bold, black-and-white silk jumpsuit to the flamingo pink dress with a shawl collar plunging down the back, to the metallic champagne halter jumpsuit, #discodeluxe. As for bathing suits, you'll need to carefully apply the SPF when wearing that one-piece with major circular cutouts. But, oh, so worth it. (Joseph V. Amodio)