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 Feb. 16.
We review the fall/winter collections, from your favorite iconic designers to those making their NYFW debuts.
Keep checking back for real-time updates from New York Fashion Week.
Mother Nature has been particularly hard on New York Fashion Week this season, pummeling it with a blizzard, rain and freezing temps. So, the experience of walking into Ralph Lauren's show at his women's flagship on Madison Avenue Wednesday night, was more than a salve . . . it was virtually transformative.
Fresh white orchids and vines slathered every wall (estimates were that there were about 100,000 of them), butterflies with flapping wings (not real), and a bird-chirping soundtrack along with the glow of crystal chandeliers whisked guests away to an exotic location, which is exactly what Lauren wanted. Thick sisal rugs and cushy white banquettes took the place of store merchandise -- the store actually closed for three days before to set this scene -- which was so stunning that it prompted Ken Downing, Neiman Marcus honcho, to exclaim, "This is so gorgeous, you could have a wedding here after the show."
Lauren has adapted the "see now, buy now" mantra full throttle. His first round with it was last season, and while the show was lovely, it was a tad sterile, lacking the lush Ralph touch. Not so this night when he presented his drop-dead, romantic, yet pared down spring lineup designed with a nomadic feel that was neither cliché or tricked out.
Colors were mostly desert bleached -- off-whites, sand, beige and strong hits of burnished metallic gold. The show opened with some prerequisite suiting -- slim silos mostly in lineny fabrics. Model Bella Hadid wore fluid clay-colored silken anorak dress (there were many of these, with front pockets and hoods). Several looks featured distressed leather jackets balancing more luxurious evening pieces including gold netted tops. A few shimmery, liquid silken gowns -- one in deep lavender -- drew gasps from the crowd. There were a couple of sexy black gowns -- body-con with cutouts at the rib. But it was the show's final look that captured the essence of the brand's DNA -- a flowing, soft floral gown worn over a pair of worn jeans . . . knockout.And just as the show ended, up it went for sale online. And sell it will. Bravo Ralph Lauren. From Feb. 16 to 20, consumers will be invited to shop the collection while those orchid walls are still in place, Ralph Lauren, 888 Madison Ave. (Anne Bratskeir)
Fantasy plays as much a part of a Thom Browne runway show as fine tailoring, and he didn't skimp on either in his collection for fall/winter. Emphasis on the winter.
He recreated a winter park, complete with fabric-covered trees, reeds and frozen lake, on which his models "skated" (their shoes were actually ice-skate-like wedgies and, like the real deal, some models were more steady on their feet than others). These women were committed to menswear, done up in a dapper man-tailored assortment of glen plaid and houndstooth suits ( with vests and wide-cuff shorts), repp ties and tweedy coats, some looking like they were turned "inside out." We're talking super-committed to menswear--with small bits of fabric adorning each face in the shape of lips or brows. Who needs makeup? Most coveted will likely be the coats and other items in a penguin print. And those doggie purses. (Thom's adorable pooch, Hector Browne, appeared in the crowd.) And that puffer coat with block-long train. Snowboard at your own risk.
We're still trying to figure out who those four guys were standing around the lake, completely wrapped, mummylike, in houndstooth fabric and each holding two glowing orbs. The four houndstooth horsemen of the apocalypse? Or lampposts. Our bet is on very dapper lampposts. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Wait -- what's this? If there's one thing you can count on with Anna Sui, it's a good rock 'n' roll soundtrack. The designer is mighty fond of the '60s and '70s, and her collections often riff off those decades, and the DJs follow suit. But not this season.
Before any model set a stilettoed toe on the runway, we heard voices. "Is there anyone there ...?" -- an older woman's voice rang out, sounding veddy British -- "... who would like to speak to anyone here?" Turns out it was Brit grande dame Margaret Rutherford and Rex Harrison in a clip from the 1945 séance comedy "Blithe Spirit," and the soundtrack for the show proceeded with standards from the 1940s (and thereabouts). And the collection? Part otherworldly, part old Hollywood glam, and vintage boho-gal that Sui shoppers know and love.
Those with a yearning for those categories should keep an eye out for the velvet jumpsuit and matching coat with fur collar and cuffs. Or the British-y brick-red shearling-trimmed jumper. Or that vivid maxi dress with wicked crocheted spider web overlay. Positively ghostly. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Only at this Spanish luxe label could you have a "soundtrack" of intense, tribal-like drumming -- performed live -- but still feel somehow ... serene. Known for its sculptural and voluminous looks, Delpozo somehow manages to marry size with softness, drama with a certain sense of delicacy.
For fall, their watchword seems to be "protection," from the long turtleneck base layers pulled up over a model's head like a medieval warrior (it looked actually quite cozy), to the handbags -- massive circular disks that look like spangly, sequined shields, and in which a gal can store her iPhone, lipstick, compact, and favorite pair of cymbals. Just the essentials.
We heard an intake of breath from one showgoer at the sight of the high-low evening gown in an abstract floral print, like an Impressionist painting of poppies (It was pretty fantastic). And a burnt umber coat with scalloped neckline is probably the most original looking outerwear of the week.
As for the drummers, they're a Brooklyn-based ensemble called So Percussion, performing a Paul Lansky piece called "Threads." Aptly named. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Things have changed a lot since Michael Kors showed last season when Rufus Wainwright sang Judy Garland's "Get Happy" and models sashayed in floral prints and even a cashmere sweater that blared the word "LOVE." This time, Kors' models walked to live music -- no less dramatic, maybe even more so -- from a full string orchestra playing pop-music gone classical. It was glorious, but the mood on the runway was somber.
In notes, he described the lineup as imbued with "sensual strength." It was power dressing with a protective bent, with h-u-g-e coats -- some gigantic furs -- one, a fox and mink in olive leopard, could certainly make a girl roar. Oversized scarves encased upper portions of the models and while outerwear was big and structured, softly draped dresses with high leg slits balanced the act. Kors' signature scalpel-sharp tailoring was apparent in the series of jackets and suits and there were plenty of animal motifs including the aforementioned leopard along with cheetah and python.
The color palette was subdued -- camel, cream, gray, charcoal, chocolate, olive and black with some hits of merlot and metallic. Dazzlers included a crushed, silver lame blouson and pleated pant ensemble, a crystal dappled jersey outfit in merlot, a liquid gold sarong and of course, Kendall Jenner, in the final look, wearing a strapless column of black fringe with black sequin embroidery. She could make anything look happy. (Anne Bratskeir)
Are fashion shows an endangered species? If this season's NYFW is any indication, the answer may be yes, as more designers than ever before, it seemed, opted for fashion show alternatives -- Zac Posen among them. His idea -- an art exhibit and party at an industrial space in TriBeCa, complete with large blown-up photos of models wearing dresses from his fall line, macaroons in every color of the rainbow and bottles of beer.
There was also a "film," though it felt more a montage of Snapchat videos, with the models sort of half-heartedly spinning or hiking their dresses to and fro, presumably to show us that one, there really were dresses made and two, they moved. But, frankly, it wasn't necessary. The beauty of the dresses, worn by top models, came through in the photos -- serene beauty Carolyn Murphy wearing a strapless cocktail dress with delicate handmade orange blossom embroidery, or Hilary Rhoda in a midnight one-shoulder gown that swept with dramatic verve to a half sleeve on the other arm. Then there was Jourdan Dunn in a stunner strapless column gown of red and salmon velvet ribbons embroidered in a chevron pattern, coming to a point in front, sort of the reverse of a V-neck, or as if Jourdan were wrapped in a soft, crimson lily.
The gowns were not as ornate or voluminous as some of the courtly numbers he's produced in past seasons, but simplicity (or a pared-down elegance) can be a good thing. Even better would be to actually see the dresses as seemingly sumptuous as these. Maybe next season. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Carmen Marc Valvo
From the gonzo goings-on at Carmen Marc Valvo's presentation, it's clear the designer is looking to goose his image. Beloved by society, ladies and a certain class of sophisticated celebs -- Vanessa Williams, Katie Couric, Alec Baldwin -- Valvo amped up the proceedings with a packed presentation where you could see glamour in the making.
The models, perched on one side of a crowded studio, took turns stepping in front of a photographer with a wind machine and posing and moving as the shutterbug shouted directions. It was like something out of a movie. The images were displayed in real time on an enormous wall for the rest of the crowd to see. The long pleated dresses (just a column of pleats from neck to toe) looked best, flouncing and spiraling as the models spun around.
Next season, he's got to let some of the guests take a spin with the wind machine. The cool kids will love it. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Alice + Olivia
Oh, to be in designer Stacey Bendet's book club. If you're not much into the plot of any given book, at least you could discuss all the great fashions it might inspire. Salman Rushdie's novel "The Enchantress of Florence" served as inspiration for Bendet's fall line, and with its exotic locales (Renaissance Florence and the Mughal Empire, India) it seems tailor-made for A+O's always colorful, eclectic vibe.
Leaping from the pages (via Bendet's clever imagination) -- lace tops and ruffle skirts, cavorting with double-take eye-catchers like a leather skirt depicting a Botticelli painting. (Bendet goosed the portrait master by giving the ladies in his painting gold glitter hair. Rock on, Ren faire gals!) Or there were those statement tees and jackets proclaiming "Wild Child," "Badass" and "Be the Change You Wish to See in the World."
Rushdie's plot touches on the painting of women, and Bendet took that literally. In one corner of the room body-paint artist Trina Merry brought images of the book and the collection alive, using two women as her canvas.
The presentation drew VIPs as varied as the patterned dresses, from actress Kate Mara to political aide Huma Abedin to singer-songwriter Mandy Moore.
"I love a presentation, instead of a fashion show," said Moore. "It's so much more . . . civilized." And, today, literary. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Surprise! Walking into the Badgley Mischka show, attendees were met by vignettes of women dressed in luxe sportswear in various states of repose on lounges, chairs, even a bed. And it wasn't random.
This is the new Badgley Mischka furniture collection and it was swanky. Sort of mid-century meets glam, it reflected an elegant ease. Likewise, the sportswear - coats, sweaters, leggings, slip on sneakers even (glammed up with sparkling crystal), turned out in array of wintry pales and berry - excellent.
"It's a huge departure for us," said Mark Badgley backstage of the sportswear. "We've worked really hard on it and it's been well received. The world isn't dressing up as much as it used to." But sometimes the world does dress up, and for those special moments, the design duo's couture collection will have just the thing; a column of bronze fringe; a metallic shift, a killer black pantsuit with dramatic neck detail; an ornate fit-and-flare gown of elaborate lace and embellishment with pockets. Something for everybody from homebodies to hipsters to haute couture loving types. (Anne Bratskeir)
Always the consummate hostess, Tory Burch served hot chocolate with marshmallows in heart-printed cups at her show at the Whitney Museum of Art on Tuesday, and put hardcover books of love poems on every seat for Valentine's Day. Her runway was a bit of a Valentine to women too, specifically her muse, Katherine Hepburn and her "outdoor glamour and confident femininity."
One look paired a blue Fair Isle zipped sweater with a slouchy tweed plaid trousers - very Hepburn - effortless, casual chic. There were oversized snowy faux-furs and shearlings, blouses with matching ties monogrammed with Burch's initials in script, and smart, easy barn jackets. The great outdoors morphed into downright pretty for the party - a navy trouser featured a band of big rhinestones at the waist, swirly blue florals, and some outstanding gold embellished looks. Accessory du jour? Chain necklaces with a bauble at the bottom inspired by Burch's father's cigarette lighter. (Anne Bratskeir)
Monse and Oscar de la Renta
It was the tale of two collections on one runway when, in one of the most highly anticipated shows of the week, Monse designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia debuted their first collection for Oscar de la Renta. The deal was, they'd work for de la Renta, but they were keeping Monse.
The double header began with Monse (a celeb fave worn by the likes of Lady Gaga, Thandie Newton and more): cold shoulders, hot sparkly gowns, kooky cut-up shirts, huge fur collared coats and a lush lemony velvet tunic worn over black pants.
No intermission, and then the Oscar gals came out. This collection was noticeably more grown up but still imbued with a new energy, which had gone missing since De la Renta, died in 2014. Classic Oscar dresses in exaggerated bubble shapes - shockingly luxe - a skirt of black and white fox fur (honestly, an OMG moment) and three-dimensional floral tendrils emblazoning tops. Slimmer silos - suiting in vivid colors - may sate the ladies who lunch-set, while a pink pants ensemble with a sparkling silver cummerbund/corset may provide an alternative for red carpet types.
Ahhhh, but even the best-laid plans have their moments. In what probably was a set designer's nightmare, the sparkling curtains surrounding a black and white checked patio, never opened. A workman even came out to tug at them as the models walked. On the one hand, too bad, on the other, the clothes pretty much stole the show anyway. (Anne Bratskeir)
Zero + Maria Cornejo
Though born in Chile and based in New York, Maria Cornejo sees a "French-girl casualness" in this collection, with its unexpected fabrics -- velvet sweatshirts, Lurex-flecked skirts -- and the jaunty way some of the tops are yanked off one shoulder. No matter the origin, the effect is easy-going, chic and -- not something you can say of every fashion show this week -- wearable.
Zero, the name of the Manhattan retail shop Cornejo opened in 1998, is also for her a design concept -- a starting-off point for all things fashionable.
This season she headed into intriguing structural territory, creating blouses with slightly curved sleeves, trousers with slightly curved legs. It's the kind of thing ski-wear manufacturers have been doing for years, to allow for ease of movement, but here it also seemed to give the pieces an added lightness and fluidity. The models breezed by. That may have also been thanks to the sensible shoes -- the heels were of medium height and made of a rich mahogany, which managed to somehow catch the light. The big "get," however, may be those shearling macaroon coats with collars of long curly merino wool. It made what might've been a standard shearling . . . well, not so standard. And very French, perhaps. (Joseph V. Amodio)
When designer Nicky Zimmermann refers to "The Maples," it's not an oblique reference to Tiffany Trump or her mama, Marla. (What a relief!) It's the women's dorm at Sydney University, where back in the 1920s, a certain class of lady whiled away the hours in dropped-waist dresses, cricket whites and team blazers.
Inspired by old photos of these college coeds, Nicky (who founded this luxe Australian label with her sister Simone in 1991) got to work reinterpreting those tony, academic looks for today's smart and fashion-hungry shopper. The result -- slouchy collegiate blazers over flared trousers, ruffly ultra-feminine dresses worn with (hello, mate!) -- thigh-high nappa boots and cozy, robe-like coats.
One doesn't need to know the rules of cricket to appreciate this Down Under nostalgia. And one last tip -- that blush cocoon shearling is worth the grab. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Carolina Herrera has shown at the elegant uptown Frick Collection for many years, in an ornate garden room -- the perfect backdrop for some of her elaborate and glamorous evening-wear. On Monday, she moved downtown to the spare environs of an industrial space on little West 12th and along with the move, shifted her aesthetic, to a simpler beauty, though no less lovely.
The show opened with a series of crisp white shirts, this is Herrera's personal signature, these were turned out in new shapes some accented with black velvet. There was a Victorian-meets-modern vibe to many looks with little black chiffon capelets, velvet bows and simple pleated skirts -- almost puritanical -- but amped up, in some cases, by black leather moto jackets. Our seatmates gave the nod to a sporty navy turtleneck topping a white cotton shirt with a long tail and black flannel pants ... "would kill for it," we think they said. For evening there were a series of pale pink numbers - one dramatic cape gown, but the delicately laced teal looks had more power as did a dazzling multi-sequin tea length gown.
Naturally, Herrera took her bow in the crispest white shirt and black skirt ... eternally chic. (Anne Bratskeir)
"Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it." That's Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth, and Joseph Altuzarra (who included that quote in his program) took those words seriously. His models were like an army of Lady Macbeths, sweet and feminine at first glance, but grounded in chunky combat boots, frayed tights and attitude.
The inspiration for all this came from Renaissance portrait paintings, according to the designer, who narrated a video about the collection, which was posted on Youtube immediately after the show. "It was an interesting time in painting," he said, "when artists started moving away from stylized depictions of the human form and the human face, and started really rendering their subjects as they looked -- with their flaws and all of their imperfections."
For him, that translates into a collection with subtle references to medieval women (chain-link knit sweaters, dresses with boning and corset lacing, a pearl-stitched mink). He had us thinking of Lady M herself (the floral embroidery, and -- in a mostly dark palette of black, brown and gray -- splashes of blood red). And, of course, Scotland (argyle and cable-knit sweaters, houndstooth blazers, wool capes and those hilly mountains of moss in the middle of the runway evocative of the Scottish highlands).
If Macbeth's tough-as-nails queen had a stylist, she'd surely have had Altuzarra on speed-dial. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Prabal Gurung presented an exuberant, powerful, gorgeous collection Sunday night that was as much a celebration of feminism as it was a fashion show. Front row powerhouses included Sara Jessica Parker, Priyanka Chopra, Diane Kruger and whaaaat ... Huma Abedin, who has been very low profile since the election. But it made sense as the show unfolded.
Incensed and perhaps inspired by the current administration's dress code, "dress like a woman," Gurung presented a fashion love letter to women in his collection, the "unabashed and unapologetic definition of femininity with a bite," said notes.
Diversity was a theme whether it was the plus sized models or racial makeup, or even the clothes which ran the gamut including utilitarian overcoats, oversized sweaters with dramatically detailed arms, neat tailored suits with silver 3-D appliqué and some of the most achingly glamorous evening gowns ever -- one, an abstract Bordeaux stunner with some 220,000 woven-in crystals. Furs were anything but staid - florals, op-arty and brush stroked. And colors were jubilant including lemon, emerald, garnet and chartreuse tucked within a more neutral palette of stone, ivory, black and shots of silver.
Gurung underscored his love and respect for women during the finale, when, as "Imagine" played on the soundtrack, every single one of the 37 models walked the runway wearing a skirt and t-shirt printed with rallying cries such as, "love is the resistance," "stay woke," "I am an immigrant," and "we will not be silenced." And when it came time to take his bow, Gurung appeared in a shirt that read, "This is what a feminist looks like." The audience was on their feet. And some folks (ahem, self) got a little teary. (Anne Bratskeir)
The name "Elizabeth Kennedy" doesn't fly off the lips of starlets on the red carpet nearly as often as it should -- but the steadily rising designer is destined to be on the speed-dial of top stylists, given dresses as well made and all-out glamorous as these. Not that she's some fashion wallflower -- the Parson's grad honed her designing chops at luxe labels like Donna Karan and J. Mendel, before launching her own brand, and her works of art (that's really what they are) fetch a pretty penny.
For fall, she's gone avian, inspired by the textures and dramatic color combos of birds. "I didn't start out thinking 'BIRDS!'--it just sort of evolved," said the designer at her presentation, held in a studio on Pier 59 at Chelsea Piers. She found herself drawn to images of birds as she was planning the collection. "I never thought about birds much, I don't keep them as pets, but I became more and more intrigued by these amazing colors that I never would've dreamed could go together -- like the burgundy and light blue, or that emerald with black," she said, pointing to models wearing gorgeous evening gowns, with sculptured ruffled sashes, mountains of tulle or a dramatic swirling train.
Which underscores a good rule of thumb, in fashion design or just about anything else -- when it doubt, never question Mother Nature. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Brit designer Jenny Packham dresses gals for the red carpet, among them Kate Hudson, Angelina Jolie and Taylor Swift. And plenty of her airy, formal confections can be found in the royal closet of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, too. But don't think for a moment that she's a bit stuffy, a point she underscored on her frothy (and yes, fun) runway on Sunday night.
Whether it was a poke at our political system or homage to the queen, her run of show opened with an illustration of a young Queen Elizabeth in full bejeweled crown and the words, "God Bless You Ma'am." And while the lineup was predominantly glamorous special occasion evening gowns and cocktails -- sheer, heavily bejeweled, some sexy, some mother-of-the bridey, Packham took quite a few whimsical turns. A satin gray top that featured rows of gigantic pearl graphics and the words, "Pearly Queen" was tucked into an ivory embroidered floral cutout pencil skirt.
Another fun silk, tee bore the image of a Corgi dog worn with a blue and gold tartan skirt in taffeta. There were several moto jackets worn over ballgowns and skirts -- one in lipstick red, another in hammered metallic silver and a kooky hand-painted pale blue number with allover patches. The skinniest leather trousers were turned out in crimson and several toppers were adorned with chunky crystals.
But back to the gowns and cocktails, natch they were to die for -- crimson, midnight blue, molten silver and gold foil -- all embellished to the max. Expect to see one on the red carpet real soon. (Anne Bratskeir)
Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne were clearly thinking big and about politics at their Sunday morning show at Milk Studios where men's and women's fashions co-mingled on the runway. Their smart, urban streetwear collection boasted exaggerated proportions and was, in many cases, downright voluminous. Many coats were, well, "yuge," and each had its own little quirk. Several featured "snap" or zippered shoulder detail revealing a flash of skin between the arm and the shoulder. One striking off-the-shoulder down jacket -- definitely not for the ski slopes -- was turned out in bold olive and black stripes; another, a swingy burgundy bomber, featured an attached cape. Pants were predominantly wide affairs: there were baggy culottes and slouchy styles, some with athletic striping. And dresses, for the most part, were hardly bodycon, though a weathered-looking tan corduroy number pulled it all in with a drawstring. While a mega-layered ensemble of paisley featuring a dress, wrap skirt and white corset and a few burgundy nylon and silk looks read hipster girl, the lineup was somewhat androgynous.
As for politics, well the fellows were not mincing words. The tiniest cropped tees read "Make America New York," as did red baseball caps (no subtlety there). Chow and Osborne are renowned sports lovers, and show attendees in the past have included basketball stars such as Russell Westbrook. They reminded the audience of their passion for b-ball with bombers and tops emblazoned with basketball great Michael Jordan's face. The print read, "We need leaders." Need we say more? (Anne Bratskeir)
Alexander Wang likes to keep the fashion set on their toes. He usually holds his shows in a massive pier on the Hudson but every so often he shakes it up -- most notably in 2014 when he decamped to (gasp) Brooklyn. This time, he headed uptown, to the noble (if decaying) 100-plus-year-old RKO Hamilton Theater in Harlem. Originally a vaudeville house, then one of the city's biggest locales to take in "talkies," the place showed its last film in 1958 and is now derelict -- and dramatic.
Leave it to Wang to see its potential. Those who SUV'd uptown found themselves standing under vaulted ceilings, as models (Kendall Jenner and other supes) stormed a raised, serpentine runway that twisted through the crowd. Black, black and more black was the color of choice for an array of filmy dresses gathered and slashed at the hem, skintight stretch denim and leather pants and voluminous blazers and overcoats that seemed to reference the 1980s. Glen plaid popped up on a coat, jackets, a jumpsuit, as did fringe -- but not your standard rodeo fare. This was short, straight, metallic fringe, like slender nails dangling off coats, jackets and -- most intriguing -- fishnet mini dresses.
The metallic fringe caught the light as the models raced by, giving the impression of some once-glam number now frayed and shopworn. Like the theater walls -- peeling and sprayed with graffiti, yet with a grace all their own. (Joseph V. Amodio)
For years, Christian Siriano has shown his fanciful collections in a downtown studio, but this time around the designer opted for opulence at the Plaza Hotel. "I needed a lift and wanted to jump off into a different world and take everyone into a different element for 20-minutes of beauty," said Siriano backstage before the show, probably referring to the political climate. This, he addressed on the runway with a model wearing a T-shirt that read, "People are people" tucked into a fancy ball skirt. The audience cheered.
Siriano has long been a champion of body diversity, and about half of his models were curvy girls, the other half traditional model types (among them, supermodel Karolina Kurkova, who closed the show in a shimmering confection). "We are celebrating women as much as we can," he said. Along with the clothes there were Payless shoes, which are available now. "They're a dose of reality," said Siriano of the shoes which run around $19.99 (though the fanciest gowns could cost $15,000).
As for the clothes, they were inspired, he said, by the beehive sand formations in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, hence a clay-to-sand colored palette, a whole lot of metallic copper, a bit of black and silver, and plenty of texture. Some of the looks had bird motifs embroidered across the chest. The very best evening dress came in black -- an ethereal sheer number with silvery metallic applique; a spare pink ballgown was poetic; a sultry shimmery black ensemble featured slim pants, a stunning, silvery cowl neck top was paired with swishy, wide-legged pants.
But a designer's work is never done and Siriano is also hard at work on a couple of custom Oscar dresses. "Honestly you don't know if they'll wear it until they walk out in it, it's soooo stressful," he said. "I think if one in particular happens, I will be very excited." We'll be watching. (Anne Bratskeir)
Riled up by the divisive politics of the day and inspired by outspoken women in his life and in the news, Jonathan Simkhai designed his collection with strong women in mind -- and an eye toward Spanish ornamentation and motifs.
The result: You might call them "matadors of the moment," dressed in cropped jackets with metallic embroidery, high-waist pants, and rich velvet dresses with panels of lace evoking vaulted cathedral ceilings. A rising star in the fashion world, Simkhai is donating $5 for every seat in the room to Planned Parenthood, along with proceeds from the sale of the "Feminist" T-shirts found on all the front-row seats. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Chinese designer Taoray Wang hit the news cycle when Tiffany Trump, the president's daughter from his second marriage to Marla Maples, wore a white coat and dress ensemble to the inauguration. Apparently a loyal client, Trump, dressed in pale Wang, turned up at the show Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, with her mom, accompanied by Secret Service agents. While her arrival caused a momentary paparazzi frenzy, eyes quickly turned to the designer's scalpel-cut coats, suits and dresses.
This was a study in opposites -- strong, structured pieces paired wispy, negligee-like underpinnings. Some coats had asymmetrical hems which billowed revealing fuchsia linings; there were perfect, slim little black dresses and the tiniest miniskirts. Pants took on new proportion -- megawide, one pair with slit fronts that flashed leg. Some of the coats had zippers at the shoulder allowing for expansion. Mostly black, with a touch of rust, purple, white and navy, the emphasis here was on the details such as coats with built in zippers at the shoulder, which when open expanded the silhouette.
Trump beamed throughout the show and was whisked away by a throng of security guards immediately after. (Anne Bratskeir)
Lacoste designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista was spacing out (in the best possible way) at his morning show at Spring Studios, where the serpentine runway was littered with "moon" rocks and boulders. In notes Baptista explained that brand founder Rene Lacoste joined the aircraft industry later in life, and Baptista's own father was a pilot, hence a fascination with aviation and the space age.
Riffing on an astronaut's suit, one model shimmered in an oversized, metallic bronze parka -- it was striking. A slew of looks were turned out in material mash-ups of leather, nylon, cotton and gabardine, all pieced together on one garment. There were pockets galore that served as functional design details. In one case, exaggerated epaulettes looked as though they could house a cellphone.
Iridescent space prints -- full moons, sunsets and Saturn -- actually lit up when the lights hit them. A lust-worthy curved mohair sweatshirt topped wide pants, and speaking of w-i-d-e, uber-baggy army-inspired pants with an elasticized waist were touted as "a dandy's version of track pants," but seemed a touch over the top. (Anne Bratskeir)
Jeremy Scott's kitschy-kool take on American icons may be grounded in a shag carpet -- literally, the catwalk was a long white shag -- but his point here is anything but fluffy. The designer's been outspoken, recently telling NPR "I've been thinking a lot about how we worship celebrity, [with] Elivis and Marilyn Monroe and Jesus all on the same playing field." That same blurring of the lines, he feels, has now entered politics. "We have elected a celebrity."
This celebrity obsession plays out in his Technicolor-bright collection, with references to everything from Michael Jackson (a cartoony image of the King of Pop popped up on the front of a T-shirt and the back of a bedazzled leather jacket) to the American eagle (embroidered in gold on the back of a cape) and from Jesus (peering from dresses, coats and velvet bell-bottoms) to Elvis (supermodel Gigi Hadid sported a glittery white jumpsuit).
As for accessories, the Vegas-ready headpieces might be hard for the average gal to pull off, but those "As Seen on TV" lunchbox purses are gonna fly off shelves. Pack yours with a healthy lunch and bring it with you to a protest rally (no matter your cause). It seems the fun-loving designer would like nothing better. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Club Monaco ignored the brrr in favor of the pur' -- as in showing off clothes from their Spring 2017 collection that you can purchase right now. At a standing-room-only presentation held in their flower-packed -- the place was like a greenhouse there were so many blooms -- Fifth Avenue flagship, models swept through store aisles in breezy light cotton frocks and separates that you'll want to wear, well, once temps rise a bit in a few weeks.
This is Club Monaco's second show (and second attempt to push the whole see-now, buy-now concept), and while the brand may be more known for cool-gal office-ready attire, the looks here were decidedly more boho. Like that (pretty fabulous) floral trench, worn over a head-to-toe floral jumpsuit, or the floral bomber paired with matching trousers. There was also a sweet slouchy tunic in red and white seersucker, and some very weekendy off-the-shoulder peasant dresses. Reminding us, it seems, that all work and no play makes Jack -- and Jill -- very dull, indeed -- without the right wardrobe. (Joseph V. Amodio)
The logo said it all. Before any model stepped onto the runway, the crowd at Nicole Miller's show could see her name spray-painted on the back wall, dripping in black and white. This collection promised to be gritty and unpolished. Nicole didn't disappoint. Her "Gypsy Grunge" line for fall includes ragged hem plaid dresses, and the obligatory beanies and shirts slung round the waist. Tried and true Nicole girls will want to snap up the slinky bombers with embroidered dragons on back, or, for luck, one of those evil-eye or tarot-card-print dresses. Who knew Nicole is superstitious? But as she knows full well, luck comes and goes. True style is forever. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Milly designer Michelle Smith is perennially upbeat, but this season, she's mad as all get-out, and her clothes showed it. In notes she admitted, "The elections left me feeling defeated. Especially as a woman. Normally an optimist, I feel uncertain about the future. I struggled to find the right mood for this collection - all the while it was right in front of me. Fractured."
And that's what she called this surprisingly angry, and sometimes beautiful lineup of clothing. She threw conventional proportions out the window - there were big, mannish jackets, blouses with super-long billowy sleeves with straps flying from them - one of these worn with a miniscule ostrich feather miniskirt -- and almost shocking slashes and deconstruction throughout.
Dressy was best: a cropped fisherman sweater over a bronze distressed slither, a dramatic lace back number and a swishy floral lace applique slip dress. And lack of optimism aside, there was a joyful moment when Smith dashed at full speed down the runway with cutie-pie kids Sofia and William in tow. - Anne Bratskeir
The stars came out to witness Belgian designer Raf Simon's runway debut for Calvin Klein. Brooke Shields, Calvin Klein's most iconic girl, was one of the many luminaries who sat in the front row (others included Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow and Julianne Moore).
Simon, a fashion darling who hails from Dior, refocused his vision on the American brand, tricking out his runway with an installation by artist Ruby Sterling that included fringey banners and furniture hanging from the ceiling. Men and women paraded down his runway in crisp and somewhat androgynous looks including double-breasted jackets, smart reefer coats and mechanic-like jumpsuits.
The patriotic thrust was underscored by models marching in blasts of red, white and blue, some wearing cowboy boots (another salute). One look featured an American flag motif wrap skirt, and many ensembles took an athletic turn with racing stripes running down pants, rugby striped sleeves and bold, asymmetrical collar flaps.
Gently curved skirts with mega-high waists barely met up with revealing crop tops. One coat had a deliriously fun all-over swirl of pink while another attention grabber boasted a geometric pattern. Most fascinating? Dresses and coats that seemed to have a luminescent cellophane overlay - they sparkled like jewels in the light and several dappled with ostrich feathers were otherworldly. (Anne Bratskeir)
Guests at Kate Spade's show late morning show at the Russian Tea Room were greeted with mimosas, blini and caviar. An elegant start to an elegant and fun presentation inspired by the creative melting pot of Paris in the 1920s.
Notes singled out the decade's rule breakers including Louise Brooks, "the quintessential flapper," and Josephine Baker, who followed her dream to "become a global jazz icon." So how does it all translate?
Quirky combos that were individualistic and often sassy. A gray sweater with "Nouveau York" emblazoned across it was paired with a swingy camel coat and coral skirt shot with metallic; a schoolgirl cardigan embroidered with the word "meow" topped a leopard miniskirt. Several looks featured gigantic, folkloric roses, while others were dappled with stemmed cherry bunches. Speaking of which, sure to elicit smiles: the cherry topped handbag that looked exactly like a Black Forest cake. How sweet it is. (Anne Bratskeir)
Well, you can say this -- the Europeans sure know how to put on a fashion show. Italy's leading lingerie brand La Perla built a large, two-story set in the style of a grand British manor, complete with a curving staircase and floral-strewn terrace. In various rooms -- study, dining room, foyer, and so on -- stood tableaux of models in vibrant, slinky lace-trimmed floral dresses (the theme here was an English garden), skintight pant suits and bralettes you won't want to hide under a jacket.
Lingerie? Sportswear? What's the diff'? None at all, notes Julia Haart, who's now in her second season as creative director.
The show opened with runway legend Naomi Campbell striding out of the house and down the runway in a blue slip-dress and stretch tweed and macramé overcoat with mink booties. It ended with hottie-of-the-moment Kendall Jenner, wearing one of those glittery, metallic lace "naked dresses" that La Perla is known for making and Jenner is known for wearing -- heating up Instagram in the process. With lingerie this stylish, it'll look just as good outside the bedroom as in it. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Rag & Bone
To celebrate the brand's 15th anniversary, Rag & Bone did away with the runway show and went straight to the after-party. Well, not quite. In a large event space under the High Line, the label plastered walls with photos of the fall men's and women's collections, worn by friends of the brand -- from models (Joan Smalls, pictured), to actors ("The Americans" lovebirds Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys), to actor-models (Amber Valletta), and other downtown artist types.
The clothes themselves looked deceptively simple -- a tweed sheath maxi dress, or a cream sweater with grid-like panels on the sides -- but half of the artistry is in the luxe materials used here (sweaters made of plush cashmere). There were also plenty of the label's workman basics -- the patch-pocket work shirt, or denim jumpsuit with a drawstring waist -- the kind of thing that might've been worn at this very location a few years ago (when it was a gas station), albeit without anywhere near the chic attitude.
Move on through to a huge back room and the party was in full swing. Smalls was there, wearing a cropped camo bomber with a shearling collar from the collection -- and chowing down on one of the Shake Shack burgers being served by waiters. See? Models do eat. (Joseph V. Amodio)
Cinq à Sept
The blustery winds outside were soon forgotten once the fashion world nipped into Le Coucou, a cozy-chic downtown restaurant where Cinq à Sept showed its fall collection.
Helmed by Jane Siskin, the label has made a big splash this past year at stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Neiman Marcus and Intermix. And no wonder: The line is alive for fall with a mix of sweet flutter dresses in burnout velvet, colorfully embroidered jackets and eye-catchers like a rum brocade "ember coat" with wide fur cuffs.
The name -- that's "five to seven" in English (think haute happy hour) -- refers to the early evening hours in a chic fashionista's life when the sun is setting and the night is full of potential. It's the perfect time to slip into the flouncy velvet dress with embroidered cardigan falling casually off one shoulder, or the brushed terry "I love everyone" sweatshirt (a bold statement in these divisive times) and fox coat.
Serving up a selection nibbles from Le Coucou's kitchen -- caviar, veal, lobster -- was a nice reminder that the brand can take you from brunch to happy hour and beyond. It's like a trip to Paris, sans jet lag. (Joseph V. Amodio)
A floral runway heralded Desigual's spirited and joyful romp as models strutted in fanciful mash-ups designed to incorporate punky Spanish New Wave and the California rock scene. Included in the fun-filled mix: animal prints, geometric lines, checkerboards, leather and lace. There were vivid colors -- wow, those tights in neon blue -- and prints, girly embroideries paired with more masculine pieces and lots of zany headwear. The snow kept some front-row types away, including Claire Foy, the award-winning star of "The Crown." (We waited, your majesty, but ended up sitting on your throne.) Bet you the queen would've given the lineup the royal nod. (Anne Bratskeir)
It was an ode to the '90s at Nicholas K, where sibling designers Nicholas and Christopher Kunz cited in their show notes "a decade promising communal diversity and unity" along with "political militancy undertones." Inspirations were wide-ranging, but included Guardian Angels and Black Panthers (yep).
This collection had power and attitude, opening with a gold lame trench and matching beret that read tough and feminine simultaneously. The back of a red coat revealed a dramatic black velvet inset (a wow) and there was plenty of crushed velvet, along with leathery frocks, some with cut-out shoulders. Trench-shaped coats starred in the lineup -- they had serious swagger. Silos ran the gamut from airy to body-con, with the brand's signature layering. Colors, save for red, were mostly neutral -- black, beige and gold all over. Accessory of the moment? Horseshoe-shaped nose rings. But the show's scene-stealer was the designers' new dog, a rescue boxer mix from Puerto Rico named Barbosa who had never seen snow before. (Anne Bratskeir)
The clever designer award goes to Tommy Hilfiger, who moved his traditionally New York-based show to the boardwalk in Venice Beach, Calif., on Wednesday, the day before New York Fashion Week officially opened -- thus avoiding this winter's worst snowstorm. The elaborate gig was a music festival-inspired extravaganza that included street performers, grub trucks, graffiti muralists, skateboarders and carnival rides (including a gigantic slide) to sate the fun-seeking needs of nearly 3,000 people who reportedly attended the event. Lady Gaga was one of them, fresh off her Super Bowl smash.
As for the clothes -- shimmery patent short shorts and skirts, stripes, color-blocking, patchwork and patches; minuscule crop and bikini tops; sheer boho Liberty print dresses along with a heavy dose of American flag motifs and a smashing denim duster. In all, a saucy mash-up of East Coast prep meets Cali-cool. While many designers in New York will show clothes for next fall, Hilfiger, a huge proponent of the "see-now-buy-now" trend, showed spring styles. His second Tommy X Gigi collection -- inspired by model/muse Gigi Hadid who opened and closed the show (little sis Bella was in it, too) -- was reportedly already blowing out immediately after at tommy.com. Within the collection's mix: bomber jackets starting at $295, a patch-laden canvas backpack, $129.50 and a brightly colored patchwork skirt, $119. And, as if the drama of the spectacle was not enough, Fergie performed after the show. Wow! (Anne Bratskeir)