If you identify yourself as a fashion enthusiast and try staying on top of it, you might have mainly spent last week in front of your laptop screen, watching the digital manifestation of New York Fashion Week. Well, so did we. Having slowly started off on February 13 (all eyes were on Ulla Johnson’s boho collection that day), the event lasted until February 18, at least, its major part. Only a limited number of guests were allowed to physically attend the shows, while the rest had to make do with online broadcasts, which, by the way, didn’t seem to be a big concession.
June 18 – 21, 2020
Rhypark, Basel / Switzerland
In fact, not everyone demonstrated the full-fledged shows — besides, there were a great number of teasers or rather brief presentations, but that said, which were worked out creatively. For instance, Imitation of Christ dedicated their video piece ‘to all the people who have lost a loved one this year’ (most notably, it was broadcasted on Saint Valentine’s Day), Private Policy and No Sesso ‘adapted’ their shows to an Instagram video format, putting a smile on the viewers’ faces, while Rodarte just called their friends and colleagues to recall the previous 15 years of fashion for almost 15 minutes. Meanwhile the ‘going digital’ format has recently been tested by many designers (just think of Milan and Mercedes-Benz Russia fashion weeks, which took place in autumn 2020), there were still some significant and rather unusual changes at the recent NYFW.
It goes without saying, the pandemic has hit hard: the non-basic services and goods were directly affected, and the fashion industry was no exception. Most likely for that reason some eminent couturiers were either absent this NYFW season or have transferred their presentations to different locations/rescheduled them. And it showed: on the one hand, we saw many regulars missing like Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, and Calvin Klein; on the other hand, it was offset by the new blood, who weren’t necessarily based in New York or, right, even in America. That was a good excuse to invite some foreign designers to take part in the show, among which were Concept Korea, INF, Asia Fashion Collection (uniting designers from South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong), and Studio 189, the NY-Ghanaian label focusing on promoting African designers.
All those alterations gave birth to the idea of the American Collection’s Calendar, which would embrace schedule of shows by American designers, not only during the week from February 13—18, but also some upcoming ones like those by Christian Siriano and Oscar de la Renta (early March) and Jonathan Cohen (mid April). It’s important to note that US designers showcasing their collections in London, Paris, and other places will as well be included in the Calendar.
On the cover: Backstage shooting on Jason Wu fashion show. Photo: Hunter Abrams
NYFW: Panoramic view
Singling out trends at fashion weeks has always been a tricky task: every designer has their own vision, thus, perceived similarities in the collections often turn out to vary in style and tone and have rather different meanings. Things are getting even more complicated at the latest New York Fashion Week, where the far-reaching Fall Winter 2021-2022 collections are mixed with more topically relevant Spring-Summer campaigns. A whirlwind combination of light clothing and warm outfits, sensible casual and extravagant glamour can take one aback but won’t leave indifferent, for sure.
This NY season couturiers have paid special attention to the shoulder area, shielding it with the most beautiful shapes of cover, such as puff, leg o’mutton, and Juliet sleeves. As for the body, there is a backward tendency to expose it — disclosed bellies, triangle cutouts and backless dresses couldn’t have remained unnoticed. By golly, the 2021 NYFW season may be described as a battle between chastity and provocation: meanwhile some designers hit sequins and disco shades hard, others opted for turtleneck mid length dresses and elongated basic shirts. No accounting for taste, more so if it’s the couturier’s one, yet here is what we get, trying to summarize the impressions of the season (for those loving to go into detail, some close-ups are coming in the next part).
‘Summertime will be a love-in there’
Designers who decided to go for this trend might want to play on our lack of Vitamin D and light-hearted spirit in the end of winter. By the way, that doesn’t necessarily concern themselves. Los Angeles-based brand Maisie Wilen (with Kanye West’s protégé, fashion designer Maisie Schloss standing behind it) seems to be just radiating the Californian sun-kissed, laid-back mood, mixing it up with an ounce of psychedelics. Yes, skintight jumpsuits and leggings are back, so get ready to walk on water, just like the models in the Maisie Wilen latest fashion show did.
Another LA label Stan launched by the artist and surfer Tristan Detwiler suggests wearing hand-tailored jackets, homey cosy and a bit pretentious at once. Rebecca Minkoff opts for matching a face mask to your boho dress, along with multilayer jewelry, fringe, and exquisite sandals. If you come from a relatively cool European climate, where summer season sometimes feels like autumn, better listen to a model Parisian, brand Maison Kitsuné. Their SS 2021 collection demonstrates interseasonal urban items like transparent raincoats, Panama hats tied-up with neckerchiefs, and striped shirts. All in all, boho is primarily about light sweet shades, loose garments, and simple, rhythmical patterns, which the above mentioned couturiers gracefully prove.
‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friends’
While dealing with hard luxury, there is a high risk of overdoing, yet eminent masters of evening looks trust their taste and expertise too much to question that. Can’t get enough of glamour, polish, and languorous shades? Join the club of the privileged. Among the special members are such couturiers as Tadashi Shoji (Japan/LA) and Bibhu Mohapatra (India/NY) whose mindblowing evening gowns one just can’t help staring at. Both designers refer to Baroque in their latest collections, embellishing clothing with rich embroidery and lacework, using silk and satin and, yes, color black, with the difference that, Tadashi Shoji also alludes to Gothic (just look at his long gloves, jackboots, intricate floral elements, and sharp chokers).
Bronx and Banco hits even harder, demonstrating sequins-covered leg warmers, dresses with convertible straps (and all kinds of cutouts, by the way), and splendid flounces. As for their choice of color, probably, it’s the blackest collection presented this season at NYFW. If you aren’t ready for such a blackout slightly squared with shiny rhinestones, take a look at Badgley Mischka Fall 2021 collection. Noble shades of silver, gold, and deep blue, fur coats, and front bow corsets will make you feel a welcome guest at any luxurious event.
For those wanting to play hard, The Blonds have created a very nightlife-inspired line with items glittering like a mirror ball. Conversely, looking for something businesslike yet fancy? Then you might like the magenta power suit by Marcell von Berlin in three possible hues to choose from.
New Age Unisex
‘If I were a boy, even just for a day’
Fashion for unisex doesn’t sound like hot news anymore: actually, androgynous looks came back in the aughts after the hypersexual decade of the 1990s was over. To dig a little deeper, there were a couple of turning points in history that shaped that phenomenon in vogue, like the first and the second waves of sexual revolution, in the 1920s and 1960s respectively. Feels like one can’t figure out anything fresh in the field, but it’s very viable, some of the NYFW participants claim and prove that in action.
Menswear designer Victor Li sticks with street casual classics like loose coats, denim suits, and bombers, making them sound more authentic. For instance, he bleaches the suit and puts ethic patterns on lapels and cuffs or graces the business jacket with marvelous prints like those depicting a ranch or a fragment of the letter writing. A considerable part of the outfits might be worn both by men and women, Victor Li’s presentation demonstrates.
Italian designer Federico Cina takes an even more radical stance showcasing his collection simultaneously on female and male models (the video screen is split in half). Danish couturier Christian Juul Nielson, who stands behind the brand Aknvas and also known as the Creative Director of Herve Leger couldn’t help to devote his latest Fall Winter 2021 collection to both sexes to show how perfect plaid coats, textured sweaters, and knitted sweatshirts look on any of the genders. Special focus on the color palette: blood red and ice blue are genderless colors, like any others, yet through them one can express their identity and spirit.
So Casual, So Business-like
‘Six inch heels, she walked in the club like nobody’s business’
One’s modus vivendi affects their style of dress, that’s inevitable. We, inhabitants of concrete jungles, less and less keep our working and private lives separate (eating out with colleagues, finishing some urgent work at the home office), ending up mixing casual and business elements in our looks. Well, taking advice from experts will make this task a way easier. New-York based brand Loring suggests wearing shirts over dresses and spicing up the world-old ‘black-n-white’ duo with various configurations of the two colors like those of a chessboard, diagonal stripes, and the color-blocking principle.
The Ukrainian label Theo proves the fashion for mid length women’s dresses of modest shades, which might be wrapped up with a pocketed transforming puffy jacket (who cares that it was designed for men) or a unisex winter coat with lapels and thin straps. The Japanese brand KoH T knows how to make a business suit look a bit more laidback without wasting its solidity. Perhaps all you have to do in this case is not tuck your shirt in so that your snow-white puffs could show through the black sleeves of the suit jacket.
Proenza Schouler shares their version of a perfect business casual look: a neat patch placed where the cutout of the dress/pants is, a bit of the exposed skin (not much, but enough), bat sleeves, fringe, sparse buttons, and, good heavens, sandals made of the monolith, flexible material à la bendy pencils. A string of rather unusual solutions, isn’t it? Still if you feel like you lack avant-garde, Chocheng Fall 2021 collection might be a match for you. Headgears reminding of the Japanese national kasa distinctly allude to respect for traditions and fascination with cultural heritage, while vibrant shades of purple, orange, and red grinning through the basic black gives out a creative type. Among the hooks are jewellery in the form of Chinese paper lanterns, moccasins with ties (it’s possible!) put over the pant legs, and pocket flaps, likely with no pockets inside.
The Odder, The Better
‘We are all mad here’
Today the circus and asylum are not the only places, which might accept eccentricity — we are meant to be different every day, not to say every couple of hours. Meanwhile, a great deal of those socially encouraged roles is often mutually exclusive. A way out? Valiantly trying to meet all expectations or rather creating one’s own universe, expressing oneself through the appearance. A handful of brands participating at the NYFW took the risk of looking ridiculous while presenting their latest collections, yet at stake was the opp to hit the jackpot — stand out of the crowd, outrage… and just fascinate!
The aspiring London brand Ka Wa Key makes no secret about their plans to transform the accepted view of masculinity. Stretched out knitted sweatshirts, troubadour trousers, stripes of different widths — never before has menswear looked so poignant and emphatical. Libertine doesn’t lag behind, highlighting such outfits from their FW 2021 collection as jacket suits heavily splashed with patchworks (be it a starry sky, a page of a newspaper or an assemblage by the anonymous author) and every possible model of hats: e.g. like those of a witch, a pirate captain, a Panama hat and sombreros.
Actually, the latest collection by Anna Sui could have been put in the Bohemian Summer category: inarticulate flower and ethnic patterns explicitly reveal the hippie aesthetics. However, that would be too easy: not for nothing, the brand introduces funny cow spots, mysterious stellar shapes, tweed jackets with thick-framed sunglasses and other psychedelic fads. You get it… But if not, look for our recent review of Anna Sui Fall Winter 2021 collection. By the way, one doesn’t have to dress like a freak from head to toe to add a bit of extravagance into the look. A dyed faux fur coat put over the baby-doll dress leads to a similar wah-effect, like in the presentation by Maison Atia.
To be continued very soon…
On the cover: Backstage shooting on Gabriela Hearst fashion show. Photo: Hunter Abrams