New York/New York A mismatch of floral, pastel and print; a New York Fashion Week style trend? A hip-hugging pencil skirt topped with a demure voile blouson, chandelier earrings and a timeless clutch with a coral clasp inspired by street savvy girl sashaying her way in East Harlem has made its way onto countless catwalks.
From September 8 to 15 the season-less, sensible and sensual served less as a fashion forecast than a bold statement about the disruptive times at hand. In the absence of any rhyme or reason from politics to social mores the disruption in fashion is palatable. As New York prepared to commemorate the soul searing cataclysm of September 11th – a bit of lighted hearted cheer seemed as good a defense as any. In a world racked with out breaks of reprehensible darkness; good cheer took on rainbow colors, a riot of flowered prints worn with a graphic tee and abandon pop-up’s blooming throughout the Manhattan grid.
Glam Versus Sham
Tom Ford’s familiar, candlelight dinner signature style and Kanye West flippant and facetious, Adidas collaborator, faced off from the far ends of the fashion spectrum.
Every facet of the industry from designers, purveyors to button hole makers are rethinking and re-evaluating every step of the production process. Manufacturers are weighing in on the side of humane treatment of factory workers abroad (and here) if only as a marketing ploy, textile makers are ‘Going Green’ by incorporating organic dyes. artisanal weaves and recyled denim. The goal to satisfy a season- less collection cycle in a market that insists on instant gratification.
Emerging designers and start-ups grapple with how to break through a crescendo of choices while creating a cohesive brand message. According to Shelby Knick, a triple hyphenate, photographer, former Burberry stylist, and automotive maven for the TV Reality Show, ‘Racer Girl’, “to attract a following in a saturated marketplace while staying true to oneself is a fine line. Understanding your customer and identifying with their tribe is a competative edge”. A member of the Complex Film Team led by Director Christian Johnston she is geared up to debut an auto inspired, utility line of tech wear. Fashioned from titanium the 1st collection is forged from the planet’s most indestructible and rarest metal.
As spokes person’s of the world’s first Titanium Automobile, the 2016 Icona Vulcano with a sticker price of 2.6 million the RG X SH line of jewelry, designer sportswear and accessories will relegate platinum to the back seat. She created the RG X SK line inspired by race gear sported by auto aficionados from Daytona to Monte Carlo.
Says Fashion arbiter Alexander Fury, of the New York Times Style Magazine, “There is a glut of clothing at every price point, especially in high fashion, where labels proliferate and multiple seasons (spring, prefall, winter, resort, capsules galore) concurrently jostle to justify a seemingly endless influx of clothing”.
Fashion Week Then and Now
The annual NYFW enters its 70th year, what once was a haute couture precursor to next season’s must have wardrobe has morphed into an upheaval of see now – buy now curiosities.
While dining at the century old watering hole PJ Clark’s, a haunt for newscasters the likes of Brad Gilbert, ESPN Announcer covering the U.S. Open Tennis Championship and photo news journalist, Michael Merrins, son of Golf legend L’il Pro Merrins commented that when his mother, a former Rockette was high kicking at the Copa, Fashion Week in the 60’s “was a serious sartorial barometer for next season’s fashion forecast.”
The mood throughout the proceedings was patently inclusive. A reflection of a nation in push back with Black Lives Matter, the LGBT community pushing boundaries with fashion and diversity. Christian Siriano, who made his name on “Project Runway”, dressing First Lady Michelle Obama and the zaftig , Leslie Jones, “Ghostbusters” Premiere advanced an ethos of inclusivety with sweeping standouts for all shapes and sizes. Winning legions of fans on and off the cat walk. Extreme youth, thinness and height no longer carry the day.
Rather than relegating last season’s looks as ‘so yesterday’ to make way for the ‘new collections’ – fashion has become transcendent timeless and nuanced-set pieces that could inhabit the salons of the Belle Epoque, as well as, today’s post modernist sensibility keys lead the way.
Eshewing the overtly sexy cum trashy for the allure of youth (no matter the age) a preference for long sleeves, high necklines and below the knee skirts were de riguer made to flatter any body type.
As the pendulum swings to more modest sartorial statements model agencies such as ‘Underwraps’ who’s owner, Nailah Lymus and Jaharrah Ali, both hajabis (women who cover in the Muslim tradition) were quoted in the New Yorker as saying, “whether or not a model is covered her beauty is on display”. Among those embracing mannequins for wide range of body types are Ford +12 Division, specialty agency Dorthy Combs Models of Miami.
Signaling a departure from strip club and skanky to modestly chic was evidenced at the AI Show at the Skylight and Monihan Station on September 8. Designers to watch are Adrian Escoto – New York, Bianca Zidik – Illinois, Melody Hernandez – Dallas, Julissa Arrington – San Francisco, Devon Pezzano -Philadelphia, Mimmy Begazo – Miami, Rene Mejia -Ft Lauderdale, Esther Ashiru – Vancouver and Maria D’ Ocon with a pièce de resistance wedding gown.