NYFW: Calvin Klein
(Images via Vogue)
So I’m not entirely sure what to say here. While, to be sure, I had my doubts concerning Francisco Costa’s time chez Calvin Klein (see Resort 2013, et. al), but you might also remember my squeaks of joy at Raf Simons’ leaving Jil Sander (with the F/W 2012 season his last) and my ‘meh’ feelings when he turned up at Christian Dior for the S/S 2013 couture season. Well, children, the pieces have finally stopped shifting, and here he is (missing only London on the stops of major fashion weeks locales) arriving stateside for New York Fashion Week and the F/W 2017 season.
As you might have expected, this got a lot of press and gasping. WWD started it (“A Bravura Take”, they titled their piece), and even the men’s mag GQ got in on the process, declaring that “(v)ibrating with punchy, primary colors, the show was a fantastic foundation on which Simons will be able to build his CK universe.”
Helpfully, they also quoted liberally from the house’s show notes, which explained that we were witnessing “marching band uniforms…to power broker tailoring, antique handcrafted quilting, workwear, and western wear…’It reflects the environment,’ Simons is quoted as saying in the show notes. ‘All of these different people with different styles and dress codes. It’s the future, the past, Art Deco, the city, the American West…all of these things and none of these things. Not one era, not one thing, not one look. It is the coming together of different characters and different individuals, just like America itself. It is the unique beauty and emotion of America.’”
It was certainly a pretty thought, and while I liked the idea that they were selling about diverse casting and all the rest (though I do want to give a shout-out to the NYFW designers in general about casting many more models of colour than I ever remember seeing on its catwalks, I am still not impressed when it comes to things like age or size range. Yes, except for the random older model fave or two–such as Naomi Campbell at La Perla and in this case, Liya Kebede and Elise Crombez–we’re not really seeing any older ladies, and I haven’t yet seen a so-called ‘plus size’ girl on any major catwalk).
But yes, yes, we know that’s one of my core issues. Back to the clothes at hand. After yammering on at length over the celebs sitting courtside, Vogue noted that the house “riffed on Americanisms, including brightly colored band uniforms, Wall Street suits, sheriff’s jackets, quilting on some terrific men’s parka–make those for women, too, please!–and metal-tipped cowboy boots. They devoted a fair bit of attention to the great American plastic couch cover, slipping transparent plastic over everything from plaid tailoring to a sensational yellow-gold fur coat and feathered cocktail numbers…Brooke Shields’s famous silhouette was stamped on the leather label on the back waistband of jeans.”
And The New York Times‘ Vanessa Friedman (also in-between gasps re: the front row) added to the chorus, similar to above, stating that, as per “the show notes, [we saw] ‘the coming together of different characters and different individuals, just like America itself.’ That’s a big claim, but it was largely justified.”
Okay. There were things I, too, liked. While admittedly, I’ll probably never be a huge Simons aficionado (we all have our preferences) and I can’t with the whole under-boob thing, I did like the shiny raincoat-y pieces, such as the yellow one Julia Nobis wore, or the definitely high-fashion feathery-with-vinyl number on Hanne Gaby Odiele, and I can even go with the American flag skirt, in that it just feels right, in the moment, in the spirit of protests and all. So I guess I was brought together with some of the above critics in the past I might have shrieked in shrill disagreement with. Hmm. See what this latest American election has done with all of us?
(See the collection video here)