NYFW: The Row

(Images via Vogue)

Although I have to admit to being kind of a snob where celebrity fashion lines are concerned, it can be kind of cutting off my own ear (or however the saying goes), because, just very occasionally, there are those celeb designers that actually produce some clothing worthy of a runway.  Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen’s The Row is (with the exception of Gwen Stefani‘s L.A.M.B.) perhaps the only one of these I do believe are really worthy of more considered appreciation.  And I know on this blog I’ve expended a heavy dose of admiration for all things minimalist (and Helmut Lang in particular), and the Olsens’ sleek, sparingly-coloured, trim-free range for the F/W 2017 season at New York Fashion Week was a shining example of offering an exceptionally powerful collection in (what feels at first) a relatively quiet voice.

Declaring the show to be “(p)recious, in the best way,” Vogue also noted the diversity in age range of the cast, with a number of older girls making their way down the catwalk (I say ‘older’, but what that really means thirty and forty-something year-olds (Angela Lindvall, Kirsten Owen, Olga Sherer and was that Daria Werbowy?), it seems rather silly.  After all, whom do they think purchases the clothes?  Thus, it feels better (especially with the austerity The Row practices) to show clothes on the kinds of women the house is after advertising to.

And the clothes were as spectacular as the runway crew, with scores of desirable outerwear pieces (immaculately-rendered outerwear and sharp, crisply tailored shirting paired with sleek business suits, as well as the occasional foray into something a little more playful: a pair of eighties-tastic stonedwashed jeans worn by Katlin Aas and the kicky combat boots that recalled Dr. Martens (see at Nicole Miller, as well).


NYFW: Proenza Schouler


(Images via Vogue)

Other than the fact that their F/W 2017 show at New York Fashion Week reminded me of work we’ve seen at Helmut Lang and Balenciaga (both for 2005), I really have nothing to say about Proenza Schouler‘s offerings.

Vogue lamented the fact that they were moving to Paris next season before praising the effective use of logos (cause we need more of those in our lives, right?) and did note (okay, fairly enough) that there were a myriad number of ideas on offer. Indeed. So there were.  And, I think, given the resemblance stated above, I think whatever loss it might be to NYFW, the designers might have graduated to Paris at this point.

(Watch the collection video here)

NYFW: Prabal Gurung


(Images via Vogue)

More designers, more statements of diversity.  For the F/W 2017 season, designer Prabal Gurung used his stage during New York Fashion Week to express discontent at the political atmosphere in the county and, like Christian Siriano and Tome amongst others, cast ladies who would have likely received nothing but a series of reverberating slaps, had they even broached the possibility at the notion of gracing a high fashion catwalk.

So here we are, and once again, with some beautiful clothes to accompany our high-minded spirits of resistance against the machine. Texture was a big story for the day, with knits being rendered in complex, futuristic manners, while for flash we had silvery embroidery on dresses, and plenty of swingy, Western-y fringe helped keep that part of NYFW’s life alive, as well.

According to Vogue, “this felt of a piece with the template he established a year ago; the accent was on dresses fastened and unfastened with trails of silk buttons at the seams, with side dishes of chunky hand-knit sweaters and extravagant multicolored intarsia furs, and a smattering of sharp tailoring.” Fair enough, but to a certain extent, I’d also argue that people tend to find something they like and nestle in with it. And with the designer’s added vogue to the subject of inclusiveness, maybe we’re just seeing his revolutionary new world through a different type of lens.

(See the collection video here)

NYFW: Altuzarra

(Images via Vogue)

Going into his presentation for the F/W 2017 at New York Fashion Week for his Altuzarra label, designer Joseph Altuzarra was interviewed by The New York Times, and during that discussion, he took his turn to shout out to the feminists roiling in the country, while also nodding to the notion that, indeed, his customers must necessarily be older professional types with the need to look good and the desire to do so.

However, his showcasing wasn’t overtly political: rather, he rendered his strong woman, according to Vogue, through images of Lady Macbeth.  That and, the site continued on, “(h)is goal this season, he said, was to paint a portrait of the Altuzarra client that’s complex. To do so, he looked at Northern Renaissance paintings. ‘It was a time,’ he said, ‘when people became interested in how people really looked.’” That’s seductive stuff for a designer like Altuzarra, who has always embraced the artful detail.”

Indeed, there was a pre-Renaissance feeling to the whole thing, and the clothes felt as delicately rendered (while, interestingly, being strong–everything from the sturdy boots to the curvilinear coats in their thick, wintry fabrics) as they might have been at that time.  Expressions of high art. Maybe that didn’t always necessarily flow with what’s on today, and some of those especially period pieces felt like they were pushing the theme vaguely into costume territory, but there were scores of desirable coats, a number of lovely structural work-ready separates, and more than a few dresses (such as a sleeveless blue velvet affair trimmed with black ribbon and embroidered flowers) that looked like a dream.

NYFW: Tome


(Images via Vogue)

The house of Tome is a newer one to me, as I don’t really remember designers Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin’s work on the New York Fashion Week catwalks before.  But no matter.  For the F/W 2017 season, they fit right in, with the beautiful golden and saffron hues similar to those seen chez Jason Wu, and the impressive casting array  a la Christian Siriano, who moved away from just racial diversity–nice as that is–to include models of all shapes and sizes.

Anyway, also similarly to many houses we’ve been seeing this NYFW, the designers opted to bring the democratization of diversity in models together with that pro-diversity platform we’ve been hearing so much of on a political front. Vogue explained that the designers “gave some serious love to the Guerrilla Girls, an anonymous all-female art coalition fighting for women’s rights around the world,” before quoting Mr. Lobo as noting that  “(r)ight now, women and their bodies are under attack. I think it’s important, that no matter whether you’re a fashion designer or an activist, that you make a statement and speak whenever you have the opportunity—all of our choices this season were very deliberate.”

After noting the designers’ nods to Planned Parenthood, WWD quoted Mr. Martin as stating largely the same thing, with the addendum that “(w)we put women into the clothes — literally, with outlines of different shapes — to make a visual comment about a woman’s right to choose.”

Some of the dresses reminded me of Stella McCartney’s beloved ‘illusion dress‘, and as she has always been celebrated for her embrace of the feminine form, I can’t imagine it as anything but a compliment here. Indeed, it was nice to see, as we do so rarely, a collection of pieces that actually looked as though it might work for a vaster variety of people than solely those on the catwalk.  And, as is usually the case with the former, that larger group isn’t here forced to look like somebody’s fat grandma thanks to the the designers’ realization that some edge, spice, and even sexiness (who knew?) were all things girls more than a plus size or older than 22 would want in their lives.

So as many of the labels prepare to ship from the shores of NYFW onto Paris, it’s nice to have some intriguing new favourites to help keep things interesting here. Let’s hope, too, that they hold true to their message of inclusiveness, beyond just this season’s buzzwords.