New York Fashion Week Round Up

“New York is back!” was the triumphant cry echoing through the streets of Manhattan and ping-ponging throughout Instagram, this week as New York Fashion Week resumed live, in person, mostly mask-less shows to the delight of fashion lovers everywhere. It was a celebratory week, with designers bringing their A games to make up for the long stretch of work from home and leisurewear attire that we have been subject to for the past year and a half. Live runways took over Manhattan, from the streets of Soho, to Central Park, to the top of the EmpireState Building; this was more than just fashion week, this was a love letter to New York from the designers who call it home, and the shows did not disappoint.

Proenza Schouler christened the newly opened Little Island with it’s first fashion show, showing a collecting full of playful fringe and pops of bright, tropical colors; it felt like a reset for the brand, a release of pressure from the pre-pandemic world that perhaps fell victim of taking itself, and themselves, too serious at times.

Prabal Gurung staged his Spring 2022 runway at night in Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan, with Lady Liberty shining brightly in the background. The designer dedicated his show to the American female, and the idea of such, no matter what gender identity you may possess; showing a fluid, feminine, powerful collection that was full of florals, bright colors, and voluminous ensembles.

While most designers wanted to show some love to their home city, designer LaQuan Smith understood the assignment, and then full on murdered it. 102 floors straight up to the observatory deck on none other than the iconic Empire State Building, Smith staged his runway which was chalk full of staple mesh, sparkles, plunging necklines, and….French Poodles? Oh yes. Smith also debuted a sneak peek of his upcoming collaboration with Puma, which is sure to sell out in a New York minute.

Season after season, Wes Gordon continues to prove why his appointment as creative director for Carolina Herrera was the smartest move the brand could have made. His collections never fail to bring a smile to everyone’s face, showing youthful and modern pieces, while staying true to the heritage of the label. In true Upper East Side fashion, Gordon staged his latest show in the newly opened 89th Street location of the art gallery Salon 94. The high ceilings and stately architecture were the perfect backdrop for the sweeping ballgowns and playful cocktail dresses that encompassed Gordon’s vision for Spring.

Although he usually shows in Milan, Jeremy Scott felt a calling back to New York this season, staging Moschino’s Spring collection in Bryant Park, the home of fashion weeks gone by and the heady days of 90’s fashion. It makes sense then, that 90’s fashion icon Fran Drescher of “The Nanny” served as inspiration for the smart and seductively tailored suits and separates, not to mention the baby motif of cartoon animals serving as prints, a dancing mobile atop the head of model Taylor Hill, and summed up with new mom Gigi Hadid playfully sucking on an oversized bottle. Scott’s Spring show also served as the exclusive runway debut of model Aaron Philip, who is the first black, transgendered and disabled model to appear on a high fashion runway.

Michael Kors is to New York fashion what cheese is to pizza, they go together harmoniously and one doesn’t make sense without the other. Kors staged his Spring collection in the iconic Tavern on the Green in the heart of Central Park, a pretty location for an equally pretty collection. Kors knows who he is and what his clientele wants, and continues to reign supreme as a king of American fashion. There were bra tops and flowing skirts, smart tailoring,
and pretty pastels. Is Kors breaking the mold here? No, but he doesn’t have to either.

If you look up romance in the dictionary you might find reference to sonnets and classic films, but you will also find Rodarte, the unapologetic ode to feminism and romance housed in a fashion label. The Mulleavy sisters are masters of evoking emotions through their work, this season incorporating images from their parents work as an artist and a fungi botanist. While the collection was full of beautiful sheer lace and sea shell accents, it was the billowing finale dress that send Instagram into a frenzy, as the bulbous mushroom print dress captured the wind to fill it’s sails and create one of those emotional moments that keep us coming back for more, season after season.

Tom Ford closed out the New York Fashion Week calendar with an electric show at Lincoln Center with an all-star front row. The collection was full of shiny, colorful metallics and slouchy satin separates, accessorized with chunky gold chains. It is worth noting that there were no red carpet gowns or tuxedos from Ford this season, which is not to say any of the looks couldn’t be red carpet ready, but Ford is clearly foreseeing a different style of dressing up for the upcoming season. Perhaps he found his new niche in leisure wear inspired clothes, but we look forward to some future Tom Ford black tie sexiness that he does so well.

With the clear success of New York Fashion Week behind us, we are looking toward the European shows to see how London, Milan and Paris react to the reemergence of live fashion. With covid and travel restrictions still heavily in place around Europe, no doubt the front rows and runways will look a bit different this season, but if New York was an indication of the jubilance and freedom of expression our favorite designers are feeling for Spring, we have a feeling the rest of the collections will continue to ride the wave of new beginnings and hope for a brighter future.

– Elizabeth Kramsky