What we learned from New York Fashion Week
Nostalgic nods to Eighties club gear, modest silhouettes and executive tailoring were the standout trends
After eight days of sartorial and social splendour, New York Fashion Week is drawing to a close, but before the style set migrates to London, what have we learned from the US style capital?
From the whippersnapper models who commanded the catwalks to the leading trends to note for the season ahead, these are the key takeaways from the first set of autumn/winter shows.
It was a game of ‘spot the Hadid’
Fashion’s power sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid continued to rule the runways this season, covering almost every major show on the schedule between them.
From opening and closing for Brandon Maxwell respectively to introducing Anna Sui’s collection by walking down the runway in tandem, if the New York shows proved anything, it’s that fashion isn’t tiring of the Hadids anytime soon.
Notably absent on the casting line-ups was their fellow lithe-limbed pal Kendall Jenner, who has been keeping a relatively low profile over the last few days – though this might have more to do with her newest family member than her fashion credentials.
However, the most talked-about model to hit the New York shows was an unsuspecting 10-year-old named Desmond, a self-identifying “drag kid” who made his fashion week debut at Gypsy Sport on Sunday.
The Eighties are back (again)
It’s the one trend that designers return to season-after-season, but this week proved that disco neons and vibrant animal prints aren’t going away anytime soon.
First to pack a punch at decade of sartorial decadence was Tom Ford, whose clashing patterns and uplifting sequins were in homage to Julia Roberts’ iconic Pretty Woman role.
Elsewhere, Anna Sui celebrated the art of dressing up with neon fishnet stockings that matched the models’ fluorescent eye shadow.
Even Jeremy Scott’s space oddity collection had its Eighties moments via neon bob-cut wigs and moon boots.
Though not necessarily a direct reference to the Eighties, the eccentric appeal of leopard print is something that always finds its way into collections inspired by the decade.
Manifestations across the colour wheel transpired at Area, Re/Done, Michael Kors and even Victoria Beckham, whose sophisticated aesthetic usually eschews such buoyancies.
Fashion isn’t quite at the frontier of #MeToo, but it’s getting there
While we might still be waiting for the fashion industry to have its #MeToo moment, Prabal Gurung aside, a handful of designers made noble attempts to reference the movement in a wider sense in terms of championing female empowerment.
Speaking to The Independent after her New York show, Tory Burch explained that she recognised the movement’s prevalence despite not incorporating a sliver of it into her collection, which was inspired by the American socialite Lee Radziwill, who is a close friend of Burch’s.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Simkhai and Tom Ford made notable allusions while Calvin Klein reigned supreme in terms of social commentary.
However, on the whole it seemed that the majority of New York labels were keen to shy away from social issues altogether, choosing to uplift and rather than to confront during turbulent times.
Racial representation is speeding ahead while body diversity remains relatively untouched
Racial diversity on the catwalks hasn’t been a cause for contention for several seasons, with almost every model line-up combining an eclectic mix of ethnicities.
Body diversity, however, remains to be addressed.
Sure, Ashley Graham walked for Michael Kors again, but as the only model above a sample size in that show, does her casting have more to do with her vast social media following than her fashion model credentials?
Of course, there is Chromat and Christian Siriano, both of whom are frequently praised for their penchant for casting curvier women.
“I think it’s important now more than ever that the customer can see and relate to the clothes on the runway. It is important to my brand to just celebrate beauty and I think beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors,” Siriano told The Independent.
“I do wish that more brands were on board with us and it’s sad that they are not.”
New York Fashion Week might be losing its mojo
This season, a vast number of high-profile labels announced their departure from the New York schedule.
For Alexander Wang and Victoria Beckham, February 2018 marks goodbye after years of showcasing their collections in the US fashion capital.
The aforementioned labels join a long list of highly-favoured brands to also make the move, including Proenza Schouler, Public School, Altuzarra and Rodarte.
Even Tommy Hilfiger has migrated his extravaganza of a show to Milan this season, despite being a heritage US brand.
Who knows what next season’s NYFW calendar will look like.