New York Fashion Week Fall 2018: In Summary

The ready to wear collections continued to explore the 80s; following on from the dazzling Valentino show which made it clear that it’s time for an 80s renaissance. It seems fitting for a Gucci obsessed Trumpian dystopia to look to the decade of excess and power dress.  

Tom Ford’s models skipped with aplomb wearing sequins and prints that jarred to Lacroix effect. The collage like sequins and prints brought Rauschenberg’s combines to mind. There was a leopard print collar and sleeves against python; hues of red, shimmer and fur with breaks of grey and python, and more python. In Tom Ford’s visual language python is a neutral colour.

He lingers on the the visual cues we are bombarded with and, as a result, grow tolerant of. Ford’s aesthetic is witty and maximalistic. In the excess of glamour he takes our tolerance to the limit and then he makes it shinier and adds a bag that reads ‘pussy power’.

The effect of these offensive combinations is similar to what Prada achieved in the 90s with her ugly-chic aesthetic. This is the Tom Ford girl in Beverly Hills. She doesn’t read much, she likely has a coke habit and she’s wearing her big coat and leggings to meet her art dealer in the morning and her drug dealer in the evening.

Alexander Wang in contrast offered a sleek monochrome collection with sci-fi touches and a sportswear feel. Rows of shiny zips made for surreal corsets in a collection that was inspired by CEO dressing. There were two or three diaphanous little skirts that made me think of Logan’s run with it’s sensual youthfulness to the point of fetishism. These were my favourite pieces in the collection.

The subtle floral drama at de la Renta was elevated by a dramatic colour palette. A palette that included chinese vermilion red, marigold, fuschia, black and white. These were the backgrounds against a garland silhouette, or a clunky button or broach. Sharp contrast florals that evoked the intensity of of a Shani Rhys James painting and pressed often diagonally on each garment. The show progressed through increasingly monochrome pairings that were made sombre by their translucency. 

A tulle opera coat was the highlight for Diet Prada. With the context of the collection, this whimsical creation seems like the culmination of a visual process dealing with persperctive, the direction of the viewers gaze and composition in a three dimensional medium.

Raf Simon understands the metaphorical power of clothes. In his third runway show for Calvin Klein he presented fire fighter jackets over crisply cut frock coats; Herringbone over white and burgundy grids; the orange and silver stripes on a shearling.

The post apocalyptic theme he had in mind, materialised in the theatrical casting of his models as both the spectacle and the spectator, with popcorn in hand. Girly and gory go so well together but the shiffon gowns were bold. Beauty is dangerous in a postmodern world and essential in a post apocalyptic one.

It was seductive, it was a kitsch and it was a powerful.       

Marc Jacobs ended New York Fashion week as he always does with a twist. This collection was based on Jacobs’ fashion heroes, the couturiers of the 80s: Yves Saint Laurent, Claude Montana and Thierry Mugler. Milliner, Stephen Jones added an air mystery to the retro divas that traversed Marc’s runway.

Marc’s approach to re-interpreting was not to water down the works of his childhood heroes, but to make their works larger as seen in the eye of his adolescent self. This homage was not simply lazy fan-taffeta. The whole collection was an exercise in abstraction. The floral prints that were too large to recognise and the sashes were sometimes neo-classical and sometimes geometric. Colour blocking was taken to a place of humour. There were also subtle moody tones on fur coats.

In summary, Raf Simon’s found himself in Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs, never one to disappoint, gave us the camp fashion moment we deserved. THERE WERE SASHES. 

Images sourced from Vogue Archives.

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