Isabel Marant’s boho-band blend dipped its toe into Eighties waters today – high waists on white jeans cinching in her cable knits or reworked Bretons, rah-rah frills jiving down sleeves and skirts, single earrings to compound the point.
There were huge boyfriend-sized jackets and all the pieces she does so well and so right for her customer. It’s always youthful, it’s always that embodiment of nonchalance – it’s always that girl, it is Marant herself.
But a twist in proceedings came towards the end of the collection in a boudoir surprise: sheer white and black swingy dresses with lacing frothing down the front into frills. Surely this was a little more girly and sweet than we know from this chick?
But, wait, hang on, she can do frou too! But when that’s not her vibe, there was plenty here for stalwart fans – those who merely need a style update on the seasonal Marant staples that already inhabit their wardrobe.
Polished, industrial, sharp and serious – one can’t help but think that ever since Jason Wu took on the helm of Hugo Boss this time last year that the aesthetic has filtered out onto his own eponymous line. As we saw at the start of the week, his namesake label was less full of the flounce and frou that it once was. And Boss is about a certain precision, a heritage luxury brand. That said, among the silhouettes today there was a renewed softness – rounder shoulders, a play on proportion and panels for lithe dresses and leg-of-mutton sleeves.
Joseph Altuzarra has been taking to the New York Fashion Week schedule for five seasons now with investment from Kering behind him. And it’s serving him well – each season his aesthetic moving on and stepping up into something more refined and more luxe. This collection was an absolute case in point: flamboyant, sinuous and sexy, this was an incredibly seductive collection.
Sexy high boots, we’ll take them; pie-crust ruffles on white lace dresses that were barely dresses at all, yes please; fluting pencil skirts that splayed playfully around the knees, definitely. It was all cut beautifully and just as much as it was sassy, it came with a repressed primness – those high ruffled collars that hinted at Victoriana strictness.
Altuzarra had cited Truman Capote’s social swans and Gloria Vanderbilt as muses. “I was interested in American High Society in the Seventies and the aesthetic dialogue that it fostered in design, fashion and art,” he explained. And with this suitably fashionable and social fairytale in place, he added his own interest of eclecticism spanning the Sixties to the Eighties, as well as a dash of contemporary culture – the latter of which kept it all in wearable check, and made the use of slits, sequins and lace, velvet and devoré, and pie-crust collars all the more clever and enticing.
Jason Wu is a designer who courted a great crowd from the outset – you’ll recall Michelle Obama and a certain inauguration gown. It’s hard not to talk about him without making the reference – such was its career-defining moment, putting him more visibly on the map and plucking him from an overcrowded New York Fashion Week schedule. He continued to court his glamorous troops with Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin among his front row to add a little edge, which was the overall feel that followed in the collection.
These days Wu is moving away from the sensibility he started out with – less gowns fit for a modern-day ball, more utility gloss, a serious working wardrobe with an ultra-luxe overlay. His original Park Avenue princesses have become more fierce in their fashion taste with strong outerwear options (substantial and solid fur gilets and coats, lapel-unfurling jackets, impeccable tailoring as always) and slinky dresses accompanied by a decent flash of leg the mainstay of her wardrobe.
If there’s an event to go to now, she’s more modern in her approach to dressing for it – we could even (in this context and with those dress slits) throw the word risqué out there, though overall this was less the dazzling affair it has been in the past, more edited, streamlined and structured, a sense of the practical and every-day at its core. Which is no bad thing. Wu’s revision of his idea of glamour has simply now just opened him up to more avenues beside Park.