Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez remain in pole position as New York fashion’s golden boys. In a city where often the strength of a collection is in its wearable desirability, Proenza Schouler are relied upon to provide a dash of excitement, the fizz of the new.
And they did not let their fans down this season. Seated on white foam benches in disjointed curves the audience were treated to a fast-paced show of imaginative deconstruction. The majority of the looks came in black or white or a mixture of both accessorised by dangling metal leaf earrings and octagonal pillar heeled shoes.
Working primarily in stiff cotton jacquard and softer crepe viscose the longer length waistcoats and dresses were often cut away dramatically at the shoulder and sometimes the waist. This was balanced by higher necklines and loose pants to prevent any suggestion of the skin on display being overtly sexy.
Anyone looking for a plain jacket, skirt it simple coat will have looked in vain but it is Proenza’s strength that although these show pieces appeared relatively unwearable they also worked as a convincing whole. At the end a collection of beautiful feather-linked dresses appeared along with woven skirts laced with heavy beads adding an exoticism to the cleverness.
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.
When the talk of New York fashion week isn’t revolving around the brutal weather front, then it’s chat about newest latest happenings. That week, it had only been about one thing: the Polo Bar restaurant – Ralph Lauren’s latest opening, a cozy, dimly lit den serving the best steak in town, a stone’s throw away from the new Ralph Lauren Polo Fifth Avenue store. Woody Allen has already been, so too half of the fashion fraternity. It’s a roaring success.
What to wear there? Well, Ralph Lauren of course. In fact, any piece from his collection this morning in 50 shades of brown would fit right in to the equestrian clubhouse feel. Take ‘Truffle cashmere’ for example – it conjures good things doesn’t it? Rich, expensive-looking deliciousness, in which to pour oneself come autumn. This was a classic RL collection; from the layered knitted ensembles, reined in with a low-slung saddle leather belt, to the two-tone wool and suede ponchos, shearling coats and oatmeal flannel trousers.
Celebrity stylists would be wise to put a call in now to request that sublime black strapless gown, devastatingly beautiful in its restraint and simplicity. The woman in that dress can’t not but feel good about life.
This is exactly the sort of collection that his legions of women will shop at his Madison Avenue flagship in New York – and anywhere else in the world for that matter.
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.