New York Fashion Week: Escapism at Tory Burch, Donna Karan and more

New York Fashion Week: Escapism at Tory Burch, Donna Karan and more
Models walk in the finale of the Tory Burch show during the 2015 New York Fashion Week. (Richard Drew / AP)

Escapism is a perennial inspiration for designers, from Ralph Lauren in the American Southwest to Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech.

And this season is no different. For her fall 2015 collection, Tory Burch took a magic carpet ride of her own to Marrakech, by way of swinging '60s London.


The clothes were a  a souk's worth of textures and patterns, echoed in the Berber rugs that decorated the floors and walls. Sweaters, coats and wrap skirts were covered in engineered tapestry designs, pants were low-slung and flared, and scarfy, asymmetrical crepe dresses and caftans were scattered with sequins.

Accessories were particularly strong, including glossy leather boots with gold filigree heels, haute Moroccan slipper mules covered in studs, sandal slides jingling metal discs, studded saddle and carpet bags.

‎It Tory's take on the Talitha Getty look, except you might call it "not-so-rich hippie."

"I'd buy her stock in a hot minute #IPO," one of my Twitter followers commented, referring to Burch's affordable luxe label, which some analysts now value at $4 billion, and have pegged for a future public offering.

At up-and-coming label Baja East, Scott Studenberg and John Targon referenced Morocco in their show notes too, but the look of their ambisexual, loose luxe collection is more globe-trotting vagabond than any specific destination.

Their signature relaxed layers -- sun-bleached denim blue knits, slouchy sweats, ankle-skimming sweater skirts, fringed ponchos and Baja hoodies (one emblazoned with the words, "Baja Babe") were all here. And this season they added some soft tailoring too, with wool crepe sack dresses, loose blazers and duster coats, worn with playful yarn lei necklaces, and Nike ID for Baja East sneakers.

For Studenberg and Targon, the world is only getting bigger.

Rodarte's Kate and Laura Mulleavy said they were inspired by migrating birds leaving the city and going someplace more pastoral. The look was both rugged outdoorsy--sculpted tweed blazers with patent leather lapels,  fox fur-trimmed tweed anoraks, and handknit metallic sweaters--and delicately romantic, with ruffled, high-neck blouses, stretch leather pants with lace down the sides, and paneled leather skirts.

Hand beaded sequin dresses in vivid hues looked electric, as if lit from within, and the collagey lace and sequined net gowns, quivering with ostrich feathers, were rare birds indeed.

‎The Mulleavys have covered some of this ground before in their collections, so this was more of an evolution than a revolution. Still, they refined the ideas into something that looked more commercial than ever before.

‎Meanwhile, Donna Karan found inspiration closer to home, in the glittering New York skyline. Karan showed a long, lean, silhouette defined by architectural-looking, sculpted planes of fabric-- layered bustiers and peplum jackets cinched with obi belts over high-waist pants, or the fall season's favorite mid-calf length skirt,which made the collection feel more fashion relevant than it has been in recent seasons.

The gorgeousness continued to build into evening with glimmering metallics--bronze brocade jackets, jet bead embroidered coats, and burnished gold lame gowns ready made for the red carpet, which is its own great escape.