Designer debuts and anniversaries, quirky themes and collaborations — this runway season had it all. Here's the rundown on a few of the newsworthy shows at New York Fashion Week.
Marc by Marc Jacobs
Just like that, Marc by Marc Jacobs is cool again.
For their debut season, Brit "It" girl designers
In recent years, Marc by Marc had devolved into a watered-down, fashion-irrelevant department store brand. So Jacobs hired Bartley and Hillier as creative directors to give the label a new direction. And they did just that, mixing a '90s-era agitprop vibe (Riot Grrrls meets Pussy Riot) with action sports clothing.
Judo jackets, motocross T-shirts and wrap-around obi trousers were worn with platform BMX-style sneakers. Body suits and jeans were emblazoned with '90s-era feminist punk slogans such as, "Revolution," "Grrrl" and "Twisted." Pleated tulle party skirts were topped by jackets or capelets with oversized, sculpted bows.
It was edgy, brash and cool. Way to shake up the runways, Grrrls!
After I saw two models at two different presentations faint, the idea of beauty and sacrifice was already on my brain.
Then, I walked into Thom Browne's runway show space, which is always a thought-provoking experience. It was set up to look like a church with candles, crosses and rows of pews for guests to sit in. We were all worshiping at the altar of fashion.
And for what? For the kind of beauty that Browne showed us.
His tailoring skills were on full display in suits with rounded silhouettes, sleeves that evoked angel wings and skirts with nipped-in waists and exaggerated hips that had an Old Hollywood vibe. Outerwear was also striking — as seen in capes with interesting textures and folds. And the golden goddess finale looks were magnificent.
Throughout the collection, the fabrics were ungodly beautiful — cut velvet stripes, floral jacquards and gold burnout velvet and embroidery reminiscent of burnished gilt.
One of the few designers in New York who takes chances, Browne is a fashion maverick. His collections will always be high concept, but this season, it was more possible than ever to see the commercial potential of certain pieces. Amen.
Diane von Furstenberg
Diane von Furstenberg, the grande dame of American style, celebrated the 40th anniversary of her signature wrap dress with a show that struck just the right note. It wasn't overly nostalgic, or self-congratulatory, just lovely. She paid homage to the style that made her famous, but didn't dwell on it too long.
The rest of the collection looked boho fantastic and hit on several trends for the fall season (sweater dressing; fun, novelty coats; and longer-length skirts among them) in a sophisticated yet accessible way.
For a soundtrack, the band St. Vincent performed live. The starry crowd included Bella Thorne, looking very "American Hustle" in a brown suede wrap dress, AnnaSophia Robb, Olivia Palermo, Coco Rocha and many others.
The first look in the show was a wrap dress, in a gorgeous gold "love knot" jacquard. Gold was a standard that ran through the entire collection, including the finale, a parade of gold wrap dresses. After Von Furstenberg did a lap around the runway, taking her trademark walking bow, she hit the stage with her golden bouquet of models behind her, and confetti rained down.
Rag & Bone
Buffalo checks, Cowichan sweaters and personalized embroidered bowling shirts — you might call it blue-collar chic.
There was a familiar, American ruggedness to the Rag & Bone collection. And what coziness, from the shearling-lined mules to the sweaters made in collaboration Coogi, the colorful Australian knitwear manufacturer made famous by America's '80s-era First Dad Bill Cosby.
Key pieces included a cropped, hand-knit Cowichan sweater worn over leggings with laces at the fly; brown splatter paint baggy jeans that conjured a palomino pony, bowling shirts and jackets with embroidered names on the chest and marled patterned sweaters made in collaboration with Coogie.
This collection was pure nostalgic fun. So many pieces I wish I could have snatched off the runway and put right on that night, to ward off the Arctic blast. It was fashion comfort food.
Los Angeles-based designer Tadashi Shoji went in a bold, new direction with his collection, which was less about his popular sexy, body-conscious shapes and more about romantic surface details.
The inspiration inclulded Moorish palaces, luxuriant textiles and ornate architectural details. The look was romantic and sophisticated, as well as covered up, because covering the arms is something many women look for in a dress, Shoji said backstage.
Standout pieces included a navy blue and nude, laser-cut, tile-patterned long sleeve mini dress; a paisley print tulle sleeveless dress with hand beaded scroll-like detail on the bodice; and a navy metallic Chantilly lace dress with tie neck and long sleeves. In the OMG category: a blue velvet cocktail dress with roughed-up velvet pailettes.
It was a lot of rich detail for not a lot of money. (Most of his dresses are $350 to $1,500.) It's no wonder his clothes are as popular with real women as they are on the red carpet.