They say N.Y.C. is the city that never sleeps, and it’s a statement that rings especially true during New York Fashion Week when designers stretch it into an eight (and sometimes nine)-day sprint with scheduled presentations first thing in the morning and after-parties that last all night long. But now that we’ve somewhat recovered from the emotionally and physically draining blur that is NYFW, we can see that it was all a blessing in disguise. Everything—from the packed schedule to mad-dashes between shows—allowed for excellent firsthand exposure to cool moments on the runway, next season’s trends, and new styling tricks that we can’t wait to apply IRL right now.
Surprisingly, the one article of clothing that won the week wasn't actually clothing: a bra, worn both out in the open with nothing but a pair of high-waist bottoms and layered under suit separates. As for accessories, incredible waterfall earrings that brushed the shoulders of each model earned the most Insta snaps from showgoers. Equally Insta-worthy—the stampede of uniformed models during the final lap, each clad in matching tracksuits (Alexander Wang for Adidas) or hooded jumpsuits (DKNY).
From the colors that are already trending for spring 2017 to nods to Stranger Things to emoji dresses come to life, see our favorite 22 fashion moments from the NYFW runways, below.
1. "Real People" as Models
Rachel Comey (left), J.Crew (right), Rebecca Minkoff, and Eckhaus Latta got real this season when they opted out of traditional casting and recruited non-models, instead, to present their spring 2017 (and one fall 2016) collections. The result? A refreshingly diverse, super relatable lineup that included photographers, bloggers, and event planners.
2. A Salute to Stranger Things
Stranger Things was released on Netflix only a couple of months ago, and already it’s made a major impact in fashion. Co-stars Winona Ryder and Millie Bobby Brown had a mini reunion in the front row at Coach, while Sies Marjan included the Stranger Thing’s theme song on its playlist (pops of ‘80s neon in the collection might also be a salute to the show, as well). And finally, some have interpreted the lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling on the Marc Jacobs set as an homage to how Joyce Byers communicated to her son, who was trapped in The Upside Down.
3. One Sweater, Infinite Ways
Treat your knit as an accessory—knot it close to your neck (like a scarf), drape it over your shoulders (like a cape), and tie it around your waist (like a belt). Thanks, Thakoon.
4. Runway in the Real World
Applying a runway look IRL sometimes requires a bit of sartorial know-how, but a handful of designers, including Rebecca Minkoff, Ralph Lauren, Rachel Comey, and Eckhaus Latta (pictured), illustrated just how seamless that can be when they turned the N.Y.C. streets into a runway. Good thing the forecast read sunny skies.
5. Duos Versus Squads
Tommy Hilfiger and Monse were just a couple who had us seeing double with twinning looks (shoulder-exposing looks for Monse, matching stripes for Tommy). But winning snaps came from Alexander Wang and DKNY when models stormed out in uniformed outfits for the finale.
6. Not-so-Mellow Yellow
Let’s call it the Lemonade effect. After an unforgettable music video, in which Queen Bey wielded a baseball bat in a ruffly, twirly, lemonade-y Roberto Cavalli number, we haven’t been able to stop thinking about the cheery shade. Now, our thirst has been quenched with these sunny looks from Creatures of Comfort, Marissa Webb, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Tibi.
7. Bra Out
Sun’s out, bra’s out, seems to be the mindset for spring. And for the most part, it’s unabashedly out there with frilly tops and printed pretty little things subbed in for tops. Victoria Beckham, though, struck a masculine-feminine juxtaposition when she styled hers with slouchy suit separates. "Corsetry is something that I've been doing since my first collection—it's very much something that people associate with me," Beckham said of her bra tops. "I'm evolving it with a feminine take on the bra top."
Runway looks (left to right; top to bottom): Alexander Wang, Oscar de la Renta, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Altuzarra, Victoria Beckham, Tory Burch
8. Cascading Ruffles
We didn’t think it was possible, but ruffles, the girliest detailing imaginable, have gotten even girlier for spring, thanks to a waterfall of tiered frills running from the waist down.
Runway looks: Jonathan Simkhai, Altuzarra, Rodarte, Prabal Gurung
9. “It” Pairing Alert: Dresses and Pants
It’s a hard sell, especially when so many stars are going pantsless these days, but there’s something delightfully cool and offbeat in an effortless kind of way about a ground-grazing shirtdress over slouchy jeans (Rosie Assoulin) or a pleated asymmetric number over white denim (Banana Republic), or for an evening take, a gown over wide-leg pants (Adeam). And now that a mainstream brand like Banana Republic has adopted it, perhaps the pairing will finally stick for spring.
10. Good-Girl Socks Gone Bad
Over-the-knee socks are polarizing in almost every aspect. You either love them or you hate them. And they conjure up images of either a preppy schoolgirl uniform or a NSFW Halloween costume. For spring, designers have carved out a new category for OTK socks, giving them the same sexy, edgy, and wearable appeal as thigh-high boots, when paired with abbreviated hemlines. Athletic socks give an edgy leather mini a sporty streak at Tommy Hilfiger, candy-colored stripes sweeten up a graphic satin mini at Marc Jacobs, while DKNY’s tonal blues get a kick of streetwear cool with slip-on sneaks.
11. Ankle Bling
The new crop of anklets look nothing like the delicate chains from back in the day. These ones include gilded ankle stacks (Rodarte), crystal-studded cuffs (Alexander Wang), and charm-heavy strands (DVF).
12. The “Oh, Is My Top Falling Off?” Look
Drop your neckline to reveal a shoulder, à la Jennifer Beals from Flashdance or more recently, Kim Kardashian West at the 2016 MTV VMAs. And then feign obliviousness, naturally.
Runway looks: DVF, Self-Portrait, Rosie Assoulin
13. Extra-Long Belts
Clasp, cinch, and let the tail hang long. The easiest way to achieve the look? Borrow a belt from the boys. Done and done.
Runway looks: Tibi, DVF, Victoria Beckham
14. Seam Splits
The next evolution of cut-outs? Faux rips along the seams, revealing teeny-tiny glimpses of skin. Of course, you could always take the DIY route and take scissors to your clothing, but then you’ll look like this.
Runway looks: 3.1 Phillip Lim, DKNY, Self-Portrait, 3.1 Phillip Lim
15. The Red Dancing Lady
When you can sum up a fashion trend with a single emoji.
Runway looks: Rodarte, Hellessey, Oscar de la Renta
16. A Motif We Love
Why wear your heart on your sleeve when you can all over or blatantly displayed across your chest?
Runway looks: Rodarte, Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler
17. Insta-Worthy Earrings
Things that garner likes: decadent, over-the-top ear candy that’s worth its weight in social media gold.
Runway looks (from left to right): Proenza Schouler, CG by Chris Gelinas, Delpozo, Altuzarra, Creatures of the Wind
18. Complete Transparency
The sheer trend isn’t going anywhere, but at least designers are taking everyone’s comfort level into consideration for spring. On the runway, see-through overlays ranged from the mild (like an elegant skirt over a floral brocade mini at Delpozo) to transparent layers at Coach and DKNY over teeny-tiny briefs.
Runway looks: Coach, Delpozo, Anna Sui, DKNY
19. Statement Flatforms
When you want the lift without the painful arch, flatforms are, really, the only solution. It’s no wonder they’re back—and louder than ever.
Runway looks (from left to right; top to bottom): Anna Sui, Coach, Proenza Schouler, 3.1 Phillip Lim
20. Surprise Supermodel Cameos
You know you’ve made it as a supermodel when you’ve graduated beyond the runway. But a handful of veterans returned to the NYFW scene for their designer BFFs, including Liya Kebede (at Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren), Adriana Lima (at Marc Jacobs), Karlie Kloss (at Marc Jacobs), Joan Smalls (at Michael Kors), Amber Valletta (at Tom Ford), Carolyn Murphy (at Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren), and Irina Shayk (at Marc Jacobs).
21. New Takes on Shirting
As much as we love the timeless button-down shirt, we always enjoy a new twist to a good ol’ classic: mismatched one-shoulder shirtdresses at Monse, wrap styles at Elizabeth and James, and shirts sliced into crop tops and mini skirts at Alexander Wang.
22. See Now, Buy Now, Wear Now
The buzzy “see now, buy now, wear now” concept has taken over the fashion industry. Instead of waiting six months for pieces to hit stores, many (including Tom Ford, Thakoon, Ralph Lauren, Opening Ceremony) have given consumers the option to buy merch right off the runway. Shop all the buy now, wear now merch here.