Firstview

Eric Wilson is InStyle's fashion news director. For more real-time fashion week insights, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Eric Wilson
Sep 15, 2015 @ 11:45 am

Monday morning, on the fifth day of New York Fashion Week, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney released a study that says the twice-annual runway event generates a $900 million economic impact for New York City, which is more than the New York City Marathon, the U.S. Open, or the Super Bowl.

I find this very hard to believe. Who is she kidding with that paltry figure?

I’ve personally spent at least that much on taxi fares trying to get around the city today for shows that take place in different neighborhoods from hour to hour. We fashion editors must be generating bazillions for the city. By the way, this ill-conceived schedule is exactly the opposite of what fashion week organizers had promised us this season, but I will bite my tongue, for now, and get on with today’s review. I’ve been so busy, really, that I don’t even have time for transitions. So here’s the news of the day.

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Carolina Herrera made a smart move by showing her collection at the Frick Museum on the Upper East Side, a space where her clothes would ordinarily be seen by high-heeled patrons anyway, but thanks to a more intimate format, they could be now studied as closely as a painting. The audience members, Penelope Cruz included, were treated to a fantastic array of designs that involved high-tech fabrics like athletic mesh inset into the pleats of a proper skirt or worn as an overlay on top of a dress (pictured, above). Herrera, one of the rare American fashion designers to bridge multiple generations of customers, has used fabric innovation – many of the dresses were sliced and spliced together like Lombardo’s Adam at the Met – as a way to keep her look fresh and relevant in a changing world of both tastes and customs. And she’s done so without ever being vulgar. Frankly, I could have stopped my day here and been satisfied.

But Tommy Hilfiger was up next and his show, if you made it all the way downtown, was pure fun, best vacation ever, actually, since he showed super striped beachwear on a set that included an actual beach.

VIDEO: The Story Behind Tommy Hilfiger's Crazy Elaborate Spring 2016 Runway Set

The rest of the day was a blur of cab rides. I must have gotten lost in a daydream of toes in the sand until Zac Posen woke me up again with a superb show that, like Herrera, and also the underrated Dion Lee, emphasized technical cutting and splicing techniques (pictured, below). Leave it to Posen to come up with a dress slit so artistically that the label could have said Lucio Fontana, the midcentury Italian artist whose cut-up canvas paintings have been a major fashion influence of late.

JP Yim/Getty Images

FOMO, and the promise of chicken skewers, made me buck up and head back uptown to Mr. Chow’s for the debut presentation of Brandon Maxwell, a Lady Gaga fashion conspirator and self-trained designer. So glad I did. What a show! Who would have thought the man who cut his teeth on raw steak, as in Gaga’s infamous meat dress, would turn out a collection of fluidly tailored black and white glamour gowns that would leave Ayn Rand at a loss for words (pictured, below)? It was Deco meets Disco. Only a few dozens guests were seated, Gaga and Alexander Wang included, and a hundred more were packed to the rafters to watch, but they cheered and applauded and loved those looks like fashion shows used to be in the good old days, before anyone cared about economic impact.

Marcelo Soubhia/Firstview

Maxwell made his way out to the crowd in style. “I’ve been dreaming of this day since I was four,” he said. “I don’t even know how I feel today. You’ll have to ask me tomorrow.”

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