Jeremy Scott and Alexander Wang Dabble with the Risqué at #NYFW

Adam Selman NYFW Spring Summer 2017 LEAD
Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty

Best not tell Pamela Anderson about the spring collections.

Had she been invited to some of the more risqué of the New York shows this week, the anti-porn crusading actress might have added a few designers to her recent lament in the Wall Street Journal.

I'm no prude, mind you, but watching Jeremy Scott's runway burlesque on Monday caused more than a little blushing, with fishnet stockings and knits designed to be "X Rated," including a dress that featured what appeared to be an anatomically inexplicable glory hole. And this is a family publication, so I won't go into the sordid details of the Hood by Air show, other than to acknowledge its inclusion of a collaboration with a website dedicated to pornography, which seemed more than a tad gratuitous.

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But I wonder, what is going on in the minds of designers when even little angels like Adam Selman and Alexander Wang show prints and embroideries that are really rather graphic? Selman's prints were worthy of a cocktail napkin at the Playboy club, suggesting a grasp of sexual positions more worldly than that of an editor at Cosmo. Wang incorporated the critters of preppy cord trousers in his show, but instead of Lilly Pulitzer lobsters, they were women in bikinis on a camp shirt. Perverts!

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Scott wasn't subtle either, with his curious fetish for fishnet stockings.

It all feels a little offensive at a moment when the broader culture has become more attuned to the sensitivities that should be in order to address this nation's legacy of inequality between the sexes, especially when a woman has a fair shot of breaking its highest glass ceiling. Shouldn't this be a moment for celebrating women with fashion they can really use, rather than sexualizing them for a punny sweatshirt? Do I even need to point out that all of the above collections are designed by men?


Coincidence requires me to note the appearance of flesh in the Proenza Schouler collection (see above left), but thankfully, the images of naked limbs that flashed on dresses and bags at the collection of Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez were those of fine art statues. I have always said that the difference between pornography and art is whether you can find it in Janson's, and this show seemed worthy with its gallerist-approved knotted and twisted dresses.

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There are still designers out there willing to stand up for good taste. Carolina Herrera, god bless her, knows the value of a good evening gown, with minimal fuss and a fantastic combination of black and white, so clean and in its way, so fresh. Zac Posen is all about the shape, and his embroideries this season suggested progress in creating maximal impact with minimal weight, as his pretty floral fabrics appeared to float on air. And at least one male designer is standing up for women: Prabal Gurung embroidered messages of empowerment throughout a collection that was inspired by, among others, Gloria Steinem and Susan B. Anthony.

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