NYFW Closes With Legendary Supermodels, Oscar-Worthy Gowns, and — Wait — Is That Barry Manilow?
Needless to say, it was a big day for fashion groupies.
Closing a runway show with a supermodel from yesteryear has become quite the thing ever since Donatella Versace pulled off the fashion world’s greatest social media moment ever with her 2017 Tribute collection. (Cindy, Naomi, Helena, Carla, Claudia, to save you from Googling.) Wrapping up New York Fashion Week on Wednesday, Michael Kors ended his Studio 54-themed disco collection with a flossy walk by Patti Hansen, while Marc Jacobs showed the last look of his phenomenal fall collection on a perennial favorite, Christy Turlington Burns. Needless to say, it was a big day for fashion groupies.
For Kors, Hansen’s appearance was the story, or at least part one of the story, since the designer, rather bizarrely at a 10 a.m. show on Wall Street that seemed to actually want to suggest it had been conceived after a cocaine bender, did follow with a part two, another big reveal — Barry Manilow singing “Copacabana.” I kid you not. But for Jacobs, Turlington was just the cherry on top of an incredibly delicious collection, which marked an important turning point for the designer, now very much back on top of his game.
With his previous two collections, still in their raw, barebones production at the Park Avenue Armory, Jacobs took great pains to rededicate his devotion to this craft, which at times he has openly questioned. Those shows became master classes in the history of 20th century fashion, as Jacobs paid homage to literally hundreds of great French and American designers whose names are all but forgotten in the modern age of education by Wikipedia. This fall show, however, was much more. Jacobs has gotten to the point that he is able to express himself freely and beautifully, without all that much of the drama and messiness that has marked some of his bygone collections. Part of the reason is that he has now fully separated his broader commercial collection (clothes he plans to sell under the label “The Marc Jacobs,” after his Instagram handle) from the art that he shows on the runway. And the results are much clearer — beginning with big, fabulously textured coats and capes, in spotted, tweed, and checked varieties, and ending with some of the most Oscars-worthy gowns of the New York shows.
Turlington’s dress was of a traditional shape, but made of piles and piles of gorgeous black feathers that made it seem as if from another world. Throughout the show, there were so many wow moments, like a brilliant yellow ballgown falling off the shoulders, or an exaggerated clownlike smock that recalled Jacobs’s wondrously controversial Fall 2005 collection made up almost exclusively of pod-like dresses. But there were also easily digestible examples of minty slip dresses (worn with matching ski caps, à la grunge), loose trousers and a sweatshirt, and even those big cloaks and gowns that now seem perfectly practical, more than a decade after Jacobs first attempted such oversize clothes. It just goes to show how far ahead of the times he has always been.
The Kors show was a hoot — I mean, Barry Manilow. Her name was Lola has been stuck in my head all day. Ok, so he was probably lip-synching, but still. With Kors’s runway covered by both chandeliers and disco balls, the designer must have been in a nostalgic mood for the days of Studio 54, since the nightclub’s logo had been appropriated for prints on puffer coats, weekender bags, and knit tops. The clothes literally reeked of the late '70s and early '80s period of dramatic excess, with bell-bottomed suits and one model channeling John Travolta circa Welcome Back, Kotter. I thought Kors had slightly overdone it when I saw a guy wearing a glittering leisure suit — I’m sitting this trend out, thank you very much — but then came Hansen wearing the women’s version of the same look and it suddenly hit me as to what was going on. These people must still be high.