Love It or Hate It: These Are the Designers Making Huge Statements at NYFW
Marc Jacobs ended what was a bummer of a New York Fashion Week on Wednesday night with a collection that pretty much summed up the American season as a whole, where sometimes great clothes and a strong message got a little lost amid the chaos.
Walking out of the show, the audience seemed evenly split (as usual) between two camps: There were those who saw magic in the procession of pastel frothy coats and wildly ruffled metallic gowns that left no doubt of the designer’s allegiance to the once high-flying style of pure glamour. And there were those who saw in the pink feathers and mint swirls, and some looks that directly repeated designs from his previous collection in different color ways, a deflated version of fall. Of course, there were complaints of self-indulgence — the chaos here was a 90-minute delay that recalled the Jacobs shows of yore, when editors were left no choice but to wonder if he was testing their loyalty and/or their love for him. But runway shows are perhaps the only place a designer can be so indulged, and perhaps they should be if it results in a collection as heartfelt, pure, and, yes, provocative, as this one.
Love it or hate it, there were lots of remarkable statements, like a dress of silvery apricot fabric topped with a mound of ruffles that looked like shaved ice, and a blown-up dress made of poofs of plaid. One particular standout was a yellow coat sprinkled with blue petals, incorporated both as part of the fabric and as appliqués. I would vote that it was worth the wait.
Michael Kors also showed great, wearable clothes in a collection that was reliably optimistic and also punctual. There was no missing the upbeat, Mediterranean theme of the clothes, with nods to a stroll along the narrow alleys of Capri, where it’s absolutely fine to wear white lace bellbottom pants and sunflower painted blouses, along with delightful prints created by the artist Christina Zimpel, who began painting only a couple of years ago and has been quickly adopted by the fashion world (her illustrations of designers created the backdrop for this year’s CFDA Fashion Awards).
Kors wasn’t the only designer who attempted to add some levity to the collection during a down moment in the industry. Stuart Vevers and Raf Simons did that best. At Coach 1941, Vevers added some hilarious twists on Disney characters to his typically darkly cool sportswear (note the upside-down image of AristoCats, or an eery motif of Bambi in the woods).
Simons, in his light take on Americans and our obsession with horror films and sharks, offered an ode to Jaws, with funny scuba skirts, bloody tie-die prints, and undershirts printed with both the movie poster and the classic cK logo. Those, at the very least, should be blockbusters for the underwear business.