As New York Fashion Week comes to a close on Thursday, let us take a moment to congratulate its organizers and the many public relations firms involved for what has been, with a few exceptions, a generally enjoyable production. The shows have been fairly painless to enter and exit. And the collections have been strong, but not entirely groundbreaking. What New York really needed was a great show, and Proenza Schouler designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough delivered on Wednesday night.
Their magnificent collection, presented at the Whitney Museum, had all the hallmarks of a happening, with celebrities as diverse as Liv Tyler and Joey Arias, and seats of silver padded cubes that would have looked at home in Warhol’s Factory. The spring Proenza Schouler collection has been a major hit with celebrities, led by Cate Blanchett, and the fall show was so beautiful you can imagine we’ll be seeing lots more of these designs on the red carpet, starting with a terrifically tailored navy blazer over flowing cream trousers and continuing with clingy knit ribbed dresses that have been a major trend of the season (above).
What stood out most was the silhouette, scuba tight from neck to mid-thigh, and loose and easy the rest of the way down. There were so many strong pieces here – updated takes on the bandage dresses the designers played with a decade ago, here with straps that criss-crossed the body, or deceptively simple dresses that were lightly slashed into horizontal strips, which had the strange effect of elongating the models’ bodies dramatically (below). It was an A-plus effort.
Michael Kors also created looks this season that made you want to shop now, and, in fact, you could buy some pieces from his collection the very day it was shown, part of a designer movement to realign the production system with customer expectations. The feather-trimmed jeans that opened the show, alas, are not among them, but if a cashmere cable-knit sweater caught your eye, and you have $1,295, to spare, get out your credit cards (below).
At the same time, curiously, Kors was designing other pieces that were intended more as Instagram bait, and unapologetically so. Glittering cocktail dresses and colorful furs were so vivid that you could practically judge their appeal by the number of editors in the front row who picked up their phones to document them. While delightful to watch, these examples also suggest a willingness to cede control of fashion to the highest clickers, and that’s not necessarily in the service of actual customers, who might just want to buy some nice clothes. I’m not disapproving, mind you, but this whole situation of shop-now-buy-now-wear-now-post-now is starting to give me a headache.
It was nice that the kind folks at Boss, led by Jason Wu’s artistic direction, filled a runway with cozy chairs, allowing the guests to sit back and luxuriate in Wu’s lovely dresses (above). There was an Eastern tinge to the light floral motifs and layered cuts on vests this season, and what looked like a colorful, technical tweed (though it could have been embroidery) that made a black dress into something special, much like the collection overall.