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FASHION MARCHES ON: FALL 2021 COLLECTIONS PART ONE

- - Fashion Shows

Prabal Gurung and looks from his Fall 2021 collection modeled by members of POSE. (Photo Credit: Lexie Moreland for WWD)

The Fall 2021 season is shaping up to be a promising one. In the United States the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have dropped significantly, and many experts predict that by the fall, thanks to the vaccines, increased testing, masks, and social distancing, we should reach herd immunity. So, with the promise of normalcy on the horizon, designers are embracing a joyful and vibrant approach to their fall 2021 collections.

NEW YORK, THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS

(Video credit: Jason Wu)

New York Fashion Week kicked off on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th with Jason Wu’s live, in-person show, and ended on the 17th as per the American Collections Calendar released by the CFDA (formally known as the New York Fashion Week schedule). So, after all this time, why did CFDA chairman Tom Ford rename the official New York Fashion Week schedule to the “American Collections Calendar”? Ford stated it was to reflect the growing number of American designers showing later in the season or in locations outside of New York. Tom Ford was suppose to close out the New York season, but his digital show date was pushed back due to unforeseen circumstances related to the pandemic.

Like the spring 2021 season, many fashion designers are debuting their fall collections by means of livestreams, lookbooks, presentations and other digital methods including the CFDA’s digital platform Runway360; a stark contrast from the large-scale, in-person productions that had been the norm prior to the deadly pandemic. The designers who have opted to show this season are an array of young designers, contemporary brands, and high-end designers that included: Prabal Gurung,  Veronica Beard, Alice + Olivia, Markarian, Tadashi Shoji, Badgley Mischka, Anna Sui, Monse, Adeam, Victor Glemaud, Rodarte, Tanya Taylor, Anne Klein, Dennis Basso, Cinq à Sept, Jonathan Simkhai, Bibhu Mohapatra, Nicole Miller, Rebecca Minkoff and Christian Cowan. As you can see, there were many established brands who decided not to participate in NYFW including: Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Brandon Maxwell, Tommy Hilfiger, Christopher John Rogers, Pyer Moss and Tory Burch.

According to WWD, IMG is furthering its alliance with the Black in Fashion Council by supporting Black fashion designers during New York Fashion Week. The two organizations are setting up showrooms in New York City and Los Angeles to showcase designs from Black fashion designers, which can be viewed in person, by-appointment throughout fashion week. Brands featured in the showrooms include Beads Byaree, Chelsea Paris, Chuks Collins, EDAS, House of Aama, Kendra DuPlantier, Maris Wilson, Michel Men, Nicole Benefield, Third Crown, Theophilio and Whensmokeclears.

Looks from Maris Wilson’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Courtesy of Marissa Wilson)

Even TikTok is getting in on Fashion Month as the social media platform teamed up with IMG Fashion and provided editorial content to the TikTok community. The initiative will run through New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks, where TikTok users will be able to view live fashion shows and previously recorded videos on the TikTok accounts @FashionWeek, @NYFW and @MADE.

From Left to Right: Lazaro Hernandez, Ella Emhoff, and Jack McCollough, backstage at the Proenza Schouler Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Hunter Abrams)

But the biggest news that came out of New York Fashion Week, was the emergence of Ella Emhoff, the stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris, making her debut on the Proenza Schouler runway.  Ella Emhoff, the curly-haired, bespectacled grad student/model made a bigger splash than any fall 2021 trend, though there were a few of those, most noteworthy chunky knitwear and slouchy suiting. According to a New York Times article, the designers behind the Proenza Schoular label, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, liked Ella’s look, they told her during a Zoom preview; but they also liked that Ella was a student at New York City’s Parsons, the duo were notable alumni of the fashion school. Ella is a crafty knitwear designer and just created several one-of-a-kind pieces which she introduced to the fashion world.

(Video credit: Proenza Schouler)

As for the Proenza Schouler collection, the design duo raised the bar as they combined their effortlessly cool tailoring in jersey, wool, and leather with tactile details such as macramé and crochet inserts, silk fringe, and dip-dyed hems. There was also a nod to effortless layering – so everything was off-centered and unexpected – such as layers of slip dresses that were actually a single garment. The collection also had plenty of terrific jackets that can be either uncinched or cinched to create a cocooning shape that was oh so chic.

BREAKOUT STARS

As for the few high-profile designers who presented during New York Fashion Week there were plenty of young designers and brands who really stood out this season. Here are a few:

BATSHEVA

The singer Adeline in her kitchen, wearing a dress from the Batsheva fall 2021 collection. (Photo Credit: Alexei Hay)

Coming up with innovative ways to digitally present your brand can be a challenging one. But Batsheva Hay, the designer behind her namesake label Batsheva, found a solution that her audience can relate to. The designer and her photographer husband, Alexei Hay, began to photograph people cooking their favorite meals in their kitchen wearing Batsheva’s designs. The concept is so simple yet it really connected and stands out in a sea of lookbook images. Muses included Ego Nwodim, Nicky Hilton, Amy Fine Collins, and Maude Apatow, each offering a distinct take on clothing and cooking.

Hay’s concept of allowing women to wear her creations in their own world is a perfect recipe for the brand. As for the clothes, there were plenty of looks that are appropriate for today’s reality – pretty, yet comfortable. Hay’s effortless prairie dresses have plenty of girlie options with sweet ruffles, rocker crushed velvet, and dainty bow motifs.

Hay also introduced denim for the first time, as she created two options with ruffled trim and elastic waists, perfect to pair back to her crafty knitwear collection.

COLLINA STRADA

Collina Strada’s morphing collection. (Photo Courtesy of Collina Strada)

Having a sense of humor definitely lifts spirits during troubling times, especially during a global pandemic. So props to Hillary Taymour, the designer behind the buzz-worthy label Collina Strada, as she presents one of the most playful and fun digital presentations to date. For her fall 2021 collection, Taymour had the idea of turning humans into animals to offer a sense of relief and joy. The young and creative designer partnered with the illustrator of the Animorphs book series, David Burroughs Mattingly, and collaborators Charlie Engman and Freeka Tet, to make graphics that transform her cast of star models like Aaron Philip, Ruby Aldridge, Jeremy O. Harris, and Kathleen McCain Engman into cats, peacocks, praying mantises, and even a balloon dog. The lightheartedness is hard earned; throughout the year-long pandemic, Taymour has not only continued to push herself to create environmentally-minded collections using leftover materials and recycled fabrics, but she was also one of the first to create masks for sale and for healthcare workers.

MARKARIAN

A look from Markarian’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Courtesy of Markarian)

Every designer dreams of having their creations worn by a celebrity and gaining instant fame and sales along the way. Well on January 20, 2021, that dream became a reality for Alexandra O’Neill, as First Lady Dr. Jill Biden wore the young designer’s label Markarian on inauguration day. The First Lady of the United States wore a full look from Markarian: a custom cerulean tweed dress and matching coat trimmed with pearls and velvet cuffs. On a Zoom call with Vogue Runway, O’Neill said her social media following doubled instantly, and the e-tailer Moda Operandi reported a 570 percent spike in traffic to Markarian pieces within 24 hours. Overnight the label went from relative obscurity to international news. It was a reminder of how deeply women care about what First Ladies wear—and how influential their choices can be. Michelle Obama boosted the profile of many young American designers in her day.

The label Markarian is anything but casual. O’Neill is known to create beautiful wedding dresses and red-carpet worthy gowns. So the challenge for the creative young designer has been how to merge elegant clothing and work-from-home wear. For fall 2021, O’Neill struck the perfect balance of glamourous at home looks, case in point, a brocade robe dress. She also showcased recycled cashmere knits that were oh so glam with attached shawls that you can effortlessly toss over your shoulder, as well as a darling pointelle stitch midi-dress.

But O’Neill’s customers are feeling optimistic and are shopping on Moda for her more fanciful pieces such as an LBD with “firework” crystal embellishments and full skirts with built in corsets. Let the good times begin!

A.POTTS

Looks from A. Potts Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Gregory Wilkstrom)

Aaron Potts, the designer behind his namesake label A. Potts, offers a chic, genderless collection that captures the essence of approachable elegance. Although Potts’s silhouettes veer towards couture —cocooning shapes, layered coats, and full-skirted gowns—they are joyous and fun. According to Potts, the secret has to do with the fabrics and colors he chose for the season: yellow and gray pieces rendered in tissue-weight jersey; wool; faux foil leather; and a fluffy ‘mauxhair,’ as he calls his faux mohair. In an interview with Vogue Runway, he described a need for optimism and creativity. “The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t cliché,” he said. “It’s necessary.”

To bring his vision to life, Potts cold-emailed Yannick Lebrun, a dancer at Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, who helped cast fellow dancers Khalia Campbell, Fana Tesfagiorgis, and James Gilmer in the lookbook and film. The performers are the perfect complement to the clothing, showing its brilliance without obscuring their own. Looks ranged from a horsehair-trimmed gown to  ombré plaid outerwear. Overall, the collection was effortlessly chic and modern.

BEVZA

A look from Bevza’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Courtesy of Bevza)

Svetlana Bevza is the Ukranian designer behind her namesake label Bevza. The indie label is known for its take of sexy ‘90s minimalism and has gained a celebrity fan base which include Emily Ratajkowski and Gigi Hadid. But for Fall 2021 the designer switched decades and was inspired by the ‘70s aesthetic. Beva worked her minimal aesthetic into fringed capes, flared jeans, and bohemian inspired headbands worn across the forehead; it’s a bit on a rebel spirit in the most polished way.

Bevza also paid homage to her native Ukraine as she looked to Olga of Kyiv, who ruled in the 10th century, for inspiration. The knit balaclavas were inspired by Olga, but the designer paired the traditional headwear with matching blazers and over the knee boots for a modern edge. Bevza also included an image of the ‘spikelet,’ a symbol of good harvest and an optimistic year, and let’s face it, after living through a global pandemic for a year now, we can all use some optimism.

LONDON’S CALLING

Molly Goddard is well known for her daring otherworldly confections. Here is a look from her Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ben Broomfield)

London Fashion Week took place from Feb. 19th – 23rd. The Fall 2021 season was entirely digital as Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a third national lockdown for England amid a surging Covid-19 outbreak driven by a U.K. variant in early January.

This further lockdown is incredibly challenging for businesses, freelancers and individuals,” Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council, said in a statement. “Our industry is one of amazing creativity and this is more true in the U.K. than any other country. The majority of businesses and individuals we work with are independent businesses and creatives who contribute significantly to the cultural and creative reputation of our country.”

The BFC continues to ask Government to engage in support of the fashion industry,” Rush said. “One of the main active requests is to allow key creative and model talent to travel to and from the U.K. with a phased introduction of quarantine exemptions for the fashion industry, in order to carry out essential business, to protect the competitiveness of the British fashion industry.”

London Fashion Week took place on www.londonfashionweek.com, a digital platform, where people could access not just the collections that would typically debut on a runway or at a presentation, but also additional multi-media content, including interviews with designers, podcasts and e-commerce.

The season was billed as the first “gender-neutral” digital fashion week, but it turned out to be more like a mixed-gender than gender-neutral.

THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

Kudos to London Fashion Week for always embracing young designers and Indie brands. Here are a few of our favorites.

EDELINE LEE

For her digital premiere, Edeline Lee opened with an introduction in her own voice: “Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning that lives in our clothes, the nostalgia and memories that we attach to our clothing,” she said, before sharing a short story and urging her listeners to put on their headphones and close their eyes. It was a great attempt at storytelling, but with so many digital presentations to view, the video ran on a tad too long.

The piece tells the story of Georgia, a woman downloading her memory bank to a ‘program’ without a name but a model number, and an option to name her—Georgia calls her Lynne after a friend who is a good listener. The story centers around a memory of her mother twirling in front of the mirror in her favorite malachite-colored dress, how it was intended to be worn to Georgia’s wedding, but instead her mother was buried in it, but she would have found it fun wearing ‘a great dress to a terrible party.’ “I wanted to explore how digitally we can touch people,” said Lee in an interview with Vogue Runway. “How do you give someone an experience online—a human experience? We are always separated by a screen, and it made me think about how clothes are on the surface, too, but what do they really mean… this storytelling touched that nerve at a deeper level… I don’t know, maybe lockdown is getting to me!” She laughed, but she had a point.

Lee built her brand on real clothes that women can live their lives in: drop off the kids, head to work, sit through a working lunch, and so on, but the best part is, nothing will wrinkle. Her best-selling piece is her flattering wrap dress that can be worn either loose or fitted. She had plenty of these effortless dresses, but she also added a series of separates for our new Work-from-Home lifestyle. Lee created tapered track pants, brush stroked jacquard tops, and a short sleeve dressing gown coat in piqué GOTS certified organic cotton (to that end, Lee has been working on more sustainable practices; all of her linings, trims, and packaging are sustainably sourced). “My pattern cutting is loosening up, I’m needing that comfort more and more,” she says. “My customers still need that great top for Zoom, but many of them are working from home, so they’re asking for this too.”

COLVILLE

A look from Colville’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Courtesy of Colville)

Molly Molloy and Lucinda Chambers, the duo behind the Colville label, were inspired by vases for their fall 2021 collection. But not just any vase, more specifically Murano glass vases that appeared in their lookbook, each one handmade by glassblowers in Italy. Molloy and Chambers launched their label in 2018. They stated that they work with feelings rather than strategy. Maybe this is why they instantly became insider favorites, with their sculptural earrings and handwoven wayuu bags.

The organic swirls of the Murano glass vases were echoed in the psychedelic marble print that emerged on silk sculpted dresses and matching leggings. Key looks ranged from a color-block piqué twinset to a hoodie spliced together from Nike sports gear. The duo also created wonderful vests patchworked from upcycled down puffer jackets. Molloy and Chambers also gave a nod to romance with a dress that was nipped and ruched at the waist in a style that was both sexy and forgiving. The duo also created plenty of ruffled detail tops and, for the first time, they introduced a lace top that was worn under a peplum bustier.

The collection had some neutrals but overall, there were plenty of bursts of color and prints, which will surely have their customers stand out during their next Zoom call.

YUHAN WANG

Looks from Yuhan Wang’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Courtesy of Yuhan Wang)

Bridgerton has become an extremely popular Netflix series especially among the fashion crowd, which is no surprise given the beautiful costumes and setting of the show. The costume designer, Ellen Mirojnick,  has done a phenomenal job recreating 18th century looks that are so regal and rich they are fit for a princess. So it should come as no surprise that many designers found themselves creating looks that would be perfect for the series, most noteworthy, Yuhan Wang. The designer created a pastel-hued, romantic, floral collection that you can picture in a Regency drawing room.

Before graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2018, Wang studied art in her homeland China.  “I paint landscapes,” she said on a Zoom call from her studio in London in an interview with Vogue Runway. “The painters created these fantasy-nature landscapes for noblemen to escape from the ordinary world. It was always done by men for men. So this season I wanted to make my own, for women and girls.”

Wang created charming watercolor landscape prints and embroideries for her collections, such as sika deer, pine trees, and delicate florals. These delightful patterns made their way onto her signature fluid draped dresses, as well as flared trousers and some peplum jackets trimmed with raw-edge fringe. Beautiful pieces for when we can all emerge back into normalcy. Soon, soon soon.

To quote poet, performer, model, and trans visibility activist Kai Isaiah Jamal, “We know anywhere can be a runway if your mind has something to walk down it.”

SO TELL US, DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE FALL 2021 SHOW THUS FAR?

NEW YORK SPRING 2021 FASHION SHOWS – A SEASON UNLIKE ANY OTHER

- - Fashion Shows

An image from Rodarte’s spring 2021 collection. (Photo Credit: Daria Kobayashi for Rodarte)

The Spring 2021 collections are in full swing as each of the major fashion cities adjust to the new norm. Many have opted for a hybrid model, in-person show and digital format. Earlier this year, the men’s collections, resort and couture, have all shown their collection digitally and the results were mostly considered a flop, at least on social media. According to an article published in BoF on July 27, 2020:  “Of more than a dozen major luxury brands that released content tied to men’s fashion week in Milan and Paris, or to their resort collections, none came close to making the same splash on Instagram as the corresponding shows did last year, according to tracking firm Tribe Dynamics. On average, digital shows, videos and presentations generated less than one-third as much online engagement. The all-digital London Fashion Week, which mainly featured smaller brands, also saw a steep drop in buzz, with 55 percent less social media engagement than in January, according to Launchmetrics, another tracker of online activity.” Even the couture season, which offered fanciful films and digital shows did not gain the traction the industry was hoping for.

But before we delve into our coverage of NYFW, we once again ask ourselves, “who are these shows really for”? Traditionally, shows are for buyers, and editors. These industry insiders, attend to show their support for the brands, and to be inspired for the season to come.  Of course, as an industry, the organizers of the events, as well as the cities that host them, have much to lose if a brand chooses a digital format. Before NY fashion week began, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the bi-annual event (which generated millions of dollars in revenue for the city pre-pandemic), would be permitted to take place, as long as participants were in “strict compliance” with New York health and safety guidelines. In a statement made in August, Cuomo stated that “New York City is the fashion capital of the world, and New York Fashion Week celebrates the ingenuity of this city, and our unmatched creative talent,” It’s not just talent (and entire business sectors like textile manufacturing and production) that New York Fashion Week supports. It was/is, also a major revenue source. According to past estimates, fashion shows pre-Covid generated nearly $900 million per year, with up to $500 million in tourist spending.

With the new Covid restrictions, designers began asking themselves, whether it was worth investing all this time and money for a show, when an outdoor event is capped at 50 people and an indoor event capped at 50% of the venue’s capacity.” Well for some designers it was. Case in point, Jason Wu’s tropical paradise show on a NYC rooftop.

A look from Grey by Jason Wu. (Photo Credit: Dan Lecca for Jason Wu)

So, here’s the scoop. The official New York Fashion Week Schedule that was released by The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and was condensed to only 3 days this season, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (dates were September 13-16). The CFDA supplemented NYFW with its Runway360 digital platform, this allowed designers to present their latest collections at a time that worked best for them, at any time throughout the year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the global fashion industry and hit New York particularly hard,” said Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA. “Fashion week is a critical time when brands are able to connect with press, retailers and consumers, and I’m proud of how quickly the CFDA pivoted to support the needs of the industry by creating Runway360. We are excited to see 10 new American brands on the schedule – many for the first time – who might not have had the opportunity to share their collections to a global audience without access to Runway360. We’re also excited to highlight the incredible talent coming out of Harlem’s Fashion Row and announce the return of New York Men’s Day. In the face of unprecedented challenges and uncertainty within our industry, the American fashion community has once again come together to support each other and prove its resilience.”

The New York shows kicked off with Jason Wu’s IRL (in real life) intimate fashion show and ended with Tom Ford; but their where plenty of designers who opted out of this seasons fashion week including Marc Jacobs, The Row, Tory Burch, Proenza Schouler, and Michael Kors, to name a few.

Here are a few ways designers got creative when presenting their collections this season (Shows can be accessed at NYFW.com and through the CFDA’s Runway360)

JASON WU

Jason Wu officially opened NY Fashion Week with the first runway presentation for his contemporary label Grey by Jason Wu. The designer took his intimate audience away on a mental trip to Tulum. Wu created a tropical paradise on a NYC rooftop and it was spectacular. Wu’s joyful collection was filled with effortlessly chic pieces, perfect for today’s world, where woman want to look great and feel comfortable.

The show opened with a rust-colored maxi-dress with pockets and bold broderie anglaise detailing just above the hem, which set the mood for the entire collection. Wu showed pleated skirts with bra tops, easy dresses in bold prints, a striped tunic and matching trouser, and tailored Bermuda shorts and blazers. His collection was filled with happy and vibrant clothes, perfect to brighten the gloomy days of Covid that we are all facing.

REBECCA MINKOFF

Rebecca Minkoff’s Presentation featured fall looks that stayed true to her signature boho-rock aesthetic. (Photo Credit: Randy Brooke for Wire Image)

Rebecca Minkoff presented her fall 2020 collection during a two-hour presentation on the rooftop of Spring Studios. The event had a limited audience of fashion influencers and buyers. The social-media savvy designer livestreamed the event on Instagram and gave her followers a walk-through of her collection which was an ode to Manhattan and Motherhood, translated to effortless pieces with a cool twist. The collection was filled with pretty boho styled dresses, great knit sweaters, chic outerwear, and plenty of badass leather pieces.

HARLEM’S FASHION ROW STYLE AWARDS

A look from Rich Fresh. (Photo :Courtesy of Rich Fresh)

Harlem’s Fashion Row hosted its 13th annual Style Awards and a fashion show virtually on Sept. 13. The video will be made available to the public on Sept. 19.

The Style Awards honored British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful with the Maverick of the Year Award; Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner with the Editor of the Year Award; Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean-Raymond with the Designer of the Year award; and Nate Hinton with the Publicist of the Year award.

The organization selected three talented designers to present their collections— Kimberly Goldson, Rich Fresh and Kristian Loren.

A look from Kimberly Goldson. (Photo: Courtesy of Kimberly Goldson)

A look from Kristian Lorén. (Photo: Courtesy of Kristian Lorén)

KHAITE

A look from Khaite’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Khaite)

It was just over a year ago that actress Katie Holmes wore a cashmere Khaite bra and cardigan look on the streets of New York City and the brand instantly became a must have label among the fashion set. The brand’s leather jackets for fall could hardly be kept in stock. For spring 2021, Khaite designer, Catherine Holstein, kept true to the brands cool girl appeal. Holstein offered plenty of sexy body-skimming knits and seductive ruched dresses, and romantic puff shoulder tops and airy evening frocks. The designer also featured a few of her signature cozy cashmere sweaters that have made her a fashion darling. These are keep-forever investment pieces that are timeless yet modern and youthful.

IMITATION OF CHRIST

A look from Imitation of Christ. (Photo: Courtesy of Imitation of Christ)

It’s been 20 years since Tara Subkoff first presented her theatrical show for her label Imitation of Christ. And after a long hiatus, Subkoff is officially back. For spring 2021, the designer put on simultaneous presentations, one in NYC the other in Los Angeles, but they were not be identical. Each presentation consisted of acapella singers and skateboarders in IOC looks. FYI- Imitation of Christ is known for its one-of-a-kind pieces. Resurrecting existing pieces is the ideology that Imitation of Christ was founded on. No two looks are ever the same.

For spring, Subkoff’s inspiration was skateboarders and created a collection of glamorous activewear. There were vintage slips attached to sports jerseys, and oversized tees with ruffled trimmings.

Subkoff sourced some of her pieces from the luxury consignment ecommerce site RealReal. The site will offer the spring collection for sale in see-now, buy-now fashion, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to Fridays for Future (environmentalist Greta Thunberg’s nonprofit organization).

WOLK MORAIS

Looks from Wolk Morais Spring 2021 collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Wolk Morais)

While some designers are just releasing lookbook style images, others like Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, the duo behind the label Wolk Morais, are creating attention grabbing short films. For 26 nights the duo drove around Los Angeles pulling up the homes of several friends in the industry, from models and actors to fashion consultants, handed them a bag of clothes, and then filmed them without ever leaving their car.

In an interview with Vogue, where you can also exclusively watch the video, Wolk explained, “we wanted to create a collection that was not only responsible and sustainable, but also content that tells a story about what’s going on right now.

Here is the Vogue link to the video:

https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2021-ready-to-wear/wolk-morais

The duo stayed true to their specialty: fabulous tailoring. And the collection had plenty of it. Herringbone tweed suits, double-breasted waistcoats, cropped jackets and a slew of Liberty print shirts (all of fabrics were upcycled or sourced within a 12 mile radius of their studio). But among all the haberdashery, there were a few glamorous looks as well. Case in point, a 1930s inspired sequin bias-cut gown, a perfect look for any young starlet.

TOMO KOIZUMI

Tomo Koizumi is known for creating jaw-dropping fashion moments that are so breathtakingly beautiful that one cannot help but feel an emotional connection to. For his spring collection, the avant-garde designer produced a creative lookbook photographed in Japan. Koizumi’s work blends his frothy confections with aspects of traditional Japanese culture. The designer collaborated with a bridal company and was inspired by wedding traditions. There was an assortment of eccentric white gowns with explosions of tulle.

Koizumi also showed plenty of rainbow-hued party dresses, cropped tops and miniskirts – all created with a new ruffling technique which created a more flower or starburst affect. It was all so fun and creative, that one cannot help but smile when looking at his creations.

ULLA JOHNSON

Living in such uncertain times, the pandemic has forced us all to search our souls and figure out who we want to be moving forward; many believe that the world should not go back to the way it was. It is during these times that we need uplifting, more and art and beauty to inspire us. This season, Ulla Johnson staged a full-on fashion show that was audience-less at Roosevelt Island’s Four Freedoms Park. The backdrop, Manhattan’s skyscrapers, provided a familiar backdrop, a reminder of the strength and resilience of the city, while we all may have lost a lot this year, we are, as Governor Cuomo says, “New York Strong.”

The level of workmanship and the philosophy involved in Ulla Johnson’s intricate collection was best stated by the designer herself. In an interview with Vogue, Johnson stated, “We’ve all been doing a lot of deep soul searching about the relevancy of what we do—the runway being one component, but also just clothing in general. For us we’re committed more than ever to creating this transportive beauty and continuing our commitment to craft.” Consider the collection’s look one and two, which were entirely hand-crafted outside the U.S., in countries heavily impacted by the pandemic and done so safely over a five-month period.

The collection was filled with Johnson’s signature bohemian inspired frocks, acid wash denim jumpsuits, billowing sleeved tops and ruffled waist trousers. The designer delivered a joyous, wearable collection even during the most difficult of times.

TOM FORD

A look from Tom Ford’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Tom Ford)

The spring 2021 trend of joyful clothes continued as Tom Ford closed out New York Fashion Week. After months of isolation, Ford wanted his spring collection to bring hope. According to an interview with Vogue, Ford stated “The last thing I want to see are serious clothes. I think we need an escape. I think we want to smile. I know what’s going on in our world right now doesn’t make us want to smile. So that’s what I’ve done: hopeful clothes that make you smile.”

Ford’s collection was full of glamour and gusto as he found inspiration in a documentary about the fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez and the ’70s models Pat Cleveland and Donna Jordan, whom Lopez sketched. The Seventies inspired collection was a throwback to his days at Gucci, and it was oh so fabulous. The collection oozed sexiness with shirts that were unbuttoned to the navel and paired with pull-on logo waistband trousers, slinky dresses in colorful florals, spicy animal print jumpsuits and glamorous swimsuits and caftans. After all, isn’t over-the-top glam what Tom Ford does best?

Have you been watching the shows? Care to share your fav?

NYFW Wrap-Up – Sex, American Pop Culture, Transparency & Annie Hall Revisited

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

New York Fashion Week 

Front Row at New York Fashion Week (Courtesy of AOL.Com)

Front Row at New York Fashion Week (Courtesy of AOL.Com)

Fashion Month is in full swing as New York kicked off the Spring 2018 show season with a bang. Of course, there was plenty of buzz before shows even started such as the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) cutting the NY calendar by a day, New York based designers showing in other cities, and the stress of where to show. Then lets add on the celebrity circus and street style stars in the mix and it’s been a entertaining week.

One of the biggest trends among the fashion crowd before shows even began was the blue ribbon. Fashionistas are pinning themselves to protest racism and hatred in the wake of this summer’s white power rally in Charlottesville, Va. The ribbons were created by the CFDA and the American Civil Liberties Union. In a statement released, Steven Kolb, president and CEO of CFDA, said “We want to be on the front line, not the sidelines, to boldly fight to protect our precious rights and freedoms, which has taken on a renewed urgency after the heart-wrenching events of Charlottesville.”

ACLU Fashion Week Pin (Courtesy of New York Post.com)

ACLU Fashion Week Pin (Courtesy of New York Post.com)

Bringing Sexy Back

 

Tom Ford's Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Tom Ford’s Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Tom Ford kicked off fashion week and it was the buzz of the season before it even started. His invitation was all the rage and was Instagramed by the fashion set – a bottle of his latest fragrance, Fucking Fabulous—as if we needed a reminder. Much of Tom Ford’s namesake label’s success has been with his menswear collections, so for spring, Ford took a nod from his menswear collection and showed impeccably tailored suits. His jackets were sexy and confident, with sharp lines and broad shoulders. In a throwback to his signature Gucci 90’s glam, Ford showed plenty of ruched net dresses that where oh so seductive – it’s clear, Tom Ford is back!

Helmut Lang's Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Helmut Lang’s Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

The Helmut Lang collection label is being revised again and the timing couldn’t be better, with so many young designers referencing the designer’s minimalistic aesthetic as a point of reference. The label’s designer in residence is none other than Hood By Air’s Shayne Oliver, so now Helmet Lang is sexier than it’s ever been. Oliver showed some streamline tailoring that was true to the houses’ heritage, but all with a fetish streak. The collection felt more like a Hood By Air show than a Helmut Lang collection. Oliver showed plenty of kink with asymmetric bras, daring peekaboo harnesses, rearless pants suspended from the waistband like garters, leather codpieces, and strappy BDSM gear. The collection left many Helmut Lang fans (all who remember his collections vividly) divided.

Narciso Rodriguez's Spring 2018 Collection (Courtesy of Narciso Rodriguez)

Narciso Rodriguez’s Spring 2018 Collection (Courtesy of Narciso Rodriguez)

This season Narciso Rodriguez opted out of a formal show and the celebrity circus it has become, instead he held private appointments to present his spring collection. Season after season Rodriguez is consistent chic yet sexy clothes that real women want to wear. His workmanship is impeccable and so important to see upclose rather than a runway. Sticking to his signature looks, Rodriguez showed slinky knit dresses in black and white with openwork stitches that show flashes of skin, a harness-top sheath with a sliver cutout, and an attenuated jumpsuit with a deep U-front.

Sporty Spice

Alexander Wang's Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang’s Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Athleisure and streetwear have been going strong now, but for spring the trend takes a more feminine twist. At Alexander Wang’s #WANGFEST, models rode around a party bus Saturday night around New York City’s busy streets. The first stop was Lafayette and Center Streets in Manhattan, the second was at Astor Place; both were open to the public. The press and retailers were invited to the last stop – a dead end in Bushwick, Brooklyn; which then led to #WANGFEST, his jumping after-party in a literal jumpy castle. Models were literally pouring off the bus in a runway format that was fun and energetic. As for the clothes, it’s what Wang does best, sporty with a sexy twist. These are real clothes for all the cool kids. Wang layered denim cut-offs over leather leggings and there were a lot of extra sleeves and jackets that were cut in half and worn as skirts. Wang is also continuing his collaboration with Adidas, with a zip-front jacket with the extra sleeves cinching the waist.

Rihanna at her Fenty x Puma's Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Rihanna at her Fenty x Puma’s Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Wang isn’t the only one to break the ties from traditional fashion shows, Rihanna gave her audience an adrenalin rush as she presented her Fenty x Puma show. The set was designed with pink sand mountains and a trio of motocross stuntmen performed mouth-dropping stunts. As for the clothes, they were sporty, fun, colorful and sexy all in one. Inspired by the X Games, there were a number of classic surf references thrown in for good measure – think biker shorts and scuba onesies. Rihanna showed modern interpretations of cheeky 1980s swim trends, case in point, the French-cut swimsuit. The entertainer also showed off her tomboy style with oversize motocross-inspired nylon track pants and anoraks that were a modern riff off the 90’s hip-hop trend.

Calvin Klein's Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Calvin Klein’s Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Meanwhile, at Calvin Klein, Raf Simmons continued his experimentation on American classics. For Spring, Raf was inspired by the contrast of the American Dream and American horror by invoking the magic of the movies; horror movies to be more specific as he played with Andy Warhol pop prints (specifically, Dennis Hopper circa Easy Rider and a 1971 Sandra Brant). His Hitchcock blondes wore rubber, and gauzy nightgowns reminiscent of Sissy Spacek in Carrie. Sticking to his American classics motif, Raf also showed plenty of cool denim, color blocked Western shirts, fringe dresses, 50’s inspired full skirted frocks and a nod to athletic with cool bungee cord details on nylon outerwear.

 

You’re So Transparent

Victoria Beckham's Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Victoria Beckham’s Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

This season is turning out to be a sheer sensation as designers are leaving very little to the imagination, but not in a vulgar way. For spring, they are embracing the transparency trend with soft, wispy fabrics delicately draped and overlaid showing just hints of skin in a romantic and feminine way. Speaking of femininity, Victoria Beckham showed off her softer side this season with sheer fabrics in soft colors proving that delicacy can in fact be strong. Case in point, Beckham’s first look: a soft yellow check shirt, which was slightly oversized and boxy, tucked into a dusty rose organza pencil skirt. Pure perfection!

 

Jason Wu's Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Jason Wu’s Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Jason Wu is known for his polished and elegant sensibility, and for spring he kept true to his DNA but in a slightly more casual way. But casual for Wu means a midriff-baring cutout on a striped cotton dress and laces suspended from a crinkled silk coat. For evening, Wu was inspired by Madame Grès and reinterpreted her innovative pleating techniques.  Wu also worked pleats onto sheer gowns staying right on trend.

Oscar de la Renta's Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Oscar de la Renta’s Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Meanwhile, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia’s sophomore collection for the Oscar de la Renta brand were met with mixed reviews. Inspired by Pop Art and letters Mr. De la Renta wrote, along with thank-you notes that the duo have received from today’s young starlets. Sure De la Renta’s name was all over the collection, but his aesthetic certainly was not. Can you image Mr. De la Rents putting frayed and faded denim, sheer dresses, bathing suits and logo print furs on the runway? There were a few breathtaking evening gowns that rang true to De la Renta’s style, such as the colorful dégradé tulle gowns. Still, Kim and Garcia are trying to find their footing in the house of Oscar de la Renta.

 

Annie Hall

Ralph Lauren's Fall 2017 Buy-Now-Wear-Now Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren’s Fall 2017 Buy-Now-Wear-Now Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Traditional menswear has always been in fashion, but for spring designers are incorporating tailored suits in beautiful menswear fabrics for a look that is smart yet oh so chic. Of course no one does this better than Ralph Lauren. In one of the most anticipated shows of the season he transported the fashionable front row set to his garage in upstate Bedford, New York.  His vintage car collection is most impressive with Porsches, Ferraris, Jaguars, McLarens, and a Bugatti. The cars were innovative and sleek, but his clothes oozed timeless chic. For his Fall, buy-now-wear-now collection, Lauren worked mixed tweeds, checks and plaids on bustier tops paired with relaxed trousers. For evening, Lauren kept it casual with a puffer jacket over a sparkly minislip and over-the-knee boots as well as dapper tuxedos.

Good-Bye New York

Marc Jacobs' Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Marc Jacobs’ Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

No designer is better fitted to close out New York fashion week than Marc Jacobs – you just never know what you’re going to get at a Marc show. This season it was silence, there was no whimsical sets built, no music, just the sound of 56 models walking only to the sounds of their shoes on the old wood planks of the Park Avenue Armory. The clothes were full of wit and humor. After being in business for 25 years, Jacob’s looks to his past collections for inspiration; his program notes called it a “reimagining of seasons past somewhere beyond the urban landscape of New York City.”

No music was needed to set a mood, the clothes themselves set a happy and joyful tone. There were giant, overscaled flowers; Crayola colors, tinsel trimmings, exaggerated shapes, and sequins, sequins, sequins. Jacobs’s idea was to return to the archives, passing old ideas and former hits through “exaggerated, decadent, and exotic” filters. Although some looks were trippy, overall, Jacob’s did what he does best, delivering a young and exciting line-up.

Marc Jacobs' Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Marc Jacobs’ Spring 2018 Show (Courtesy of Vogue.com)