A New York season marked by a Brooklyn aesthetic
Once all roads led to Rome, this season in New York, multiple fashionable paths led to Brooklyn, where the mass decampment across the East River underlined some major new trends in American fashion.
All told, over a half dozen major shows were staged in Brooklyn, climaxing Tuesday night with Savage X Fenty, a game-changing variety-show-meets-catwalk bash of hip hop stars; pumped dancers; bodies in every size; uber models and, above all, Rihanna.
Though she was born in Barbados, her show in the outer suburbs was a triumph of a new Brooklyn aesthetic. A novel mash up of posh tailoring, street-style athletic pieces; sports logos and rock star finish. An broad church aesthetic in a season when inclusion and optimism were the biggest buzzwords.
The same look in evidence the previous night, when DKNY celebrated its 30th anniversary with a party inside St Ann’s Warehouse in DUMBO, meaning Down Under the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge. A thriving neighborhood with industrial buildings renovated into expensive apartments; hip hotels and an outpost of Soho House.
Again, the mixture of fancy suiting, well-ironed dark blue denim; hip hop insignias was apparent, amid performances by star DJs the Martinez Brothers and Halsey, the singer who racked up a slew of number ones this year.
“Reminds of when I staged our first event in London over two decades ago. It’s great the brand is still thriving,” smiled Donna Karan, as scores of young groovers lined up to pay their respects.
Another major show in Brooklyn, whose name historically is King’s County, was Tory Burch’s catwalk display inside the Brooklyn Museum. Tory’s inspiration? A princess – Diana Spencer. A collection that was a meeting of Burch’s posh hippie preppy style with the English rose femininity of Lady Di.
Others taking the voyage over the giant New York bridges included Phillip Lim and Brandon Maxwell. And the out-of-Manhattan action continued to the final morning with Michael Kors, many of whose guests travelled over on high-speed water taxis.
The king of American sportswear, Kors, played around with all sorts of references: again a mash up of posh punk, naval styles and preppy eclecticism.
For the past several years, the New York season has been concentrated on the west side of Manhattan – from Chelsea to Tribeca, especially Spring Studios, a custom-built show space where scores of emerging designers stage runway shows and presentations. The coolest space being inside Sunken Lounge, a red-carpet space where one captured a great collection from Victor Glemaud. A gentlemanly Haitian who showed fab, fun and dashing knits.
A gang of editors from Vogue, Elle and over a dozen Indie titles gathered to fete Glemaud, whose bold graphic knits and slinky tropical-hued dresses captured the call to cool confidence in NYC.
Another brand to impress was Zimmermann, the Sydney-based brand which had Australia’s great actor Joel Edgerton sitting in the front; and the latest version of the house’s sexy romantic Victorian style on its midtown runway.
Tom Ford headed underground – to a disused subway station under the funky Bowery. Other designers headed north not east.
Tommy Hilfiger staging his latest collab’ show – and second with Zendaya – at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. A raving retro homage to '60s soul and funk stars, it summed up a huge American trend – period fashion made in quality modern fabrics.
Somewhat surprisingly, the week was also dominated by 9/11, even if it was not the 20th, but 18th anniversary, which fell on the final day of the season. With local media dominated by reports the Trump’s administration plans to close American borders to all refugees, the calls for optimism, openness and inclusion were transparent from so many designers in New York – scores of whom were born outside of the USA. Stuart Vevers at Coach; Mark Howard Thomas at Helmut Lang, Sies Marjan, Prabal Gurung and Rihanna, to name just five.
Indeed, on each return from Brooklyn over the East River, one could always admire the sight of the Statue of Liberty in New York Bay welcoming immigrants to its shores. Just like so many shows this September.
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