New York Fashion Week is usually considered the most commercial and for some the least favorite out of all fashion capitals even though it was the first city to start seasonal shows in history thanks to Eleanor Lambert in 1943. The idea for fashion week was initially to simply show and promote new collections but now it has become more than just that. Paris and Milan were the cities that primarily gave an impulse to the idea that fashion week is meant to have more than just a commercial purpose and so fashion week now, for most of us, has become a celebration and we expect more than an injection of cute clothes. We’ve just experienced New York Fashion Week SS19 recently and a lot has been said about the metropolitan city and its way for always pulling off a show. We’ve been waiting for months for collections by Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein and many more which on one hand have left us in awe whereas some… have been a complete let-down.
Let’s start by talking about the shows that can be qualified as emotional, out-of-the-box, wearable and mainly the collections that in a sense, do have a future in this ever-changing period in the industry led by our beloved millennials and Gen-Z (who tend to have the last word on everything lately). First, let’s talk again about the dearest Ralph Lauren who not only pulled off another collection that was put together reflecting as always the American lifestyle, but this time gave us an emotional and dreamy factor. What people are wondering about right now is whether or not Ralph Lauren will keep being relevant after 50 years in the industry, considering the fact that Ralph Lauren hasn’t been earning as much as in the 90s or 80s. Truth is, nobody can predict for sure the future relevance of a fashion company because of new trends flooding the market more cyclically than ever. Moreover, if you put it more on a business perspective, there’s always going to be the need of building a reliable strategy with plans A to Z behind everything and Ralph Lauren is serious on that, so it’s all good.
Moving on, NYFW was filled by Asian designers this time, who have provoked mainly positive reactions. One perfect example of this is designer Prabal Gurung, who presented a collection with a very energetic and colorful vibe. The best factor about his collection was that he succeeded at presenting a collection that portrayed the free-spirited side that fashion has now. Asides from that, there was a very energetic dialogue between color sensibility and Gurung’s artisanal craftsmanship which ultimately was the key factor of his collection. Another collection that got amazing reviews for artisanal technique and clear cultural references was Ulla Johnson, portraying very chic and fluid silhouettes. Overall, the collection portrayed a great balance which can be very hard to attain when you play with too many elements such as prints with patchwork, ruffles, and even floral patterns.
Talking about the French side of New York, Proenza Schouler and Rodarte came back to the big apple. On one hand, Proenza Schouler found its way to focus on American fashion this time by paying an interesting attention to the “undone” look but by always paying attention to cut and silhouette. Focusing on three materials, denim, cotton and leather, the two designers gave the impression that their collection moves beyond the runway. Rodarte on the other hand, staged a very romantic comeback in New York presenting a fairytale of puffy dresses focused as always on the details and a great range of color choices. Perhaps Rodarte hasn’t focused on the modern side of New York fashion but at least they gave a huge amount of options for future red carpets to come.
Moving over to the collections that left an unsatiated feeling in the audience, it all started in the beginning with Tom Ford. The only interesting side of his collection were the jackets with the nice cuts and snake prints… and perhaps Gigi closing the show because it’s Gigi Hadid. Other than that, it seemed like the designer tried too hard this time to reminisce his days at Gucci with no success. His whole collection without a doubt showed a “potential message” (like he said he wanted to) but of the boring side of femininity, if there's even one. Talking about the iconic Michael Kors, his new collection based on the surf culture of California proved to be everything but iconic. It was unexpected to see so much cliché in one runway. There was a 90s energy for sure at some point, but he overdid it with the floral pieces and the ruffled dresses. When you own something that is Michael Kors, you expect to wear it in various occasions because he is the kind of designer who makes pieces that become classics and timeless in your wardrobe. Sadly for his last collection, Michael Kors should expect his customers to wear his pieces once and then keep them in the wardrobe for a lifetime.
Lastly, Calvin Klein gave us a jaw-dropping (literally, his collection had references from the Jaws movie) collection. It was one of the most disappointing things to see a timeless and classic brand lowering itself to a wanna-be "crazy-edgy" phase. The whole concept of the collection made no sense and people still fail to understand why in the world some of the models were sent down wearing graduation caps, with dripping wet hair ruining the clothes or with prints that were put in places that made no absolute sense.
Last but not least, it’s relevant to set the attention on Marc Jacobs who made a throwback to 2007 when he was late most of the time and even made Anna Wintour walk out once. This year, Marc Jacobs started his show one hour and a half late (some say almost sabotaging Rihanna’s SavageXFenty). Fortunately, the show was as always worth the wait and it was nice to see a classic closing NYFW in a nice tone of sweet candy colorful pieces. Minutes after Marc Jacobs, we all witnessed SavageXFenty lingerie show which was the best statement of fashion revolution that has happened so far in this season. The collection was not only presented in a much staged dramatic performance that left everyone in shock, but people loved to see models of all sizes for the first time.
With everything said, there’s a mixed feelings situation regarding this New York's Fashion Week. It was a shocker to see classic billion-dollar brands get mostly negative reactions, which means that classic American fashion is in for a downfall, but at the same time, it was thrilling to see so many emerging designers show something more than their need to stick to the commercial side of New York and actually show something with meaning and get a good energy from them.
Overall, I’d say it was a very positive week.