Great fashion collections ask, “Who do you want to be?” Meanwhile, we’re asking New York Fashion Week some questions of our own. Here’s everything we saw, and still can’t stop thinking about.
For decades, couture shows have closed with a “bride”—usually the young belle de jour dressed in a gasp-worthy white gown, often with a bouquet, veil, and train. It’s a stunning moment with a wince of backlash. (Is a wedding really the ultimate expression of female identity? Does the most precious garment of our lives really rest on a Jenga tower of partnership and ceremony? Etc.) Tom Ford went the other way, and closed his show with a gorgeous and galactic queen instead. And frankly, it ruled.
This morning, writer Dana Schwartz tweeted about the enduring appeal of Mona Lisa Smile. Last night, at Aliette, designer Jason Rembert revised the late ’50s silhouette so beautifully carried—and then satisfyingly undone—by Maggie Gyllenhaal in that film. True to Rembert’s talent, the pieces were exquisitely detailed with floral beading, satin cinched waists, and a mandate to “smell the f***ing flowers” in classic, scrawling script. Yes Mr. Rembert, we will.
Nearly every runway this week had some rainwear, which tracks because: climate crisis. But throwing some plastic outerwear at the problem is the ultimate BandAid… if a BandAid actually made your cut worse. So before splurging on our next super-cute trench, let’s do a little research, see if it’s built for longevity, and made with materials that are truly harm-free for people and the planet. Deal?
The puzzle-piece tops and skirts you’ve seen in every street style roundup this week? They’re from A.W.A.K.E Mode, a London label by former fashion editor Natalia Alaverdian that straddles the line between surreal and “so, really, how can I buy that?” When I caught up with Moda Operandi’s Lauren Santo Domingo (pictured), she confirmed my suspicions—this stuff sells out so fast before Fashion Month that it’s basically the industry equivalent of a Harry Styles ticket.
Speaking of Harry Styles, we can imagine him in this fantastic pansy-print suit by newbie Patricia Voto, whose label One/Of made a nifty debut at Electric Studios, the old Jimi Hendrix hangout in the West Village. Since Mr. Styles is performing just a couple subway stops away at Madison Square Garden, it should be easy to zip this right up there, yeah?
Cynthia Rowley should really show at Montauk Fashion Week, but, well, there isn’t one. Instead, the surf-chic pioneer took over Battery Park at sunset, and created one of the most beautiful moments of the week with a mirrored runway, a hazy sky, and reminder that it’s always summer somewhere. Until then, take one of her patterned (and eco-conscious!) wetsuits, throw it under a blazer with some ripped jeans and a spike heel, and float on.
We loved Kenneth Nicholson’s pink party dress (with dollar bills falling along the bottom)—and not just because it called to mind Peggy Olson’s triumphant Mad Men exit. Move on up, girls.
Power also made a move at Michael Kors, where models wore these oversized carabiner belts over eveningwear, suiting, and skirts. The lower-slung fit is a neat nod to the low-rise silhouette we’re seeing everywhere, while the belt itself is a sly way to talk about female ambition. What does it mean to be a “climber,” and how can we harness ambition for change? Front row achievers like Serena Williams, Anne Hathaway, and Melinda French Gates can likely tell us the answer.
Ever since Stella McCartney did those abstract face sweaters in 2014, designers have been trying to replicate the retail hit with their own take on portrait pieces. Designer Henry Zankov is gonna win the fight, thanks to his graphic prowess, his restraint, and his this-lasts-forever quality.
We’re big fans of the floating blue cat eye and matching blue lips at Batsheva, created by Francelle Daly at Love+Craft+Beauty. It’s a weirdly wonderful take on the color-pop trend, and a great example of how you can one-and-done your makeup with a bold lid or lip, and nothing else.
As for one-and-done dressing, this Deveaux knit is a practical win for women (like me) who are always cold. Cover the shoulders, crank up the colorway, and soon you, too, can survive in an office so aggressively air-conditioned, it’s likely that Pam from HR is really a polar bear. (Maybe swap the sandals for Uggs though.)
Here is a Bored Ape Yacht Club dress made entirely of denim. It will retail for around $400, until it retails for around $4 million, until it retails for around $0, because haven’t you heard Crypto is a super solid bet on the future? Good luck out there.
“Do you ever think you’re living in a spell?” asked Jackson Wiederhoeft after his show. “Like, you don’t know if you’ve been cursed or you’ve been blessed. You just know that there’s something different in your reality than everyone else’s?” Wiederhoeft could be talking about the creative vision—how it’s a burden and a gift all at once—but his show went a little more literal, with fantastical corsets that were cages and wings all at once, plus scarlet-horned shoulders in silk, and an actual summoning of witches on the catwalk. The models were circled by a parade of spirits—a pregnant golden goddess with a painted belly; a Downton Abbey ghost wafting downtown for booze; a plastic princess from ’80s Toys-R-Us—and then the lights came on, and the real world reclaimed its time.
There were other shows happening after this one, but I ended up going home right after. There was nothing else to see.
Three days ago, Kate Hudson appeared at the Knives Out 2 premiere in a red Carolina Herrera dress that (technically) didn’t exist yet. On Monday at the Plaza Hotel, it finally made its official debut as Look 39 in Wes Gordon‘s Spring 2023 collection. You could say, then, that technically Hudson was the opening model of the show…but Dutch brunette Mila van Eeten did a great job, too, as did Kenyan stunner Caren Jepkemei, who served as The Lady in Red for round 2.
The perfect mix of childhood joy and adult cool, these gummy clutches were the sweetest accessory spotted all day—but also the most practical, because if your latte spills on the side, all it takes is a quick napkin swipe and you’re golden. (Actually, if you’re this bag, you’re tangerine orange, pansy purple, or glittery gold, but you get it.)
It was smart of LaQuan Smith to set his runway show on the SS Intrepid, a hallowed battleship that’s now an Army museum in the Hudson River. Besides being a blast—and yes, climbing 2 flights of Navy steel alongside Julia Fox and Cassie is a total blast—the event placed Smith’s bombshell designs among actual bombshells, Top Gun choppers, and NASA space capsules. The Mugler riffs on mechanical power were clear—check out Frida Aasen in a pair of chrome pilot wings—but what really raised the game was a lemon yellow raincoat so slick and sharp, every woman around me went “Ooooh” when it came out. Dear LaQuan—can you also make it in blue?
Rachel already illuminated the core tenets of designer Maryam Nassir Zadeh, but the atmosphere of her downtown show (held literally in Dimes Square) held its own kind of magic. Here’s filmmaker and actress Coco Baudelle arriving for the show, and showing the perfect amount of skin.
Fashion’s obsession with the era can skew into costume territory, but Kim Shui figured out a throwback look that actually moves things forward. As worn by singer Niki DeMar, the look mixes textures and tones, but keeps the shape flowing all the way down in a DKNY kinda way. It’s sexy, it’s smart, and now I finally know what to do with that J. Crew stretch satin skirt I bought on sale for $32.99 but never quite figured out. (Oh come on, you bought it, too.)
Can we take a moment to bask in Candice Huffine‘s appearance at Veronica Beard? The sun-kissed girl from Maryland stepped out in a shorts set the color of hot chocolate, with a fuchsia halter top and beachy hair. She looked like she was on her way to a party that everyone will still be talking about months later. (Also: we’ll talk about the clothes.)
What country, friends, is this? It’s an acting studio in the East Village, where Interior NYC—the up-and-coming label by Bode alum Jack Miner and SoulCycle wordsmith Lily Miesmer—held their debut fashion show. The house was so packed that more chairs had to be found from the adjoining rooms, and the clothes themselves were a soon-to-be-coveted pile of massive grey knits, clingy netted dresses, and one leather trench that won approving nods (and even a few “get this on exclusive!” whispers) from the luxury retail crowd.
The show’s models paced furiously back and forth—maybe they were searching for their lost twin Sebastian, maybe they were escaping an asylum…maybe they were just late to dinner? Anyway, it was all quite cool, though everything looks cool on very young, very thin, very pretty girls. I suspect the clothes would hold up anyway, but next time, I’d like to see.
Richie Shazam has been an indie fashion fixture for years, but now she’s gone from Thom Browne to Tommy Hilfiger… and yesterday, closed the Priscavera show with Real Housewife Lisa Rinna. Unexpected? Actually, no—we’d never count the model and photographer out of a good time, especially if it involves great corsetry.
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Kid Cudi and Rosario Dawson hugged. Vashtie Kola and Nathalie Emmanuel hugged. Nicole Ari Parker and Liya Kebede hugged. And the show—dedicated to the memory of designer Abrima Erwiah‘s father—was an embrace of its own.
Billed as “an aim to showcase the many ways we celebrate life through culture in Africa and its Diaspora,” the new collection included traditional batik, weaving, and dyeing made modern with shirt dresses, suiting, and tiered ruffle skirts. Choreographer Virgil Gadson led an emotional tribute dance with adults and kids, and everyone—seniors, students, babies, bodies of all sizes and abilities—hit the runway to show it off.
In pop culture, fashion has a reputation for coldness. In real life, this is the kind of catwalk show (and the kind of clothing line) that proves we wear our hearts on our sleeves. (After all, we’re the ones who sewed them there.)
The Brooklyn Museum’s glass-tiled courtyard was built in 1893, but floral architect Emily Thompson gave it an upgrade for the Ulla Johnson show. She used over 25,000 fresh flowers—zinnias, coxcomb, chrysanthemums, and dianthus (the hot pink ones with the jagged petals)—to create a continent of buds and blossoms, defined and anchored by 30 bales of crabapple branches. (Everything was composted after the show.) The installation took 15 people and 17 hours, but it’ll live in our dreams for much longer.
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Jesus walked on water; the rest of us can ride it. Who Designs War made a brilliant, boxy sweater that goes either way with cutouts that could represent chapel windows or California rides. Paired with denim that looks like it’s gone through a stigmata or a few good saltwater rinses, it’s kinda divine.
There’s a new kind of surrealism happening in downtown fashion, and when it works, it’s glorious. Let’s call it Schiapa-really—less formal than the Man Ray couture of Schiaparelli‘s Daniel Roseberry, but just as playful (and easier to wear on the F train downtown). In designer Carly Marks‘ new collection, it came in the form of a butterfly swarm instead of a bra, a pair of trompe l’oiel thong pants, and an empty box of SnackWell’s cookies in place of a clutch. (Deli, meet Dali?) But the coolest were “gloves” created by makeup artist Fara Homidi from Starface, the Gen Z skincare staple famous for its celestial acne dots. (They’re also available in yellow and blue, should your outfit require more color.)
Luring people to show in a rainstorm can be risky. Tommy Hilfiger made it worth it with a surprise Travis Barker performance, a Kate Moss appearance, and a joyful collection of logo-pop prints that refreshed (but respected) his pretty classics, especially when styled on models of all ages/styles/vibes. Here’s Ashley Graham heading into the floodgates, and gosh, it’s great to see her.
Y2K style is hitting peak TikTok, which means it’s only fair that 2005—the beloved era of The O.C. and The White Stripes—is up next. Cate Holstein called first dibs on this tapered bubble hem, first flounced at Stella McCartney and by manic pixies like Zoey Deschanel. (Remember when you could buy the Erin Featherston for Target version?!) Stylist Victoria Traina is far cooler than me, so she paired it with this high-neck black blouse instead of how I’m gonna do it—with a Rooney tee, obviously—but hey, to each her own.
Black and navy do not clash. Black and navy are a perfect color combo. Black and navy worship the night. Black and navy get sh*t done. Black and navy are the Romy and Michele of the underworld. Black and navy are so elevated, they need oxygen masks. Black and navy are perfect and Luar proved it with these looks.
(Also, yes, perhaps there is some unresolved trauma around a black satin dress and navy baby cardigan that I paired in 10th grade, and even though it was perfect, my lunch table said I looked deranged.)
Anyway. These are sick looks; well done, Luar!
(Off to therapy, BRB.)
Yesterday at Sergio Hudson, we saw what Phyllis Neffler might wear to Spago. Today at Marrisa Wilson, we saw what a 90210 Girl Scout can sport when she’s grown, including popsicle-colored dresses and palm leaf prints inspired by Wilson’s Guyanese roots. With models wearing white Doc Martens and cute camper sandals by Rebecca Allen, plus crystal-beaded hair by Kien Hoang at Oribe, these pieces confirmed the daytime-dance-party vibe that Wilson keeps building. She’s a Trooper, for sure.
Dauphinette designer Olivia Cheng has a lot on her plate—specifically, the floral plates broadcast all over TikTok by Gen Z emblem Emma Chamberlain. But she’s also gaining heat for her kooky silk prints and resin-coated baguette bags, made from actual surplus (read: stale, non-edible) French bread. Of course, Cheng’s not the only one making carbs great again—Fendi debuted their own new baguette bags, reimagined by Marc Jacobs and sported by Kate Moss and Kim Kardashian in the front row. Guess it’s time to save some dough. (Sorry. Also, hungry. Anyone want to hit Blackseed Bagel before the Tommy Hilfiger show? DM me.)
There’s an Alice Merton song that goes, “I’ve got no roots cause my home is never on the ground.” It’s an apt sentiment for fashion month, when the industry caravan roams four countries in search of next season’s truths. Joseph Altuzarra loaded up his model nomads for the trek with batik and tie dye dresses, staggered by deconstructed ceremonial collars and oversized blazers that shrugged at the sleeves. The effect was an ohhhh from the crowd, which included Dove Cameron and Cindy Bruna, that confirmed wherever Mr. Altuzarra wants to go, the fashion world will roam along with him. (His new collaboration with Keds, in lieu of the usual heels, will sure make it easier to keep up.)
Pay no attention to the stylists behind the curtain: Designer Elena Velez is working from a singular (and frankly strange) vision. Part bondage gear / part 19th century maritime musts, the pieces from this Wisconsin native are defiantly claiming their own space—which might be why fellow “Out of my way!” woman Julia Fox showed up front row. Thanks to the (deserved) admiration of #HFT (high fashion Twitter) and the CFDA, these looks are already gaining heaps of Instagram likes—though we suspect the vision-driven Velez. 28, couldn’t care less what anyone thinks of her textile revolution.
Madonna had rose gold braids at last night’s Marc Jacobs bash. At the Public Policy show, the hue was more bubble gum. Either way, it seems we’re due for a Bleach London return, which—given their beauty supremacy in the Indie Sleaze era of 2010—seems right on time. (FWIW, their rosé conditioner has been the best color deposit I’ve used, and that includes The Great Kool Aid Hair Triumph of 7th grade…)
I think Maxwell Osbourne’s braided cinchers and satin egg pouches are gonna be one of those street style accessories that everyone clamors to try. They look like ammo belts from far away and hippie gear up close, and you can pair them with the new label’s color-soaked suiting or with floor-kicked baggy jeans. My only question: Can a phone fit in there? Or is the whole idea, like, “Clothes over content dump”? Maxwell, please advise.
Born in Nigeria and raised in London, Tia Adeola is best known for her sheer pieces that bring va-voom into a new era of sex-positive power. But when we saw this Madonna look—restrained yet provocative, easy to sell and also gutsy—we realized Adeola wasn’t finished figuring out exactly how power pulses through female forms. Is this a party on top and confession on the bottom? Or just an acknowledgement that skin and silk are part of the same holy path? Either way: sold.
Congratulations to Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power for their stealth sponsorship of the Eckhaus Latta show. Especially impressive: They coaxed the actual elves from Middle Earth to make an appearance near their adopted homeland, the grunge-art bistro Lucien. More gifts to humankind included a black yarn-loop maxi dress and the label’s signature tough-but-tender construction pants. See you back at The Shire. (Or at Little Frankie’s for wine, which is basically the East Village equivalent.)
Tibi is 25 years old and you may have noticed that every fashion magazine wants to talk about it. That’s because Amy Smilovic’s color stacks of clothes are basically the Roblox of the style world, and her mix and match ease can feel like a form of therapy. This time around, she dug deep on navy + black and brown + blue—which always match, okay?!—along with lipstick red + faded turquoise, which was pretty damn great. Most models didn’t wear bras, so perhaps after two years of casual corsetry dominating the trend cycle, the girls need a breather.
Netflix junkies fall into two camps: Those obsessed with Christine Quinn and those obsessed with Christine Chiu. Jason Wu is clearly in the latter camp, since he didn’t just invite the Bling Empire star to his show, he also dressed her in a runway look from the 2023 collection, and had her in the same messy bun as his runway models. Is she a muse? Is she a lucrative client? Is she stealthily taking notes to launch her own Kardashian portfolio of fashion and beauty brands? TBD. For now: whoa, cool boots.
Do you ever want to be a CEO just to wear the clothes? Sergio Hudson keeps making us update our bucket list with his high powered separates, which are commanding and luscious all at once. Hudson supplemented his vibrant power suits with leopard party dresses and clingy velveteen skirts, like the ones in the gold-plated costume closets of Fran Fine and Hilary Banks. Yeah, those women are fictional, but the allure of a Rodeo Drive expense account is so real.
It is actually the Culpo sisters—Aurora, Sophia, and of course, Olivia—creating quite a sizzle at PatBo. Enjoy.
At Proenza Schouler? It sure was! But even if Isaac Mizrahi’s former muse wasn’t wearing Look 38, we’d still sit up a little straighter when it came down the runway, because the idea of a monochrome rainbow riff is rather brilliant, especially on an outdoor staple like that black duster coat. (It also comes in white, but we wouldn’t trust ourselves with a latte and a piece of worn art in such close proximity, you know?)
I’m not gonna lie—when I arrived at a monarch butterfly preserve in deep Brooklyn for the Collina Strada show, and saw a line the entire length of Dimes Square, I was scared. Had the huge hype finally overwhelmed the small brand? Would the show collapse into growls of “do you know who I am?” And then… everyone got into see the show. Everyone who needed a seat got one; every look was visible, and beautiful, and made responsibly with upcycled pieces and regenerative materials. (Here’s what that means.) The sun set, the floaty dresses made from orange pulp fiber fluttered, the audience was momentarily giddy because Jemima Kirke was on the catwalk, and the brand was even cooler because it brought people together to witness something pretty gorgeous. This is the inclusive, joyful, skilled future we say we want. Let’s keep it going times ten.
Janet Jackson went to Elizabeth Taylor’s old townhouse to watch Karen Elson open Christian Siriano’s show. Seriously. Says Siriano: “I always want to poke the idea of looking formal without being formal, and referencing grand dames like Katherine Hepburn and of course Liz Taylor without living in the past, you know?” He did it with some Charles James riffs on ballroom skirts and cinched satin waists, along with a hot pink puffball party dress that Barbiecore will likely inhale whole. Also, much like Mr. Sondheim, look—he made a hat! (10 hats, guys. He made ten hats.)
In theory, great clothes should make your life simpler and more complex all at once. In Theory, designer Jeffrey Kalinsky toed that line with a confident stride of cream suiting, cobalt trousers, and a nifty “ballerina” black dress that really nailed Audrey Hepburn’s whole winsome waif thing. But all vibes of people will love the crisp optimism of this collection—so why was every look shown on very young, very tall, very slim people? Don’t say it’s because “fashion is a fantasy.” We all dream in color, and in our own bodies, too. Sure, we’ll also be dreaming of this collection—the little red skirt suit especially—but it shouldn’t take imagination to see this line’s target customer (women with worlds to rule, cash to spend, and a birthdate before Obama’s election) in these modern proposals for womanhood.
Indeed, and they have styled them adorably. Check out this party princess from their recent collection launch, which drew Rebel Wilson, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, and more floral bouquets than a wedding planner’s greenhouse. Also: juicy-hued bucket hats, which we really enjoyed.
Give it up for Roxanne Assoulin, the jewelry designer who follows Harry Styles’ missive to treat people with kindness and understands, implicitly, that this involves croissants. She got them from L’Appartement 4F in Brooklyn—her staff went at 5 am because they were so in-demand—along with quiche, berries, and granola. “I never believed Americans could make croissants like this,” said Nelson Tiberghien, a Parisian stylist whom you might know as “the boy one” in Young Emperors, who stopped by to check out the accessories. As we left, Roxanne handed us cookies in the same rainbow mosaic as her beloved bracelets. (There are glazed enamel rings and gemstone earrings now, too, just a heads up.)
That’s my theory after three—three!—snuggly piles of knitwear debuted the day before Fashion Week’s official start. If you have an Instagram account, you already know about Gigi Hadid’s new brand, Guest in Residence, which makes beautiful, color-drenched staples for warm fuzzy feelings. The rainbow sunset sweaters from Kilte, a new brand with roots in Italy and California, are so reassuringly cool, they’re the closest thing I’ll get to therapy all week. And over at Ayr, they’ve expanded from their (excellent) oversized shirts to sweaters in colorblock camel and ocean blue. (Their party was on a rooftop, and one editor who shall remain nameless, but who is totally Lauren McCarthy from NYLON, snagged a cream crewneck from a model when she got cold. Legends only.)
It takes a special kind of lunatic to throw a comedy show in a basement club and call it couture. Susan Alexandra designer Susan Korn is that lunatic, and honestly, thank god. The Bead Queen of Orchard Street dressed a standout group of standups like Sydnee Washington, Jo Firestone, and Marie Faustin, each wearing Alexandra’s phantasma-clatter creations. Mixed in were pieces by Gucci, Khaite, and Oscar de la Renta pulled from The RealReal, which will later be sold with Korn’s bags online. You can read Tara Gonzalez’s excellent rundown of the collection here. Meanwhile, here’s a video of Chloe Fineman doing an Ella Emhoff imitation to Ella Emhoff.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.