What’s unfolding in the world is reflected and refracted in all sorts of ways.
At New York Fashion Week, which wrapped up last month, trends for next spring and summer (and a sampling of things for this fall) were a mélange of philosophical ponderings, activism manifested as apparel and, sometimes, just striking clothes with no other purpose than to swoon shoppers into falling in love with fashion all over again. Meanwhile, the industry’s who’s who continue to pontificate about what New York Fashion Week should look like these days: Is it a stripped-down runway show? A flashy presentation? A marathon of both, scattered across the city? For now, who knows, but these lingering questions (mostly) didn’t distract too much from soaking up designers’ latest offerings.
Here’s a roundup of some of the top trends from the week to be on the lookout for in upcoming months.
The American dream, deconstructed: What happens to a dream deferred? This season, it turned into lots of collections with a potent message. At Calvin Klein, chief creative officer Raf Simons blended “American horror” with “American beauty” for a read-between-the-lines commentary on the country’s political climate (including cotton nighties done in prints from Andy Warhol’s “Death and Disaster” series). Public School’s Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne highlighted the ebb and flow of cultural identities in places like New York City. The phrase “Come Again,” splashed across the seat of trousers and backs of jackets, drove home the brand’s pro-immigration stance.
Glitter and glitz: Designers pulled out all the stops for spring when it comes to showcasing the interplay between fashion and art. Intricate beadwork, garments dripping in sequins and metallic touches made for a dazzling display of pieces (almost!) too pretty to wear.
Girl power: Rally cries of female empowerment were alive and well on the runway. While some were in your face (like Namilia’s pearl-adorned vagina suits and shoes), others were celebrations of the complexities of femininity, including Alice + Olivia’s feminist-themed presentation that re-imagined New York’s Chelsea Hotel as a hub for female contemporary artists as its backdrop.
Color pop: Shake off the winter doldrums next spring with vivid pick-me-up colors — orange, deep lime green, electric pink and sunshiny yellows were particularly popular, often worn from head to toe. On the contrary, so were romantic pastels (powder blue, blush and mint, for example). These softer shades added balance to some collections and, overall, to the season.
Prints in bloom: Florals? For spring? Nothing groundbreaking there, as fashion editrix Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) reminds us in the 2006 film “The Devil Wears Prada.” But bouquets of full blooms bursting forth in collection after collection were a welcome complement to some of the more serious political and social statements made by other designers.
Relaxed locks and dewy skin: When it came to hair and makeup, less was more. Models’ loose waves, sometimes partly pulled back, bounced as they sashayed down the runway, peppered by the occasional slicked-back pony or a no-fuss chignon with a strong center part. In most cases, bold makeup was kept to a minimum. When stylists did choose to pump up a look, they did it with a dab of bright shadow in the corner of the eyes or a colored eyeliner applied in a deconstructed way to just part of the upper or lower lids.
Trend to watch: hair accessories, with an emphasis on thick fabric headbands with a boho-chic sensibility.
See now/buy now: Some brands (Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic and Canadian plus size brand Addition Elle, to name a few) are still experimenting with a runway-to-retail concept, in hopes of translating the bump in exposure during New York Fashion Week into sales. However, after about three seasons of hyping this shift as the future of retail (and Fashion Week), interest in sending in-season pieces down the runway seems to be declining, with the likes of Tom Ford returning to the long-standing tradition of previewing collections about six months in advance.