New York Fashion Week AW18

Marc Jacobs AW18 | Photographed by Corey Tenold for voguerunway.com

First Impressions: 

After a dull AW18 season, save for a couple exceptions, Marc Jacobs shuts the lid on New York Fashion Week with a resounding “Fuck you!” to the current state of fashion. Even whilst facing enormous commercial pressure, Jacobs turned away from settling for trendy bestsellers or hopping on board the wave of atheleisure and commercial clickbait. No, Jacobs instead showed the complete contrast with exploding silhouettes, heavy fabrics, and, a sadly forgotten notion, dressing up. Apart from the 80’s revival, the collection could not have been farther away than the trends currently dominating the market. Inspired by ‘80s couture, Jacobs referenced the greats including Yves Saint Laurent, Mugler, and Ungaro – their presence stitched into the oversized blazers, puffed shoulders, unapologetic bow belts, the baggy pleated trousers and neck flourishes. Jacobs proved that great design doesn’t stem from data collection on how “consumers” are behaving on social media, or that “business sense” should not mean bland and flocking to market dominating trends. For the love of fashion, don’t change your approach Marc Jacobs for in times of data harvesting, artificial intelligence, “pixeling” ect… we need the magic, the art and the soul and without that – What is even the point of fashion week? Without the magic let’s just watch from the glaring screen of our iPads from a comfortable hipster cafe. #aw18 #fw18 #nyfw #modernmelange #modernmelangeaw18 #marcjacobs @marcjacobs @themarcjacobs

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Tonight saw the apex of a dystopian American trilogy unfold, mastered by Raf Simons for Calvin Klein. With his third collection for the label, Simons has incrementally built upon each season radically redefining the image of Calvin Klein for the late 2010s; chalk-full of cowboy boots and Americana glory. However in retrospect these former outings were only setting the context for what was shown tonight. The show took place at the American Stock Exchange which was transformed into an unsettling farm scene, complete with barn and resting hay bales except instead of hay – they were stuffed with popcorn. Three semi truckloads of popcorn to be exact smothered the entirety of the scene literally creeping up to the ankles of the FROW. The overflowing popcorn literally reinforced pop-culture and our dependency on escaping to the arts (whether it be music or movies). There may be a lot of division politically in the country, but what unites us more than a binge-worthy TV show? The rest of the venue was covered in Andy Warhol photographs including “the electric chair” and unnerving Sterling Ruby sculptures hanging from the scaffolding. Overall the collection was a mutation of ominous and wholesome. Little House on the Prairie goes Sci-fi goes Hitchcock goes Smells like Teen Spirit. The notion of “protection” played the dominant role where parading models wore versions of lifejacket vests, emergency foil blankets transformed into bonnets, dresses and outerwear, and firefighter jackets. Hand knit balaclavas meant for shielding oneself from the cold reminded me of those plastic surgery bandages featured in the “Makeover Madness” shoot in Vogue Italia by Steven Meisel. Although Simons declared this collection was more about hope, less sinister than the others, you still felt the need to stay on your toes – ready to protect yourself from whatever comes your way. @calvinklein #calvinklein #aw18 #fw18 #nyfw #modernmelange #modernmelangeaw18

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Coach 1941

Similar to Raf Simon’s unsettling image at Calvin Klein, Stuart Vevers too conjured up an eerie take for Coach 1941 where this season’s collection was presented in what seemed to be the haunted depths of autumnal woods. Retro school televisions scattered about the scene projected spooky broken imagery making one think of 80’s  classic horror such as the Evil Dead. The overall collection was dark but strongly rooted to classic Americana with a particular emphasis on bohemia. References included everything from the wild west to Laura Ingles Wilder to Bonnie Cashin which together turned this collection into a success. The British designer romanced the American spirit, which came across not as patriotic but a friendly reminder of local beauty and heritage. Vevers successfully continues to push the brand forward from an accessories brand into a legitimate cultural contender.

Vaquera

Still retaining their youthful, DIY origins, Vaquera carries on to provide the much needed spark to New York fashion week, (which as a whole has played it safe, with most designers sure not to colour outside the lines). Likened to the Vetements of America, the design team Patric DiCaprio, David Moses, Bryn Taubensee, and Claire Sully presented an energy-filled collection with each look full of substance triggering thought and positive reaction. Key pieces included the “big-money button-down” spray-painted with a capital S, with the matching tie forming a dollar sign and a pastor’s robe turned into a pouf dress. Ironic, fresh, fierce. The designers also paid tribute to their fashion idols by stippling the faces of Adrover, Andre Walker, Vivienne Westwood, and Martin Margiela to crisp white polo dresses made in collaboration with American Apparel. A fantastic show – with established designers having decamped to Paris, Vaquera has carved a major space for themselves and has grown into one of America’s most intriguing brands.

Oscar De la Renta

After turbulent beginnings leaving many questioning the future of Oscar de la Renta, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia have finally started to find their groove – tonight with a lush collection radiating confidence. The duo has started adding their own vocabulary to the house’s legacy, inviting both the conservative De la Renta customer and her (grand)daughter to fill their wardrobe with the latest offerings. The sheer lace bodices and billowy shirt dresses in a buzzy flower print added the necessary touch of lightness and youth. The collection was a step forward for a brand which was facing stagnation. Bold, pretty, and feminine and you know what – that’s a pretty ace combination.

Tonight marks the end of an era for Carolina Herrera’s 38 year reign of her namesake label. Last week, it was announced that tonight’s show would indeed be Carolina Herrera’s last. She has now officially stepped down into an ambassadorial role with Wes Gordon taking the role of creative director. Her departure comes at an incredibly volatile time within the fashion industry, especially in the American fashion capital. Established designers lead the charge in rethinking fashion week schedules. Mid-career designers are instead showing in Paris. Emerging talent are rethinking the necessity of biannual fashion shows in the digital age which instead demands WOM buzz and constantly new, sharable content. At 79, Herrera is one of the last of the establishment New York designers to step down and that is particularly touching. Her final collection paid homage to her own iconic signature style- elegant, refined, simple. This era in fashion design will be very missed – the emphasis on tradition, on old wealth extravagance, and for lack of better words- Beauty. Not “challenge the notion of beauty” design of today but of exquisite taste and class. #carolinaherrera #AW18 #FW18 #modernmelange #modernmelangeaw18 #NYFW #fashionweek @carolinaherrera

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Punxsutawney Phil has declared 6 more weeks of winter, and Ralph Lauren is having none of that. Instead Lauren calls for a holiday. A well deserved beach holiday, far away from the icy streets of New York and onto the white sandy beaches of Jamaica. Breaking from the unnerving chaos of everyday current events (e.g the fluctuating stock market, Trump’s budget plan, the gargantuan fashion month calendar…) the models dashed onto the runway in bare feet wearing flowing sun-bleached batik and woodblock-print summer dresses. This youthful nonchalance was followed by an assortment of polished yacht-party ready pieces representing the iconic RL prep no other brand can compete with. Nothing extravagant or incredible, but it was exactly what we all wanted: a no fuss escape to relax and recharge. (However, one asks if showing a Spring Collection for the AW18 season still makes sense – even commercially? Would anyone really buy their beach dresses off the runway in February? With the majority still presenting autumnal collections, Spring seems something very… last season.)#seenowbuynow #SS18 #modernmelange #modernmelangeaw18 #NYFW #fashionweek @ralphlauren #Ralphlauren

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Victoria Beckham

It has been 10 years since Victoria Beckham launched her namesake label and for its anniversary displayed  “A quiet celebration” – no huge gestures, no loud “look at me” pieces. Instead, there was a very utilitarian collection of understated military references. The accessory of the season? Those giant felt sacks, likened to the infamous Balenciaga Ikea bag. While maybe not as vocal about “Girl Power!!!” as some of her Spice Girl group members, she demonstrates her feminist values in design – an evolution from sky-high killer heels to flattest of flats. A quiet feminist manifesto appreciated by the modern working woman on the move.

Siejs Marjan

The burnt colours oozed into one another with no harsh lines in sight. The clothes flowed in their delicacy and craft composition. Pleating technique was inspired by Fortuny, which offered delightful swirls here and there. It should be pointed out that the same iridescent fabric that John Galliano featured in Maison Margiela’s Artisanal collection only last month was on display in form of a trench – a gesture I am sure  hope Diet Prada will pick up on sooner than later. Inspiration or copycat?

Brandon Maxwell

Not one to shy away from the theatrics, Brandon Maxwell invited the much-Snapped roster of supermodels to the runway to break out his collection. This season, Maxwell demonstrated considerable growth in his offering; his ability to cater beyond evening wear (necessary in our too casual-everyday) and more importantly in terms of the way he approaches diverse fabrics such as experimenting with pleated crepe or draped cashmere.

Prabal Gurung

Prabal Gurung is an outspoken feminist and joins a score of designers who has led the “Future is Female” charge. Instead of downright labeling motivating slogans on t-shirts a la Katharine Hamnett, Gurung paid tribute to China’s matriarchal Mosuo tribe, which more accurately celebrated female strength. The rich colours lent a juicy punch whilst extensive bundling gave the clothes a desirable range of depth and structure.

Alexander Wang AW18 |
Photographed by Marcus Tondo / Indigital.tv; photo retrieved from voguerunway.com

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wangs moves from the streets of New York to the 21st floor of Four Times Square- Condé Nast’s old headquarters, where Wang once interned at Vogue and TeenVogue. The typical Wang party girl moved on up to the boardroom, with this season’s theme revolving around being your own CEO. In place of “Girls” which was stitched on tights two years ago was “CEO 2018”, labeled on a variety of pieces including stealth sunglasses. The word “Platinum” also made various appearances in reference to the Cha-Ching! and the relentless spirit of the boss babe. The collection this season felt more mature, benefiting greatly from strong tailoring, diverse day to night wear, and having a more present backbone. You have to laugh though to truly envision these clothes in a corporate setting – in light of the #MeToo movement and harassment in the workplace, these overtly sexualised pieces probably don’t fit the bill.

Tory Burch

Classic Tory Burch, hitting a similar nerve as last season, featuring playful combinations of patchworks and a relaxed tone to her usual preppy aesthetic. I especially appreciated the rewarding friction between those robust masculine shapes and the feminine frocks which in combination felt modern and right. The collection was based on Burch’s muse of the season, Lee Radziwill and the memoir that she wrote, Happy Times. Radziwill’s proses to focus on the good, resonated by Burch’s own design approach: Elegant, optimistic and uncomplicated.

Eckhaus Latta

With many New York designers bolting to Paris, Eckhaus Latta has emerged as one of the most important American brands to watch. This season the duo evolved from their more rigid industrial silhouettes to a free-flowing look of soft fluid lines.

Self- Portrait

A striking balance of masculine outerwear with ethereal dresses, appealing to both the LA and NY gal on the move.

Bottega Veneta

In celebration of Bottega Veneta’s  shiny new Madison Avenue flagship, Tomas Maier brought his Fall collections for men and women to New York and took influence from the wide range of characters and soul this city has to offer.our great city and its denizens as muse. While known for its aesthetic of quiet luxury, Maier made an appropriate splash thanks to complimenting fabrics of silks, wools, velvet and warm colours (best in mustard), sure to leave an increased digital footprint.

Jason Wu

Jason Wu is still one of the biggest names in New York. Especially with other New York heavy hitters now showing in Paris, the spotlight has focused in on Wu. With such an opportunity to shine, it is especially disappointing how the collection felt lukewarm. No risk no reward, with a lack of any memorable ingenuity. The best feature was the luminous sprinkling of Swarovski crystals, stitched generously to skirts, sweaters, and dresses, a quirky, yet composed gesture. Wu also experimented with Fortuny’s technique of pleating silk, however, the results came across as dated.