Some called it Fashion Week Lite or Diet Fashion Week, but for us it felt pretty full fat—a robust and meaty offering with lots to chew on. Here’s what’s still living in our brains rent-free after the shows wrapped up!
Freya Drohan: While it’s an unrivaled privilege to attend a fashion show in any format, it’s the ones that are fully committed to a story that feel like the greatest honor to witness in person. For Fall, Joseph Altuzarra knew his moodboard inside and out, and it was evident from the moment guests took their seats at the elegant (if slightly imposing) Woolworth Building to find a copy of Moby Dick filled with fabric swatches and a polaroid. The designer had the ocean, its creatures and the humans who devote their lives to it, as well as the myths that surround the eco-system, on the brain. A sense of an epic journey across seas and terrains came to mind as models teetered past in gigantic platforms. Beyond the shearling-trimmed outerwear, textured knits, Shibori prints, pleated kilts in vegan leather, and hooded dresses which spoke to a woman who was ready to trek far and wide, it was the styling by Gabriella Karefa-Johnson (multiple bags worn at once; outfits completed with swashbuckler chain, coin, braided, or beaded belts) that drove home the sense of adventure. To close the show, there was a sombre mermaid parade of sorts, with fish scale-esque coins cut from aluminum and hand-tarnished for an aged look seen on coats, knit dresses, and in floor-sweeping gold gowns. By in large, mermaids symbolize good luck, renewal, and good times ahead—and now Altuzarra has given us the powerful outfits we need to go get ’em.
Eddie Roche: Brandon Maxwell honored his grandmother Louise Johnson, known as Mammaw to him, at an intimate and personal show held in the Daryl Roth theatre in Union Square. His show began with a video of Siri reading the designer’s Wikipedia biography asking, ‘Who is Brandon Maxwell?’ The footage featured some of his professional highlights, followed by family videos and photographs of his grandmother. Johnson, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, has served as an inspiration to the Texan designer since his childhood. Karlie Kloss, who hasn’t walked a lot of runway shows in recent times, opened the show in a long white trench coat and models such as Precious Lee and Paloma Elsesser walked to Brandi Carlile’s cover of John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads. It was a more somber mood compared to other seasons, where the designer typically has a pre-show party. Maxwell’s gorgeous collection featured his signature red carpet looks and a bevy of ballgowns, interspersed with more classic denim looks. The flowers on Kloss’ finale dress were taken from a painting he asked his grandfather to make in his grandmother’s honor. “The finale is a literal valentine,” Maxwell wrote in his show notes. “It is a painting lifted from a letter from a shoe salesman to his bride. It pays homage to 65 years of love and the seams that hold it together.” To conclude, Maxwell took his runway bow with his proud Pappaw by his side.
Ian Grafvonluxburg: As I walked into the Sunken Room at Spring Studios, I was instantly teleported to a New York club scene. Models walked around in designer Christian Juul Nielsen’s newest collection while off in a corner, local NYC DJ Mona Matsouka was spinning the mood directly into a nightlife environment. The room was jumping, almost literally, as it began to fill up with fashion socialites all present to celebrate Aknvas. It was the ideal backdrop for his colorful and tactile work: nylon yarn luxe knits, more puffer coats, oversize coats, bell-bottom pants, looser blazers, and macramé belts. One of my favorite pieces was a chartreuse faux fur jacket with a double breasted design, which was very reminiscent of Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. The options were almost endless for the boys, girls, or whomever, to enjoy and feel themselves in—gender neutrality and unisex options being a concept that Nielsen is key on incorporating into his collections. Aknvas always presents interesting ideas on what the modern New Yorker’s closet should look like, even with a deeply rooted European vibe. Nielsen, who also designs for Hervé Leger, offered a collection that will look expensive without weighing expensively on your wallet.
View this post on Instagram
Freya Drohan: A Siriano show is always a bit of an outer body experience, what with seeing his steadfast celebrity supporters in the flesh as they take their seats front row, and witnessing catwalk legends up close and personal on the runway. But for Fall ’22 he went a step further, and created a kind of world and characters that we’d yet to witness. The designer immersed his loyal crowd in what he calls the Victorian Matrix…allow us to elaborate. Really, we could have been anywhere but a basement in the middle of Midtown Manhattan; perhaps a club in Berlin or an after hours party in another era, where the well-to-do Victorian ladies let their freaky side fly. Opening the show, Karen Elson and Coco Rocha stomped down the concrete runway in the underbelly of the Empire State Building to a trance music soundtrack in second-skin navy latex looks. Siriano called the collection “exciting” and “experimental” which certainly felt like an apt description for an offering that refused to be categorized by one audience. But then again, Siriano has forged an incredible career due to his ability to dress so many types of women. Here, we had it all: elegant suiting in saturated cobalt, floor-sweeping gowns that fused dominatrix-style elements with the regality of a proper Victorian woman, plus hooded and quilted separates, plaid, ball skirts, and body-conscious silhouettes to flatter every figure. One gaze over at his eclectic front row—which included Susan Sarandon, Alicia Silverstone, Drew Barrymore, MJ Rodriguez, Aquaria, and Symone—and you could picture various pieces on each of them with ease. Despite the sparse and stripped back show space, there were undeniably elegant moments too. Take, for example, a nude-colored corset with tulle ruffles, and several iterations on Siriano’s favorite sheer crystal-embellished dresses.
Ian Grafvonluxburg: As the late afternoon sunlight cascaded into The Gallery, guests at Bevza’s Fall 2022 show began to fill the room. Sunlight was the only accessory needed in the room, which was all white with no detailed accentuations in sight, a foreshadowing of the simple yet elegant sophistication we were about to witness. Inspired by “love letters to the Earth,” Kyiv-based designer Svitlana Bevza presented a collection that could be worn straight off the runway, or incorporated into your personal style. Pearlized seashell earmuffs and garments made of fish-scale-like fabric shined on the runway. Dresses with wire built into the hemline created a sense that models were bobbing in waves, pushing the garments forward and retracting them all in one swift move. Playing off the the stylistic choices made in love letters, the tailoring and fit on some of the garments echoed envelopes: centerfolds with peek-a-boo flaps as well as wax-seal-shaped buttons and clutches tied the collection together seamlessly. The front row attendees were eating up the details. With ethically-sourced materials, Bevza continues to spread the message of sustainability—eco-friendly materials made of recycled plastic bottles showed up in the shape of slick long vests and a tundra-ready maxi skirt. A conscious and gentle love letter to the planet, for sure.
The future of NYFW
Freya Drohan: From Lisa Von Tang, a self-taught Chinese/German designer who brought out a crowd that included Elsa Hosk to witness her first show and its array of sustainable crystal-studded separates, vegan leather, and conscious chic dresses, to Ali O’Neill of Markarian enjoying her second runway outing with a smorgasbord of divine eveningwear and accessories fit for the romantics in our midst, there was an uplifting emphasis on young, and particularly female, talent this season. A name on everyone’s lips was undoubtedly designer Peter Do, also presenting his namesake brand’s second runway show. The fledgling label has fast become the hotly-watched, insider-backed go-to for delectable and languid tailoring. Upping the ante once more was LaQuan Smith and his siren-worthy catsuits, revenge dresses, and hot-to-trot outerwear. Natasha Das had her first outing, which went down a sweet treat thanks to feminine detailing like feather trims, crystal embellishment, and pretty embroidery on brocade fabrics. Also basking in the glow of an inaugural NYFW presentation was Bach Mai, a Texas-born couturier who honed his innate talent at Margiela, Prabal Gurung, and Oscar de la Renta. With sumptuous French fabrics which he rendered into ombré slips, leather bralets, celebratory ball skirts made for going dancing in, and softly tailored blazers that looked almost liquid-like, he proved himself as one to watch on the schedule. And then there was Collina Strada’s Hillary Taymour, who arguably had the most fun presentation of the week, thanks to showcasing her latest colorful collection via a The Hills-inspired drama, aptly-named The Collinas. We’re already excited for September!
View this post on Instagram
Ian Grafvonluxburg: A fashion presentation at a restaurant? Sign me up! As I walked into West Village eatery Waverly Inn, I found myself surrounded by models in gorgeous dresses nibbling on fries and 84 oz. Porterhouse steaks, and quaffing Champagne. The venue was small yet inviting and candles set the mood to dim and mysterious, dare I even say sexy. Waiters rushed around with huge trays, bringing the models their food orders as they lounged and conversed wearing Interior’s Fall 2022 collection—isn’t that the dream? Lily Miesmer and Jack Miner started Interior last year as a collection of clothing with an artistic bent, and even though they only have a handful of collections under their belt, you can tell that they have their vision locked down. Think: a gown made of tied scraps of fabric, a jacket inspired by 14th century armor, and a pajama suit adorned with dangling fruits and vegetables—art, food, and fashion. What more could you want? My favorite had to be a floor length gown made of a sheer material that seemed like a crossover between tulle and lamè. As I approached the model to ask for a photo, she left the massive cut of meat and singular glass of white wine on the table and stood towering over me as she twirled to reveal the back details: three black ribbons holding the dress onto her body. If all of Interior’s collections are going to be this cool, I want in on this chic dinner party each season.
View this post on Instagram