Colored light filters through spectacular stained-glass hanging lamps, and music begins to play as the first model struts across the catwalk. Moments into her walk she stumbles, falls and quickly gathers herself, seeming unphased. The crowd gasps, looking to each other in secondhand embarrassment as she bolts upright and continues her walk. Just as audience begins to catch their collective breath, the next model, does the exact same thing: trip, fall, recover, repeat. This is New York Fashion Week, Spring 2016. Here, at the opening of the most prestigious and anticipated fashion event of the fall, the models seemed to have two left feet.
Of course, in the predictably unpredictable and surprising spirit of creativity, the directors of fashion label Opening Ceremony and their models didn’t trip up at all in their choreography. Inspired by famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the show was meant to embody and emanate his philosophy of “organic architecture” in which buildings (or in this case models in couture designs) work in harmony with nature and their surroundings. The green foliage and stained glass scattered throughout the venue, in addition to the undercover ballet dancers disguised as models, all contributed to the out-of-the-box kind of ceremony that fashion lovers everywhere have come to expect of this whirlwind week.
Seventy shows, three locations and hundreds of seconds in Snapchat stories later, New York Fashion week, which began Sept 10, came to a close last Wednesday, Sept 17.
The always striking New York Fashion Week proved a forward-thinking and trendsetting affair. Givenchy’s show, for example, turned major heads (including those of Kim and Kanye West who sat front row alongside Nicki Minaj and Julia Roberts) with its thoughtful yet somber setting and even more sobering cost. Estimated to have put on one of the most expensive shows in fashion week history, the fashion house and its creative director Riccardo Tisci certainly did not disappoint. Calling in the renowned performance artist Marina Abramovic to choreograph and help design the runway show, Givenchy paid tribute to 9/11 with a visible view of the West tower from Pier 26 and the tasteful use of recycled and reconstructed materials to stress the need to reduce waste.
Throughout the week, veteran top guns like Badgley Mischka reasserted their runway dominance with a minimalist, regal beauty that permeated the flirty dresses and intricate overlays. However, some new designers also made their presence known outside the shadow of the famous designer. In a similar vein to Badgley Mischka, newcomer Erin Fetherson’s show featured similar girlish pleats and softer pastels to create a sophisticated daydream on the runway.
Taking those themes of sophistication and classical femininity to a more vintage chic level was Rachel Zoe. A fashion and style icon herself, Zoe’s collection featured tasteful fringe, burgundy suede, draped maxi dresses and monochrome sets. With undeniable and effortless ease, her personal style of tastefully accessorized bohemian pieces interspersed with modern interpretations of vintage trends served as the perfect signature to her collection.
With so many designers displaying their collections at the three locations around New York (Skylight at Moynihan Station, MADE at Milk Studios and Skylight Clarkson Square), it would seem nearly impossible to craft a seamless narrative of overlapping trends and common color schemes. But despite the variety in designers, show styles, accessories, hair and makeup, there were more than a few common threads that popped up during fashion’s star-studded week in the Big Apple.
One pervading trend throughout the week was monochrome. From Rachel Zoe’s glorious white sets to Zang Toi’s sexy open white blazer and fitted pants, the use of the white-fit proved ethereal and doable: a look that has begun to catch on both on and off the runway. The monochrome look went hand in hand with the classic minimalism that designers such as Herve Ledger, Badgley Mischka and Calvin Klein utilized well to present the image of the modern woman: a mix of femininity with a modern, professional and crisp twist. Marc Jacobs put on a literal show (with the runway in a glamorous movie theater setting), featuring structured frocks that allude to the same kind of modern girlish charm.
The runway also provided inspiration for ready-to-wear trends that have been popular as summer turns to fall on. Trends like shoulder cutout tops and dresses by Herve Ledger and Reem Acra have translated well from runway to more affordable stores. In addition to specific fits and styles, themes of vintage chic such as the 90s inspired jelly shoes and denim separates in Georgine’s show and bohemian elegance in Rachel Zoe’s fringed maxis have a practical wearability about them. The vintage inspiration and playful cutouts have permeated student fashion here.
But as usual, the quintessential campus trendsetter J. Crew takes the cake in terms of college fashion. Donning bold mixed prints and intricately detailed accessories, the J. Crew models strutted down the catwalk in crisp and classy garments that showed both playfulness and professionalism all in one collection.
After a week of couture and culture, it may seem difficult to find worthwhile trends and fashions that can actual translate into daily life, much less the reality of the broke college student. However, while some of the high fashion designers that graced NYFW’s runways may have unattainable price tags for the average college student, the fresh inspiration and modern trends of minimalism, vintage chic and bohemian styling can serve as useful inspiration if not exact replication. With a little creativity, even college students can find fun and realistic new trends and ideas to implement in their own wardrobes and styles.