Best of New York Fashion Week Fall 2018
Every season, fashion month rolls around, beginning with New York Fashion Week, and I find myself feeling virtually the same set of conflicted feelings about the whole thing. There's the excitement I feel about seeing the new collections. There's the sense that the event is like a physical for fashion—a check-up on the state of affairs today, giving us a sense of what's living and breathing in fashion at the moment. How great!
Then, there are my more critical feelings. Twice a year, in two four-week chunks, the fashion industry produces a gigantic volume of new clothing designed to promote a kind of churn in our tastes and preferences and closets that feels neither natural nor useful. Case in point: I reviewed 162 collections from NYFW to pull the below list together, and we're only 1/4 of the way through! I think about the strain this volume and speed of production is—on resources, on creative talent, and our relationship with clothes—and I feel there must be another way, a better way, for us to celebrate and shape the arc of human dress.
By both celebrating fashion and being critical of it, I am confronted with a set of questions that come up for me every time I see a new collection of clothing. What is the role of a fashion designer? Is the purpose of a fashion show to make a statement on the role of fashion in society today? Or is it more commercial- to create a collection of clothes that will sell? Does the concept of clothing on a runway exist to present fashion as fantasy, or is this about how real women dress in real life? Sure, clothes are beautiful, and new things are exciting, but are these clothes necessary? Are they revolutionary, or even evolutionary, or are we just making new things, and wanting new things, to sustain a fashion system that is unsustainable?
I don't have answers, but I'll keep asking the questions until I get closer. Until then, there's much to be said for simply enjoying good fashion from NYFW. Here's what stood out for me.
best in class: marc jacobs
Marc Jocobs came as close as anyone at NYFW, I felt, to formulating a strong, cohesive statement on fashion today. The collection, composed of many pieces featuring oversized silhouettes, boxy shoulders, and tapered bottoms, as well as a number of asymmetrical dresses, was bold and articulate and took up space. Is this women dressing in a #metoo world? Dressing for a #metoo world? Styled with hats shielding models' eyes it almost felt like this could be any woman, and thus every woman.
Image: Yannis Vlamos/Indigital.tv via Vogue
classics done well: the row and carolina herrera
There is something fundamentally gratifying about seeing the same ideas—the same genre of clothing — coming down a designer's runway. It means, to me, they've found their step, their ideal of beauty, their truth, all of which should be celebrated in this time of intense pressure to create something new.
Take The Row, whose collections, it turns out, I am genetically incapable of disliking. The ideas are unified and consistent, but executed differently each time. The clothes are both inspiring and wearable at once. This collection, presented alongside Isamu Noguchi sculpture, made overt oft-alluded-to-connections between fashion and art.
Images: Courtesy The Row via Vogue
For sending down the runway a long line of her signature silhouette—a classic button-down white shirt and a floor length skirt—Carolina Herrera, in her last show as creative director of her label, evoked for me the spirit of Azzedine Alaïa. I thought about statements he's made about the responsibilities of a designer to deliver new ideas, saying, "Once I have the shape or the idea I just develop it. It should always work 20 years from now."
Images: Monica Feudi/Indigital.tv via Vogue
good clothes: sally lapointe, hellessy, zimmerman, marina moscone
Thematically, what stood out for me this NYFW was lots of long, flowing silk and plenty of monochrome.
Sally LaPointe presented a cohesive collection of fun but sophisticated clothes, in more or less monochrome palettes, starting with whites and grays, and then rusts and reds. Splashes of excitement courtesy of sequins, fur accents placed creatively, metallics, and interesting cuts infused the collection with something special.
Images: Monica Feudi via Vogue
I just enjoyed this collection of clothes from Hellessy. The color palette was bright and varied, the clothes moved well and there was a touch of drama in them infused from asymmetric details and an attention to design.
Images: Luca Tombolini/Indigital.tv via Vogue
There were some lovely, frilly and feminine clothes at Zimmerman. I liked the long silhouettes, the exaggerated shoulders, and the asymmetry introduced either by design or in how the clothes were styled. And, why don't more silk dresses have turtlenecks?!
Images: Monica Feudi/Indigital.tv via Vogue
Marina Moscone stood out to me for delivering a twist on a minimal silhouette with a collection of fresh clothing in sumptuous fabrics (I could practically feel this silk!!). This elegantly draped off-the-shoulder wrap was done so well.
Courtesy of Area came NYFW's best print mixing moment. I'll take it all; I'll wear it all. Note the gloves!!!
Bevza delivered this moment of 1990s Calvin Klein bliss with this look: what appears to be a structured top paired with a silky skirt and finished with square toe silk boots. The attention to cut here reminds me of one of the things that excites me most about fashion: seeing something simple executed well.
Calvin Luo produced this two-toned wonder of a look: a striking monochrome silk pant set, accented with red nails, gloves (sheer!), belt, tights, and shoes. It made me feel both that the 80s and the 50s (and the 90s, if you count the glasses) were all somehow alive and well.
Finally, in what was one of my favorite looks of the whole week, this ice blue silk gown from Self-Portrait. In its movement and shine and liquid glamour, it's a winter dream come true!