It’s that bi-annual time of year again: New York Fashion Week. And as the pandemic continues, so does the fantasy and flair of the fashion world. Real-life showcases, worldwide obsession and a glamorous ethos have finally returned to remind us that NYFW is back. And it’s more than just a series of runway shows.
New York Fashion Week has always been an iconic moment, a feeling. Kicking off the esteemed fashion month, it brings a certain warmth and excitement like that of a new year, stepping off an aeroplane, a first day back to school. And after three virtual showcases, that feeling is back.
Though some continued virtual showings, after an almost two-year hiatus, most eagerly set for the runways. With NYC-required vaccinated models and stars descending upon first row seats, SS22 has, at last, come and gone.
Once again using the Big Apple as its backdrop, NYFW has officially provided a touch of normalcy. And with it, the glitz and the glamour we’d been waiting for.
Christian Siriano kicked off NYFW with a getaway of bold colours, signature cuts and a taste of vintage Italy. The designer sought to provide an escape from pandemic life with a coastal collection reminiscent of his grandmother’s vacation in Positano in the 60s/70s.
Set in Midtown Manhattan’s Gotham Hall, the collection was extravagant and sophisticated. And being inspired by a “simpler time” and the Italian women in his life, Siriano was nothing short of a brilliant opening return to real-life runways.
A Fashion Week favourite was Collina Strada. With eclectic patterns, well-represented styles and a setting sun over the greenery of Brooklyn Grange models, the collection has been highly talked about. Models and collaborators came out dancing, skipping and walking with loved ones in looks being described as chaotic energy. The collection is a reflection of lived experiences. With an air of Depop couture and Y2K fashion, designer Hillary Taymour focused on reconnection with each other and our past selves.
The collection incorporated baggy pants, layered ruffled dresses and mismatched patterns reminiscent of a 00s skater girl. As per the show notes, Collina Strada wanted to make use of things you could find on the street – or “a nugget of trash”. The collection comes at the heart of reinvention, elevating Collina Strada’s look and name.
Luar designer Raul Lopez shifted gears with his beautiful SS22 collection. After taking 2 years off the fashion grid, Lopez came back flourishing. With hard-edged and asymmetrical tailoring, zippers, boxy jackets, trousers and pleated half-kilts the collection was sharp.
The collection shows Lopez’s recalibrated label. The collection is laid-back yet sexy, flaunting androgynous looks and his Dominican heritage. And it looked effortless with oversized coats, crisp shirts tucked into comfy sweatpants and silk-satin ties. An oyster shell chandelier earrings dripping with crystals and mother-of-pearl shades were distinctive, alongside a tiny beige leather band across the chest.
Prabal Gurung combined class with vivid colours to create his signature SS22 looks. Working with classic silhouettes and bold patterns, Gurung’s timeless designs felt like a statement. The feminine and powerful looks paid respect to the designer’s outlook that more women should be in positions of power. He used florals and gingham prints with a range of textures including stretch fabrics and loose comfortable pieces to hug the models’ bodies to reflect the vulnerability and power of women.
“The collection reimagines canonical ideas of nationality, gender, and beauty through my lens of unabashed optimism and unadulterated hope, ” Prabal Gurung wrote in his show notes.
Altuzarra’s message and vision for this season are clear and forward-thinking. Designer Joseph Altuzarra shared at the event that “the entire narrative of my show is really about welcoming a new era and the idea of rebirth.” The collection boasted loose structures and flexible fabrics for comfort and movement. And long, oversized blazers and tie-dye dresses mixed everyday clothing with elegance.
Metallic colours, lace detailing, pleated skirts, and notable necklines embraced the power in feminine sensuality and dressing with confidence. Altuzarra has always aimed to make women feel good and confident, and the SS22 collection promised the same.
Cult favourite Khaite has been bringing back elegance and sexiness into fashion for some time. And this was only intensified in their SS22 show. Set in a low lit warehouse, with concrete flooring and hanging vines, Khaite effectively set the mood.
With looks of quilted satin, mesh, leather and cotton, designer Cate Holstein debuted illustrious New York and nightlife looks that we’ve been missing for some time. Sheer dresses, cream coats, Gigi Hadid and a series of pumps later, Khaite generously reinvented a classic look and runway show that was unparalleled in the Week.
There’s only one Tom Ford. From bright disco glam looks to music and vibe, Ford closed NYFW on a hymn of Hope. To the sound of Fifth Dimension singing “Let the Sunshine In”, Ford fused athleisure and sportswear with heels and glamour. The collection was very on-brand despite the lack of black tie looks. And the glitter makeup, neon colours and sequins broadcasted Ford’s readiness for post-pandemic life and going out.
“I think that this is a hopeful collection and at a moment when we all need hope. We need that now more than ever,” Tom Ford wrote in his show notes.
Peter Do was the name on everyone’s lips following his runway show. Do gave a hand-written note to every single one of his guests. He likened designing his new collection to being Vietnamese immigrants in Philadelphia, making Pho with his dad as a teen. Do wrote in the letter, “A good Pho is reduced and edited, to an essence. It is comforting and it feels like home… Welcome to our home.”
Set in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with the Manhattan Skyline across the water, Do’s debut was one of the most anticipated shows of Fashion Week. His minimalist style is made up of multi-pieced suits, pleats, lapels, coats and embroidery. Do used this to incorporate traditional Vietnamese style and was inspired by his grandmother’s church outfits. Peter Do also brought his whole team out for a bow, and there’s little doubt that this is just the beginning for the designer.
At just 25 years old, Designer Sintra Martins debuted her label at NYFW filled with chaotic looks. The show took place in a building called The Stranger in Hell’s Kitchen in Midtown Manhattan. Set as a fun-house rave the concrete foyer led to a fantasy world hidden behind orange velvet curtains. Carpeted with astroturf, the room was filled with lawn chairs, a waterfall and an animatronic elephant – among other features you’d likely see falling down a Wonderland rabbit-hole. And a DJ and disco ball set the party mood.
“The message is chaos, total chaos,” the designer Sintra Martins said of her spring 2022 Saint Sintra collection. Dubed as a garden on psychedelics, Sintra’s show stood out with her floor-length gowns, feathers, jewel tones, transparent crystal-rope cocktail dress and paste colours. And the radical optimism that Martins was going for was well-delivered.
BEYOND THE RUNWAY: STREET STYLE
If you’re like me, then NYFW is always a must-see and must-read-about event. But beyond the runways what makes Fashion Week the spectacle that it is, is the ethos of fashion-loving New Yorkers draped with trends and inspiration.
And a COVID-induced hiatus meant a grand return to New York’s coveted street style.
Photo Credit: ELLE
So another NYFW has come and gone again, pulling in the best and the brightest. And being nothing short of NYFW expectations, it’s no wonder they call it the Big Apple.
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