As September rolls around each year, we have the privilege of not only witnessing but feeling the energetic buzz that is New York Fashion Week. This cultural pulse of the concrete jungle is translated into the runway with inspiring visions. Ultimately, NYFW 2023 has been nothing short of impressive, with designers offering plenty, here are some of the best shows of the week.
Barragán returns to NYFW with his spring 2023 presentation, ‘9/11’. The designer mediates the energy of “business as usual” and the excesses of “whiteness”. Corporate diversity in America is heavily criticised, Barragán using only white models, to “subvert what is expected from a person of colour,” he said.
The space, held downtown in the West Village is presented as an underground warehouse rave, a cultural niche. Barragán reimagines the festival scene, evoking a Woodstock ’99 wasteland. With an intent to situate in chaos, trash is everywhere littered amongst fake dollar bills. Models make their exit through a porta-potty door, walls are painted with graffiti, a sprayed touch that is provoking.
Elements of the set also translate into the fabrics of the show, cue the money tape mini dress paired with duct tape strappy heels.The tape becomes a recurring motif, manifesting around thighs, slinging an arm, wrapped over his signature toe brogues and styled with a corset coupled with matching handwear, fusing a coke can to the hand, convenience at its finest, right?
Slogan work this season was on point and translates the weight of Barragán’s commentary. Graphic tees and belt plaques bore phrases like “canceled twice” and “white tears” to a “j’adore your hole” camo hoodie.
The comedious melting pot of cultural references that is Barragán’s work is something you have to get in order to enjoy to the fullest. As they say, if you know you know!
A vacant floor in a Hudson Yards building with a stupendous view of the city’s panoramic skyline sets the scene for ultrasexuality and urban elegance. Australian, New York based designer Dion Lee’s genderless presentations embrace extreme gaping cut-outs exposing not only skin but strength alongside unsheathed nipples and chainmail handbags.
Bordering between day and night, the knits, cargos, and knee-high boots feel both rave-ready yet casual enough to flaunt during the day. Micro-mini skirts, dresses and Moto-style industrial leathers accomodate an evening agenda, perfect for the Club Kids.
The notion of biomimicry becomes Lee’s muse, the term describing the way in which humans look toward nature when searching for the answers to the world’s most complex problems. Naming the collection after the term, Biomimicry became the ultimate act of sexy cut-out minimalism perhaps inherited from Helmut lang.
“I like to place things on the body in a way that relates to the structure of our form,” Lee said backstage.
Most notably, innovation found itself in the form of the designer’s monstera leaf signature code which underscored the collection. Manifesting both subtly and more overtly as full-length foldover open-toe calf boots, fitted trousers and cropped jackets carved with neat holes at the waist to the eye-catching green leaf dress.
It attempts to fuse the club scene with sportswear; in what can be read as a nod to Sydney’s surf culture. The collection also offers a scuba capsule. The black, head-to-toe neoprene wetsuit can easily be worn for a rave or for a dip at Bondi Beach.
Dion Lee SS23 was a fine display of cut outs and tailoring, expressing an inherent feminine desire to dance the night away draped in a mini dress underneath an oversized leather jacket, to feel sexy, to be alluring.
Moreover, the collection urges us to operate organically through life without distinction – whether at the grocery store or on the dance floor.
Named as New York City’s final boss by Interview Mag, Luar was a definite highlight of New York Fashion week so far.
The show, titled “La Alta Gama” draws inspiration from childhood family gatherings whilst growing up in a Dominican family in Brooklyn. Show notes say whilst sitting on the couch, Raúl Lopez would observe his relatives arrive in nylon tech jackets, fashioning their finest underneath.
The show was alive, attention to detail was incredulous. From rhinestone dripped waist dresses and an Oxford shirt detailed with leather piping to exaggerated balloon sleeves spotlighting a bold shoulder with rounded edges coupled with champagne gloves and white-fringed sunglasses.
“The bold shoulder was actually an expression of myself. […] wanted to kind of give a ’80s and ’90s with the show, but the [silhouette] was me expressing how I had the weight of the world on my shoulders being just like, a really super-fun, high-pitch gay boy hiding in the closet,” Lopez said backstage after the show.
We are also seeing new silhouettes and styles in the form of accessories. From a series of beige, black and toffee tone mules to the coveted Ana bag in a weekender proportion. Also, there an ink smudge and cow pattern colourway. My personal favourite – the shades decorated with enlarged clouding plumes.
Inner confidence with a perceptible bravado radiated off the models as they posed in front of mirrors on the runway. It was obvious, they were feeling themselves.
“I have premium trash taste. Taste is very specific. If you have it, if you don’t you dont. You can’t really buy it,” Lopez said in an interview.
For Fendi, NYFW 2023 hosts the birthday celebration of fashions it-bag. Born 25 years ago the Baguette epitomises creative sophistication. Designer Silvia Venturini Fendi joined forces with Kim Jones, Marc Jacobs, Tiffany & Co, Sarah Jessica Parker, Carrie Bradshaw and Porter to offer their tribute.
As Kim Jones pulled down the huge curtain at the Hammerstein Ballroom, the show commenced. And yes – Baguettes were in abundance in a myriad of interpretations. Inbuilt as pockets of hats, socks, cargo skirts and tops or affixed to hand warmers; the Baguette design is truly champion this season.
“It’s not a bag, it’s a Baguette!” some will remember Carrie remarking, Sex and the City is what popularized the bag after all! Amongst the literal, there was an evident homage to the era of the bags conception. Satin, glossy, sequins and leather textiles, synonymous with the late nineties, forming layers atop one another.
Marc Jacobs is the designer behind 10 of the 54 looks. These looks exaggerate proportions, couture styles realised in parachute skirts, enlarged recycled fur hats, and opera capes.
Tiffany & Co’s take sees the reimaging of the Baguette as enamel, white, gold, silver and diamond encrusted renditions. One Baguette is handcrafted entirely out of sterling silver taking around four months to make. The astonishing bag, walking the runway with none other than Linda Evangelista. And the show itself marks her awe-inspiring runway return after 15 years. Meanwhile, Japanese label Porter’s offers a masculine version of the Baguette, a true display of utility.
It seems Fendi has won NYFW on the very first day. The city’s most notable names, uniting as a tribute to New York itself. That’s where it all began.
Subscribe to FIB’s Weekly Breaking News Report for your weekly dose of music, fashion and pop culture news!