Designers We Love From NYFW RTW Fall 2019 - Part 2
The Proenza Schouler duo are in the midst of their own transformation. After a pair of shows in Paris, they returned home last season to a changed city. In terms of architecture, yes, but mostly regarding the landscape of the New York fashion industry. A new generation of designers is coming up, with off-the-grid approaches to sustainability, an inclusive take on casting, and the innate edginess that comes from inexperience. Proenza Schouler is the establishment now, and their re-entry—a low-key collection with an emphasis on acid wash denim—was a bit bumpy.
Their new collection for Fall got more right. The oversize tailoring they began experimenting with is now cut from smart Prince of Wales checks or buff-colored moleskin, a material that’s suddenly everywhere. Mannish proportions were softened by the deconstructed knits worn underneath the suits and the flashes of bare skin they exposed. Hernandez and McCollough also revived the pleated dress silhouette that’s been successful for them in the past. Here, they did it in compact knits with sash details below the bust. On the runway the sash was worn undone, striking a provocative note, and echoing the bra cup detailing that was their earliest signature, but without any of the girlish frills.
Wes Gordon is upending expectations at Carolina Herrera. There was once an orderly procession to this label’s runway shows: chic little day suits followed by cocktail dresses, then special-occasion ball gowns. At the New York Historical Society this morning, Look 1 was a floor-length trapeze dress in a sunny yellow and azure blue floral print. Gordon said the reordering was intentional, that he wanted something bold.
The billowing dress established the collection’s two dominant characteristics: its vibrant, almost electric palette—“happy colors,” he said—and its roomy volumes. Together, they painted a picture of youthful, unstructured ease. That attitude was accentuated by another of the show’s key silhouettes, a super-mini shift dress with swingy ’60s-ish proportions worn over bare legs. More surprising: an oversize anorak in coral and pink tech fabric that didn’t quite qualify as athleisure, but came close.
On the evening side of things, Gordon should push himself and explore dresses with more shape and structure. Nothing heavy, but at night, a woman often likes to show off her waist. Lineisy Montero’s charming one-shoulder tulle dress in pale pink and orange best exemplified Herrera past and Herrera future.
Michael Kors isn’t about to let the party pass him by. And why should he? He lived it. At a preview, he remembered tumbling out of Studio 54 way past dawn, grabbing breakfast at a diner, and heading straight to his job at boutique Lothar’s, where he washed the nightclub’s fake snow out of his hair in the bathroom sink. “New York was a pit, but we were dressed,” he said. “Optimism in the face of adversity, it’s the only way you can win.”
He isn’t the only designer who’s following the good times for Fall; the feathers and fake fur have really been flyiFng at the New York shows. Kors had both, in the form of colorful boas and an intarsia chevron coat. The collection was informed by his West 50s stomping grounds, with Studio 54 playing the lead role. Kors secured the rights to the logo, and he made plentiful use of it, embroidering it on a sequin T-shirt dress, splashing it across a full-length puffer, and printing silk blouses for both guys and girls, worn unbuttoned to the navel in both cases. Andrea True was on the soundtrack singing “More, More, More”—of course she was. Kors knows all the oldies, and he isn’t one to shy away from camp. But there were also subtle cashmere knits in the mix—minimalist nods to Lincoln Center’s ballerinas that balanced the maximalism elsewhere. And he brought the lithe athleticism of those knits to dresses in sequined matte jersey. Dance-floor ready whatever the decade.
Structure is the ultimate driver for Dion Lee. This season, he pared his formalism down to bare bones, using corsetry as a guiding principal. The opening corsets had a square neckline and long front, worn on their own with opera gloves or weaving in and out of shirting and blazers. From there Lee took the corset’s arches and placed them around the body, cutting knits in a collarbone swoop and building curved bralettes underneath sheer pieces. Towards the end of the show, fluid dresses and poet tops emerged with lace-up details, a nod to a corset’s lacing with a bit of romance.