By KELLY EMMRICH
New York Fashion Week is a magical nine-day affair filled with private cars, healthy granola bars, high heels and, of course, the fashion. It is basically Gossip Girl condensed into one week. Past seasons have focused on the expected floral prints and soft fabrics like cotton and chiffon.
This season, however, designers are taking cues from the 80s with flash-dance off the shoulder looks, trench coats, the asymmetrical cold shoulder and updated robes.
Designer Han Chong, for Self-Portrait has mad designing skills when it comes to lace. He was behind the lace dress that has been dominating every white party and summer soiree.
In this latest collection, he has taken the off the shoulder look, a look that has been popular this past summer, and upgraded it for a more modest approach. Chong sticks to his guns using delicate lace fabric. He also created even more modest dresses and tops with only a peekaboo arm slit showing.
Tibi, designed by Amy Smilovic, reinvented the trench coat with softer fabrics and wider buckles. She also incorporated several Edwardian elements such as the bishop sleeve and an emphasis on the shoulders. Which are elements that were also prevalent in the 1980s.
When asked in a Women's Wear Daily interview for the inspiration behind the collection backstage, Smilovic said, “A little bit of Edwardian proportions. Strong color. Finding a way to do corsetry and big shoulders and everything in a way that’s very eased out and modern and not costume-y. The way that you want to wear it.” Smilovic definitely succeeded.
The fashion world has been waiting for a stand out collection like this from Creatures of the Wind designers, Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters. After runways filled with their citch, crafty designs it was time for a more cohesive and balanced collection.
Styled with makeup inspired by PJ Harvey and hair loosely based on Lydia Lunch, the looks all had a retro feel. Like Tibi, Creatures of the Wind featured a long khaki cotton twill jacket with workwear details. They also had several other nods to the 80s and 50s with drop waist dresses and pencil skirts galore.
Zimmermann’s designer, Nicky Zimmermann created a personal collection that was reminiscent of her childhood in the suburbs of Sydney. She and her friends would drive into the city every weekend and make their own outfits. This DIY indifference of the collection sprung from that memory.
What that morphed into on the runway was clothing with ruffles, polished lace dresses, tulle, prints and overwhelming detail. A Zimmermann trademark is the level of detail that is prevalent in every collection. She manages to make all of her designs look expensive while marketing them at a low price.
Nicky Zimmermann mentioned that the overall feel of the collection was also “kind of sexy pirate,” a descriptor that must have sprung from the “romanticism” of her youthful memories. More commercial brand, Lacoste, brings in the sporty chic robe.
Their collection was filled with jumpsuits with wide belts, a bold yellow strapless tea length dress, and, of course, the onslaught of hooded robes. Worn by both male and female models, the robe has a sporty outerwear vibe. I know I will be looking into buying one.
So far, this year’s New York Fashion Week has been a season of reinvention, and I will be looking forward to wearing the clothes, if I can afford it, and pulling inspiration from these collections as soon as they hit the market in the spring.