Day 2 got off to a rather more relaxed start than the first day of New York Fashion Week. This was due in part to the fact that my first show was at a leisurely 10am and within walking distance of where I’m staying (so no chance of subway confusion) but more because I had restrained from going to town on the free champagne doled out left, right and centre in celebration of Vogue’s Fashion Night Out and so felt fresh, rested and more than a little bit smug. After a slightly sweaty stroll across town (it is so bloody hot here!!) I arrived, Starbucks iced latte in hand, at the Kate Spade NY presentation.
There are almost no words to describe quite how much I loved this collection but I’ll try and rustle up a few anyway. Kate Spade’s playful, preppy style is always a winner with me and this season Creative Director Deborah Lloyd well and truly outdid herself offering up an array of ensembles so picture perfect prep-tastic they made my heart sing with joy.
Eye-popping brights, pretty pastels and vibrant prints were all thrown into the mix, coquettishly styled with pop socks and patent platform Mary Janes. Texture and detailing played an important role incorporating everything from lightweight summer tweed and crisp cottons to eye-watering appliqué and broderie anglaise. Silhouettes were kept classic, allowing for colour clashing and adorable embellishment to the max. Think rhinestone studded Peter Pan collars, marabou feathers and multiple ribbon bows… Blair Waldorf eat your heart out! The Kate Spade aesthetic is always deliciously, fun, frivolous and girly and I’m ecstatic to report that this season they certainly did not disappoint.
Next on the agenda was my first real biggie of New York Fashion Week, Jason Wu. Much like in London, most of the really mega shows are held off site. However unlike London, they’re generally also off schedule which rather confused me at first. Luckily I managed to get my head around this in time and so avoided missing out on tickets to the likes of Jason Wu, Alexander Wang and Phillip Lim which I’m sure you’ll agree would have been a fate worse than death! When I’ve done “wish I was there” NYFW posts in the past, Jason Wu has featured religiously so to actually attend his show was beyond thrilling for me. St Johns Centre had been given a monochrome makeover with checkered floor tiles and ornate jet black chairs, providing the perfect setting for a crowd that included some of fashion’s most revered names. Once again, I couldn’t have cared less about the rudimentary half-hour-plus late start thanks to the excellent people watching opportunity it afforded me. Everyone from uber bloggers Elin Kling, Bryan Boy and Rumi Neely to Anna Dello Russo and Anna Wintour were in attendence, resplendent on the FROW in what I suspect may have been new season Prada. Leather and lace aren’t usually words you’d associate with Jason Wu but this season her served them up in spades. Drawing inspiration from Helmut Newton’s provocative imagery the designer gave his signature uptown elegance a femme fatal twist by way of studded belts, grosgrain harnesses and sheer panelling on everything from corsetry to blazers. Strict silhouettes, sharp tailoring and a restrained palette of black, white, navy and nude with just a few glimpses of Jason’s trademark pink were combined with ethereal, chiffon numbers – a reference to the dreamlike photography of Lillian Bassman – marrying two contradictory styles beautifully . All in all, the show was a masterclass in high fashion seduction culminating in a spectacular, bedazzled chiffon finale.
I left the Jason Wu show exhilerated and for neither the first or last time, rather moved. It was the kind of experience that reminds me why we all bust a gut and spend a fortune in the name of fashion and suddenly my feet weren’t quite so painful… For five minutes or so anyway. But there was no time to reflect on the morning’s sheer fabulousness as next on my agenda was Rebecca Minkoff, back uptown at Lincoln Centre. The show opened with a live performance from indie band, Tennis, which paved the way for a collection that exuded effortless chic. Plaids, punchy ikat prints and pops of pastel were given a tomboy twist with sporty touches and mannish silhouettes while mesh leather clutches reinforced the casual, athletic inspired vibe. Utility is evidently going to be the buzzword of the season and it cropped up again at Rebecca Minkoff by way of jumpsuits, zip detailing, drawstring waistbands and dungarees. Casual, wearable yet still fashion forward, all in all another New York Fashion Week hit.
Three shows down and my day wasn’t even close to coming to an end! Not that I’m complaining of course, as you may have gathered, I’m pretty much having the best time ever. After a quick trip to Starbucks followed by an hour or so’s mingling at the Mercedez Benz ‘Fit for Fashion’ event with Joan Smalls, I headed back downtown for the Helmut Lang show. A minimal, warehouse esque space complete with exposed beams, whitewashed walls and metal benches provided the perfect setting for a show that oozed edgy, urban cool. From the FROW – uber bloggers, editors and strictly NO b-list celebs – to the models – Kasia Strauss, Daria Werbovy etc – to the collection itself, every aspect of the Helmut Lang experience was achingly hip. But while design duo Nicole and Michael Colovos’s latest offerings displayed the asymmetric drapery, lashings of leather and mannish edge for which they’ve become known, this season saw a departure from their usual palette of predominantly neutrals and black. Bursts of neon cropped up on sheer panelled dresses and ultra luxe reversible leather jackets. They also teamed up with artist and tattoist Thomas Hooper to create an array of bold red and blue jacquard prints.
Last but not least, I headed to NYFW’s downtown venue, Milk Studios for Suno. Having been show-going for over ten hours by this point I was starting to feel pretty weary but soon perked up at the sight of Solange Knowles, Garance Dore and Anna Dello Russo in a bling-encrusted, barely there number. Suno is a major fashion editor favourite and having got a good look at their latest collection it’s certainly not hard to see why. Designers Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis delivered a masterful mash-up of shades, textures and influences with plenty of the bold pattern clashing that drives the fash pack wild. Vibrant prints, flared hems and a kaleidescopic colour palette had a modern and, dare I say it AGAIN, utilitarian edge thanks to layering, sculptural shirting and slicked back ‘do’s. Much as I appreciated the sheer chicness of the whole boy/girl proportion playing vibe, I really lost my heart to the exquisite floral numbers at the end.
I think it’s safe to say that everyone was in pretty high spirits after the Suno show and we tottered en masse to The Standard Hotel for Jason Wu’s aftershow party. Several extremely fabulous hours and countless (equally fabulous) cocktails later I headed for home, ready to do it all again the next day.
Love Ella. X