As I’ve said pretty much each season, the end of fashion week always brings mixed feelings. This was amplified at the end of New York Fashion Week. On the one hand, I’d had THE best time, fallen in love with the city that never sleeps and had no real desire to leave anytime soon. On the other, I was utterly exhausted, craving a salmon supreme sushi box (for some unfathomable reason they don’t have itsu in NYC… yet) and my feet seemed to have turned into one giant blister. Of course, the second I touched down in English soil it would be time to start gearing up for the London leg of fashion month, but I was trying very hard not to think about that yet.
Shoes & Belt: Topshop
Bag: Anya Hindmarch
Image by Sophia Tragash
My first port of call was Lincoln Centre for a designer who’s collections always delight me, Nanette Lepore. I arrived late after another subway related debacle – attempted to walk the whole way across town, gave up half way and got the train… the wrong train – but luckily I took my seat in time to check out the fash-tastic FROW which included Marie Claire Accessories Editor, Kyle Anderson, America’s Next Top Model judge Jay Manuel and the unbelievably stylish Senior Fashion Market Editor of Harpers Bazaar, Joanna Hillman.
But I didn’t have much time to ogle Joanna’s insanely elegant day 7 ensemble and soon the lights went up to reveal New York band, Brazilian Girls by the entrance to the catwalk. Their eclectic, tango inspired beats got us all back in the mood for the holidays and provided the perfect accompaniement for a collection that exuded playful, summer chic. I’m a sucker for Nanette’s colourful, feminine style and she certainly delivered that day. The designer’s latest offerings encompassed everything from full-skirted garden party dresses to neatly tailored brunching-in-the-city separates, patterned playsuits and of course, the flirty cocktail numbers we all know and love. A myriad of punchy prints in tropical hues and acid brights were all brought into the mix, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who wondered why I never before realised gingham and florals went so well. Crisp cottons, flowing silks, lace panelling and broderie anglaise were given a hint of athleticism by way of mesh inserts, luxe track-style pants and bomber jackets thrown over girly dresses. All in all, Nanette Lepore got my final day of NYFW off to a flying start with a show that conjured up images of dancing on Rio beaches, summering in the Hamptons and strolling in Central Park all at once.
If there was one thing I could have changed about my New York Fashion Week experience it would have been to somehow procure a driver. The shows are all back to back, usually in vastly different locations and unoccupied cabs can be extremely hard to find, especially downtown. Plus there’s the whole 30 degree heat situation which, when attempting to run around in high heels and maybe even take the dreaded subway, can reduce even the most collected fashion week-er to a sweaty mess. On this occasion however, I managed to find a cab within seconds and we made for the Plaza Hotel where Alberta Ferretti was holding her Philosophy show. The majestic Oak Room oozed old school, uptown opulence, an aesthetic echoed by Alberta’s collection. Many designers chose to experiment with masculine/feminine contrasts this season but I thought the Italian fashion doyenne did it particularly well. Slinky silk pencil skirts, bustiers, tailored suiting and strapless micro dresses were made up in an array of necktie silks, inspired by Ferretti’s visit to legendary necktie silk producers, Canepa. Pintripes and polkadots in shades of pistacio, lilac, blue, cream and rich shades of pink were combined to create exquisitely polished ensembles complete with matching footwear. Of course there still had to be a few real show stoppers which came in the form of shimmering, metallic brocade concoctions that felt both regal and fresh.
Much as I’d have loved to stick around and maybe help myself to a glass of champagne or two, I had approximately 10 minutes to get back to Lincoln Centre for show number three. Many people are sceptical about celebrities who turn their hand to design but you only have to look as labels such as The Row (their £25,000 aligator back pack SOLD OUT in days on Net-a-Porter) and British Fashion Award winner, Victoria Beckham to know that such snap judgements are often foolish. Well, love her or loathe her you can’t deny that if anyone really knows the business of fashion, it’s definitely Rachel Zoe. The stylist-turned-designer delivered an impressive performance this season with a collection that combined city-ready tailoring with her signature California cool. Elegant monochrome looks, simple blazers and sweet shorts suits in rich earthy hues were intermixed with draped, jewel toned numbers, embellished cocktail dresses and, my personal favourite, jazzy polkadot trouser suits. A couple of slouchy, off-the shoulder looks were reminiscent of the LA style Rachel pioneered a few years back but overall the message was clear – boho’s got to go.
All at once it was time for my final New York show. Luckily Milly is always guaruanteed to be worth seeing so sad though I was to be leaving, at least I knew it would be on a high. As a die-hard lover of all things preppy, I was a little disappointed to see that designer Michelle Smith had decided to do sports luxe. But, much as I bemoaned the lack of boucle jackets and bows, I had to admit that she did the athletic look extremely well. Neoprene dresses, hooded bomber jackets, racer backs and zip-detailed scuba dresses were given a girly twist by way of flared skirts, slinky metallics and shades of lime green, coral and neon pink. Even I had to admit that the mesh knit sweatshirts were extremely covetable and the presence of svelte silhouettes, cute clutches technicolour florals reassured my that Michelle won’t be swapping her stilettos for trainers anytime soon.
Love Ella. X