Slept Through NYFW? Couture Evangelist Jordan Roth Is Here To Catch You Up

All images courtesy of Jordan Roth. 

Perhaps you’ve seen his avant-garde Met Gala looks, or one of his Tony Award-winning shows on Broadway. By now, theater producer Jordan Roth has cemented himself as a mainstay in New York's fashion ecosystem. Last week, he could be seen racing from the Whitney to the Brooklyn Navy Yard to Manhattan Plaza to sit courtside at (or walk in) New York Fashion Week runways. After a few days of well-deserved rest, the sartorial force of nature sat down with CULTURED to dish out his top takeaways from the city’s Spring/Summer 2024 offerings. 

Location, Location

"I’ve lived in New York most of my life, and yet, during every fashion week, a show takes me to a place in the city I’ve either never heard of or have always been curious about but never entered. This season, Jason Wu brought us to Noguchi's sunken garden, a masterful conflagration of architecture, sculpture, industry, and nature. LoveShackFancy brought us inside the former theological seminary in Chelsea that I used to walk by years ago, marveling at the oasis behind the gates."

Raining Lemonade

"Fashion shows are tight rope acts with no room for second chances. So, when it’s pouring rain, and your show is outside on an island in the middle of the East River, what do you do? If you’re Prabal Gurung and his intrepid team, you hand out chic clear umbrellas to all your guests. They soon realized that what might have caused ruin actually created magic. Magnificent models in divine clothes walking through the rain—glorious, glamorous, evocative. Often, beauty emerges the moment you throw away your expectations."

Floral Fantasy

"Flowers are a constant source of inspiration—in both fashion and life. This season, I especially loved spotting how and where they bloomed. Palomo Spain’s sensual and romantic collection, “Cruising in the Rose Garden,” gave us oversized metal roses on the ear, crystal roses embroidered on sheer fabric, and leather roses adorning handbags with dangling stems (which I will be carrying immediately!). Wes Gordon at Carolina Herrera always revels in floral joy and took the 'shoes and bag to match' concept to new heights with the same vibrant floral across dresses, heels, and clutches."

Perspective, Light, Shadow 

I always connect to the theatrical gestures designers use to create the experience of the clothes. I gasped when I walked into the darkened vastness of the Park Avenue Armory for Khaite, where each model was highlighted by a trail of moving light. Gabriela Hearst framed the beauty of her collection against the beauty of a decaying, empty warehouse by suspending a perfect white scrim box around us all. After the models at Carolina Herrera completed the rounds of the runway in the lobby of the Whitney Museum, they continued outside around the building, giving spectators a chance to enjoy the collection and show attendees a new perspective to see it through the windows. 

Narration Throwback

Before fashion shows rivaled rock concerts for their extraordinary production values, they used to be more intimate salon affairs with a host narrating the details of each look as the model passed by. The classic presentation made a comeback, first with Batsheva narrating her own brilliant collection inspired by a 1950s world of sock hops, homemaking, and couture volumes (I walked the floral bon-bon house dress with balloon cape and mega hair!). Then, Tanner Fletcher presented a narrated beauty pageant where the contestants displayed their individuality, creativity, and authenticity alongside the fabulous collection.