Womenswear at New York Fashion Week ’19 evoked sex and ethereality, grunge and costume wear. Casting was a queue of downtown Manhattan’s It girls, and there was an overwhelming sense of both sustainability and fresh innovation, as designers opted to create with deconstructed materials and even skip out on Fashion Week’s rigid schedule entirely. Here are a few of our favorites.
In a turn of events, Uggs have rejoined the fashion world as Zoe Latta and Mike Eckhaus paired their eponymous line with the Australian shearling-lined mules and boots last week in a dimly lit Bushwick warehouse. Dark suiting and colorful knits were worn by, again, Elsesser and Gordon. The collection featured gaping holes over belly buttons and varying tie-dye prints.
Following sundown on the east side on Monday night, Esther Gauntlett and Jenny Cheng’s signature craft of knitwear and custom woven fabrics swung down the runway at the Sanctuary at St. Mark’s Church-In-The-Bowery. The duo presented their tenth collection, Bye Bye, marking their last traditional Fall/Winter looks. After reflecting on the intensely fast paced industry, the label will only show once a year beginning in 2020, in an initiative for sustainability. Bye Bye featured sentimental prints with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and sex appeal. The designers noted the collection was meant to feel “like stepping into the wardrobe of your mother, older sister, or cool aunt, and trying to visualize yourself in a world slightly bigger than your own, while still dragging your baby blanket, your dirty boots, or your shrunken sweater with you.”
Puppets and Puppets
Keeping in trend with Fashion Week moving downtown in all respects—location, style inspiration, front row guests—artist Carly Mark and her former studio assistant Ayla Argentina debuted their line to an intimate gathering of friends and artists. The collection fused theatre, art, and fashion in silhouettes that mirrored harlequin costumes while channeling handmade DIY grunge. The artists intended to create a line that resisted the mass production and consumption that has enveloped the fashion world by focusing on the small details of handmade pieces.
“We wear our moods and we wrap fabric around our emotions; when we can no longer speak, our clothing can fill the gaps and reveal or conceal our inner worlds. Perhaps above all, clothes can help us navigate our inner contradictions and allow the heavens and hells inside us coexist,” Prisca Vera Franchetti noted in her press release for this season’s collection. A departure from the designer’s silk and sportswear-style pieces, Franchetti debuted Italian knitwear and bright orange puffers in a combination of heaven-and-hell-inspired contradictions. The final look, a sheer white floor-length gown, left onlookers quiet, in awe of the designer’s ability to evoke such varying emotion in one collection.
Rafaella Hanley’s Lou Dallas has, since its resurgence in 2017, made a craft of combining fine art and fashion from mixed textiles and ethereal palettes. Her FW19 collection, Unlimited Night, was everything she’s coined as “Lou” and more. The shift from pastels into deep jewel tones and knits were a beautiful departure this past Tuesday at The Park in Chelsea. Hanley gave a dark and elegant description of the collection: “Lou Dallas wakes up to find herself on horseback in the thick of a parade. Where are we going? she wants to ask her fellow travelers, but they are humming and don’t seem to see her. Their ceremonial repetitions get wilder; their motions more hypnotizing. Lou relaxes her gaze to drink it all in, only to lose her balance and find herself in the muddied hand of the tropical floor.” Closing Fashion Week with her visionary designs, Hanley has all of us almost ready for the cold weather.
Marked the new downtown cool kid, Sandy Liang presented her collection at a packed Canal Street pop-up space last week. Casting recognizable artist-model polymaths, the Parsons graduate who mixes cozy athletic wear with hyper-feminine details had all her guests on their toes, literally, trying to see the next look coming down the cement runway. Lumia Nocito, Richie Shazam, and Yulu Serao donned camo fleeces with neon lining and asymmetrical tulle dresses with Liang’s signature flower embroidery. Liang has always created beautifully wearable fashion wholly inspired by her Chinatown surroundings, and this collection marked some of the best of it.
Kim Shui debuted her first collection at NYFW only two years ago, and has already dressed the likes of Solange Knowles, Olivia Palermo, and Cardi B. This season’s collection was a continuation of Shui’s multicultural approach to boundary-breaking silhouettes and textiles. Models donned the designer’s signature Mandarin collars and deconstructed tie-dye pieces. An ode to femininity and the female body, Shui explored the boundaries of risqué in fashion with high slits and plunging neck lines.
Maryam Nassir Zadeh
Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s shows always feature a collection of New York cool girls and this season was no exception. Coco Gordon and Hailey Benton Gates were joined by Paloma Elsesser and Lili Sumner as they walked the runway donning cheetah and zebra-print knee-high boots, fringe sweatshirts, and bright reconstructed tie-dye pieces by Sophie Andes-Carson and Claire McKinney. The show took place in a cozy East Village furniture showroom and was soundtracked by the live experimental workings of Lizzi Bougatsos and Brian DeGraw. A dreamy collection in a dreamy landscape, Zadeh’s show was an inspiring, premonitory peek at fall 2019 trends.