New York Fashion Week Fall 2015: Day Five
Carolina Herrera: Wave Form
“Making waves” said Carolina Herrera backstage after a graceful and refined show where the movement of water was translated into the language of clothes.
There was something mesmerising about patterns of sea swell and waves, whether they appeared in swooshes on a long gown or simply on daywear. One would have the effect of light on water, the other a wave reduced to a thin white line.
Carolina’s style is always a classy glamour, which does not change much with the seasons. But the Winter 2015 outfits were treated with techno droplets or photo prints of the swelling sea. The balance of cream, black and white with a touch of hotter colour was well done.
If the Herrera sophistication is exceptional, so, too, is her current concept of modernising it with digital explorations. The show could have been more tightly edited, but it had enough edge, with its flat shoes and twenty-first century printing, to seem modern.
Thom Browne: Back to Black
Only when I looked into the intense, decorative darkness of Thom Browne’s collection, did I realise how relatively little black we have seen at New York Fall/Winter 2015.
With colour – especially the favoured 1970s orange – brightening up the season, Thom Browne’s success was remarkable.
His women were, of course, dying for the black widow look: faces veiled, a hat whooshed up like a sailboat, the clothes tailored to perfection.
In what was initially a medical scenario, the set built of circular wooden pens featured two white-clad hospital figures apparently ministering to a sick patient, while a parade of women paid homage.
This ‘hospital’ scene seemed a familiar focus for Browne, though he soon switched to the hospital visitors, whose black ‘mourning’ clothes were densely decorated and often elaborate.
“I wanted it to be romantic – and with the one colour, it needed so much texture to give it light,” said the designer, whose varieties of embellishment within a firm framework were powerful. Two examples were a coat’s shearling collar and cuffs, or chiffon and a tie at the neck.
The intense attention to detail on graceful clothes with a Victorian feel showed Browne at his darkly imaginative best. And it also raised the question: why do so many collections seem literally as well as metaphorically lightweight?
The Row: A Feeling for Now
First there was the clear view through the windows, looking over an ice-blue sky and the Manhattan cityscape.
Rag & Bone: Mixing It Up
A silken slip as if from a boudoir worn with a sporty nylon jacket – all sorts of intrigue could be imagined with the eclectic combinations at Rag & Bone.
Mixing high-tech fabrics with soft lingerie material was an intriguing move from designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright, especially as the colour combinations were also unexpected.
With a nod to a Seventies-meets-Nineties look, mustard and full-on orange were melded with bright navy or shiny black.
It was the casual attitude that gave this collection its energy. Whether the concept was bringing together soft indoor pieces with harder outerwear, or just a casual, modern way of layering, the Rag & Bone show had a sexual charge.
I was reminded of the Nineties, and John Galliano’s celebration of undress, mixed with the nylon bombers of the hip-hop generation. It made for a cool combo.
Donna Karan: Fit for Purpose
“I have always wanted to empower women,” said Donna Karan of her architectural collection, which followed the female bodyline – with a drape here and there to break the geometry.
Louise worked at Donna Karan from 1997-2002, and helped define the spirit of the brand.
“Power and Poetry” was the title of the Autumn 2015 collection, and it explained the gentle face-off between strict tailoring and soft fabrics.
Against the backdrop of New York at night, the clothes were streamlined, rich in texture, often with a softening drape at the waist.
Fabric was key, with fur or an artisinal weave softening the tailoring that was the show’s bedrock.
The sleek look broke into a gentler evening style, with legs lightly veiled in chiffon. And this Donna Karan show seemed purposeful and to the point, while previously the brand had meandered.