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IMG New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016 Collections

That’s Entertainment!

- by Marilyn Kirschner

Past articles:

Fall/Winter 2015.html
Spring/Summer2015 Report
Fall/Winter 2014 Report
Spring/Summer2014 Report
Fall/Winter2013 Report
Spring/Summer2013 Report
Fall/Winter2012 Report
Spring/Summer2012 Report
Fall/Winter 2011 Report
Spring/Summer 2011 Report
Fall/Winter 2010 Report
Spring/Summer 2010 Report
Fall/Winter 2009 Report
Spring/Summer 2009 Report
Fall/Winter 2008 Report
Spring/Summer 2008 Report
Fall/Winter 2007 Report
Spring/Summer 2007 Report
Fall/Winter 2006 Report
Spring/Summer 2006 Report
Bernadine Morris "Ten Best Looks" of the Spring 2006 Season
Fall/Winter 2005 Report
Bernadine Morris's "10 Best Looks" of the Fall 2005 Season
Sprijng/Summer 2005 Report
Bernadine Morris's "10 Best Looks" of the Spring 2005 Season
Fall/Winter 2004 Report
Bernadine Morris's "10 Best Looks" of the Fall 2004 Season
Spring/Summer 2004 Report
Bernadine Morris's "10 Best Looks" of the Spring 2004 Season

Fall/Winter 2003 Report
Spring/Summer 2003 Report

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On Monday, September 21st, WWD’s headline read, “NY Fashion Week: A Strong Season but Few Must-Have Trends” and the attending article included quotes from industry big wigs who weighed in on the subject; Linda Fargo was one who as senior vice president of fashion office and store presentation at Bergdorf Goodman, felt that “Spring 2016 wasn’t an overall game changer”. Indeed, it’s hard not to notice that the ongoing ‘trend’ has increasingly been the irrelevance or absence of trends. I just love it (NOT!) when so called ‘style’ experts who appear on television, decree that one thing or other is “on trend this season”. I mean really, is there ever a time when luxe boho, snakeskin, black and white, yellow, stripes, nautical, florals, fringe, culottes, gold, leopard, shearling, denim, or whatever else it may be, are NOT in style, and ‘out’? What’s good is good, after all!

That being said, fashion is nothing if not cyclical and fickle and while there are bound to be recurring themes that seemingly come into play (as there were this season), there will also be the contradictory and obligatory flip sides of the coin. Notwithstanding all the recent focus on gender bending, genderless, or tomboyish fashion, and a glorification of that which is utilitarian, streetwise, sporty, and athletic (all of which pretty much sum up Alexander Wang’s 10th anniversary collection held at Pier 94), this was undeniably an alluringly romantic, feminine season.1

And there was a hard to miss Spanish/Latin flavor 2 3, which permeated (sometimes it was less obvious and more subtle than other times) 4. Thus, the use of red and black; espadrilles 5 both flat and heeled 6; decorative hand embroidery; pom poms; tassels; flamingo worthy ruffles; crochet open work; and lace 7, a fabric which showed up almost all over in dizzying variety ( the Mulleavy sisters even encased the models’ legs in black lace tights at Rodarte). 8 How coincidental, considering that NYFW kicked off with the Museum at FIT’s Couture Council Artistry in Fashion Award luncheon in honor of Spanish born shoe wizard Manolo Blahnik, one week after it ended, Pope Francis, the first Latin born Pope, made his historic first trip to the U.S., and we’re in the middle of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th through October 15th) which celebrates and acknowledges the heritage, culture, and contributions made by Hispanic and Latino Americans.

Then there were all the lingerie inspired designs: clothes that looked as though they literally came right out of the boudoir (lace optional). Nowhere was this more convincing than at Givenchy 9 and Calvin Klein 10 where hard and soft, and masculine and feminine were played against one another thanks to the effective juxtaposition of menswear trousers, sturdy, slouchy tuxedos, blazers, trench coats (and in the case of Calvin Klein, the employment of sporty rubber soled footwear). This helped keep things grounded, modern, and not quite so delicate.

There were florals (they never seem to disappear), stripes, geometric graphics, and photo prints, as well as solids. Braids (including those that were vertical) have made somewhat of a comeback (was Thom Browne inspired by Instagram sensation The Fat Jew as his inspiration?) 11 12 Black satin and velvet bows and ribbons were statement making at both Oscar de la Renta and Proenza Schouler among others 13. FYI, a quick and easy way to decorate a dress or a blouse is to simply go to a notion store such as MJ Trim and buy a yard or two of ribbon in varying widths, and use as you wish.

Shirtdresses, pleats, and dressmaker details abounded; knitwear was especially strong; and pants came in dizzying variety in terms of length, width, shape. There were narrow stovepipes; jogging inspired incarnations; some that were high waisted, full through the hip and pegged at the ankle 14; mannish trousers; and those that were wide legged and floor sweeping 15. Speaking of which, this new voluminous silhouette was not only seen on the runways, but off, as captured by Bill Cunningham in his On the Street column which ran on the Sunday following the end of NYFW. Quite frankly, about the only way pants look old right now, is in the form of skintight sausage casing skinny jeans.

What else looks old and passe? To me there is just nothing worse than seeing a woman unable to walk in her sky high heels. I saw plenty of women (including some top editors who I won’t name); who were literally bent over as a result of their unwieldly shoes. With all the fabulous alternative footwear choices these days: sneakers, rubber soled slip ons and sandals, interesting flats, and mid heels (which designers often paired with evening wear as to make it less precious and less formal) there is simply NO excuse. And in case you haven’t noticed, the mid heel 16 HAS really made a comeback, (but then so has the platform sandal which looks cool regardless of the fact it may not be the easiest thing to walk in) 17.

FYI, the best dressed show attendees in my opinion, were those who looked easy, effortless, natural, and comfortable: comfortable (figuratively), in their own skin, and comfortable (literally), because they could actually walk in the shoes they were wearing, and moved quickly and gracefully. This unforced sense of ease was one of the hallmarks of this season as silhouettes and shapes loosened up, and the emphasis was placed on longer lengths, all of which imparted a modern elegance. It’s not about wearing ultra-tight, short, body revealing clothes or being sexy in an obvious way. Quite the opposite. As Carolina Herrera opined, it’s far more seductive to leave something to the imagination.

As for color, needless to say, everything goes. There was black (which undeniably looks best, and less funeral, when the shape is interesting and/or the fabrics are rich, and textures are varied), white, black and white, black and red, greens, tans, soft pastels, and pinks (all shades from the palest to the most vibrant). And there were also joyous bursts of color, as exemplified by Marc Jacobs, who 18 ended the week with a high octane, razzle dazzle glam rock ode to Americana, which could not have been further removed from minimalism. Held at the iconic Ziegfeld Theatre, it was one of the week’s few true fashion moments, along with the Givenchy show held at Pier 26 on 9/11, in full view of One World Trade and the twin beams of light which shone as a tribute 19 . These were also the most theatrical, which is rather fitting given the fact that NYFW is under the guise of IMG, which was acquired in 2014 by WME, the world’s leading entertainment agency. Each one set the bar high for other designers, who, if they so desire, will now face the daunting challenge of seeking out the most interesting, relevant, meaningful, or perhaps iconic venues in town.

And speaking of making a statement through choice of venue (or at the very least, striving to ‘match’ the theme or vibe of the show with the space), DKNY, (in its debut under the tutelage of two new designers) apparently wanted to emphasize the label’s gritty New York/urban roots in their selection of an unused underground tunnel beneath 1 World Trade which will eventually take commuters from the PATH station across West Street to Brookfield Place. Pamella Roland, who cited Frank Stella as inspiration, showed at the new Whitney; and Carolina Herrera, who has long been inspired by art, showed at the Frick Museum, which was a first. And Peter Copping finally abandoned the 42nd street Oscar de la Renta showroom in favor of a ground floor hotel ballroom space. Who needs to worry about getting stuck in an elevator in the middle of fashion week?

Of course, you can never beat Thom Browne 20 in terms of sheer staging and theatricality, regardless of where his show takes place, and this time around, he did not disappoint. For the record, he showed his collection, which put an emphasis on precise tailoring, construction, and couture like surface interest (the overall theme was Japanese schoolgirls), at Skylight Modern on 27th Street between 10th and 11th avenues. It’s a space that is completely underused in my opinion given its close proximity to Skylight Moynihan Station on West 33rd street, which along with the downtown Skylight Clarkson Square, were the two ‘centralized’ locations.

While in general, the two aforementioned ‘centralized’ locations were admittedly sterile if not completely lacking in ambience or mood, they worked well enough, and security was especially tight which meant no gate crashers. From a logistics point of view, it would certainly help if more designers would at the very least, try to find a space somewhat close by, which would facilitate getting to and from each show. Of course, we know that will never happen. One just has to make peace with the fact that one person cannot possibly cover everything and choices have to be made. It will always be a case of deciding which show is the more important one to see.

Finally, as a New Yorker born and bred, I always marvel at how often I feel like a visitor in my own city. I was not that familiar with west 33rd street (in close proximity to both Madison Square Garden and the Post Office), but was actually pleasantly surprised to find a pedestrian plaza on 33rd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues where people could sit and relax on graduated bleachers. During NYFW, an enormous screen was erected, which continually replayed runway shows that had taken place during the week (I actually got to see a few which I hadn’t originally seen). And no, this area will never replace Lincoln Center in terms of great restaurants and food choices, but on the East plaza off One Penn Plaza, between 33rd and 34th Streets, I stumbled upon Urbanspace/Penn Plates 21, an alfresco dining experience complete with round tables and umbrellas. Billed as a “well curated and diverse food program from buzz worthy chefs and food entrepreneurs”, it was admittedly, not your ‘garden’ variety street vendor fare. There were stations which offered everything from sushi and paella to tacos, arepas, Turkish salads, baklava, and burgers. Best of all, as I headed west on 33rd Street, I stumbled upon a relatively new addition to the city: Lobstercraft ( Located at 1 Penn Plaza, it originated in Connecticut, and has the best hot buttered lobster rolls on the planet (not to mention lobster salad, lobster macaroni and cheese, lobster bisque, etc.). Let’s put it this way, it’s so good, I would not need the excuse of fashion week to make a return trip back.

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