It’s New York Fashion Week, which means the Fashionista team is running around town like crazy to bring you the best of what’s new from the city’s brightest designers. Read on for our first-hand reports on the latest from the runways, and click here for even more reviews.
The design team at Nicholas K seem to have revisited its old work, riffing on its loose layers, headscarves, hoods and goo-goo goggles from spring 2013. This time, however, the mood was darker and more powerful. Steampunk goggles replaced the coke bottle glasses, and rope laced through unstable-looking stilettos, crisscrossing up the models' ankles. What appeared to be literal pony tails swayed at models' hips. The accessories added up to a whole lot of badass, but the clothes were just as good on their own — think languid, low-cut tops and pajama-like cargo pants. A little danger, a lot of sexy. -- Eliza Brooke
Ji Oh set out to create a collection of closet staples — that is, if we’re talking about the closet of a glam rock legend like David Bowie. Her approach to uniform dressing and basics was anything but boring, with tailored separates like trousers, smart button-downs, blazers and high-waisted shorts rendered in metallics, interesting cuts and a bright poppy red. The models lounged on a leather couch, and while their collective attitude was “too cool to care,” their clothes were crisp and polished. A standout piece was the slim striped suit, which we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for among the street style set next season. —Alyssa Vingan
BCBG Max Azria
California girls were the inspiration for BCBG Max Azria's spring 2015 show, Creative Director Lubov Azria said backstage. It wasn’t the bright, cheeky genre of West Coast style popularized by Katy Perry and Nasty Gal, but rather something breezy and grown up, with a hint of the ‘70s in the form of a few high-necked dresses with sheer, puffy sleeves. The intended effect was effortlessness, Azria said, and with a range of floaty, pastel midi-length dresses that stay in mature rather than cutesy territory, we'd say she achieved that goal. The best looks in the collection, however, were those that paired structure with looseness: A sturdy quilted vest over a dress of the same floral print, or the karate belt-like sashes tied at the models’ waists. We probably could have done without a one-shouldered, balloon-sleeved dress, which felt a little precious, but across the board it was perfectly digestible and even, at times, intriguing. -- Eliza Brooke
Remember when Katy Perry wore a dress tricked out with LED lights to the Met Ball a few years back? The brand behind that unexpected red carpet moment was CuteCircuit, which launched in 2004 with the goal of incorporating technology into garments. True to its name, CuteCircuit's runway show on Thursday morning showcased a lot of clothing that was, well, cute: Strapless dresses, uncomplicated blazers and other mass market-friendly shapes. As for the circuitry, the LED lighting embedded in the pieces was actually quite minimal. The bulbs blinked along the lapel of a blazer; another strip could be found at the bottom of a trouser. Probably the best application of the technology appeared in soft focus lights moving across (or rather, under) a white skirt. The effect was actually quite pretty, not showy. -- Eliza Brooke
Way It Should Be
Taking a cue from Chanel's fall campaign with Cara Delevingne, Way It Should Be set its spring 2015 presentation in a lower Manhattan boxing gym. Now, you might not think that positioning a dozen models in evening gowns throughout a warm and vaguely sweaty-smelling athletic facility in the middle of the financial district with Edith Piaf playing over the loudspeakers would make much sense... but it didn't not. The brand is slightly offbeat in the first place, sourcing only organic or vintage fabrics in the name of sustainability. Which brings us to the two coolest pieces in the collection: An elegant column gown in a pale pink fabric that Valentino used in its 1983 collection and a strapless dress with a kicky hem with a hot pink and white print — Oscar de la Renta '91. Creative director Hassan Pierre confirmed that it is a very expensive way to source fabric... but we have to say, if you want to bring environmentalism to fashion, this is the way to do it. -- Eliza Brooke
Grunge has permeated Fashion Month over the past few seasons, thanks largely to Hedi Slimane's collections for Saint Laurent, and Richard Chai's laid-back spring 2015 collection proves that it's not leaving anytime soon. The styling seemed skater-inspired -- with coats haphazardly falling from the models' shoulders, button-down shirts tied loosely around waists and really chunky footwear -- but the sophisticated fabrics, which included graphic patterns, metallics and silks, kept it from looking sloppy. While the color palette was all over the place (it ranged from neutrals to neon with nearly everything in between), a pretty lavender shade that appeared in a number of looks had strong appeal. -- Alyssa Vingan
Creatures of Comfort
Of all the looks I've tweeted and Instagrammed during New York Fashion Week thus far, not one has received a more enthusiastic response than Creatures of Comfort's relaxed take on the flight suit (look 18), done with a dropped waist and styled with a long sleeveless vest and high-top Converse. Designer Jade Lai looked to the desert for inspiration this season, which resulted in a palette of warm pastels and a recurring cactus print Lai designed herself. It's hard to resist clothes that simultaneously promise comfort and an artistic type of cool. "My clothes are for old souls," Lai said backstage after the show. -- Lauren Indvik
Once again, Honor's Giovanna Randall took us on a fantastical journey -- this one had a strong '60s psychedelia vibe replete with bell sleeves, groovy colors and heavy embroidery. "I was thinking about this woman that would live in this beautiful world and meets this bad character that she's influenced by and she's kind of young and goes on this psychedelic journey." Hopefully, that journey won't be too labor-intensive: I would be afraid to even sweat in one of these lavish, princess-worthy gowns.
Though not the most practical, they were beautifully crafted pieces of clothing with a wealth of detail: Tiny pearls on the cuffs, artful back cut-outs, laser-cut leather accents and gorgeous jacquards. We were in awe, as was front row guest and frequent Honor-wearer Zosia Mamet (who recently went platinum blonde). Despite the opulence, there was a lightheartedness to the whole thing and I left feeling like I may not know what to do in any of these clothes, but there's no way they wouldn't be fun to wear. -- Dhani Mau
Nobody does pretty like Tadashi Shoji. For spring, the designer took his ever evening-ready muse to Europe, for a Venetian-style fête. Pieces came in dusk-colored pastels with subtle embellishments, and the silhouette was relaxed and long. There were a number of cropped t-shirt tops paired with maxi skirts (for a nouveau posh effect) and two lace trenches opened the collection. The vibe was definitely more casual then seasons past, but maybe that's a good thing. -- Steff Yotka
With the American west as a starting point, Jay Godfrey presented a spring collection rife with traditional motifs. There was the chevron pattern, traditional of Native American cultures, in a sequin suit and the denim (of ranch hands) in quilted capes and dresses alike. While the whole production felt very concept driven, the one piece we can definitely expect to see more of is the suede fringed cape jacket that will go well with the '60s meets '70s trend taking over this spring. -- Steff Yotka
For a good time, go to a Degen presentation. The funky knitwear brand designed by Lindsay Degen consistently shows fun, interesting and wild pieces – and this season was no exception. With the beach as her guide, Degen crafted a tongue-in-cheek collection of beach staples, like life vests and short shorts all in knits. The results were visually stimulating and sure to end up in the pages of many fashion magazines come spring. For those not daring enough to rock a knit life vest, there were also patterned swimsuits in bright colors. -- Steff Yotka
In his bright, cream-carpeted showroom decorated with only a couple of cactuses, Chadwick Bell showed a whitewashed collection that is worthy of the coolest (and chicest) desert travelers. Models languidly walked the room in long dresses, relaxed silk blouses and wrapped skirts, and while the opening looks were starkly simple, the designer added structure later on with chunky pullovers, leather belts and architectural outerwear. Contrast came with the introduction of black and rich cognac — with one flamingo pink dress that was layered over culottes — helping to complete the full wardrobe for the season. If you need us, we’ll be packing all of this in our bags and booking the next flight to Palm Springs. —Alyssa Vingan
If Todd Snyder was nervous about his first runway show, he didn't seem it backstage on Thursday evening as he put finishing touches on the first looks. Menswear is having a big moment in fashion this year, and with a new flagship in Tokyo and more stores on the way, Snyder's brand is no exception.
"I guess that's a big part of why I'm doing [runway]," he said. "It just feels like now's the time for me to have a big voice, we're getting more global, and it's important for me to show myself in a bigger way."
That translated into 37 looks, all based around the theme of Form and Function. Using his background in architecture as the starting point, Snyder took basic menswear staples -- the chino, the sweatshirt, the sneaker -- and reinterpreted them in a minimalist way. "It's always hard to reinvent menswear because men only have a few things," Snyder said. "For me all the main ingredients are known, but it's how you put them together that makes them new."
The results were incredibly wearable but still luxe pieces in a simple color palette. One standout: An army-green jacket, which I want to wear for myself. -- Tyler McCall
"The inspiration was the Egyptian woman of the ancient times, a goddess who was powerful, sensual, beautiful," Meskita designer Alessandra Meskita said of her spring collection, and that influence was immediately obvious in the clothing. Full of metallics, pleating, and harness details, it was a collection that could have used a stronger edit but which will certainly appeal to fans of the line. The swimwear was most successful, as was a white dress with a gold metal collar. -- Tyler McCall
Marissa Webb's latest collection was all about urban, structured separates in neutral colors. It was also the first season that the conversation did not revolve around her work at J.Crew (where she was a designer before starting her own line), but instead her work at Banana Republic, where she became creative director in April. The wearability and casualness of this collection may have led some to wonder if one was influencing the other. "Not necessarily," she told me after the show. "It’s nice to have two different worlds but at the same time I’m one person, so it’s what’s in my mind, but I interpret differently for my private label versus a massive brand like Banana Republic." -- Dhani Mau
Zana Bayne's spring 2015 show was an exercise in contrast -- and what could provide better juxtaposition than black leather bondage harnesses worn over and under crisp white cotton dresses? After a series of variations on that theme, the show gave way to the sexier side of things, with leather bustiers and skirts made of bedazzled netting. The final look, a sweet champagne dress embellished with star cutouts, was a winner, in large part because the model took her spin around the runway with her baby on her hip. With that multifaceted portrayal of womanhood, the show felt good to watch -- a point of realism during a week of fancy.