New York Fashion Week doesn't kick off for a few more days, but this season is already proving to be a serious departure from what we're used to. There's the revamped logo, a new Lexus sponsorship and no more Lincoln Center — and then, of course, there's the hundreds of collections we'll be seeing. Kanye West set the bar high with his ultra-hyped Adidas debut last season, but between all of the recent designer switch-ups, big brand makeovers and labels embracing exciting new technology, spring 2016 is shaping up to be pretty epic.
Below, find the ultimate cheat sheet for the top names to watch at New York Fashion Week, and start planning your schedule accordingly. And don't forget to keep checking back for more coverage as it all happens.
DKNY has been all over the news this summer, with founder Donna Karan stepping down as the company's chief designer and SVP of communications Aliza Licht signing off as @DKNYPRgirl. These executive shake-ups signal the end of an era for the iconic New York brand, but fortunately, there's also plenty to look forward to. Public School designers and newly instated DKNY Creative Directors Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osbourne will take the reins for the first time on the DKNY runway, injecting their signature downtown cool into the label. Between the music, the models and the clothes, it's guaranteed to be one of the buzziest events of the week.
Including Alexander Wang on this list is always a no-brainer, but being that Wang left his post at Balenciaga earlier this summer in order to devote himself entirely to his eponymous line, we expect even more eyes on him than usual. Plus, Wang has a new evening slot on the schedule — 9 p.m. instead of his usual 5 p.m. start time – and will throw a 10th anniversary bash immediately following the show. Perhaps we can anticipate a surprise musical guest like The Weeknd, Haim or another participant in his recent Do Something campaign? Better come prepared, just in case.
It was only a few months ago that Tanya Taylor snagged one of the most coveted awards in the business: the prestigious U.S. Woolmark Prize. While we're waiting to see the how the New York-based designer does in the international competition, we can refocus our attention on her New York Fashion Week show. Expect pieces like wear-everywhere dresses, bold colors and, of course, plenty of warm weather-appropriate knits parading down the runway.
If you read our interview with him in March, you already know that Maxwell is the mastermind behind Lady Gaga's elegant new look. The successful stylist not only dresses the singer in other designers' wares; he also dresses her in his own one-off creations (see above). He will officially debut his label this NYFW — and, fingers crossed, there will be a certain pop star sitting front row.
J.Crew has been under heavy scrutiny from both investors and customers this summer, due to highly publicized declining sales and hit-or-miss merchandise. If there's any opportunity for Jenna Lyons and her team to revamp the brand image, it's during NYFW. In the past, we've come to appreciate J.Crew presentations for their quirky, preppy lineup of models and impeccably styled wares, but with the brand's decision to shift away from its fashion-centric image and focus on heritage products like denim and cashmere, we're not sure what to expect. Here's hoping that new designer Somsack Sikhounmuong doesn't go too safe on us.
She's already a critical darling and a blogger favorite, but with a new CFDA Swarovski award to her name, it's about time more attention lands on the young designer's dramatic pieces. Whether it's a ballgown or a voluminous blouse, she has the rare talent of making pretty much anything look glamorous. Assoulin's brand of Hollywood elegance is something that everyone can appreciate — whether or not you foresee a red carpet in your future.
Givenchy is a French fashion house through and through, but for spring 2016, Riccardo Tisci will take the show stateside for the first time. The move is the latest step in the brand's U.S. expansion strategy – which includes a new Madison Avenue flagship. Considering the company's massive celebrity fan base, showing in New York is smart: it will bring even more attention to the label and prepare shoppers for its new store opening. What's more, the recent decision to open the show to the public indicates that even the most high-end brands are attempting to make themselves more accessible.
It's been about two years since Stuart Vevers took on the challenge of re-branding Coach, and since then, the label has morphed into a luxury-leaning fashion-girl favorite — though sales have yet to catch up. Despite the dipping numbers, Coach will hold its first full runway show during NYFW.
Androgyny has long been a fashion buzzword, but New York label Baja East can be credited for helping to introduce "ambisexual" dressing to the fashion circles. Designers Scott Studenberg and John Targon — finalists in the 2015 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition — already have people talking with their surprisingly covetable items, like slouchy dresses (for both guys and girls), oversized sweaters and drop-crotch denim. Given the industry's recent spotlight on gender fluidity, the label's approach has never been more relevant.
With her successful lifestyle blog and a Kohl's fashion line, Lauren Conrad has done pretty much everything in her power to put her MTV reality show days behind her. This season marks her attempt at further legitimizing her career(s): She's showing her new "clean, polished and pretty" collection at the Skylight Modern venue, where well-established designers like Thom Browne have shown in the past. Stay tuned to see whether she will top her unfortunate turn in 2008 — or if she's joining other quasi-celebs like the Fat Jew in a NYFW publicity stunt.
As the reigning king of the "more is more" fashion philosophy, Jeremy Scott has collaborated with the likes of Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry, as well as emblazoned kitschy trademarks like Barbie and McDonald's onto covetable (and expensive) statement pieces. He’s taking things to the next level this season, releasing a documentary about his life and swapping his go-to Milk location for a new destination at Skylight at Moynihan Station. Start placing your bets on what shenanigans will ensue — and which of Scott's A-list pals will be in town to support him.
After bringing home the Swarovski Award for Accessory Design at the CFDA Awards in June, Mansur Gavriel's Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel revealed that they plan to expand their business of best-selling bags into new categories like shoes and dresses. One thing’s for sure: Despite the hype, don’t expect too much spectacle. This is a brand that's rooted in minimalism, after all.