Instagram: @tomokoizumi

The whirlwind of the first of the fashion shows, New York Fashion Week, concluded after a long eight days of presentations and shows. A more ready-to-wear moment than a haute couture presentation, the shows are more relaxed in terms of requirements, and can showcase a large variety of clothing designated for stockists and the hands of the consumers. Mixed in with the pieces made for retail would undeniably be a few awe-inducing gowns as designers vie for the affection of the biggest names in the celebrity spheres to dress them at the cream of the award shows, the upcoming Oscars. Beyond the expectations of consumerism and celebrity endorsements, the shows were beautiful and inspiring. The beauty of the fashion weeks would also be its capacity to showcase the new talent, and not just the established designers. It is amazing in its accommodation of new designers, and is often a good place to spot some up-and-coming names. As the matriarch of the fashion world, Anna Wintour, put elegantly and succinctly, it was a ‘tale of two cities’. Certainly, the recently concluded fashion shows were filled with contrasts, from the old guard to the newcomers, the avant-garde to the ready-to-wear, the monochromatic to the explosions of colour. With the introductions now over, here’s a rundown of the week’s highlights.

Instagram: @oscardelarenta

The Uptown Reinvention
A stunning contrast of the classic sophisticate and the new era socialite, the Oscar de la Renta show presented an immaculate set of clothing that showed variance and adaptability in today’s fashion industry. Designers Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim seem to have reinvented the already-established brand renowned for dressing the world’s celebrities from Meghan Markle to Camila Cabello. From simple coordinates, relaxed yet tailored blouses and pants to the wonderfully extravagant gowns that the house is known for, the show stunned in its simplicity and elegance. Perhaps what is most surprising in the collection was the use of quilt-like patterns, reflecting a medley of uptown and downtown style that that has been quietly creeping back into play.

Instagram: @tomokoizumi

The talk of the town
The show that everyone buzzed about was probably the most unexpected one. Tomo Koizumi, a Tokyo-based designer completely unknown to the fashion world exploded in a flurry of colour. The collection featured gorgeous, bright jewel tones and pastels in the form of endless ruffles forming structural, voluminous shapes familiar to us as simple daywear, but entirely elevated, an ode to the avant-garde. Romantically eccentric, it was a refreshing departure from the multitudes of ready-to-wear and mid-market collections that envelop us on the day-to-day, and reminded us of the structural beauty of the not-so-long-ago couture week. It would be interesting to see a piece or two on the red carpet.

Instagram: @ralphlauren

A breath of classic simplicity
If anything, the pared-back simplicity of the Ralph Lauren Autumn/Winter 2019 show spoke volumes about the apparent direction of the biggest fashion moguls like Armani and Chanel: minimalism in design and presentation. Featuring military-inspired jackets and blouses paired with flowy bottoms in a simple, largely black and white colour palette with hints of gold, the collection was a reminder that fashion is an ebb-and-flow, that things must be taken in moderation. Sharp tailoring was contrasted with a relaxed edge, presenting an easy elegance accentuated with gold accessories, an effortless beauty that would definitely be adopted by many.

Instagram: @christopherjohnrogers

A call to diversity
The message of diversity rang loud and clear throughout NYFW in light of scandals plaguing luxury fashion brands like Gucci, but the march towards inclusivity stayed strong at Christopher John Rogers’ presentation. A recent fashion school graduate, the young designer showed promising talent and expertise in his use of bright, candy-like colours and interesting silhouettes. Beautiful and artistic, the presentation was markedly different from those regularly shown in that it was helmed by a designer of colour, showcased by a hugely diverse range of models. It was emphatically telling the industry of the possibilities of a more inclusive future.

Instagram: @rodarte

A dark daydream
The Rodarte show under the direction of the Mulleavy sisters was an interesting play between romance and fetish. The pieces ranged from the soft and romantic to the grungy and kinky, but even the seemingly innocent pieces were served with a side of fetish in the form of clear vinyl heels. The Mulleavy sisters, masters at manipulating points of view, created a collection that oozed originality and theatricality. The stark contrast of the materials used in light and dark colours brought to life an old Hollywood vision mixed with a dark Alice in Wonderland-esque concept – something thoroughly inspiring to view.

Instagram: @tomford

Going back to the past
Two New York institutions took to the eras they know best in this season’s shows. With vintage styles constantly being brought into the modern age,  this is not just a practical consumerist move, but a tactical advantage in bringing back old trends that the designers know to work.

Tom Ford went back to the 1990s to bring back the sleek and sharp tailored trends that he is famous for. It was an ode to simplicity with hints of glamour, but Tom Ford preserved his love for the luxurious with bright colours and an instantly iconic red velvet tuxedo donned by Gigi Hadid. In a time where designers are caught in a maelstrom of the new, it seemed only logical for Ford to go back to his roots as an accomplished tailor and showcase his fashion at its best: fitted, sleek, perfect.


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Mountain View

Behind the Scenes of the CUCFS photo-shoot

In direct contrast to the understated glamour of Ford’s collection, Michael Kors went full out in his choice of an era: the infamous Studio 54 days of the 1970s. It was gloriously excessive, with Kors making full use of the acquired trademark and splashing it on sequin T-shirts and puffers, but balanced with layered cashmere monochromatic pieces. Most notable in this show was the use of layering in the form of blazers and faux fur; a nod to the use of contrasting textures the 1970s club-kid crowd was most famous for.

Instagram: @michaelkors

Throughout the week, we saw some of the best fashion that New York had to offer. It showed us a bright light for the future of fashion, with new designers taking the rein from the established ones. It also showed the greater willingness for fashion to be more inclusive, as young designers readily embrace diversity, setting a trend for the old guard to follow. Designers going back to the past is something we will never stop seeing, and was brought into a perfect embodiment by the surprise return of supermodel Christy Turlington to the Marc Jacobs runway. It may just be that to push forward, we must look to the past.

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