New York Fashion Week wrapped up on Wednesday with more departures in the offing, a striking taste for demure hemlines and power dressing for women in a post Harvey Weinstein, #MeToo world. As the global style bandwagon shifts to Europe, with London Fashion Week currently in full swing before moving onto Milan and Paris, here are the top trends New York offered this season:
Back to black
A staple through the ages, black is definitely back — especially for the evening in an awards season where the colour has been appropriated on the red carpet to protest against sexual harassment in the workplace. For black dresses, black pants and black jackets look no further than Michael Kors, Tom Ford, Tadashi Shoji or Christian Siriano.
Modesty’s a virtue
The high-end fashion customer spans all markets and sensibilities. The vast majority of Calvin Klein’s nuclear winter style collection, with long skirts, necks and hair covered, bodies sheathed in baggy clothes could have been worn by religiously observant Muslim or Jewish women. Jenny Packham unveiled capes to accessorise strappy dresses. Ralph Lauren’s colourful cocktail dresses were high necked with sleeves.
“An awful lot of women that buy our dresses struggle, they don’t like the top of their arms showing,” said Packham. “You can have a bit more fun with that because it’s an accessory.”
Empower Me Too
Alexander Wang presented power dressing for the working woman, unveiled in a cubicle-style bland office backdrop for the sexual harassment watershed since the downfall of movie mogul Weinstein. Prabal Gurung cemented his reputation as the thinking woman’s designer with a collection inspired by women-dominated groups like India’s Gulabi Gang and the Mosuo tribe of China.
Diane von Furstenberg told journalists at her label’s presentation: “I am personally more committed than ever to the empowerment of women.” Eight models took part in a #MeToo show, narrating their stories of harassment from the runway in order to raise awareness.
There were more sartorial nods to the mood of the time: Tom Ford’s woman was all cat-suited superwoman in leggings and pant suits, with barely a skirt in sight and “Pussy Power” purses. Ralph Lauren sent out a white pant suit, an attire that has been favoured by Hillary Clinton and women at the Grammy’s, even Melania Trump, although the jury’s out on why. There were leggings from Philipp Plein and boxy 1980s yuppy-style suiting from Marc Jacobs.
Hear me roar
Animal print was everywhere. From Tom Ford’s loud jaguar print pantsuits to luxury Italian label Bottega Veneta, to up-and-coming diversity champion Christian Siriano and even Victoria Beckham.
Woman for all seasons
The runway customer is wealthy, jet set and increasingly may not even live in New York, or Paris or anywhere else chilly in the winter. So it was layers all the way as at Tory Burch and Victoria Beckham, perfect for their loyal customers in the Far East. Bottega Veneta offered shorts for fall.
There was a new focus on belts, such as at Adam Selman. Marc Jacobs cinched his waist with extravagant leather sashes. Belts were the star of the farewell parade in tribute to Carolina Herrera’s signature look.
Once is fun, twice a coincidence, and three times a trend. Philipp Plein transported his guests to a snowy-space scape complete with a spaceship, transformer style robot and copious amounts of silver. Jenny Packham’s moon and star beaded dresses were inspired by the cosmos. Calvin Klein indulged in silver too and called the 1960s space race one of the inspirations for his America-with-a-dark-underbelly show.