From hip-hop prairie girls at Coach to a celebration of Americana at Calvin Klein to Victoria Beckham’s grown up chic to Alexander Wang’s revival of the catsuit… Observer fashion editor Jo Jones picks her 10 highlights from New York fashion week autumn/winter 2017 By Jo Jones
Raf Simons’s debut collection for Calvin Klein is on track to make the label the giant it was in the 1980s. Simons has cleverly embraced Americana, showing both menswear and womenswear, dressing them in almost identical looks. From prairie quilted coats, varsity knitted sleeves on nude sheer bodices to sporty trousers hung from the hip with athletic stripes up the side, worn with buttoned-up western pocket shirts and of course denim. The collection shone with technical craftsmanship and precision tailoring.
There’s a point in a woman’s life when she eases into her wardrobe and feels comfortable with her style. This season Victoria Beckham has realised this for her customer. Think masculine tailoring in heritage fabrics mixed with the frivolity of a midi-length chiffon georgette dress layered underneath the comfort of a roll neck. Beckham’s colour palette with inspired by the recent Paul Nash exhibition at the Tate.
This show felt like a parting gift to the New York fashion scene, as Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have decided to leave NYFW to show during Paris Haute Couture to enhance their sales. The duo’s latest collection was full of ideas and exquisite constructions, like their collage dresses, oversized coats with zip detailing on the inside of sleeves and monochrome shearling coats. If building sales is key, then it was a smart move to promote their logo on extra-long zipper pulls of jackets and handbags. Photograph: Jimmy Bae/WWD/REX/Shutterstock
At Coach it was a nostalgic look at the great American landscape and prairie, referencing Terrence Malick – Days of Heaven, Badlands and Sissy Spacek mashed up with New York city hip-hop circa 1980. A ditsy floral print puffer jacket joined the growing repertoire of Coach outerwear, and the ever popular shearling coats and biker jackets were softened with floral and songbird appliqué and worn over midi-length dresses. The Coach girl plays between the masculine and the feminine. Hence the shearling-lined sneakers, fuzzy baseball caps and accessories.Photograph: WWD/REX/Shutterstock
DIANE VON FURSTENBERG
Jonathan Saunders’s second season at DVF has hit its stride. Saunders knows his eggs or rather, his prints. Translating graphic patterns into embroidery and 3D textiles in a playful colour palette, coupled with, as Saunders says, “the importance of sensuality and the movement in his dresses.” These are clothes to live and party in. Wind machine any one?Photograph: Billy Farrell/BFA.com
Joseph Altuzarra took inspiration from Renaissance portraiture and Lady Macbeth to deliver a strong and ultra sharp collection. Inspired by the stern- faced Renaissance lady this resonated in the mood of the models storming the runway. Exquisite pearl-encrusted coats plus capes and sleek tailored suits finished with a lavish collar. The corset lacing over an argyle sweater and red peplum sweater over biker pants gave a strength to the collection, while jacquard and heavily embroidered dresses were given a tougher edge when worn with knee-high combat boots and leather opera gloves.
With a diverse casting of models including plus size model Ashley Graham and veteran Amber Valletta, sent out the message, the Michael Kors woman is sensual and strong and ageless. Showing softly draped dresses, skirts and blouses off set against sharp tailoring, trousers hung from the hip and jackets and coats were cinched at the waist with a wide belt. Cocktail dresses followed in liquid gold and silver lamé and revealed a leg through a split or slash detail. The key bag was a crushable soft leather, gripped close to the body.Photograph: JP Yim/Getty Images for Michael Kors
Assoulin’s show space was scattered with vintage sofas and chaise longues, covered in plastic as if for protection. Persian rugs and coffee tables set with tiered trays of pastries and tea created a cosy atmosphere. The collection itself had the same warmth. The models wore dresses cut from what appeared to be upholstery fabric. Two standout pieces were a floral puffer jacket with buttons on the back, resembling a Chesterfield couch, and a beautiful multicoloured patchwork embroidered silk robe perfect to add a little glam to jeans.