Runway News

Warrior Girls, Jason Wu’s Sexy Somber and More Notes from the Second Row: Day Two of New York Fashion Week

I was being a little glib yesterday when I mentioned a Game of Thrones moment at Tadashi Shoji, but judging from the second day of New York Fashion Week, could Warrior Chic be a trend?

Carmen Marc Valvo kicked off Friday morning with his Ottoman Empire-themed collection, a darkly romantic take on warrior princesses. Some really gorgeous embellishments here, from lush beading on the bodice of a silk-shantung gown to a shimmering metallic “hologram lace” in panels down the sides of a sleek column gown. Valvo also employed chain mail and talked of armor and breastplates in his show notes; never has going to battle looked more elegant. 

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And from there, another take on luxe: How gorgeous was Jason Wu’s show? Somber in its tones—heavy on the black and gray, with splashes of a beautifully rich aubergine and navy—but sleek and sexy in its attitude, Wu’s collection hit all the cylinders in sophistication. Loved the bias-cut slip dresses in panné velvet, as well as a slither of a taupe high-neck sleeveless sheath, knotted at one side of the waist and then open to expose the midriff, so sexy and yet so refined. And wouldn’t it be lovely to see one of the bias-cut gowns on Oscar night? I’m voting for the high-neck black velvet-detailed gown with long sheer sleeves and open back for Cate Blanchett… 

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A quick dash to check out Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week’s new space, The Hub at The Hudson Hotel, just a few blocks from the Lincoln Center tents: It’s here that Trina Turk offered up a Fall/Winter presentation based on what she perceives as the unique mix favored by the L.A. set, a crowd that embraces the melange of patterns and textures in a way that never feels fussy. Floral and Fair Isle jacquards, Carnaby Street stripes, brushed-mohair plaids and one particularly great honeycomb-print double-breasted cropped jacket—great pieces all, but just be sure to have your stylist with you as you plumb the depths of your closet each morning to achieve the same effortless mix. Turk also launched handbags in this collection; some graphic colorblocking on a slouchy hobo exhibited her love of all things mid-century modern.

Not sure that NYFW attendees need more imagery of a frozen tundra while battling this New York winter, but that’s precisely what Nautica wanted us to keep in mind with the debut of its Black Sail men’s collection. The sport-driven line used this visual to put an accent on its performance fabrics: a yellow nylon insulated bomber with tech wool panels, for example, or a digital-printed vest in bright red. I kept thinking business on top, party on the bottom, as all the knit pants looked divinely comfy, a lot of slim cargos and sweatpants in charcoal wool or cashmere—even the lambskin cargos were offered in an easy stretch. Comfort meets tech: What guy wouldn’t be interested?

Carrie Underwood, Anna Kendrick and AnnaSophia Robb were among those in Rebecca Minkoff’s front row, the perfect assemblage who would favor this collection. Minkoff offered up a menswear-inspired mix, one softened, she said, via feminine colors and a touch of fluidity here and there. Some great coats in this collection—Minkoff is among those embracing the return of the bomber; her wool herringbone Ryan bomber in charcoal looked great with a textured-crepe skirt in aubergine. And like many others, she’s also embracing metallics for night, with some great pieces in liquid gold lamé. And of course you eagerly take in the bags at Minkoff, and there were some great ones here, including a sleek, boxy update on her Elle bag. 

Nicole Miller’s show notes name-checked Princess Mononoke, which caused one to wonder if we were in for an exercise in Japanese anime. For several seasons Miller has loved exploring the creative freedom of digital prints, so why not? But read a little further to see her mentions of Elle Driver (the Kill Bill villain played by Darryl Hannah) and Hangaku Gozen, a 19th-century female samurai, and the references became clearer: This was a show about girl (make that woman) power and how that’s projected through your wardrobe. We’ve seen a lot of black already this week, and Miller’s collection likewise explored the dark side, in cropped leather jackets, a great studded miniskirt, even leather panels on a stretch dress. Her digital prints also were in evidence, including some tribal-inspired graphics that paired nicely with all that black. And Miller added a tactile edge with feathers—a peacock-feather dress closed the show, and you can see girls clamoring for a feather miniskirt embellished with beading—all of which provided some great (and necessary) movement. And if there was any doubt left as to Miller’s intent, you only had to listen to her finale music: Scandal’s “Warrior,” which I promptly downloaded to my iTunes because I’d forgotten how much I loved that song—and who knows, I may be in the mood to listen to it often this fall…

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