Runway News

DKNY’s Real World, Manolo’s Artful Gallery and More Notes from the Second Row: Day Four of New York Fashion Week

“What did you think of Brooklyn?” That was the question up for debate between shows on Sunday afternoon, with many editors neither pleased nor impressed with Alexander Wang’s choice of Saturday-evening venue, a recently opened special events space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Wang’s Fall collection, rightly, drew raves: forward-thinking in proportions and fabrications, with the emphasis on tech we’re all talking about, and filled with hip-quotient, must-have pieces. But post-show, put a bunch of editors in town cars in gridlock for more than an hour after a 12-hour day? Not cool. The Cut’s Robin Givhan astutely pointed out that, by the time the Duggal Greenhouse underwent the design transformation conceptualized by Wang’s team, it could have passed for any warehouse in Manhattan, so why the trek? It’s the latest example of the ongoing conversation about the cyclical moods of fashion show logistics: Designers scatter to the winds and then find a reason to come back together; we’re in a scatter segment of the cycle, and my theory is that the proposed move to Hudson Yards (a date that’s still TBD, btw) will bring everyone back together. Perhaps even Wang. 

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Loved Lela Rose’s show at Lincoln Center Sunday morning, especially the dresses in painted-gold florals on a pale-blush organza, as well as a great tailcoat-style trench in her signature mustard. Her inspiration was a bit of a head-scratcher—Rose is a fan of Ferran Adria, the wildly celebrated chef known for popularizing molecular gastronomy at his now-closed Catalonian restaurant, El Bulli—causing us to wonder whether would we see dresses and jackets crafted to evoke culinary foam? No, nothing that literal, though she did have fun with textures: a flurry of white feathers around the bodice of a white slip dress, or lush black beading on a cobalt sheath. Some pearl beading on the flounce of a skirt almost looked like something Adria might conjure up in his kitchen. Overall, a solid, salable collection, with a few looks that were downright tantalizing. 

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Another show that had everyone talking: Donna Karan's DKNY presentation, which kicked off with a short film of “real New Yorkers” talking about the dream-come-true that is living in the city that never sleeps. And then, upon the film’s completion, those same faces were out on the runway, mixing with models in Karan’s “New York Mashup” collection that was teeming with city style signatures: a heavy emphasis on black (because, really, we can never get enough), the sometimes-incongruous mix of pieces (a terry sweatshirt embellished with sequined sleeves), and offsetting all that black with a punch of color, in this case neon pink. Karan brought in artists (Stewart Uoo and Sarah Grace Powell), musicians and DJs (Angel Haze and Chelsea Leyland), and others who, with Karan, took the idea of street style to a new level. 

Manolo Blahnik put in a rare and delightful appearance at New York Fashion Week, hosting a still-life presentation of his Fall collection in the Paul Kasmin gallery space a very convenient block from the DKNY show at Cedar Lake in Chelsea. Blahnik’s team has produced a gorgeous film highlighting his craftsmanship, all wrapped in the tale that inspires him for Fall: a Victorian ghost story. Thus we were treated to gorgeous brocade pumps bedecked with crystal buckles, as well as one insanely gorgeous floral-brocade knee-high boot, and a pink-satin ankle boot lush with beading. An hour of heavy-sigh moments. 

The romance continued at Tracy Reese, who was into the idea of juxtapositions for her Fall 2014 collection, plays on silhouette and fabrication. Reese offered up a variety of capelets, solidifying the notion that capes are most definitely a trend this season, and hers were particularly sweet, flouncy affairs around the shoulders, and paired nicely with the slim pieces beneath: a gold sequined tunic and black leggings, for example. There was a retro-chic vibe about several looks—a sheath and matching cardi in a nature-inspired digital print was the epitome of office chic—and we also loved the mix of chunky sweaters over voluminous A-line floral skirts or a lace-hemmed gray A-line dress paired unabashedly with cowboy boots in metallic gold. Reese has always been about cool girls, but this season they seem particularly confident, and just a little more polished. 

With Paris and Nicky Hilton and Bella Thorne in her front row, Diane von Furstenberg capped the night with her joyful show, a Ballets Russes-themed collection that was more than anything an ode to her wrap dress as she celebrates that iconic piece’s 40th anniversary. From the moment you walked into Spring Studios you felt the energy of the space, which DVF had covered in two graphic prints for the runway and backdrop—she got the idea, she said, from her highly successful “Journey of a Dress” exhibit now showing in LA, which employs a similar look in its design of the space (von Furstenberg also mentioned that, while the exhibit was meant to close in April, it’s proven so popular organizers may extend it into May). The piece you need in DVF’s Fall collection is her wrap top: It’s not only an ode to the origin of her iconic dress, it’s also quite simply a great layering piece, and von Furstenberg used it to great effect. And if you needed any further hints as to the feeling von Furstenberg wanted to project for this celebratory night, you only needed to check out the sign posted backstage, instructions that you know the designer employs both on the runway and off: “Be Strong. Feel Sexy. Be You. Smile.” 

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