By Fashion Contributor Mateo Palacio
New York Fashion Week happens at an instant. For all the momentum that is given to these shows throughout the year, it is hard to not fall into the trance of it all once it begins. There’s nothing new, really, nothing different. The constant repetition of the same silhouettes and construction styles I have been researching for sometime now, seen from the original avant garde clan, think: Maison Margiela, Azzedine Alaïa, Christian Lacroix, Cristobal Balenciaga, Claude Montana, Walter Van Beirendonck , and a few more. Fashion always comes back around, which is why it’s always so exciting when you find a lovely vintage piece in the back of your mom’s closet that coincidentally walks down the runway of the very show you’re attending.
Lately I have become consumed by this constant feeling where I find myself having the same insight I felt an hour ago or an eternity ago. While it is still exciting and exhilarating, I have become more focused on actually interpreting a collection and trying to understand what the prolific message behind it is, rather than getting engrossed by the nice venue and cute little drinks. With Men’s Fashion Week ending and the traditional Women’s show starting a week after, it became almost unbearable to even think about running around in the aftermath of the unwieldy (and ill-timed) snowstorm that met the first day of women’s shows. With a few personal invites, unrequested shows and a few pairs of fashionable boots, I dove off into women’s fashion week.
Running from show to show can become harrowing, and eventually the days begin to run together. On the 96,952,325th day of New York Fashion Week, I began to find answers and came to realize this: Fashion is out of hand and so is everything else. I have developed a mindset where I am only interested in seeing eccentric designs that are not only daring, but original and gratifying. Finding significant fashion shows is like searching for your lost phone in a crowded nightclub, despite big designer names and fancy invites, but a few showed up on my radar that are worthy of discussion.
Brand partner collaborations often times makes me feel nervous and excited at the same time, but you tell yourself not to expect too much because you might be disappointed at some point. Surely, this wasn’t the case for Toronto-based designer Hayley Elsaesser. D ebuting her Fall/Winter 17’ collection, “ Deja Moon “, at Milk Studios E lsaesser partnered with toymaker Hasbro to create a cosmic collection that reminded us of the time we used to gaze into the sun, the moon and the stars while combing the nylon pink hair of our My Little Pony figure. Seeing the show’s diverse cadre of models really made the experience so much more credible- and enjoyable. Highly saturated neon colors were used such as pinks, purples, blues and hints of lime green. There was a button up shirt that I’ll be adding to my closet. Even the awesome gift bag (which included cool branded socks covered in stars, a collectible ‘My Little Pony’ PEZ Candy Dispenser and the cutest stickers ever) seemed downright appropriate.
When I first found out that NYFW renegade organization Style Fashion Week was being presented at Madison Square Garden, I was very interested in the kind of production they would mount (and most importantly how the runway/seating arrangement was going to be setup).
The kick-off show was Malan Breton, the Taiwanese-born and New York-based American designer. Breton immediately teleported the audience back to not only the class and elegance of the Roaring 20’s but also the dark reminder of a Pre-War World II in Europe later on. Silver and gold sequin women’s suites and a constructed floral gowns gave a romantic balance. Decadent fine tailored suits served well on the men’s physique. Apart from the political statement at the end that made a few uncomfortable, Breton’s Project Runway legacy- and his ability to turn out well-tailored looks- should be not only acknowledged but also respected.
Meticulously crafted pieces, short length mini-skirts, small dresses, long-length coats. Desigual‘s “Extraordinary“ collection demanded that the Punk girls from California and the rise of European New Wave fashion be noticed, as pop singer A aron Carter’s “I want Candy“ was offered as the runway’s soundtrack. A conscientious choice of using organic materials- Wool, knits, sheer chiffon, denim and unsaturated greys- mixed with bedazzled turtlenecks and red and black service- type hats that brought together successful looks completed with colored fishnets. The whole collection had a strong youthful theme as the main form of inspiration- again.
While en-route to Pier 59 Studios, I stumbled upon a sign that read, “YOUR CURRENT LIFESTYLE IS OUT OF STOCK”. It was humorous to consider such a futile slogan, as it was so interconnected to my current fashion week malaise- which was instantly set aside once I was seated at the Christian Cowan show. Glam and a whole lot of glitter for the girls who dance in the dark to dirty tunes in the back of the club served well for the Studio 54 fantasy mounted by Cowan- a designer whom the general public may not entirely be familiar with just yet. He then upped the ante when pop culture’s legendary “it” girl, Paris Hilton , bopped down the runway to George Michael’s “ Freedom “ with a baby-pink crop top with matching pencil skirt covered in stars. Although Hilton gave me life, I’m still waiting for someone to come out with a cheap and easy DIY Youtube video for the outfit she donned. Paris also closed the show with a gown made out of silver oversized sequins that reflected so well with the lighting that it almost made me forget about the earlier ensemble.
Son Jung Wan ’s Fall 2017 collection was inspired by the fashion sensibility of the 80’s. With pieces that were altered beyond normal proportions, the luxurious furs made the looks so much more enticing to look at. Models in handcrafted knits in burgundy and blue pranced down the runway to Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” and George Michael’s “Faith.” The gold and white hue color combination towards the end of the show appeared so rich and lavish when the light refracted onto the pieces and exotic furs, it was definitely one of my favorite shows. Son Jung Wan was able to channel a woman who is not only chic in appearance, but who is also confident, outgoing and free in her approach to life.
On Valentine’s Day cupid was roaming free at the 40th brand anniversary of Adrienne Landau, who inside of a fashion show threw a full-on glamourous party, a presentation that felt more like a celebration that cultivated uniqueness, fierceness and fun. Landau partnered with New York City Nightlife legend Susanne Bartsch to produce the Fall/Winter 17 collection entitled
“LANDAULAND”. Her embrace of the concepts of equality and freedom were intrinsic in creating a fantasy-filled space that we wish we could live in everyday. Strong colors and classic design styles with rich Indian-inspired brocades were worn by underground circuit club fixtures and personalities such as Amanda Lepore, Rupaul’s Drag Race contestant Thorgy Thor and Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 7 Winner, Violet Chachki. It was “very New York”.
Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan, born in the capital city of Jakarta, is the first ever designer to ever have a full collection put together with hijabs. In a win for the fight for achievement and diversity , Anniesa Hasibuan m ade an even bigger (political?) statement this time around by casting only Immigrant models . The collection, “DRAMA“. was about women who never had it easy in life but despite hardships they still rise to the occasion and
manage to excel. Beautiful floor-length, neutral-colored dresses and skirts, using an interesting mix of fabrics and textures, were showcased while each of the models walking down the runway donned a light-gray hijab. It was such a historic moment, both in fashion and in a social-political context, I felt so happy to support and witness this designer’s collection manifest right in front of my eyes.
So Fashion Week has finally bowed yet again, another lucid fantasy with many good DJ sets. Once it’s over the realization that we are all co-authoring this gigantic fabulous systematic novel starring fashion clowns sets in. We tote around the emotional memories and exciting moments in our Gucci bag, hop in that Uber and keep it moving. We will be patiently anticipating what September holds.
– Mateo Palacio @mateoxpalacio