Although climate change is undermining winter weather predictability around the world, the skies still dumped a few inches of snow on New York City at the beginning of Fashion Week. Continuing frigid temperatures made shows like Victoria Beckham’s a particularly welcome sight as heavy layers and cozy, oversized silhouettes dominated her runway. Preppy shirting, longline coats, and elbow-length gloves made covering up look like a smart, sensible option next season. Furthermore, Beckham has become as good a businesswoman as she has a designer (and she is an excellent designer, at that), which made the inclusion of trans-seasonal items splashed with vibrant prints inspired by British painter Peter Nash an especially clever move. Her clients in Miami and Hong Kong will be delighted.
Political themes at New York Fashion Week seen at shows like Calvin Klein, Public School, and Creatures of Comfort persisted at Prabal Gurung’s presentation at Fall/Winter 2017. Gurung is a money-where-his-mouth is designer. It is not enough to simply create the most extraordinarily beautiful clothes, but he is internally driven to back up every collection he sends down the runway with strong messages about empowering women. There are few in the fashion industry who are as sincere and passionate about things like inclusivity, equality, and feminism, but he insists on bringing true emotion and authenticity to the aloof New York Fashion scene. At a Gurung show, he casts an enchanting spell with female figures who are fearless, confident, and seductive. In a Gurung design, you are empowered to embody all of those wonderful traits.
For Fall/Winter 2017, Gurung builds on signature themes of feminism and femininity with a sumptuous collection of bulky, luxurious knits, ravishing party dresses, sharp suits, and mesmerizing evening dresses that twinkled with sequins and swished with silky fringe finishes. Without any hint toward a need for a pat-on-the-back, Gurung quietly sent plus-size models down his runway who were so radiant that they managed to sell their looks better than their counterparts. A final parade of slogan tees bearing politically charged phrases like “The Future is Female” and “I am an Immigrant”, which left no doubt as to where Gurung’s head was at when designing his collection.
The Altuzarra Twitter account foreshadowed the theme of today’s Fall/Winter 2017 collection with a very apt quote from Macbeth, “”Look like th’ innocent flower, But be the serpent under ’t.” In case that snippet doesn’t clarify Altuzarra’s stance this season, the designer further admitted to being obsessed with Renaissance styles – armor in particular – and the desire to feel protected. For that reason, his stunning collection struck a harmonious accord between the ladylike and the rebellious. Delicate folksy details like embroidered floral skirts were juxtaposed against thick, grommeted combat boots, while feminine coats and skirts were finished with surprising corset lacing. Altuzarra acknowledged the current political climate in America ahead of the show, and it was clear that this collection offered a sartorial safe space, with thick layers and aggressive studs acting as a kind of warning sign. Regardless of the punky details, this collection was ripe with romance, found throughout the show in lovely velvet gowns, and gorgeous floral dresses that mimicked the appearance of baroque wallpaper.