Talking Points: This Is New York Fashion Week in a Nutshell

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Rihanna NYFW
Photo: Courtesy of PA Photos

Get ready for a month-long extravaganza during which the best and biggest designers in the world show their Spring/Summer 2020 collections, starting with New York Fashion Week (NYFW). It is often seen as the younger, cooler counterpart to the more established events that follow – London, Milan, Paris – and can always be relied upon to set trends and bring drama. And, clearly, this year is no different, as evidenced by these talking points.


Scheduling Changes

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) organizes NYFW, and this is designer Tom Ford’s first season in charge as Chairman. His first – and biggest – move was to cut down the schedule to just five tightly packed days. The brands Opening Ceremony and Rachel Comey are the only real losses on the schedule – other than that, it’s business as usual. All the familiar NYFW stars are showing, from Michael Kors and The Row to Brandon Maxwell and Ralph Lauren. And as is customary, Marc Jacobs retains his closing spot.

This is a particularly exciting season for Tommy Hilfiger, as it’s the first time the brand will be showing its collaboration with Zendaya in New York. She debuted her collection in Paris back in February, with a show full of high-profile black supermodels and a strong message of diversity and inclusivity.

Sadly, Thom Browne is still missing from the schedule. He used to show in New York, but has decamped to Paris for the past few seasons. To fill the Browne-shaped hole, the brand hosted a performance installation at Bergdorf Goodman’s on September 7. Most of Browne’s shows are basically like dance and art performances in themselves, so this didn’t disappoint.


You Can Sit With Us

Inclusivity has been high on the list of the fashion industry’s priorities, but it was 11 Honoré who first saw and seized the opportunity to dress plus-sized women in high fashion clothes. Realizing that women of every shape wanted access to the trends and brands that their “straight” sisters enjoyed, 11 Honoré has been instrumental in changing the way the industry operates, offering clothes from names like Christopher Kane, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Jason Wu, and Marc Jacobs in sizes up to 24.

This pioneering shopping platform launched its first runway show at NYFW last season, and this season it returns with a highly-anticipated collaboration with Good American, the inclusive denim brand by Khloe Kardashian and footwear favorite Tamara Mellon. A  glamorous cocktail party held on the rooftop Gramercy Park Hotel kicked off the NYFW festivities, with attendees like Barbie Ferreira (of HBO‘s Euphoria fame), curve model Candice Huffine, and other fashionable friends in attendance.

11 Honoré x Good American Cocktail Party
Photo: Courtesy of BFA | 11 Honoré

Savage x Fenty Is Back

Rihanna might be living in London these days, but she’s taking her lingerie brand Savage x Fenty back to New York this season. She’s only done a runway show for the brand once before, at NYFW last September. That show swiftly went viral due to the diverse range of models walking the runway – not to mention the fact that heavily pregnant Slick Woods walked in the show, only to have her water break a few hours later.

On September 20, we can only imagine Rihanna will be back with even more of a bang as this show will be streamed live on Amazon Prime, and everything will be available to buy immediately. Building excitement, Rihanna wrote on Instagram: “We are working on creating the most bold, sexy, super energetic experience you can imagine!!”


Political Grievances Rumble On

Even though Rihanna will undoubtedly bring some much needed positivity to NYFW, the build-up to the event has been dogged with controversies. The fashion industry is largely left-leaning, with many designers consistently speaking out against the presidency of Donald Trump. When NYFW’s ties to a Trump-supporting billionaire – Stephen Ross – were revealed, there was outcry from big-name designers like Prabal Gurung.

Some shows were set to be held at the newly updated Hudson Yards, the work of Ross’ development company. Ross recently hit headlines for throwing a re-election fundraising event for Trump at his house in the Hamptons. His wife Kara Ross, who is a jewelry designer, also attended the event and has come under scrutiny because she’s on the board of the CFDA.

Many designers felt uncomfortable about these ties to Trump via the couple, and brands like Prabal Gurung and Rag & Bone shifted their shows away from Hudson Yards. Meanwhile Dana Lorenz of Fallon Jewelry canceled her membership to the CFDA because the organization refused to kick Kara Ross off the board, according to Fashionista. Political protests are a common feature of NYFW, and it’s likely these political grievances will stoke even more rebellion on the catwalks.


View this post on Instagram


Dear Mr. Ford, Mr. Kolb, members and board of the CFDA, Effective immediately, I regretfully but with great certainty, cancel my membership to the Council of Fashion Designers of America. After many years of membership I will no longer participate if a woman that funds the current administration remains on the board. I will no longer be a part of what seems to be allowing a pay for play, money over merit arrangement with someone that clearly wants to advance an agenda that is hurting many businesses large and small with this trade war. I do not feel her views speak for me as a member and I will not allow her to make decisions on my behalf. I thought about this decision well, and although I appreciated support in the beginnings of my career, I no longer feel the membership represents me. I will fondly remember hearing I was nominated for a CFDA Award, I will gratefully remember my time as a CFDA/VOGUE Fashion Fund nominee, and I will always be thankful for your ear, Steven. However, after emailing you about concerns as to the board seat of Mrs. Ross I was met with a response that felt very much like the pacifying public statements from SoulCycle and Equinox. I was told “not our problem” and to focus my energies elsewhere. So I will. The annual membership dues and future high priced tickets to awards will be spent fighting what this administration is destroying, specifically equal rights and climate change. Yesterday, while Mrs. Ross was putting finishing touches on her fundraiser, I was making sure my sobbing housekeeper had her entire family’s documents in order, a woman with 3 years citizenship living in fear. It is not enough to post rainbows on your Instagram feed. Do something. As a side note, the Fashion Fund is irrelevant unless it is entirely made up of sustainable designers. FALLON JEWELRY

A post shared by FALLON JEWELRY® (@fallonjewelry) on


Some Strange Appearances

While there aren’t many surprises on the schedule this season, there is one show that definitely stands out as… unusual. Cheetos – yes, the snack brand – is holding a runway show that it describes as “inspired by consumers’ love of Cheetos and their own interpretations of the Cheetos look”.

We’re not entirely sure what this means, but we imagine it will involve a lot of orange and cheetah print as an homage to the brand’s mascot. This isn’t exactly an official NYFW show – Cheetos is jumping on the fashion bandwagon to create some buzz.

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