If you’ve ever read a runway review on Savoir Flair, chances are it was written by me. For the past five years, my greatest joy in life has been covering the runways in New York, London, Milan, and Paris, and over time I have amassed literally thousands of reviews for the magazine. I approach reviews with a sharply honed critic’s eye, having studied the collections like I’m working toward a Ph.d. in fashion criticism.
Now that the Spring/Summer 2016 shows of New York Fashion Week have wrapped — and boy did Marc Jacobs make sure the week closed with a bang — I am taking time to reflect on the five collections that really piqued my interest. I regard fashion design as the most humanistic of art forms, where its function is to adorn and improve the human form. What I look for in the “best” is real innovation, advanced technique, and a sense that the designer has a thoughtful message to put forward. I am never distracted by trends, the front row, the spectacle of the set, or the soundtrack — when the lights go up, it’s just me and the clothes.
For insight into what I believe to be the best collections of Spring/Summer 2016 New York Fashion Week, click through the gallery.
Photos: Courtesy of Getty Images and GoRunway
I basked in the Basque-influenced freshness of Altuzarra’s Spring/Summer 2016 show. The clothes were simple, feminine, and utterly beautiful, but trimmed and decorated with intelligent details. The clothes made me envy the models wearing them, as they looked youthful, innocent, and subtly sensual. The crinkly materials, peel-away necklines, and pinned-up slits told a story of unfussy style that I absolutely loved.
Honestly, I was surprised at how much I liked Carolina Herrera’s collection. I didn’t expect to discover a new side to the brand — her fabrics were technically marvelous and the clothes were intricately detailed. If you keep clicking through this gallery, you’ll see a white dress with peplum details and a contrasting black vest. Up close, it’s actually a wonderful wide-knit mesh that brought the whole thing to an exciting, contemporary level. The collection rocked and I want it all. That’s all there is to it.
I respect the Calvin Klein brand and Francisco Costa’s treatment of the brand signatures, but I have always found the clothes (at least on the runway) to be beige and boring. Spring/Summer 2016 proved my feelings wrong. This was an electrifying show that showed Costa is capable of really innovative deconstruction techniques, and the laidback elegance of his loose, mannish separates really spoke to me.
Oscar de la Renta
I’ll admit upfront that I love Peter Copping, and I am thrilled to see him installed at such a legendary brand. I think his aesthetic is the perfect fit for Oscar de la Renta, and this season elevated his predecessor’s signatures to new heights. There were many sizzling Spanish-tinged looks and extremely gorgeous gowns etched with throat-climbing lace, but on the other side there were playful notions too, like this whimsical puffball coat.
Out of the entire New York scene, Proenza Schouler has snatched the reins and is paving a path toward more elevated, cutting-edge style. For Spring/Summer 2016, the brand built on themes from the previous season and primarily turned its attention to the cutout shoulder. The results were incredible, and like nothing else I’ve seen before. I loved the lavish pom-pom details, flamenco accents, tiered layers, and imaginative way the sleeves started at the bicep and ended in a belled flourish.