Urban edge and sleek elegance at New York Fashion Week

New York saw freezing temperatures during the Fall 2015 presentations last week, and there were many examples of how to stay warm with fur coats, beautifully tailored overcoats and thick ribbed jumpers.  

However, it is likely customers in Cayman will just as interested in the sleek evening wear and lighter pieces more suited to the islands’ warmer climes. 

Perhaps Tom Ford’s decision to show in Los Angeles instead of London Fashion Week will start to challenge the idea of fashion being seasonal. Indeed, why should seasons be attached to fashion when designs for Fall/Winter only apply to those living in climates that need warmer clothes in “Winter.” Does it follow that there is no “serious” fashion in countries that enjoy sunshine all year round?  

Nicola de Lima, owner of Cayman Fashion Group and stores including NKY in Camana Bay and Fifth on Seven in Caribbean Plaza on the West Bay Road, said, “I am en route to a full two weeks of buying trips for all five stores buying Fall Collections for the Cayman Islands. I am very excited about the Fall 2015 Collections from all of our designers simply because of the contemporary silhouettes I have seen that offer a luxe, polished texture that deliver an ultra chic edge after sundown, which is what we all seek in Cayman.  

“Furthermore, the designers I select in all CFG stores extend a day-to-night wardrobe that is built on effortlessness for my clientele and the new collections offers myriad outfitting options as NKY’s “dressed best” toast their way through the week to weekend. The season’s relaxed looks are go-to pieces for socializing and come nighttime, take on a modern sophisticated edge.” 

New York Fashion Week this February was divided into two distinct looks. The urban and creative street style of Kanye West x Adidas, Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, Tommy Hilfiger, Rag & Bone, 3.1 Philip Lim, Diesel Black & Gold, Rodarte and Marc by Marc Jacobs; and the more traditional sleek elegance of Jason Wu, Victoria Beckham, DKNY, Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Carolina Herrera, Zac Posen, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Marchesa and Ralph Lauren. 

Kanye West x Adidas was the hot ticket, opening for New York Fashion Week with an audience that included Alexander Wang, Rihanna, Cassie, Diddy, Jay Z, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian West and daughter North, Anna Wintour, Kendall Jenner, Justin Bieber and Big Sean. The collection included understated unisex military basics with no obvious Adidas branding. Knee-length camo M65 jackets, khaki vests and oversized ribbed distressed sweaters with raw and frayed hems and scrunched track pants were worn with commando or suede stiletto boots or the YEEZY 750 Boosts, which will be in U.S. stores later this month. 

Alexander Wang saw Kanye, Kim and North West in the front row. This was a catwalk of grunge, Goth and punk-influenced lace and chiffon with leather slashed skirts, plunge necks, military zipped and metal-buttoned coats and suits. This was mixed with red and black tartan, silver fringed velvet skirts, chain-mail dresses edged with metal beads and biker jackets, all worn with platform soled laced moon boots. Hair was wet look and mussed in dark tones, transformed by Guido Palau’s partner colorist Victoria Hunter. 

Marc By Marc Jacobs was this season designed by British duo Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley and they truly created a New Model Army on the march for peace and solidarity in “Our Future.” There was an underlying peaceful socialist classicism in the choice of Strawberry Thief and Acanthus William Morris 1860s floral prints juxtaposed with a revolutionary Che Guevara edge in the styling. All models wore studded berets and crepe soled creepers or winkle pickers and silk cravats with the tartan kilts, PVC buckled pants, military shirts, combat pants and pinafores. 

Marcus Wainwright and David Neville at Rag & Bone displayed the best urban layered sportswear with an added twist of neon silk stain lace edged slips and camisoles over superfine knit long-sleeve T-shirts.  

3.1 Philip Lim was another essay in chic grunge and punk in a palette of black, white, red, burgundy, pale gray and charcoal. The collection displayed sleeveless zippered T-shirts worn with combat trousers, straight skirts with side slashes, biker jackets, lace shirts and check dresses with asymmetric hems and pale khaki satin flying jackets. 

Tommy Hilfiger’s catwalk at the Park Avenue Armory was laid with astro turf, conjuring up a games pitch complete with goal posts and scoreboard – all to celebrate the brand’s 30th anniversary. There was a gorgeous v-neck black dress with chiffon sleeves and Jourdan Dunn’s red and bright blue baseball dress and a rust satin dress with slash split skirt. Varsity cardigans and pinafores were all worn with Mary Jane shoes. 

Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler excelled in creativity, inspired by abstract expressionists Helen Frankenthaler, Jackson Pollock and Robert Morris. The fabrics were tweeds made from woven stitched chiffon, paint splashed, and with thousands of paillettes laid on their edges, mixed with feathers. Dresses were slashed to expose fishnet tights and underskirts. Especially gorgeous were the black, white and red net dresses adorned with sequins and eyelets and edged in feathers.  

California-born sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the designers at Rodarte stuck with their lyrical nature and presented peasant-style asymmetric dresses edged with feathers and fur and embroidered with multicolored beads. Mini skirts were embroidered with silver leaves and flowers. Makeup artist James Kaliardos affixed a line of tiny crystals just under the lash line of all the models. 

Victoria Beckham, showing at the Cipriani, Wall Street, was as chic and perfectionist as ever. Her glamorous family, David, Brooklyn, Cruz, Romeo and 3-year-old Harper, sat in the front row alongside US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.  

Using light, fresh and “bouncy” fabrics, there were sexy tight fitting dresses, fitted waistcoats over long slash split skirts and cocoon tulip shapes. Patchwork chiffon in satin and velvet in black and navy petal shaped appliqué created the most original dresses. All this in a disciplined palette of black, cream, white, taupe, grey, and grey blue charcoal, with accents of orange, olive and mustard. Victoria Beckham commented in the show notes: “It’s not about one theme – but instead thinking about what women really want to wear and how they want their clothes to make them feel.” 

Photographers and filmmakers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin were in the front row at Jason Wu. As chosen by Michelle Obama for her inauguration dress, Wu knows how to make chic grown-up pieces.  

There was a beautiful woven edged black shift dress, plunge necklines, animal skin leather dresses and skirts. Evening gowns were in metallic leopard satin, caramel satin and black tulle. 

Diane von Furstenberg was supremely seductive with plunging necklines on her signature wrap jersey dresses. There were applique blackbirds on lace dresses, tea dresses in floral mix print fabric with 1940’s ruffles, as well as electric blue, black polka dot and floral dresses and the same in fuchsia and orange.  

Japanese simplicity prevailed at Donna Karan with a black strapless bodice dress with pleated layers, grey lace, perfect tailoring, brocade bell sleeves, organza and chiffon layers and kabuki-style belts. 

Carolina Herrera’s water-themed show opened with Karlie Kloss in a marbled black, grey and pale blue satin cocoon tulip-sleeved cocktail dress. There were exquisite evening dresses in organza and large fringed and feathered paillettes. Makeup saw silver lashes with black eyeliner and deep raspberry lips. A fine silver leather thong was wrapped round ponytails.  

Evening dresses shown just in time for the Oscars were the most stunning at Zac Posen, Marchesa, Ralph Lauren, Mi
chael Kors, Herve Leger and Oscar de la Renta (now designed by former Nina Ricci designer Peter Copping). Shades were sapphire, amethyst, ruby and emerald jewel brights in taffeta, silk satin, organza and silver and gold lurex.  

Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein Collection chose “Venus in Furs” by Velvet Underground as the opening soundtrack to accompany clothes inspired by late ‘60s, early ‘70s. There were patchwork leather and Courrèges-style shifts in patchwork ginger and palest pink leather and graphically cut black and silver mini dresses. 

New York Fashion Week came to a close with the most stunning of shows from Marc Jacobs at the Park Avenue Armory. In the front row were Christina Ricci, Sofia Coppola, Nicki Minaj and Debbie Harry. His muse this season was Diana Vreeland, the legendary former editor-in-chief of US Vogue. A canvas painted with the interior of Vreeland’s famed New York apartment and lit atmospherically in red dominated the catwalk. Vreeland’s inspirations were Schiaparelli and artist Christian Berard and this could be seen in the designs.  

The models embodied the style and spirit of socialites from the ‘50s and ‘60s, such as Babe Paley, Marella Agnelli, Gloria Vanderbilt, Slim Keith, Lee Radziwill and Gloria Guinness. The show opened with model Erin O’Connor, who reminded Jacobs of both Vreeland and Edith Sitwell. Guido Palau’s shiny tightly twisted topknots with untucked ends were a combined ‘40s and ‘70s look. Francois Nars’s makeup look comprised eyes shaded with the deep taupe violet of NARS Bali, topped with lip gloss from lid to brow bone, defined brows, matte complexion with no blusher, and lips in the aubergine shade of NARS Velvet Matte Train Blue Lip Pencil.  

The collection was a deep Goth palette on ‘50s and ‘60s silhouettes. There were proper feminine tailored shapes in a palette of lilac grey, taupe, plum, deep violet, maroon, rust, indigo, ink, burgundy, deep green, mustard, ochre and primrose. Evening dresses were cream lace with metallic embroidered applique, and slim column gowns with sequined circles in cream, mustard, olive and black or maroon, grey, black and cream. 

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Diane von Furstenberg collection – Photos: AP
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