New York Fashion Week Playbook: 8 MVPs to Watch

4:54 PM 2/9/2017

by THR Staff

The month-long fall/winter 2017 runway season kicks of Feb. 9. A primer on the MVPs in New York, from the new man on campus (Raf Simons at Calvin Klein!) to the wild card. And will there be a Melania effect?

JP Yim/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week
  • New Man on Campus: Raf Simons at Calvin Klein

    Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/FilmMagic

    Raf Simons is making his highly anticipated debut as the chief creative officer of Calvin Klein on Feb. 10. It will be his first runway show for a major fashion house since he stepped down from his role at the helm of Dior after three short — albeit critically hailed — years.

    Less than six months after assuming his post, the Belgian designer, who replaced womenswear designer Francisco Costa and menswear designer Italo Zuccheli, has already made quite a splash at the American fashion house. In his first campaign for the made-to-order Calvin Klein By Appointment label, Simons cast Stranger Things’ darling Millie Bobby Brown, 12, in a high-brow fashion editorial — a major departure from CK’s infamous, over-the-top sexy ads. The spring campaign, too, was a 180 from denim and underwear ads fronted by a shirtless Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner. Along with creative director Pieter Mulier, Simons created a concept in which Calvin Klein denim was likened to American Pop art as a key player in the country’s rich cultural history.  

    Two weeks ago, Simons presented his eponymous menswear collection at New York Fashion Week: Men’s, offering up a taste of what’s to come on Friday. His use of American flag motifs as well as pieces emblazoned with “NY” suggest he could be ready to infuse the brand with a freshness that doesn’t stray too far from its American roots. 

  • Dymamic Duo: Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia

    Estrop/Getty Images (2)

    In-demand designer Laura Kim made headlines in December of last year after it was revealed that Carolina Herrera, Kim’s former employer of less than eight months, was suing Oscar de la Renta for hiring her. Herrera claimed that the hiring violated a non-compete agreement. The suit was settled out of court in January, however it proved just how highly regarded Kim had come to be in the realm of American fashion.

    Kim and her creative partner, Fernando Garcia, are making their highly-anticipated runway debut for de la Renta this week. The pair was appointed as co-creative directors following last summer’s departure of Peter Copping, who took over the house after Oscar de la Renta’s death in 2014. All eyes will be on the young designers, who are also the creative forces behind Hollywood-favorite label, Monse, to see how they meld their youthful touch into the storied fashion brand.

    That being said, Kim and Garcia aren’t strangers to the ODLR aesthetic. Prior to launching Monse — a favorite of Zoe Saldana, Lady Gaga and Sienna miller — both worked at the American fashion house for more than 12 years.

    With this season’s back-to-back presentations (Monse, followed by de la Renta) on the evening of Feb. 13, it will be interesting if each collection — both of which are major red-carpet players — achieves its own distinctive look. 

  • The Out-of-Towner: Philipp Plein

    Fergie and Philipp Plein
    Fergie and Philipp Plein
    Getty Images

    German designer Philipp Plein is making his debut at NYFW — and you can bet his show will be as over the top as ever. From roller coasters to giant robots, it seems there's nothing Plein won't incorporate into his glitzy presentations. Given that he's enlisted Paris Hilton and Fergie for previous shows, don't be surprised if the designer recruits another boldfacer to hit the runway.

  • The No Show: Rodarte

    Rodarte's spring 2017 runway show
    Rodarte's spring 2017 runway show
    JP Yim/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week

    Don't expect to find Rodarte listed at New York Fashion Week anymore. Red carpet favorites Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who founded the L.A.-based label in 2005, confirmed last month that they will be holding a presentation in Paris for the fall 2017 season. A date has yet to be announced. Afterwards, Rodarte will be moving its spring 2018 show to Paris in July to align with Couture Week and continue to show its main line in January and July. In between crossing the Atlantic, the sisters are finishing editing their upcoming film, "Woodshock," starring Kirsten Dunst. 

  • The Cool Co-ed: Coach

    Coach's spring 2017 show
    Coach's spring 2017 show
    Getty Images

    Coach, the classic American heritage brand that has reinvented itself for the millennial customer, is going co-ed. That is, the brand is merging its men's and women's shows into one presentation not unlike what Burberry, Gucci and Opening Ceremony have recently done. The combined show will be presented twice a year, starting with its upcoming NYFW event on Feb. 14.

    Don't be surprised if you see Selena Gomez in the front row; she was named the new face of the brand last December. Plus, she's working on a special design project with creative director Stuart Vevers.

  • The Wild Card: Kanye

    Jamie McCarthy/Getty

    When it comes to Yeezy Season 5, the biggest question is not what Kanye West’s new collection will look like (our guess is more spandex and more oversize destroyed hoodies), but whether or not anyone will actually show up to his Feb. 15 presentation.

    West led the charge on the new eventization of fashion shows (mimicked by Tommy Hilfiger with much success) when he showed Yeezy season 3 to a crowd of consumers at Madison Square Garden last February, and simultaneously dropped his Life of Pablo album. 

    However, his disaster of a presentation last September — where guests were shuttled/ferried out to Roosevelt Island and then forced to wait in the heat for more than 3 hours only to see models fainting where they stood — left a sour taste in the mouths of many. A lackluster collection didn’t help his cause.

    This season West is showing at the Piers, a popular Fashion Week venue with a much smaller capacity than MSG. Many speculate that the negative press following the Yeezy Season 4 has humbled the rapper-turned-fashion designer, and that he will keep the show simple and to the point. But then again, this is Kanye we’re talking about.

  • New Class President?: Ralph Lauren

    Getty Images

    Since dressing First Lady Melania Trump for the inauguration, Ralph Lauren (unlike many other fashion brands that have been caught in the political crossfire) seems to have emerged relatively unscathed. 

    The iconic American brand may have avoided the #GrabYourWallet crowd because Lauren actually dressed both Trump and former democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for the swearing-in ceremony.


    Trump’s custom made sky blue cutaway jacket and dress with matching gloves were evocative of Jackie Kennedy, for some. It will be interesting to see if Lauren’s fall 2017 collection takes a retro ladylike turn, too.