From the return of color to the 10-year-old "kinderdrag" model, here's what you need to know.
The Time’s Up movement led stars to wear all-black as a show of solidarity with the gender equality movement at the Golden Globes and soon the BAFTA Awards, but the New York Fashion Week fall runways were a sea of color. Of note were Marc Jacobs' ode to 1980s power dressing in fierce jewel tones; Oscar de la Renta’s vivid red carpet-ready evening wear and dip-dye red tulle coat; and Prabal Gurung’s powerful rainbow-hued female force, inspired by the women who surrounded him when he was growing up in India and Nepal, walking the runway with white roses in hand in a nod to the Grammys Time's Up moment.
“With this collection, I wanted to share my view of color, something that we often see downplayed as women work their way to the top,” Gurung said, countering the notion of dressing to blend in. “I simply wanted to offer another perspective, another option, because at the end of the day, my job as a designer is to provide choices so that women can interpret their femininity as they see fit. And doing so in vibrant, optimistic colors makes me hopeful for the future.”
With acid colors, animal prints, power shoulders and leggings everywhere, the go-go decade of Trump the real estate commando, not the commander-in-chief, were all over the runways, perhaps most noticeably at Tom Ford.
The fashion designer/filmmaker’s patchwork fur coats and densely embroidered mini-dresses recalled the ‘80s heyday of divas Whitney Houston and Diana Ross. And move over Giorgio, he also showed the mother of all statement sweatshirts, emblazoned with “Tom Ford of Beverly Hills,” announcing in high style his return for London to L.A. The ‘80s also came back to life on the runway at Jeremy Scott (where let’s face it, they never really left) with electric-hued wigs, crazy-patterned leggings and crazier over-the-knee Moon boots, and at Ralph Lauren, whose look was Wall Street yuppie on spring break. But it was Jacobs who caught the moment at its aesthetic best, with couture-like shapes, including draped coats, high-waist pants and dresses with color blocking and frills.
Plus-size and transgender models, like America’s Top Model’s Ashley Graham and Teddy Quinlivan, are by now well-established on many runways. But this season’s fashion week saw even more diversity as the notion of any kind of beauty ideal continues to crack. Chromat’s lineup included plus-size and transgender models, as well as an amputee and a woman wearing a hijab. But it was 10-year-old self-professed “drag kid” Desmond Napoles who stole the shows, walking for Gypsy Sport in a ruffled jacket, with silver-slicked hair. “Dreams do come true!” the pint-sized LGBTQ activist, who was “discovered” in 2015 dancing in a rainbow tutu at the Brooklyn pride parade wrote on his Instagram. He has since appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race and become a star in the “kinderdrag scene.”
When WME bought IMG and New York Fashion Week with it in 2014, the idea was to create synergies between entertainment and fashion. Certainly, plenty of WME/IMG talent sat in the front rows (client Cardi B client wins the front-row ubiquity award for the week) and IMG models walked the runways at fashion week hub Spring Studios, where the agency's fashion division secured event sponsors including Ethiad Airlines, Lexus and Maybelline. Adding another element, this season’s “Welcome to Wakanda” Black Panther fashion extravaganza saw designers interpreting the style of the film in one-off pieces to be auctioned for charity. Unfortunately, guests complained of lines to get into the Black Panther event, and noted that the designers who created the over-the-top looks were not identified with any signage. One wonders why WME/IMG did not urge Marvel to host a screening of the film and a conversation with costume designer Ruth E. Carter for the fashion crowd instead.
Hollywood and fashion brands engaged outside of the scope of the WME/IMG events, too; Calvin Klein boasted the most A-list heavy front row, with Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B Jordan, Millie Bobby Brown, Laura Dern and many more sitting ankle deep in popcorn to watch designer Raf Simons' latest take on Americana. The brand also collaborated with Warner Bros. on Looney Toons-themed artwork featured on unraveling knit sweaters.
Calvin Klein, Seth Meyers, Andre Leon Talley and more came out to New York's Museum of Modern Art to bid farewell to one of the grand dames of American fashion, Carolina Herrera, 79, who presented her final runway show for her namesake business. Over the years, Herrera’s brand of high society elegance made her a red-carpet go-to for Sarah Paulson, Kiernan Shipka, Renee Zellweger and more, and a Washington glitterati go-to for former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush, as well as current first daughter Ivanka Trump, who caught flak for posting a date-night photo wearing Herrera’s $5,000 silver lame gown the same day that her father’s immigration ban sparked nationwide protests. The brand will now be in the hands of new creative director Wes Gordon, who took a bow with Herrera. With new designers now installed at American legacy brands Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera and long ago at Calvin Klein, many are wondering how much longer Ralph Lauren, 78, will stay at the helm. After a seaside-themed collection that felt particularly trapped in 1980s preppy amber, some whispered that his brand, too, could use a refresh.