At Monse, Brandon Maxwell and Tory Burch, Cheering for American Style
"We wanted to celebrate showing in New York, because we never would have been able to get where we got in 2 years time without the support of New York," said Monse designer Fernando Garcia.
How long is too long to wait for a late arriving celebrity to sit in your front row? That was the question on many minds Friday evening at the Monse show, when the 5 p.m. start-time edged to 5:40 p.m. and one very conspicuous hole was still unfilled in the VIP section near Kate Bosworth, Paris Hilton and Jaimie King.
A Monse-dressed Minnie Mouse had long since left the center of the basketball court in the luxury midtown condo that buzzy designers Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim had scored for their spring 2018 show venue. (“When Disney calls, you pick up the phone,” Garcia said backstage, reflecting the financial reality that all young designers face when looking for sponsorship.)
Finally, following a peep-and-sweep by two bodyguards, Nicki Minaj arrived in all her curvaceous, fur-trimmed divadom. There was no applause, but there were no boos, either. The fashion crowd has grown accustomed to such Hollywood behavior adjacent to the runway, and know the value a celebrity photo can have to young designers looking for exposure, a fact that was confirmed on my own Twitter feed.
In a time when some of New York’s hottest designer labels (Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra, Rodarte, Thom Browne) have pulled up stakes to show in Paris instead, the Monse collection was about “Americana unhinged from a foreigner’s perspective,” said Garcia, who originally hails from the Dominican Republic, standing nearby his co-designer Laura Kim, a Canadian-Korean. The two are also the creative directors of Oscar de la Renta. "Also, we wanted to celebrate showing in New York, because we never would have been able to get where we got in 2 years time without the support of New York.”
On the runway, that meant riffing on rah-rah sportswear, Monse-style, meaning deconstructed rep-stripe shirts, fun and funky off-shoulder rugby shirts and letterman cardigans, as well as star-spangled, fringy skirts, dresses, and sequin sports jerseys worn with elegant evening track pants for the label’s ever-growing celebrity fan club. (Maggie Gyllenhaal looked spectacular in the label’s slashed and zipped black dress, on her way into The Late Show with Stephen Colbert the other night.)
The pep rally for America continued at Brandon Maxwell, where the designer referenced Hurricane Harvey by wearing a “Texas” shirt in honor of his home state. The collection was part Hollywood, party Dollywood, with a heavy dose of casual glam that must have been informed, in part, by his Longview, Tex. roots.
Think a bubblegum pink, belted blazer, or a dramatic white button-down shirt with train, worn with blue jeans. The show was also a tribute to the joy of dressing up, American style, with model sweethearts Gigi and Bella Hadid and Joan Smalls working ever-more-dramatic eveningwear, and a finale of Karlie Kloss working it in an ivory mohair sweater and one of the widest ball skirts I’ve ever seen.
Still here, Tory Burch made the best of New York, too, showing outside in the leafy environs of the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum on the Upper East Side. The choice was apropo as Burch’s inspiration was the great interior designer David Hicks, who has been a reference point to her from the beginning, including for her label’s modernist-looking logo.
Scarfy, tile-print and rainbow-striped sheaths, tunics and palazzo pants; fringed terry cloth dresses; slips with color-block details, and rainbow slippers harkened back to the simple and unfussy, American way of dressing Burch first made a splash with way back in 2004. It was like coming home.