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Fashion Week Whirl

Fashion News
A look from Oscar de la Renta's Fall/Winer 2016 collection.

By Jessica Michault

Fashion is currently in the throes of major change. The new “see now, buy now” phenomenon is putting the traditional fashion seasons under a new light. And many consumers are looking to designers who speak to them on a more profound level, rather than simply follow trends. This new “tribes instead of trends” approach is visible on this season’s catwalks, as each designer carved their own path.

For his Fall 2016 show at Oscar de la Renta, designer Peter Copping was inspired by the infamous fashion moment referred to as “Battle of Versailles,” which took place in 1973 when French couture houses were upstaged by American ready-to-wear designers who came to France to show their work. Perhaps Copping read Pulitzer Prize winning fashion writer Robin Givhan’s just published book about that watershed fashion moment. On the runway, that sartorial spark translated into bell-shaped silhouettes in rich fabrics like damask, silk faille and silk jacquard and color palettes taken from 18th century interiors. It made for a highly feminine and romantic lineup that will delight de la Renta’s core consumers.


Moncler created a fashion happening with its latest collection. The house asked its guests to stand in the below freezing New York winter to watch a group of dancers dressed in head to toe sky blue ski gear do a marching performance (think Olympics opening ceremony) at Lincoln Center. Finally, when the “show” portion of the event was over, the collection revealed fun brightly colored fur pieces and well constructed quilted separates. There certainly were a few guests who would have loved to have been wearing some of those garments right as they stepped off the open-air catwalk.


Designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright produced a very strong urban offering for Rag & Bone this season. The duo, who presented both menswear and womenswear on the runway, proposed city staples like cool shearling-lined coats, surprisingly chic track suit pants and hipster hockey-like jersey tops to a very receptive audience. It was a winning collection filled with staple pieces that will more then earn their place in anyone’s wardrobe.


Ralph Lauren had a one two punch of perfection on his Fall 2016 catwalk. The designer broke up his sartorial story into two distinct parts and occasions. For day, he proposed a masculine tinged assortment of garments that were all about comfort and discretion. In shades of brown, taupe, truffle and mocha Lauren crafted double-breasted jackets windowpane patterned cashmere and coats out of a patchwork of tweeds. He even finished off a number of the daywear designs with the models wearing men’s ties. Eveningwear on the other hand was extremely feminine. Plissé velvet goddess gowns and others in gilded jacquards were designed to make an entrance and to keep all eyes on the women wearing them.


Miuccia Prada’s collection was a continuation of concepts the Italian designer started exploring in January when she sprinkled in a few womenswear pieces into her menswear show. Those ideas, about a world traveler taking everything that is precious with them and leaving their home behind for an unknown future translated into a poetic collection that uses navy uniform structure in some aspects of garments that were then offset with the addition of a selection of 50s style brocade dresses. Expect wait lists for the metal ring pierced bags, grey knit gloves and all of the outerwear—in particular fur-sleeved, boxy coats.


This season designer Peter Dundas took the Roberto Cavalli label back to its roots. This collection will be irresistible to the brand’s fans who love clothing that oozes a rock and roll glamour with a hint of a gypsy rebel. The long and lean collection was a rich mélange of velvets, sequins and intarsia furs. A strong Art Nouveau inspiration gave a graphic energy to the more bohemian base of the lineup. This collection proved that Dundas really is the perfect choice to guide this brand into the next chapter of its lush luxe life.


Alessandro Michele titled his latest collection for Gucci "Rhizomatic Scores,"which was defined as something that "has neither a center, nor orientation. It develops disorderly." It's a description that could also be used for Michele's body of work so far: His eclectic work is more about evolution than revolution as he develops his uniquely romantic style each season. This time he added a bit is street to his mix, tapping graffiti artist Trouble Andrew to tag the word "real" in DayGlo yellow on a Gucci tote. He embedded a graffiti style diamond on the back of a flaming red fur coat and the endless array of pearl-adorned brass knuckles worn by the models could make them a serious threat after dark.


At Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld rode a fashion wave with a collection that was elevated by undulating fabric embellishments. Some might call them ruffles, but in the hands of the German designer the rippling materials were more dramatic than feminine with a focus on power rather than girly prettiness. They popped up in both expected (collars, hems and cuffs) and original places (v-shaped bib front shirts and across the middle of skirts) and also gave a new dimensionality to accessories, with many of the brand’s classic bags and thigh high boots getting the ruffle treatment too.


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