New York Fashion Week provides a platform for designers to express themselves and, among other recurrent themes, a major one this season has been how they would respond to current events (if they decided to do so at all). While some designers opted to embody a more “down with the people” feel, others – by design or not, pun unintended – opted for a touch of luxury, or at least their version of it. Given most collections were centered around Fall/Winter 2017 (with the odd see now, buy now show), the majority of looks featured a renewed focus on fabrics that created depth and dimension; think iridescent metallics, supple velvets, and delicate trims.
Sies Marjan Ready to Wear Fall Winter 2017 New York Fashion Show
The designer on everybody’s lips this week was Sies Marjan. Creative director Sander Lak attempted to beautify bad taste by embracing the unfavorable trends, which in and of itself is quite brave (with or without a clearly stated political or social agenda). In doing so, he managed to infiltrate luxurious elements by way of multi-colored velvet fabrics (now we know for sure that blue and pink can go together!) and the most coveted jacket of the season: the metallic pink glitter coat. When offset against neutral basics, the styling allowed for a moment of pause, soaking up the chaos of irregular hemlines and proportions and appreciating the subtle approach to what luxury looks like today; and possibly of what it could like tomorrow.
At Jason Wu, the designer introduced the use of burnout velvets to master the balance of dimension and that of elegance. With the already on-trend shoulder cutouts present, Wu created movement on waist-enhancing dresses with a draping effect that gathered at the waist. A few looks later and luxurious and rich velvets were paraded down the runway in deep golden yellows that felt super regal – fit for a queen!
Jill Stuart’s use of autumnal red velvets gave her tiered knee-length dresses an antiquated vibe while in other silhouettes, such as the extreme wide leg trouser, the velvet’s multi-dimensional quality created a degrade effect. Little luxurious elements crept into Stuart’s collection, with the standout piece arguably being her belted vintage coat with a printed tulle overlay that extended beyond the coat itself – a piece that seems to perfectly convey the possibility of being quietly elegant rather than boastfully fancy.
Altuzarra Ready To Wear Fall Winter 2017 New York Fashion Show
Designers Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin of Tome intermittently sprinkled in a touch of luxury by way of velvet dresses. The color palette felt slightly muted – think warm gold and sun-bleached orange – but the texture of fabric created such depth that each dress felt elevated and expensive. After all, who said a collection that touched on so many wholesome issues – “ethical, sustainable, playful, intellectual, and sensual,” as mentioned in Tome’s show notes – can’t also include a bit of tasteful and stylish decadence?
Forgetting about the politically charged final walkthrough (link to slogan statement story), the crux of Prabal Gurung’s collection was dedicated to women “made of strength, inner beauty, graceful femininity and vigilance.” From dazzling 80s-inspired metallics to glistening sheer overlays, dresses were revamped with alluring materials. “This season we offer multiple ways to celebrate the exuberance of being a woman and to interpret her femininity as she sees fit,” wrote Gurung in the show notes. To Gurung, luxury certainly felt like freedom this season.
Altuzarra also got the memo about the yellow – or saffron, according to the show notes – velvet dress, debuting his version with a deep v-neckline, ruffled cap sleeves, and curved boning detail. Fusing the past with the present, the designer used lush velvets to create a sense of history, heritage, and hierarchy, all the while downplaying trend-drive aspects to truly focus on the craftsmanship.
Oscar de la Renta Ready to Wear Fall Winter 2017 New York Fashion Show
The highly anticipated Monse show this season did not disappoint. With bold primary colors featuring throughout the second half of the collection, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia established their own version of modern luxuriousness. While the exposed shoulder trend continued in some of their key pieces, it was dimensional velvet that formed a new interpretation of class. At Oscar de la Renta, it was metallic that painted this picture, further modernizing the designers' take on luxury. Shield-like silver peplum tops sat aside a pink fit-and-flare dress and electric blue maxi gown, all three in reflective metallic fabrics with a glittering finish.
Opting for an earthier brown color palette – and therefore adding a new twist to the traditional standard of what is considered lavish – Zero + Maria Cornejo injected a nonchalant component to their collection. Loosely gathered velvet, whether at the waist or neckline, was used to accentuate the slouchiness of shapeless dresses and off-the-shoulder tops. While the indulgent nature of velvet pushed the garments into a more luxurious playing field, the styling kept it somewhat commercial and attainable – an interesting counter idea to the longstanding description (and assumption) of luxury.