A folkloric feeling
As world headlines home in on the fractious, deeply troubling U.S. elections (get well soon, Hillary), it's fascinating to see how American designers are reacting to the climate through their work. There seem to be two schools of thought emerging.
In one corner: a very austere, realist, unisex take on dressing. And in the other: something entirely more fanciful and feminine.
There's a frilly, folksy feeling spreading through New York this week. We've already established the tango element. But there's a slightly different, romantic, back-to-the-land feeling happening as well. It's not quite bohemian, more 1960s Eastern European. Or British Arts and Crafts revival in 1970s California. And it couldn't be more different from the elevated streetwear story that continues to rule the season. The Amsterdam-based Scotch & Soda channeled the look through nature in a collection filled with ruffled high-neck shirts and maxi dresses in floral prints.
Meanwhile Tory Burch used full prairie skirts and dresses to convey a certain tony, yet free-spirited look.
And Phillip Lim touched upon the feeling in his Victorian florals and frills, by way of Nashville, as a response to the current climate of austerity. He explained, 'It's my reaction to the current mood in culture. Somehow playful austerity seems to be a new sensuality.'
Proenza Schouler's colour-blocking for the win
The social media winner was clear: a colour-blocked, stripey-knit tee and matching ostrich feather skirt that spread as quickly on Instagram as it traveled around the runway.
Three models later, we met its cousin: a clingy knit dress in similar primary colours, black feathers swinging around the legs just below the knee. Expect to see a lot of these two looks in your spring magazines — and a lot of 'interpretations' on the high street.
The rest of Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez's Spring work was just as festive and worthy of obsession, including graphic dresses with swingy skirts and knotted, peekaboo tops. If ever there was a time to crave a see-now-buy-now moment, it was here.
Fur all year around
Fur coats in Spring collections are not new, but they're appearing in a bigger way this season (Prabal, Diane von Furstenberg, Proenza, the list goes on). And when you consider most spring collections drop in store at that point in winter when the weather finally turns glacial but the autumn/winter coats are all sold out, it makes sense.
But for the record, ELLE is strictly anti-fur. So can we get a few puffers in the mix please?
Autumn for spring anyone?
Jackets were a big spring story at Rag & Bone, where 19 out of 37 looks had one. Creative director Marcus Wainwright is now a solo act after the departure of his former partner David Neville. What that means for the clothes is a return to ideas that were at the heart of Rag & Bone: a sense of a cool, British take on classic American sportswear.
Rag & Bone has always worked best in autumn, with its contemporary tailoring and knitwear. And that might explain why this collection looked more geared towards life after August, rather than those warmer months before.
The collection advanced many of aw16's biggest stories, ticking off nearly all the trend boxes. There was streetwear; the Eastern bloc sweatsuit that Gocha Rubchinskiy made so popular for men got a slouchier silhouette and bolder colours for women.
And there was also oversized shirting with long sleeves and mid-thigh hemlines in investment banker blue. The motocross girl, who first appeared at Rag & Bone last season, and the military utilitarian, also showed up.
Autumn all year long.
All streetwear everything at DKNY
Like Rag & Bone, DKNY, which former owner LVMH recently sold to G-III group, also bet big on tailoring, sport, outerwear and streetwear for spring — albeit with a raver at a futuristic music festival feeling for spring.
In many ways it was all about the hoodie, which Bella Hadid wore in mini dress form as she opened the show, and the anorak, which looked fresh in gauzy sheer ivory, pink and blue.
But creative director Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne's vision, which was dominated by off-kilter, challenging to wear silhouettes, is a big jump for a brand that was famous for a more playful, feminine, sexy in New York City look and it's not clear if the longtime DKNY fan is buying it.