3-2-1 SMILE! A NYFW Snapshot

With so much fashion news coming out of New York Fashion Week Spring ’18, it can be tough to digest. I thought I’d give you a NYFW snapshot from my viewpoint. Here are some things that caught my eye this Fashion Week: 3 twenty year veterans of the fashion industry, 2 legacy brands helmed by new creative directors, and 1 classic American designer showing in a first time venue!

A NYFW Snapshot

Let’s start with the veterans

Twenty years ago (can you believe) Maria Cornejo launched her Zero + Maria Cornejo line. In the years in between her Mott Steet shop became a sort of hidden fashion gem much discussed in fashion circles – a treasure trove of minimalist, ultrachic fashion. This season she showed deceptively simple yet finely engineered looks like this fuchsia and orange color blocked day dress. I simply love this look, and not just because it features the same colors as the soon to be released branding of my new company, but also because it’s an overt homage to YSL’s Rive Gauche line, which itself helped fuel counterculture fashion.

Narciso Rodriguez came to national attention with the look he created for a then wife of a presidential hopeful who was wearing that dress on election night, but we had all been fans of his for many years before. Any Parsons student knows him as one of the stars in the constellation of big name designers who trained at their alma mater. Fashion editors like myself wait with anticipation for the red look in each collection, much like the legendary Valentino Rosso look for the Paris Haute Couture. This season’s dress is somewhat demure, but the draping belies his technical mastery.

Jeremy Scott is known for his street influenced style. Fashion editors “of a certain age” like myself still carry our Jeremy Scott for Longchamp Pliage bags, a wink to fashion insiders who know they were created solely for “front row editors.” His sequined hoodie turned evening gown is perfect for the fashionista who channels Sporty Spice at every opportunity!

Who’s new on the NYFW fashion Merry Go Round?

Raf Simmons, after a turn at Dior, is now the Creative Director of Calvin Klein. Some would say this is natural fit. Although Calvin Klein in general is known for its unique vision of American sportswear, Francisco Costa’s years there have made the brand synonymous with clean minimalist design with a conceptual slant. While the classic tailoring favored by the late Caroline Bessette-Kennedy can still be found in the collection, we see in this collection the after effects of Simmons’ turn as CD at Dior. This off-the-shoulder day dress is divine in its simplicity, but the pattern adds a certain level of glamour beyond the usually monochrome looks we see on the Calvin Klein runway.

Oscar de la Renta was always a highlight of NYFW. After a day full of tricky attention grabbing fashion, it was a delight to settle into a chic off-site venue and see an old school parade of simply beautiful clothes for day and evening. The same holds true under the two new co-Directors, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia. Whenever the head of an eponymous fashion label passes away, the editorial crowd is eternally concerned about the new Creative Directors “respecting the DNA of the brand” and the retail crowd worries about “alienating the core customers.”

The new design duo have navigated the transition well by emulating those young designers who in the past have been handed the reigns of Parisian Haute Couture houses. After all, ODLR is truly one of the great American legacy brands. While the show featured plenty of pretty – the kinds of dresses that grown women who were once little girls playing princess or who dream of finding a Russian to take her to Paris like Carrie Bradshaw did in SATC will adore – the new duo have brought a fresh perspective and a sense of humor. The “Oscar” dress is my favorite. I would love if we actually had an American actress who would dare to wear this on the red carpet in March of next year, but I suspect that if anyone does, she will be Australian…

NYFW Singular Sensation

Carolina Herrera is one of the last of a certain era – and tier – of designers who still holds the creative reins over her brand, although insiders know that she has in recent years brought her daughter into the process. Her current collection features shoes that were a collaboration with Manolo Blahnik (can you say bridal?) and many of the classic design elements we have all come to expect. We all know that Sra. Herrera will feature crisp white shirts, polka dots and, if she is feeling optimistic, yellow in her collections.

Her collection this year was presented at MoMA which, believe it or not, has NEVER hosted a Fashion Week event. Against the backdrop of the temple of modern art, her collection took on a new aura. Her classic black-and-white polka dots for day suddenly seemed as though they had stepped out of a Roy Lichtenstein painting. Her asymmetric yellow dot evening dress seemed to bring to life the romanticism of Seurat’s pointillism. Never before has NYFW seen the very embodiment of fashion as wearable art!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my take of NYFW. More to come in the weeks that follow. Stay Tuned!

–Joseph Ungoco

You may also like Joseph’s White: Get It “In Hand” for Fall and My Kingdom For A Coat

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