New York Fashion Week Recap: Day Two – Wall Street Journal

The Givenchy collection used New York’s 9/11 memorial as a backdrop for its post-apocalyptic lingerie.

Highlights from New York Fashion Week Day 2.

1. Bitter or Just Sweet?

Was it maudlin to use New York’s 9/11 memorial as a backdrop for Riccardo Tisci’s Givenchy collection of post-apocalyptic lingerie and men’s and women’s tailoring? Nearly, but Mr. Tisci’s vision-and-sound collaboration with performance artist Marina Abramovic turned this show into a fitting tribute on terror’s anniversary.

It will be hard to beat Givenchy’s visit to New York for drama this week. Actress Liv Tyler floated in on the arm of her rocker dad Steven Tyler. The Kanye-Kardashians arrived late in a phalanx of photographers without an apologetic grimace. Alexander Wang, Joseph Altuzarra, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler air-kissed friends and clients before taking their own seats.

Why did a fully dressed woman stand under a shower for an hour or so? Why did a monk-garbed man hold two slim trees atop a pile of recycled wood pallets? Marina Abramovic, is all the explanation you’ll get.

Beyond mysterious metaphors, the clothes were here and there. Apocalyptic lingerie may be the next New Thing. But while bias-cut lace looks looked chicly off-kilter on the models, they may look simply ill-fitting on the street. The finest looks were refined: sleek pajama-style tuxedos and tuxedo slacks whose side stripes literally flew off the pants, descending into ribbons that trailed behind.

—Christina Binkley

2. The Art of Fashion

The colorful, geometric works of artist Frank Stella inspired the Pamella Roland collection.

Are museums the new NYFW venues? The Whitney played host to the Pamella Roland collection on Friday—the first fashion show held at the Renzo Piano-designed location. Designer Pamella DeVos said she knew she wanted to show at the museum even before its completion earlier this year (Ms. DeVos is a member of its board of trustees). The colorful, geometric works of artist Frank Stella inspired the collection and the runway. During the finale, the white backdrop slowly rolled up to reveal stained glass windows, flooding the stark room with rainbow-colored lights. When asked if there was a plan B for a rainy day, a representative at the show said, “We took a risk, and thankfully, it paid off.” The museum trend continues Monday when Carolina Herrera is set to show her collection at the Frick—a first for that museum as well.

—Seunghee Suh

3. Caloric Paranoia

Rosie Assoulin’s designs have made her a darling of the fashion scene.

Rosie Assoulin, a new darling of the U.S. fashion scene for her statement-making designs, thought the tattooed chef in the man-bun was extremely “cute.”

Chef Aaron London and his tiny plates of hamachi were there at the behest of Bon Appétit magazine, which recently named his Al’s Place in San Francisco its restaurant of the year. Bon Appétit sponsored Ms. Assoulin’s show in the empty swimming pool of the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center on Clarkson Street.

Adam Rapoport, the magazine’s editor in chief, wishes for more fashion+ food collaborations. “Fashion people don’t want to be photographed eating,” he noted as a wait-person offered plates of grapes and M&Ms to models.

Sometimes there’s a reason for paranoia. Ms. Assoulin posed patiently with guests, but noted, “I hate having my picture taken. All these models!”

—Christina Binkley

4. Empire Grrrls

Cushnie et Ochs loosened things up a bit, making the clothes less restrictive.

Two stars of the hit TV show “Empire” sat front row at Cushnie et Ochs Friday. If any other celebs were there, sorry, but these two ladies, Grace Gealey and Kaitlin Doubleday, ruled. The design duo’s Spring 2016 collection was fit for the characters these actresses play on the show: Strong, confident, sexy but in a powerful way, steely and with abs and buns of steel (all three would be needed to wear the label’s body hugging, peek-a-boo cut-out styles). Cushnie et Ochs sometimes loosened things up a bit this go-around making the clothes less restrictive, while still retaining the label’s signature strong sexiness.

—Ray A. Smith

5. What to Wear Come Spring

Sally LaPointe, whose easy-to-wear skirts and separates are made for working women, offered vinyl printed skirts worth a cocktail party conversation.

Two designer collections stood out Friday: Sally LaPointe, whose easy-to-wear skirts and separates are made for working women on the go, and Jason Wu, whose sophistication level leapt up several notches with a mightily textured collection of fabrics that are a big part of the show.

Mr. Wu has been undergoing on-the-job training as designer of Hugo Boss women’s wear, and with the executive-level expertise of his new investors at InterLuxe. His clothes retain his well known delicate feminine styling, but there’s more working-mom-in-boardroom and less lady-who-lunches in the ideas he puts forth. One racerback evening dress is a case in point.

Ms. LaPointe, who had Bergdorf and Neiman Marcus reps in her front row, offered vinyl printed skirts that are worth a cocktail party conversation.

—Christina Binkley

6. Polo On An Elevated Horse

The Polo Ralph Lauren collection had a message: Polo women and men are so much more than just bright prepsters.

Upon reaching the rooftop deck known as Gallow Green at the trendy McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea to see Polo Ralph Lauren collection, guests almost immediately encountered models in tailored dark denim ensembles, then models in elegant black and khaki ensembles before finally seeing the bright-colored, casual, preppy ensembles that the Polo brand has been best known for. The message: Polo is upgrading, suggesting that modern Polo women and men (there were men’s looks sprinkled throughout) are so much more than just bright prepsters. “The Polo woman has a sophisticated attitude, is well-bred, with a downtown edge,” Ralph Lauren said in a statement. “It’s not just one look” but an eclectic mix.

—Ray A. Smith


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