CAROLINA HERRERA: ABIDING SOPHISTICATION
The collection: The house of Herrera has long been lauded as a beacon of female confidence with its shatterproof brand identity. Marking its 35th year in fashion, the collection remained timeless, yet relevant with its directional choice of textiles. Dressed-up denim (looks 1, 2, 3 & 5) was a notable update to the designer's repertoire of material exploration, which was pushed further with visible seams. While the collection didn't venture too far out with its colour palette, Herrera introduced an underrated neutral — crinkled metallics (looks 33 & 34), which one might expect to be borderline statement-making, but instead lent the range a youthful touch.
I spy: Effortless knots that top off any breezy summer look (looks 5, 6, 7, 24 & 25). This mode of fastening and cinching marries laid-back insouciance with patrician construction.
Worth the investment: Herrera's take on her signature white shirt was updated in a semi-sheer, structured rendition (looks 4 & 19). Multiply your office wardrobe by layering this number under any piece that may be too risqué for the workplace.
PROENZA SCHOULER: FINE, FRESH, FIERCE
The collection: Trust Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez to deliver only the most eclectic of everything — silhouettes, colours, and textures. A pastiche of influences, the collection brought to mind an SS14 redux (looks 26, 27 & 28), Mondrian's strictly primary and linear palette (looks 8, 9, 10 & 11), and prints suggestive of African craft (looks 31 & 35). Remaining true to the PS ethos, artistry scored high on their priority list — sculptural pleats were swayed into submission (looks 1, 2, 4, 6 & 7) while feathers lined the hems of woven leather sweaters (looks 3, 5 & 10). Even chandelier earrings were given a revamp, rendered in hinged leather, it was non-stop movement and rhythm throughout the show.
Favorite look: The cut-out mustard ribbed knit tucked into an undone shirt dress (look 30). Striking a balance between quirky and refined is an eternal quest, and this look manages to do just that.
Lesson learnt: Amidst the shift towards see-now-buy-now, the brand is headed in a different direction. With such fastidious workmanship, it's almost as if the dynamic duo behind Proenza Schouler are making a case for couture-level craft.
3.1 PHILLIP LIM: NEW ROMANTICS
The set: Romance was in the air, and not of the saccharine sort. It was something grittier. Imagining midnight at a Victorian rodeo, the mood was set with a medley of old country love songs and colourful flower petals strewn all across the unfinished floor in the Skylight Clarkson North studio.
The collection: Clearly, eclecticism was what Phillip Lim was going for. To start, vivid blooms decorated Victorian neckline dresses, which were juxtaposed against the fierce studded flatforms (looks 2 & 4), but the timeframe soon segued firmly into the now with the showing of directional pieces of denim — ones set to make its rounds on the street style circuit. Zippers ran the entire length on a pair of jeans (look 5) and denim jacket (look 24), and asymmetrically across a denim dress and skirt (looks 6 & 8) — all seemingly functional and not just decorative. Beyond denim, these asymmetrical zippers also served to conceal or reveal cutouts on dresses (looks 29 & 30), whatever the mood might be.
Overheard at the show: "Please don't walk on the runway dirt," said one security guard to showgoers. Fashion can be so ironic sometimes.
OSCAR DE LA RENTA: CHANGING HANDS
The collection: After Peter Copping relinquished creative control over at Oscar de la Renta, the Dominican-American designer's legacy rested in the hands of the in-house design team — a 10 man strong cadre behind the season's interim collection. In true de la Renta etiquette, there were no shortage of gowns: Sinuous beading enlivened graceful A-lines (looks 1 & 2); plush plumage elevated shift silhouettes (looks 4 & 6); and carnation red shone the spotlight on the conerstone of this half-century old house — an inimitable sense of pared-back elegance (looks 12 & 13).
Then and now: Unlike Copping who looked to a certain deluxe, '50s-infused glamour to refresh the brand, the design team's bold manoeuvre in the opposite direction paid off. Ditching stuffy stilettos for the ease of sandals (all looks) and introducing a polychromatic mash-up of florals and paisley à la the Roman gypsys (looks 35, 36, 37, & 38), the de la Renta lady's casualwear this time around truly spells summer.
Buro loves: The calvacade of pristine broderie anglaise dresses and two-piecers (looks 18, 19, 23 & 24), almost a blank slate for Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia of Monse — the new heads of de la Renta — to take to the drawing board next season.
RAG & BONE: ONE-MAN SHOW
Solo debut: Following David Neville's departure from his front-facing role at the New York label, you'd think that Marcus Wainwright's first solo collection could possibly end up lacking an arm and leg or two. Contrary to that, Rag & Bone's creative brain churned out both their women's and men's spring 2017 lines at once — after giving June's NYFW: Men's season a miss. Calling on the grit, prep and raw functionality of the city's core, behold: A spunky outing that's testiment to the unequivocal mass appeal of the label.
The collection: Hitting all the right notes with a 71-piece outing, Wainwright had his formula sorted from the start: A touch of utilitarian urbanity (looks 22, 28 & 33), a pinch of the viscerally street (looks 14, 29, 45), a trace of SS16's motocross underpinnings (looks 1 & 17), and a generous lashing of subversive prep (looks 5, 9, 18, 32, 34 & 70). An entirely on the pulse — and extremely saleable — one-man show.
Try it now: Breaking up neutrals, blacks and whites with a jolt of primary hues. But instead of going red, blue or yellow head-to-toe, begin by introducing colour in your accessories (look 47), and then work your way up to making a crimson statement (look 29).
DKNY: FASHION FUTURE PERFECT
The collection: DKNY's designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne took the fashion crowd up on NYC's beloved elevated park, The High Line, on a night where the weather turned drastically cooler and a comfortable breeze came off the Hudson river. It put everyone in the right mood for what was to come: A prediction of what New York style would look like in the future. "People talk a lot about our city's past, but we like to think about what's next," said Chow and Osborne in their show notes. The new New York style they say exists in a place called "Neo Soho", where women embrace contrasts (soft and hard; elegance and street; tech and tradition; construction and deconstruction), such as oversized jackets fitted at the waist (looks 2 & 3), and athletic-looking separates made out of tulle (looks 34, 35, 36, 37 & 38). But, even as the designers look forward, there's no forgetting the brand's DNA of dressing independent career women in the '90s. Season after season, the power suit gets reinvented. This time, as a jumpsuit in tech wool (look 7). It's a good thing that we won't have to wait too long for this future — just till next spring when it hits stores.
Try this now: Extra-long sleeves on sweaters as seen in looks 11, 12, 16, 21, 22 & 23, for a comfy off-duty look. Buy an oversized sweater, or get crafty and stretch out what you have a little.
Something you might have missed: Last season, the final walk-through brought on cool logo-bearing T-shirts with a fun twist on the brand's acronym. This time, it was a hybrid jumpsuit, tracksuit and hoodie that stole the show. We say it's fashion's answer to the Snuggie.
Related story: The best street style from New York Fashion Week SS17
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See all shows from New York Fashion Week spring/summer 2017.