New York‘s Fashion Week ended with a snowstorm on Thursday, a fresh layer of white stuff on the streets and, on the runways, a layer of gray. It made for a tough commute, but no one missed Ralph Lauren‘s morning presentation that was heavy on pewter silk evening dresses, including one with a dramatic cape attached and another in pale silvery pink (with a slightly pinker lining) that was so perfect it demands placement on the Oscars red carpet.
Lauren started his show with a preview of his new women’s collection under the Polo Ralph Lauren label, with fringed suede bags, neon cardigans and jackets, black leather skirts and a plethora of western wear, then moved to his more extravagant signature collection. That looked extra polished by comparison, with some fantastic ivory cashmere sweatpants that would have been perfect for the weather (had it not been for all the splashing slush), and more and more gray dresses, and some mauve, in versions from knit jersey to menswear wool.
One of the few pleasures of looking at fall fashion on a day of miserable weather is that the clothes seem more relevant, and none more so than the gray sweater dresses and high boots of Francisco Costa’s cozy, cuddly show for Calvin Klein Collection.
The final show of a particularly memorable Fashion Week belonged to Marc Jacobs, the designer who left his post at Louis Vuitton in October to focus full time on his signature collection in New York. Given the change, fashion people expected big things. Jacobs delivered. His show was, as usual, a fascinating production, but not the completely surreal spectacle of last season, on a blackened, charred, post-apocalyptic set of black sand and debris. Instead, he created a more intimate, quiet space by suspending foam-filled clouds from the ceiling, a few feet above the heads of the 750 or so guests who were spaced throughout the vast hall of the New York State Armory on foam seats, rather than packed into the usual bleachers. And the mood, compared to that last collection, was decidedly upbeat.
Take, for instance, the soundtrack: Jessica Lange’s voice, delivering a spoken-word monologue of the lyrics of “Happy Days Are Here Again.” So long, cloudy gray times.
The 46 models, with uniform straight hair, headbands and muted makeup, marched through the labyrinthine runway, passing of the length of the room eight times through each row of guests, a lengthy process that resulted in more than 20 models on the floor at any given moment — in itself a beautiful scene. And then, the clothes, variations of oatmeal colors, almost simple and reserved at the start, but increasingly fascinating until, as InStyle‘s Fashion Director Cindy Weber Cleary observed, you felt that it was a palate cleanser, and you were suddenly hungry for more. On the menu were long knit tunics with matching knit pants, a deep-neck henley shirt, fur bomber jackets, and easy dresses that had layers of gradient ruffles.
To learn more, take a stroll through the week that was with complete coverage on InStyle.com, and follow Eric Wilson on Twitter (@EricWilsonSays) and Instagram as he heads off to Fashion Week in Europe.
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