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A Crowded Calendar Causes Designers to Pull Out All the Stops to Get Noticed at NYFW

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From left: Runway shows at Opening Ceremony, DVF, and Victoria Beckham.

Eric Wilson is InStyle’s Fashion News Director. Sit front row at Fashion Week with him by following him on Twitter (@EricWilsonSays) and Instagram.

Diane von Furstenberg’s wrap dress is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, so the designer gave her most famous creation a show of its own Sunday, called “Bohemian Wrapsody.” Apart from that pun, her collection was a solid hit, or rather, solid gold, given the multitude of ideas she packed into one show. It started with Karen Elson in a classic wrap with a knotted print motif reminiscent of gilded pretzels and ending with an all-out supermodel dance party led by Karlie Kloss — she and all the other models in shimmering gold wrap dresses, wrap sweaters, wrap minis, and wrap cardigans.

More than ever, fashion shows are becoming fashion events, and von Furstenberg’s runway was extravagant, to say the least, with a live performance by St. Vincent and a shower of gold confetti at the end. With so many crowding the calendar these days, designers really have to pull out all the stops just to be noticed. Carol Lim and Humberto Leon of Opening Ceremony, who followed von Furstenberg, went so far as to perfume their runway with the scent of melting chocolate, and also to hand out to-go mugs of hot cocoa to guests as they departed on a sugar high, having taken in all the fabulously stiff sweatshirts and fingerprint-printed coats. The models had walked next to a wall on which rivers of melted chocolate dripped and dripped deliciously.

Sunday’s shows, in fact, were all about defining signatures. In Victoria Beckham’s case, it was a gold chain belt the designer added as a closure wrapped at the side of her elegant (yes, elegant) coats and dresses in a spare palette of black, white, and red. Plus all of her obscenely adorable children were there, so you wouldn’t likely have mistaken her show for that of anyone else.

Thakoon Panichgul revived his early interest in blurred floral patterns in a strong, brightly colored collection that picked up on the recent trend of mélange fabrics, in which multiple textures and treatments are molded or bonded into one. (A coat from Thakoon combined two vivid floral prints, in pink and jacquard, with a skirt of black nylon, quilted like a puffer coat.) He also showed some intricate hybrid knits, sort of like turtleneck shrugs that came with a single armhole and long trailing parts that were flipped over the shoulder like a shawl or a scarf. One of Derek Lam’s new ideas for fall was also quite daring, as he cut long slices through his long silk satin or georgette dresses and then fastened the pieces back together with evenly spaced gold beads for a super-sexy look.

Perhaps the most unexpected new way to wear clothes, however, was demonstrated in person by Manolo Blahnik, who arrived in snow-frozen New York for a presentation of his fanciful footwear in the Chelsea gallery district, bundled up in a thick scarf and wearing both a vest beneath his suit and purple sweater vest on top of it.

“It’s freezing in here,” he said. “It’s my desperation outfit.”

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