As february falls, Fashion Month descends upon the Fashion Capitals of Europe and America, showcasing the upcoming trends and presenting a source of inspiration that one can aspire to save towards for the next six months for Autumn / Winter 2016.
I was always a skeptic when it came to New York Fashion Week. Although it marks the beginning of the hotly anticipated fall shows, which let's face it, I far prefer to the September spring shows, the offerings usually are far too, for lack of a better word, basic for my style. Previously New York, for me, was for the 'put together' woman. The woman who could wear heels all day, wore classic style tailoring and bought investment pieces. Think Victoria Beckham. Throw in the ever-present sportswear elements to many New York collections, and they couldn't be further away from my personal style that is much more hungover chic than high end. New York, and American fashion as a whole, has often valued commerciality over creativity, in my opinion. Their style is far more laid back, I would argue, than that of any of the other three 'fashion capitals', even the effortless Parisian chic embodies more creativity and personality. Hence the 2013 phenomenon 'normcore' trend caught on, that was, according to Vogue.com a halfway point between New York and Paris fashion, however I would say it leans more towards New York. That's not to say that it wasn't adopted in other cities, especially with the growing blogging community in girlfriend jeans, a crisp white shirt and some simple black Nikes for day or a pair of plain black heeled pumps for night. Vogue also goes on to describe normcore as the desire to fit in, rather than to stand out, which I think is very true of American Fashion. This is not a bad thing by any means, being safe sells, and there are hundreds of American brands selling this laid back style, but personally, I feel it lacks creativity and fun, something that I believe fashion embodies.
However, whilst watching social media for the anticipated anticlimactic first looks from New York, the past few seasons have been a pleasant surprise to me.
Spring / Summer, back in September, Givenchy changed their usual setting of Paris Fashion Week to the earlier show at New York Fashion Week which I wrote about here. For a Spring Summer show, it was incredibly dark and very different from the usual chic (read: boring) collections alongside it.
That gave me some hope. If the avant-garde, and the exuberant haute couture was filtering in from Paris to New York back in September, then perhaps, other designers may follow in Givenchy's fashion forward footsteps and add some spectacle to their shows.
Evidently, they did. Rodarte and Marc Jacobs both produced some dramatically dark collections for the coming autumn and winter months. Lace, Leather and fur or feathers, hopefully faux, featured highly in their collections. As a fashion history student, with an arguably unhealthy interest in the Victorian period, references to the silhouettes of the past is always something I admire in a collections, and I would say that Jacobs did this, without it being too costume like. He managed to do historical in a fashion forward way, with innovative use of fabrics. Of the show, designer for Rodarte Kate Mulleavy said there were references to Art Nouveau whilst Marc Jacobs, in a video for the Vogue YouTube channel, mentions the grey and black colour palette with hints of mauve, which to me references the Victorian Mourning attire palette, which is emphasised when Andra Day states that the collection is very 'Victorian goth'. Girls star Zosia Mamet notes the historical references to the bustle and other victorian silhouettes.
Much to my delight, underwear as outerwear looks set to be an ongoing trend this year, with lace and mesh taking prominence. Similarly, very dark, even black lips were present at both the Rodarte and Marc Jacobs shows. Hopefully this might encourage M.A.C to bring back Hautecore, even for a limited time.
It appears that power dressing, to the point of almost dominatrix dressing, is set to be a trend at the latter end of the year, yet feminine silhouettes juxtapose the use of leather and, in reference to the Jacobs show, pvc (can I say stripper?) heels.
Find below my highlights of both the Rodarte and Marc Jacobs shows from New York Fashion Week.