This season's New York Fashion Week has been ridden with change. Not only has the fashion industry seen a flux of changes in creative directors but a noticeable change is apparent from merely looking at the clothes - a shift in priorities from silhouette to texture. This season is a lot more about how a woman feels in her clothes rather than how she looks in them. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to design elements, the focus has been to offer pieces which seem familiar, but in an unexpected fabric and coupled with other pieces in starkly contrasting fabrics.
Victoria Beckham for example stated that this season, she feels as though she has "come into my own" and her increased ease and comfort with being at the helm of the world's most prominent fashion brands is reflected in the ease and simplicity of the clothing. There are no incredible intricacies, no couture-like elements, simply comfortable, effortless, high-quality clothing. Beckham alone showcased a rainbow of crushed velvet, followed with pleated leather skirts and sporty crisp white shirts. Even the accessories mirrored the nonchalance of the looks. Soft, slouchy bags and flat canvas/leather mix boots served as punctuation points in the looks, adding a certain strength and formality to an array of otherwise relaxed looks.
Victoria Beckham S/S 17
Christian Siriano's offering echoed the relaxed, flowing emotion of Beckham's, though the pieces themselves were strikingly more glamorous. Gowns are what Siriano does best and although emitting a more voluminous, comfortable air this season, he certainly was not willing to compromise on elegance.
Mixing heavy beading with soft, flowing silk and thin woven footwear, the Siriano woman is free to be a walking contradiction - strong and armoured yet flouncy and feminine. With high necklines and widened shoulders there's an athleticism to the collection, and an almost masculine vibe to the cut of some the looks, which included an oversized striped shirt worn under a contrasting striped vest with matching wide-leg pants.
Though the collection included some striking, more-than-welcome aqua and red/orange looks, it was predominantly monochrome, I suspect so as not to distract too much away from the ease of the pieces and the overall tailoring, which all at once seemed so familiar and yet fresh and new.
In stark contrast to Siriano's streamlined, stylised texture mash was Prabal Gurung's overtly disjointed collection. Eclectic in both silhouettes and fabrics it seemed as though one head to toe look featured seven hundred different techniques. And though some looks paired fluffy, luxurious furs with trouser cuffs joined by metal piercings and festooned with what looked like human hair, it managed to be impressive yet never overwhelming.
Gurung always has fun with fashion, but never loses his well-established taste level - considered excess you might say. Whether is a puff-sleeve shirt with a fur scarf or a trench coat paired with a shin-length dress covered in a handwritten motif - and over pants! - Gurung takes risks, and that is something I will always respect. One must never be boring remember.
For those not entirely enamoured with the sporty/feminine story line, Rodarte were on hand to contradict the air of romance with a much-needed kick of rock'n'roll. Super feminine lace, floral embellishments and even more opulent furs were punctuated with stacked up belts, leather pants, fringed jackets, studded boots and that omnipotent symbol of punk - innumerable safety pins.
The gothic fairytale of New York fashion week eschewed punky models in favour of punk-inspired clothing. In lieu of the heavily pierced pre-teens favoured by some designers, were heavily pierced trousers, feminised by tying a belt flirtatiously into a bow.
This explosion of fabric and texture served as a beautiful contradiction not only to itself but to the philosophy of feminine punk, without being so literal (or as dated) as to team a prom dress with a leather jacket. A resounding success in my book.