Fashion lives for creating a “moment” – be it intentional (Cindy Crawford and all of the famous 90s “supers” photographed in the nude by Herb Ritts) or unintentional (Madonna’s spherical Jean Paul Gaultier corset worn on tour in 1990).
No more is this so in the age of Instagram when everything is captured and curated, meaning a fashion moment becomes both more important and, arguably, less authentic.
New York Fashion Week had plenty of moments (and bajillions of Instagram snaps) – from model of the moment Gigi Hadid losing a shoe, to Alexander Wang barricading editors on the street and the rise of the next generation of icons with Cindy Crawford’s 16-year-old daughter Kaia Gerber making her big debut.
1. Celebrity spawn make their mark
With Cindy Crawford, one of the original “supers” as a mother, it seems apt that her 16-year-old daughter would follow in the family biz. Gerber was the star of the week, opening for one of the most anticipated shows – Raf Simons’ sophomore outing for Calvin Klein. Gerber also walked for other hot ticket shows including Fenty x Puma, Alexander Wang and Coach.
2. Sister act
There was some mystery as to why Gigi Hadid walked the runway for Anna Sui sans one sparkly gold heel. But the it girl model proved so professional that many didn’t even notice, until her sister Bella Hadid offered a helping hand for the show finale. An act that, like most things, did not go unnoticed by the internet.
It’s almost impossible to reflect on fashion in the 90s, specifically a very cool, very urban, kinda erotic version and not think about Helmut Lang. While Lang left the fashion world in 2005 to take up sculpting in Long Island (dream sea change) his cult aesthetic – lean, slinky, deceptively simple – is still seen everywhere (especially on off-duty models). The brand is now under the custody of 26-year-old fashion editor Isabella Burley who is inviting “guest” designers to create a season or two for the brand. For New York Fashion Week this was ex-Hood by Air designer Shayne Oliver, and his take was, as Burley put it, a “love letter” to Lang. A show of amore that included deconstructed bra-tops, slashed bondage-esque ribbons of material and nipple pasties – it was unabashedly sexy and inclusive with diverse models. It wasn’t a direct homage, but it was cool. Which is kind of what Helmut Lang has always been about. Meanwhile at Oscar de la Renta the storied brand was refreshed under co-designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia. Their second collection for the label was still (very) special occasion ready, but offered a new take on glamour – looser, zippier, ready for now.
A model walks the runway at the Helmut Lang Seen by Shayne Oliver fashion show. Photo: KATHY WILLENS
4. Rihanna, Rihanna, Rihanna
Rihanna doesn’t really need stunts to be noticed, but add in some dare devil moto-cross bike riders to her Fenty x Puma show, alongside some acid-hued speed suits, bike shorts and bombers, and voila, a fashion moment. Captured on every screen.
Rihanna rides on a motorcycle after showing her fashion collection from Fenty Puma by Rihanna during Fashion Week, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) Photo: AP
5. On the streets
The clothes, or ‘looks’ (which can often meaning several costume changes for certain influencers) worn by those attending the shoes or milling outside are one of the best parts of fashion week and a pretty good indicator of what we will all be wearing next. That bishop sleeved Rejina Pyo dress worn by at least four attendees is definitely on the wish list. Meanwhile, is there anything quite so marvellous as seeing a maxmimalist in full flight? Witness Giovanna Battaglia Englebert in all leopard print everything, the absolute antithesis to all things pared back and a hearty sign that fashion is willing to have some fun again.
Also, friends in fashion are friends indeed.
6. A little bit of body diversity
The big news in fashion happened just before New York Fashion Week – the big luxury conglomerates LVMH and Kering were going to stop using underage and size zero models. A move that was applauded but also taken with a grain of salt. As journalist and blogger Bethany Rutter noted, it would be even better if brands consistently showed more diversity. Without making a big deal about it. So it was good to see exactly that happen in New York. Christian Siriano had a diverse line-up of models, telling the New York Post, “The customer wants to see what our clothes will look like on their bodies, on their skin tones.” At Chromat anti-thigh chafing bands (brilliant idea!) were worn by models of varying shapes and sizes, and at Helmut Lang models who had appeared in the designer’s original shows, including Kristen Owen and Missy Rayder, made an excellent return.
7. Sportswear plus
We all know by now that leggings are now pants and that athleisure has never been so acceptable at brunch/dinner – especially in Australia where are our lifestyle choices are both moral code and aesthetic choice. But as British Vogue noted, New York Fashion Week took the sportswear trend further with Fenty x Puma wetsuit material racing suits and racing stripe pants at Alexander Wang – there’s a definite need to speed.
8. Alexander Wang labelled a ‘pariah’
Speaking of Alexander Wang, the king of the party was dubbed a “pariah” after he barricaded fashion editors on a random street in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to showcase his “Wangfest” (an hour late). Women’s Wear Daily described the show as thus: “As a professionally obligated attendee, being penned in by security on a sidewalk all night to see a five-minute fashion show, and then being commanded to party, felt like a big middle finger up.” The clothes though were as on-brand as Wang is in continuously pushing the idea of what a fashion show should be.
Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner at the Alexander Wang Spring 2018 show. Photo: AP Photo/Diane Bondareff
9. The hair scrunchie made a (chic) comeback
You can thank cult label Mansur Gavriel for that. Sorry Carrie Bradshaw.
10. The trends
New York Fashion Week offered up clothes that women will want to wear. Big trends included sharp suiting – spotted at Tibi, Victoria Beckham and Tom Ford; gelati hued pastels were everywhere, from lavender at The Row and Victoria Beckham, to baby blue at Helmut Lang and mint green at Carolina Herrera and the ever present re-thought shirt, from striped, desconstructed ones at Monse to Raf Simons’ continued exploration of the cowboy shirt. Plus, hot pink popped up everywhere – from Tom Ford to Brandon Maxwell – a perfect sign that a sunny summer is definitely on the cards.
Hot pink at Tom Ford. Photo: AP