Written by Tom | 18th September 2020
New York Fashion Week is one of the most anticipated events in the fashion calendar and the pandemic has meant this year's occasion has taken on a whole new approach. Forget the glitterati-lined runways and catwalks; fashion is going digital which has meant short films and live streams have taken their place. If you missed the flurry of looks and presentations, don't despair - we've rounded up some of the week's major trends.
It makes sense for a year when we haven't been able to leave the house that the clothes you wear down the runway in your own home would take center stage. In fact, Tom Ford who found himself initially lacking inspiration for this year's season drew from the lethargy and comfort of staying in as the theme for his S / S '21 collection. Sweatsuits - the pandemic-inspired athletic wear look - made an appearance in the form of a velvety, sapphire number while silk pajamas and animal-print jumpsuits could all be found in Ford's range.
Elsewhere, Brock's collection was a celebration of the loose, flowing summer outfit - billowing floral dresses with exaggerated sleeves provided the grandeur while unfussy, cut jeans balanced these out. And Laura and Kate Mulleavy's brand Rodarte debuted its collaboration with secondhand marketplace Depop of cropped sweatshirts and tye-dye tees. Turns out couture does do casual - and it looks good.
You may not be able to reach the beach or experience the soaring tropical temperatures that a summer escape often entails, but this week proved fashion has you covered. Jason Wu's collection, one of the few to take place on an actual runway albeit one set in a mock Tulum-inspired jungle, was a much-needed dose of color where loose-fitting ocher-striped kaftans, cobalt and mustard summer dresses and canary open jackets were just a few of the laid-back pieces on display. Not far off was Aknva's color crushed collection of draped, jewel-toned robes and floaty, loose-cut trousers.
Meanwhile, Claudia Li looked to Hawaii for her design musings. Hawaiian flower motifs crawled the dresses, while coral accessories and structured shirt dresses in lavender and powder blue were a much-needed sweep of island life. The French Riviera even made an appearance with Turkish couture brand Raisa Vanessa's collection; One highlight being the coastal-striped cape and crop top finished with azure woven sandals.
Sustainable fashion isn't anything new at this point, but as Virgil Abloh pointed out in his interview with The New York Times ahead of Fashion Week, this is the moment for our generation's designers to change fashion for good. A tricky thing to do when Fashion Week is inherently unsustainable, but that hasn't stopped some designers from trying.
PH5 debuted a collection of loungewear and pastel outfits that was a collaboration with Indigenous Australian organization the Firesticks Alliance, raising awareness around the bushfires that plagued the country earlier this year. And Maria Cornejo's Zero + Maria Cornejo line was another example of just how good sustainability can look - oval day dresses and runic patterned oversized vests were earthy, shapely statements.
It's not to say that less is most definitely more, but loose-fitting and layered looks definitely have more impact and practicality. Japanese brand Adeam's breezy silhouettes, which involved layers of sheer skirts covered by a draped cotton poplin, were some examples of the looks that could as easily be dressed up as they could be down - something that this year has made so necessary.
Marine Moscone's debuted a billowing collection of loose tunics and dresses that captured the spirit of throwing something on, even if it's couture. And Ukrainian brand Bevza showed just how to make the most of deconstructing detail with fitting jumpsuits cut at the midriff and flowing tops pinched on the shoulder with shell-shaped clips. Proof that a little less goes a long way.
If Jason Wu's collection had us dreaming of warm climes, then a few other designers took us to places even further way - those of our imagination. Ulla Johnson's style has always been one that operates firmly in the realm of bohemian dreaminess and her collection stayed true to that. Crocheted knitwear and ruffled dresses that looked like they'd descended from the clouds were on show, while simple denim cut through to provide a little dose of urban reality.
In keeping with this theme, Anna Sui's folklore tinged collection of patterned dresses with embroidered trims were a dose of earthy otherworldliness while Rodarte's flower-crowned models in floral-printed pastel dresses proved that elsewhere is the only place we're dressing to go.
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