New York Fashion Week, a time when the who’s who in the fashion industry all flock to Manhattan to see the latest collections from their favorite design moguls and the newest up and coming designers. I had been to a few shows here and there in past years but this was my first time immersing myself in all that is fashion week. The shows, the events in-between shows, and of course, the after parties. 2 days in I was incredibly thankful for the fact that I am inherently a planner and had created an itinerary of the shows I really wanted to see and events I wanted to attend, because let me tell you right now, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GO TO EVERYTHING. Not only are there officially sanctioned shows at the official NYFW sponsored by Mercedes Benz and IMG, there is also Made Fashion Week, Style Fashion week, and plenty of independent shows happening all over the city. While I wish I could’ve seen every collection NYFW is not anything like a music festival where you can just hop from one stage to the next. The events are all over lower Manhattan, many taking place at the same time. That said, the collections I was able to see really impressed me, some of which was expected (I mean, Herve Leger always kills it), and others completely surprised me (I had never even heard of Demoo Parkchoonmoo, yet I can honestly say it was my favorite collection of the week).
My first stop of the week was the Pas De Calais presentation, a ready-to-wear brand that was created in Japan in 1998 and later opened up shop in both New York and Paris. I arrived to a Soho loft building excited to see what the Japanese brand had come up with for their Fall/Winter 2016 looks. Immediately upon arrival we were greeted with little cups of hot green tea, a nice touch seeing that it was 26 degrees outside. We then gazed upon a truly amazing collection, I’ll admit, as much as I like the avant garde shows, I really enjoy the ready to wear shows because they show pieces you can actually WEAR on an average day out in the city. Pas De Calais opted to do a presentation style show rather than a traditional runway, which was certainly on trend this season, this gives onlookers an opportunity to really evaluate the clothes and of course, take photos. According to designer Yukari Suda, she was inspired by the beauty of decay in nature. She used earth tones including greys, moss greens, and rust, key pieces included oversized cashmere knits, Japanese silk dresses, cotton blouses, and fur lined overcoats.
Later that night we made our way to the G.O.O.D. fashion week kick off party at Up & Down to enjoy some cocktails and mingle industry friends where Kanye West’s friend and designer Virgil Abloh performed. It was crowded but none the less a very good time, according to vocativ.com Up & Down was the most popular spot in Manhattan that night on social media.
Our first stop the next day was the Francesa Liberatore show at the Dock at Moynihan Station. Francesca’s collection consisted mainly of blacks & tans using sheer silks complemented by bold stripes and color blocking. We had planned on this show being our last stop of the day however a photographer we met there convinced us that was HAD to go check out Demoo Parkchoonmoo at Skylight Clarkston Square. We agreed to go and wow, was I glad we did. Parkchoonmoo, Japanese designer with somewhat similar cuts to Pas De Calais really stood out. While she stayed on trend using contrasting black and white tones as well as greys and rust colors she also added her own unique touches such as asymmetrical coats, color-blocked fur vests, cashmere turtlenecks, and interesting-but-wearable hats. If I could have taken the entire collection home that day, I would have. Another notable thing about this show is that Parkchoonmoo used incredibly diverse models. There was gorgeous Asian women, a couple of redheads, black women, brunette women, and blonde women all walking in the same show together.
The following day we had 3 shows to attend and first up was Herve Leger. Arriving to this show was the first moment during the week that I had witnessed the actual media circus that is NYFW. Celebrities and it-girls lined the front row, photographers eagerly taking their pictures. It was a larger show than the previous 3 we had attended but luckily we managed to get 2nd row seats. Now, I expected to love this show, I love Herve Leger. Their clothes embody a sexiness unlike any other brand. What I didn’t expect was how much they really turned up the heat. The show started, the music was loud, the lighting was intense and instead of the traditional tight sexy dresses of the past that I expected to see, Herve Leger presented a collection that was edgy, alternative, and bold. There was tribal prints, plaids, rich textures and colors, and cuts that the brand has never played with before.
Immediately after Herve Leger we rushed over to our next show, Son Jung Wan, a Korean designer known for playing with textures. Being that these shows were 15 minutes apart we we certainly feeling a little rushed, but we made it just in time. Son jung wan was an interesting show to say the least. Unlike anything else we had seen that week she used mostly creams, pinks, light blues and patent leather.
Later than evening we headed to the Monique Lhuillier show and I won’t lie, I only went to this show because my lovely friend Janel Tanna wanted to go. When I thought of this brand I mostly envisioned princessy gowns and wedding dresses, which, quite frankly, is not my style. Albeit, I went, and I was not disappointed. The collection actually impressed me and wasn’t at all what I thought it would be. Monique used rich textures, mixed patterns I never would have imagined together myself, presented colorful metallics, and used colors people would normally associate with a spring line. It was certainly a change for the designer. Another change the brand decided to test out is allowing the collection to be immediately available. In the past, designer collections weren’t available until the next year, but with the rise of social media and access to photographs of their designs, many brands have had to evolve. There was some debate throughout the week on whether the fact that attendees are allowed to instagram or snapchat entire designer collections was a GOOD thing or not, because when the general public is able to see the clothes a YEAR before they hit the market, designer looks can be recreated by knock-off brands prior to the real thing ever hitting stores. Due to this many designers such as Monique and Tom Ford have chosen to change up the game.
After all the show madness it was time to unwind. It was Saturday night and Janel and I were headed to the Boom Boom Room at the top of the Standard Highline hotel for the official Herve Leger, BCBG, and Max Azria after party. The exclusive after party spared no expense, servers placed a glass of champagne in your hand the second you walked in, the premium open bar was flowing all night and the gorgeous guests all danced the night away. Celebrity guests included Alexis Ren, Debbie Ryan, EJ Johnson, and Jesse Metcalfe.
The following day I took the day off from fashion week madness to see some family but Monday we were right back at it and heading to Zac Posen’s show in Soho. Zac had granted us backstage passes so we were able to go early and see the models getting ready and talk to Zac himself about his latest collection. Posen explained that his collection was inspired by Ugandan princess Elizabeth of Toro and how he was steering away from the formal gowns we have seen from him in previous collections. I was blown away by how nice and endearing Zac was, not pretentious at all- he even gifted backstage guests with a gorgeous handbag that I will definitely be wearing all year. We then took our front row seats and waited for the show to start. Now, being that the collection was inspired by an Ugandan princess I should not have been surprised that Zac cast predominantly black models, but I was certainly impressed. The fashion industry is notorious for using mostly white models in shows and casting 1-2 black women. Zac instead chose to change the game and cast not 1, not 5, not even 10 - Zac cast TWENTY FIVE black models. Twenty. Five. Now that is what I call making a statement.
As the week was coming to an end I had one last show to attend, an independent show by Laurel Dewitt, an avant garde designer who uses metals and elaborate chains in her designs. Her pieces have been featured in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as music videos for Beyonce and Nicki Minaj. Everything about this show was different than the official shows I had been to throughout the week starting with the venue. Laurel opted to have her show at 1 OAK NYC creating a vibe that was both fashion show and after party all in one. The clothes, although not wearable in everyday life, were BREATHTAKING. Laurel Dewitt is nothing short of a true artist.
Overall NYFW Fall/Winter 2016 was quite the sensory experience, the fashion industry is evolving so rapidly and I for one can not wait to see what the future holds!