It seems that the New York fashion calendar is about to break down entirely. Some major designers show in Paris; some are coming back home, and to the regular schedule (Proenza Schouler is the latest); and some, like Alexander Wang, decide to show ahead of all, in the Big Apple, and persuade us, the confused viewers, not to call it spring-summer 2019 – but rather, the enigmatic ‘season 1’. Yes, I know that might be too much. But surprisingly, all those switches did good to Wang. Not that I adore his latest collection, but it’s so much better than his last seasons. At least, it’s not trying to mean too much as it did the last time with the Matrix-CEO theme.
The inspiration started with Alexander’s mum and dad taking a trip together, and their immigration to America. Still, the collection wasn’t meant to be overly political, so migration wasn’t the ultimate key here. The designer focused on the notion of more dynamic, risk-involving travelling, or rather riding. Maybe the attitude close to Lana Del Rey’s Ride music video might be a clue. In overall, the collection felt like a creative melting pot shaped from Wang’s experiences, fascinations and aesthetics. We’ve had the Axl Rose bandanas; motocross gears; leather mini skirts and ‘piercing’ tops made of pins; football jerseys. Is that the today’s grunge according to Alex? Who knows. Definitely, Wang felt a lot of joy, while designing the collection, as all of that is truly, but truly him.
While at her main line in Milan, Miuccia Prada discussed real heroines and the female gaze through comic-like prints, in Paris she sparked the 80s / 90s teen spirit. Ballerina-length lace dresses, checked lumberjack shirts and college sweaters were like the thrift-shop finds of rebellious students, who are about to spend a night playing in their garage band. But a bit more prettier. That’s precisely something a true Miu Miu girl will fall in love with the next season. I also liked the grunge / prairie girl contrast. But the overall effect is not too sophisticated and rather goes back to Miu Miu’s original roots: those are clothes for a younger audience. What really felt like a ‘moment’ this season was the perfectly balanced model casting: over half of the models were non-Caucasian, which tells one simple thing: yes, it’s possible, fashion industry. Please, take notes from Anita Bitton, the brand’s casting director.
Here we’re again – at the New York Fashion week, the starting point of fashion month marathon. And who’s on the first shot? Chris Leba‘s rebellious R13. Launched in 2009, R13 was firstly associated with denim and apparel essentials like plaid shirts and tank-tops. Right now, it’s on the same sporty-grunge-cool shelf as Rag & Bone or Alexander Wang, reviving the 90s and sparking New York’s all-night party mood. Leba’s autumn-winter 2017 collection was nearly, but NEARLY, like one of those perfectly curated Tumblrs filled with nostalgic photos of Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain (the latter’s face was placed on one of the extra-big sweatshirts) and Kate Moss doing cocaine. But – thanks God – it didn’t fall into a cliché, which heavily hit last season’s designers. Although there were floral-print slip dresses and shearling jackets, R13 felt different, the attitude of these clothes was real. Tailored coats, over-sized chunky knits, semi-Victoriana collar shirts – this is precisely how a New York model scout or editor would dress today. From brilliant model cast (Lera Abova, Jamie Bochert, Julia Banas to name a few) to styling, Leba’s entry to the new season is a success.
There’s plenty of street-wise collections this season, but Pablo and Marta of Marques Almeida own this attitude since the beginnings of their London-based label. It’s real, and not just influenced by the current obsession with youth. The new collection was modelled by their friends / muses, and that might be the reason why these clothes seemed to be so relevant and natural. Leg-of-mutton sleeves were styled with brocade mini-dresses and sporty t-shirts, giving the impression of a thrift-shop-made look. The combination of denim high thigh boots, and a dress with ridiculously big collar distorted any proportions left, and the whole outfit was pretty peculiar – but that’s what Marques Almeida’s codes are all about. Pink hair, lace-trimmed tank-tops and striped panties instead of a skirt: is it the 2016 version of grunge?