It’s the post-fashion-month marathon chill that really lets you look back at some of the season’s best, yet off the radar, collections. I’m always impressed with Maryam Nassir Zadeh‘s work, whether we’re speaking of her New York boutique that sells a well-curated bunch of favourite designers, or the ready-to-wear brand she designs herself. This season, Maryam introduces ‘handpicking dressing’ – so a very spontaneous, artistically oriented, but laid-back way of wearing clothes. Brief examples: a sari top over a sweater dress, acid-green pants and Western boots, shiny prairie dress topped with glass heart necklace. But for Nassir Zadeh, not only the clothes matter – it’s also the authenticity. “There’s so much minimalism out there, and I’m such a fan of minimalism, but people copy each other so much. So to make something your own and make it personal with something from the heart, with a unique touch, that’s authentic. It tells a story.” Here, she points out the usage of the most contrasting textiles, wearing the quirkiest jewellery and the cutest mini-bags. It might all sound like a description of a desperate identity seeker. But no – Maryam Nassir Zadeh actually does the most elusive, sensual and wearable fashion in New York. With love and passion.
Huge flourishes, bold gestures, broad strokes and silhouettes expressed in rich and gorgeous fabrics from double-faced cahmeres, meltons, and tweeds to failles, moirés, iridescent and flocked taffetas, radzimir (!), velvet and warp print statins. Marc Jacobs‘ autumn-winter 2018 wasn’t just a lesson on fabrics – it was a lesson of fashion. Inspired with the 80s mega-designers – Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, Emanuel Ungaro, Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint Laurent – Marc had the very best to show in his spectacular collection. Polka-dots, big shoulders, XXL bows and ruffles – that’s a wardrobe of Mrs. Glam, who’s wearing a chic bolero hat. Jacobs, whose company is reportedly in a financial crisis, seems to show the middle finger towards commerce, for fashion’s sake. There’s no way you can’t respect that. And who knows – maybe that kind of extravagance will sell better, than any cheaper sister-line filled with sweatshirts? All the hope in the clients.
Undoubtedly, Raf Simons‘ vision at Calvin Klein, which is so well executed (and financed – it’s really pleasing to see how the brand supports him), is something to write and write and write. But in short, that was a collection that accumulates Simons‘ image of contemporary USA. Adoration of the mass media (tons of pop-corn on the venue’s floor suggest the urge for spotlight, eternal love for Hollywood and, maybe, cult of celebrity); anxiety and need for protection (fireman jackets, thigh-length rubber boots; knitted balaclavas – ready and steady for an anti-Trump demonstration); indestructible hope for a better future (purely American-esque prairie skirts and dresses, of course exaggerated in volume and cut). Simons‘ Calvin Klein is not just clothes and fresh, Sterling Ruby filled branding – it’s food for thought, most of all. But also, it’s worth noting that it’s the designer’s third runway collection for Klein, and it seems that Raf’s ideas for the brand continue to accelerate at high-speed – whether we’re speaking of the show venues or the garments (for instance take that incredible fur coat that got deconstructed into a safety jacket).
While for the past seasons, Rosie Assoulin earned a reputation of New York’s best place to shop for unpretentious eveningwear, the designer focused a bit more on daywear this time. And especially, outerwear, which is just a delight.The marble print – Rosie’s current obsession fuelled by a newly found book on marbling techniques – looked equally great on the reversible jackets, as on the pants in scarf-like silk. Tailoring is also a brand new area for Assoulin, but she manages to pull it off in a distinctly bold way (see the blue suit!). Flares are back, stronger than ever. But this wouldn’t be a Rosie Assoulin collection, if there were no dresses. From more day-to-day options to red-carpet spotlight stealers (that sculptural, micro-pleated gown), it’s impossible not to be mesmerised. Or even, enchanted!