The Wylde Edit: New York Fashion Week SS17
Words by Luke Singleton
The easy informality of Proenza Schouler’s aesthetic is undeniably New York, and the simplicity of their dresses, presented this season in binding knitted-wool and contouring ribbed jersey, exuded athleticism, in form and favour- colours were blocked and striped, stepping away from the neutrality of past seasons. This Mondrian-inspired use of colour felt noticeably European in influence, as did couture-esque fabric construction techniques, evident in woven-leather dresses and the use of handcrafted fabrics made with ostrich feathers. Pleats added nuance and depth of texture. The silhouette remained boldly American however, with an oversized, exaggerated feel, which has defined the New York collections this year. The effect was overtly feminine, however. Shoulders were strong but round; décolletages were accentuated. Front splits spliced through asymmetrical hemlines evoked a laid-back seductiveness, which felt familiar to the brand.
The Gordon sisters have quickly mastered the fashion formula that will hold them in good stead for seasons to come: striking the balance between editorial looks and consumer wearability. The put-on-and-go ease of Beaufille’s pieces has defined this brand’s identity. A love of clean lines and defined silhouette fuses harmoniously with the theoretical innovativeness of this collection. The exaggerated 70’s aesthetic, far more directional here, retains its currency and still feels fresh. This is strengthened by a checklist of indispensable separates; maximally flared jeans in super-fine American-blue denim, ruffled shoulder mini-dresses, minimalist white shift-dresses, and a glorious windowpane-checkered two-piece, all with instant market appeal. Contemporizing high-end looks by using uncustomarily modern fabrics, when done right and unselfconsciously, can ignite a sartorial flame within the industry. Beaufille’s ‘instant look’ measurability in this respect, keeps their clothes accessible and their fanbase undoubtedly loyal.
Rodarte’s chimeric ideology works best when there are no creative limitations. The visceral quality of their clothes is like no other, and there is familiarly in their vibrant meze of textures and fabrics. Sheer silks, latticed lace and dotted tulle in sedate neutral colours, were awash with decadent plumage, jewel-hued flower appliqué and sumptuous Mongolian fur. A particular focus on two-pieces felt fresher, and covetable, and the use of leather (again, in temperate tones,) and exposed zips and safety-pin details, ensured the romance remained contemporary. Still, the silhouette was dutifully soft. Shoulders were puffed and supple, and fabric draped and cascaded down the contours of the body. The colour, when it came, came voraciously. The standouts were a story in sequined, lava-coloured lace, and the Mulleavy sister’s first kaleidoscopic print - a floral silk print, of course.
Josep Font is unquestionably the new master of form; his Delpozo show drew parallels to late-50’s Balenciaga. His show exemplified architectural-inspired clothing construction of breathtaking symmetry, poise and dignity. Folds, pleats, soft curves and giant bows contrasted with precision tailoring to create origamic shapes, elevating the clothes to a couture level. Layering was key, in a variety of sheer fabrics and heavier silks, including crepe de chine and an exquisite floral jacquard. A water-colour palette of rose, periwinkle blue, and creamy whites adding refined subtlety. Geological references, wildlife and natural landscapes were influences, depicted in fan-like shapes on tops, made with translucent organza in sunlit colours recalling coral seascapes and mirroring the liquid-fluidity of feather-light fabrics. There was romance abound, with full-length evening looks leaving shoulders bare and waists accentuated.
Marc Jacobs excels at contextual references. He is cavalier in his presentation of themes – he urges his customer to have fun. His irreverence imbues his clothes with authenticity, so much so that holographic sequins, metallic lamé, micro-hems, feathers and snakeskin all now feel part of his brand's identity. Strong narratives pulse through his shows, echoing a deep humanity in his work. His loyal fashion family- his favourite ‘girls’ loyal to the brand- each take turns to embody a variety of characters from his imagination- and his past? The effect is a time-portal in to New York’s urban tribes: punk, psychedelic nu rave, and early 90’s club-kids appear as influences. Victoriana puff-sleeves, high-neck lace collars, and cascading ribbons add unexpected sensuality and rapture. High-voltage, look-defining footwear, like his towering neon-leather platform boots complete with pop-art patchwork, roared with scalability.