Hot, haute, happening: NYFW Spring 2023 wraps up
A guest at the Gracie Mansion NYFW kick-off party hosted by Anna Wintour and the CFDA remarked "it must be fashion week because my Uber rides just doubled."
The off-hand comment underscores the week's significance for New York's economy. Of course, the cultural cred is cemented by the twice-annual industry event. Spring 2023 was no exception and marked by a full return to live presentations, diversity, political endorsements, a celebration of the city's landmarks and condemnation of the tropical temps, tons of parties, and last, but certainly not least, the promise of exciting merch found at retail.
At the kick-off party, Mayor Eric Adams called out the $600-million economy fashion week hauls in vowing to host the kick-off party yearly, one of the ways Hizzoner understands fashion's creative contributions. Governor Hochul attending the Coach show, pledged $10 million for a new Fashion Innovation Center, asserting her commitment to job creation in the sector.
The week was also a barometer for how well the industry is doing regarding diversity. Anna Wintour told FashionNetwork.com at the Gracie Mansion fete that while more is always needed, the room was much more representative than in the past. Designer Victor Glemaud emphasized the need for more support for designers of colors on all levels: retail, wholesale, finance, and marketing.
“It can’t be a seasonal thing,” he stressed.
Europeans came to New York on-and-off the runway with press and buyers returning in force for the first time since the pandemic. As their first major New York show, Marni staged their runway as a charming jaunt on the Dumbo waterfront. The real buzz was the previous night at Fendi.
The Italian luxury brand announced a show in New York late in the summer, and the rumors it involved Marc Jacobs proved true. The designer joined Kim Jones—designer collabs are becoming his 'thing'—to celebrate the 25th year of the Baguette bag for a show that melded their various aesthetics to promote the re-edition. The show contained plenty of 90s supermodels, including Linda Evangelista, who appeared swathed in a bright blue massive robe à la the late André Leon Talley. The star power at the show also included Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, Amber Valletta, and Sarah Jessica Parker. (Elsewhere in the week, Lil' Nas X and Madonna would cause a stir at Coach and Tom Ford, respectively. Cara Delevingne's no-show to her clothing launch caused a brouhaha of another sort).
While the locals largely eschewed the digital formats popularized during the pandemic, some delved into the metaverse. Tommy Hilfiger simultaneously streamed a digital show on Roblox with his live show. The case for a digital viewing was particularly poignant considering the Andy Warhol Factory-inspired set was outside on a rainy Sunday night on the Greenpoint, Brooklyn waterfront. Rebecca Minkoff blended the two worlds with NFT prints splayed across IRL white garments on display.
Museums were also in fashion. The Cooper Hewitt, Frick Collection, and Brooklyn Museum hosted LoveShackFancy, Area, and Ulla Johnson, respectively. LaQuan Smith showed at the Intrepid Museum while Peter Do took to the New York harbor in a raw office space on the 59th floor of 28 Liberty Street downtown. Willy Chavarria chose the Marble Collegiate Church, known for its welcoming LGBTQI+ policies. Batsheva took over Ben's Kosher Deli in the garment center for her collection, and Flipper's hosted at least three fashion shows and events while a fourth show featured roller skaters, homing in on the latest NYC fad. Givenchy's rooftop extravaganza shone a literal light on a '4G' emblem on a rotunda on top of the building for the party celebrating the Soho store opening.
"It's a strength of New York that it's not a cookie cutter, white box show city," said Steven Kolb, while acknowledging the benefit of ready-made, plug-and-play show spaces such as Spring Studios to young brands. However, with their generic rooms, the heavily marketed Spring Studios has proved less desirable as designers sought unique locations. (Besides the treatment of accredited press, publicists, and buyers, as gate-crashing consumer fans who flock there have left many with a bad taste for the facility.)
Consumer-facing events were plenty such as Vogue World debuting its fun, raucous Fall issue runway extravaganza, streamed live on Instagram. Presumably, the franchise will move to other cities seasonally. Cos staged their first NYFW show, a 'see now, buy now" affair atop 601 West 26th Street with nary a consumer in sight but plenty of models layered up in head-to-toe wool and mohair on the steamy 81 degrees day. These were the sort of model working conditions that Sarah Ziff of the Model Alliance spoke about at the rally she staged to help pass the Fashion Worker's Act legislation. The September tropical temperatures caught many non-New Yorkers in town for shows off guard.
Fortunately, the scorching temps and enthusiasm inspired lots of great warm weather clothes to hit retail come spring. Jodi Kahn, vice president, luxury fashion at Neiman Marcus, said, "The energy during NYFW was electric," continuing, "Khaite was certainly a standout show- an edgy yet sophisticated collection. We were particularly inspired by the energetic musical setting at Gabriela Hearst. It was a joyful backdrop to her striking and fresh bold gold pieces."
The retailer was particularly jazzed about yellows, purples metallics, and artisanal details. "We continue to bring new and emerging designers to Neiman Marcus and were excited to see Interior's first runway show and Peter Do's latest collection," she added.
Roopal Patel, SVP, fashion director at Saks, sensed a similar vibe. "The energy in New York this season was electric, kicking off fashion month in full force," she said, calling out collections from Khaite, Carolina Herrera, LaQuan Smith, Jason Wu, Proenza Schouler, Brandon Maxwell, Ulla Johnson, Gabriela Hearst, and Tory Burch as standouts.
"The Saks customer will be delighted with the trends we saw for Spring 2023, such as sheer fabrications, high gloss and shine, bustiers for day-to-night dressing, gilded gold, and space-age silver, and bright, bold pop colors in neon pink, orange, green, and purple shades," she added.
New Yorkers, known for their penchant for black, will have to add some color to their wardrobe come spring.
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