New York Fashion Week has always been a great promoter of freedom and thinking outside the box, and in presenting the Fall 2023 collections as well, it did not disappoint, enhancing individuality and originality with looks that allow the wearer to fully express their personality. Examples of this were the looks presented by the brand Area (especially the outfit in fuchsia composed of three-dimensional bananas) and Prabal Gurung’s butterfly motifs that were printed and knitted on dresses and sweaters ranging from pink to turquoise, colors that always seem to return in the designer’s collections. Butterflies that were meant to convey the beauty and fragility of impermanence, which the designer reflected on during a ten-day silent retreat, when he also encountered a butterfly. I was very impressed by Prabal Gurung’s sophisticated Fall 2023 Ready-To-Wear collection (showcased at New York City’s Rainbow Room), with its blouses in sheer tulle and draped dresses, as he envisions “a woman that needs to incorporate elements of sensuality in all aspects of her life”.
I find the beauty of American fashion to be just that; its being genuine and devoid of particular sartorial rules, aiming for eclecticism and authentic self-expression while freely mixing colors, fabrics and different types of craftsmanship.
It is impossible for me to select all the looks I have enjoyed during NYFW so I have chosen 7 looks from different designers, as with the latest fashion week editions:
1) PROENZA SCHOULER: the show was opened by actress Chloe Sevigny, who has been wearing Proenza Schouler since the two designers started out 20 years ago. The collection was presented inside a renovated garage in Chelsea and reinterpreted the meaning of chic; almost completely print-free (apart from some recycled silks from the maison’s archival material) and sequin-finished dresses. A collection characterized by a modern wardrobe, suitable for the working woman in a big-city environment; the collection also presented a series of tweed coats with a modern twist. The soundtrack of the fashion show consisted of Chloe Sevigny’s voice reading some diary fragments written by author Ottessa Moshfegh in a kind of inner monologue. Overall I found it to be a very chic collection, with quasi-minimal looks devoid of excessive ornamentation; I particularly liked this total black outfit, which is elegant and sporty at the same time, especially for the way it plays with transparencies.
2) NAEEM KHAN: this show was Naeem Khan’s celebration of his 20th anniversary as a standalone brand and it was an important milestone in a career that spanned nearly 50 years and began when the designer was an apprentice at Halston. The Fall/Winter 2023/24 collection was designed to enhance not only the clothes but also the women who wear them. The Indian-American designer comes from a family of textile professionals, so he is a great connoisseur of fabrics, having access to artisans who are able to create extraordinary pieces. This collection has something regal and incredibly glamorous about it, and the opening looks also paid homage to the generation of New Yorkers who enjoyed going out to dance, the same generation to which the designer belongs. One only has to take a quick glance at the collection to realize the incredible quality of tailoring that each dress possesses. It is rare that I like each look equally and consider each look as something I would personally wear, but that is what happened with this show. In any case, I am a huge fan of blue in all its shades so I feel compelled to choose this look that I consider the epitome of glamour and that I believe has something truly magical about it.
3) MICHAEL KORS COLLECTION: I will start by saying that I have always been a big fan of Michael Kors. This season was hugely inspired by the ’70s and its muses like Gloria Steinem (who I was very lucky to meet and plan to talk about on this website in the future), Cher and Jane Fonda. I think the designer’s looks are always meant to be worn on the street (I thought so about his FW 2021 show in honor of the House’s 40th anniversary but maybe that’s just me), and this collection is no exception. Michael Kors aims to create durable clothes that will stand the test of time, and this is especially appreciated by his long-time customer Gloria Steinem, an activist who is always attentive to social issues. A collection with soft colors, especially brown, quality materials such as cashmere combined with other fabrics like chiffon, and lots of sequins for evening looks that give an idea of both glamour and comfort. Such is the case with the jumpsuit I have chosen as my favorite look, complemented by the beige coat. This and the other looks testify to the designer’s love for the 1970s, which was one of the greatest decades for American fashion.
4) BADGLEY MISCHKA: for their FW 2023/24 collection, designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka decided to pay homage to “la dolce vita”. In this case they were referencing the HBO show “The White Lotus” (whose second season is set in Sicily) by showcasing Italian elegance at its best and focusing on strong silhouettes. The designers were mainly interested in embracing Italian futurism, as they were inspired by the Futurist Manifesto written by Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, which is representative of the artistic and social movement of the early 1900s.
The evening gowns were my favorite part of the collection, especially the look I have chosen, which champions an old-fashioned elegance and reminds me of Golden-Age Hollywood. Badgley stated: “We really feel like it’s our duty, with every piece we design, to bring happiness and some form of gratefulness to our girl.” The floral element also had its own little space in the collection, with small roses applied to the silk of the dresses, and this works despite the fact that flowers are usually more present in spring/summer collections. It was hard to pick just one outfit because I loved each look as a whole, but I think this black and white one-shoulder dress is gorgeous in its chic simplicity.
5) CAROLINA HERRERA: Wes Gordon, creative director of Carolina Herrera, was inspired by the Netflix TV show The Empress, which focuses on the character of Elizabeth “Sisi” of Austria. The designer identifies with her because he thinks that “the combination of greatness and discipline is what the House of Herrera is about, characterized by a flamboyance that goes hand in hand with severity and discipline.” Many of the garments in the collection hark back to those worn by Romy Schneider in the 1956 film about the Empress of Austria. As in the case of my favorite look, which consists of a gold fabric and is a reinterpretation of the ball gown in a modern way.
I also enjoyed the colorblock ensembles (especially the black-and-white tulle, a true artistic work), which communicate happiness and a sense of well-being.
It is a collection with great attention to detail, Carolina Herrera’s Fall/Winter 2023/24, with floral motifs that enhance romance and introduce flowers for the cold season as well. The collection really stands out for the color games and strong contrasts between shapes and colors, not only black and white but also yellow, orange and pink, a true celebration of freedom of expression and the dynamism of the modern woman.
6) JASON WU COLLECTION: I have liked Jason Wu pretty much since his debut in the late 2000s. Emma Watson often wore Jason Wu in the early 2010s, and I have always been a fan of her style because I consider it effortlessly chic (I still remember the Jason Wu Spring 2012 embellished blouse and black skirt ensemble she wore to a film premiere). The designer’s style has significantly evolved over the years, and his Fall/Winter 2023/24 collection is a reflection of the changing times. For this collection, presented at the Peter B. Lewis Theatre at the Guggenheim, Jason Wu was inspired by the figure of Marlene Dietrich, who would often mix masculine and feminine elements in her style. He told Vogue, “I’ve been in the industry for a minute and I feel it’s important to push myself. I think you know that I love dresses. But tailoring is also something I love – I actually majored in menswear.” One of the prints in the collection was inspired by German photographer Karl Blossfeldt’s non-retouched flora images, as Wu said, “We’ve been in this overly photoshopped and filtered world; I think it’s nice that reality is coming back.” The collection is an ode to dark romance, with lingerie dresses that are revealing but not too much, a quality that makes them more wearable in the real world, like my favorite look from the show, with its sophisticated embroidery.
7) VERONICA BEARD: I always tend to include Veronica Beard in my fashion reviews because I am enjoying every collection the designer duo presents. The Fall/Winter 2023/24 fashion show featured model and singer Suki Waterhouse descending a spiral staircase while singing her song “Neon Signs”, which also served as the soundtrack for the launch of Veronica Beard’s new logo. The two designers consider this “probably the most luxe, important fall we’ve ever done”, especially because it is connected with launching their new logo. The brand is focusing a lot on inclusivity because the designers have realized that a collection should be made primarily for the end consumers ( that is, the customers who will wear the garments) and for years their work has been in line with this thinking. Veronica Beard Fall 2023 was very much about the campus look, with skirt suits, sweatshirts and college sweaters, but also jeans and denim tailoring. Again, it was hard to pick just one look, but the houndstooth blazer over the long floral dress is definitely something that I would wear because I really appreciate strong shouldered tailoring.
The images in this post link to the Vogue Runway website, where you will find all NYFW Fall 2023 collections.
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