NEW YORK — There is no weekend during New York Fashion Week. The schedule of shows becomes a pulse-quickening marathon and the parties linger longer into the night. The combination makes weekends the most brutal and inspiring time of Fashion Week. Here are some of the brightest moments of that ready-to-wear marathon.
Gurung, who has outfitted two of the world’s most notable ladies — Lady Gaga and first lady Michelle Obama — borrowed silhouettes from the 1950s and projected them into a dazzlingly fashionable future for his spring/summer 2014 collection. Sophisticated pastel pencil skirts fought for attention against electric blue cocktail dresses. Just enough danger lurked among the sweetheart dresses with exposed corset details. Gurung’s use of PVC, such as his stunning raincoat with rose motif, could have turned into a runway gimmick. But these touches found a home in his retro-futurist world. This was his finest, most effortless work to date, as youthful exuberance nodded to the ghosts of fashion past.
He was the edgy downtown voice of New York picked as creative director of Balenciaga. Not yet 30, Wang is a bit of a Cinderfella whose wishes have come true. But in front of an all-star audience Saturday, he demonstrated that he is still his own man in the boldest way possible. He cheekily laser-cut his name into leather blouses and dresses, and stamped it on elbow-length gloves. This kind of blatant branding has not appeared on American runways in years (though I predict other designers will soon follow suit). Other than his throwback branding, Wang’s emphasis went directly to the midsection. Unbuttoned boyfriend shirts were paired with boxers, and menswear-influenced plaid crop tops were surprisingly dressy with matching shorts.
There has been no shortage of ’90s-influenced streetwear on New York catwalks for spring /summer 2014, but it was a surprise to see it in the collection of Rebecca Taylor. This week, she focused on structure. Color-blocked trousers, white leather skirts, and tiger-print crop tops (sorry, ladies, crops are not going anywhere) showed a more aggressive side of Taylor’s aesthetic. It was a refreshing change of pace to see these tougher (at least for Taylor) looks take center stage.
Lhullier has an intuitive skill for capturing the fresh breezes of spring. Her gowns, always a specialty, floated and billowed behind her models like luxurious line-hung sheets kissed by the wind. Her interpretation of the season began with pink-white skirts, cloque shells, and bandeaus, which progressed to pops of crimson and poppy. Like the season itself, Lhullier’s blouses and dresses evolved from the color of cherry blossoms to peonies and eventually to sizzling orange.