Some say save the best for last, but New York Fashion Week always feels like a treat, a heaping spoon of dessert. With the fall 2023 fashion season kicking off, our eyes are fixed on the goings on of Manhattan from February 12 to 18. So what have we loved so far? Dion Lee always draws our attention, as does Eckhaus Latta and Proenza Schouler, the latter of which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. We're rosette-drunk thanks to Sandy Liang and Heron Preston returns to the NYFW schedule for the first time in seven years. Keep scrolling for all our favourite moments from NYFW Fall 2023 so far.
The best thing about Gabriela Hearst, aside from her fierce commitment to safeguarding the environment, is that she is consistent in her offering of very beautiful clothes. It seems like a simple statement, but so be it for a designer whose namesake is predicated on pieces that transcend time and trends, and amid the theatrics of NYFW this season, Hearst's clean, restrained, and thoughtful silhouettes felt more refreshing than ever. After opening with a tight few exits of sharp, layered tailoring, her Fall 23 collection gave way to leather separates, plush knitwear, and a surplus of colour blocking. It might be on-the-nose to say, given her current role at Chloé, but give Hearst a few more years, and we're predicting she will be looking at a legacy not dissimilar to Phoebe Philo.
If you follow any New York-adjacent fashion people on Instagram, you would have seen at least a snippet of Raúl Lopez's Fall 2023 Luar show on social media over the past few days. Given the stakes for the Brooklyn native, that it would be amongst the shows of the season made sense. The collection, a nod to the women he grew up around, was rooted in the exploration of heirlooms. There were fur moments that Lopez used to reference his childhood and what it meant to receive heirlooms in his family, as well as techy jackets with an 80s feel. Shoulders were aggressively oversized, waists were nipped in with large, logo-buckled belts, and the final moments were perfectly suited for a red-carpet moment. After a decade of perfecting his craft, it feels as though Luar is finally getting the recognition it deserves.
Last year, for Coach's Fall 2022 show, the brand communicated a collection that was ultra youthful. This year, the show was back at the Park Avenue Armory, only this time the Coach girls and boys have grown up a bit. The silhouettes long and lean, the fabrication of choice was leather. It's been everywhere this season, but naturally, as a brand built on leather goods, Coach was always going to excel in this area. In between floor length leather trenches and hot little two piece short and jacket sets, were wispy chiffon dresses with delicate ruffles and asymmetric shoulders like a perfect troop of bridesmaids. For Fall 23, Coach dimmed out the noise, and focussed on what feels most authentic for the brand right now.
As RUSSH fashion and brand features editor, Ella O'Keeffe, writes: "It is hardly a debatable statement to proclaim that Dion Lee is the current fixture for any club kid from downtown New York to Berlin. Whether intentional or not, this is the demographic that the Australian designer has become synonymous with over the years, and for Winter 23, he shows no sign of peeling away from this trajectory any time soon.
For a brand like the one Lee has built, an abandoned Manhattan loft is the place to hold one of his high-octane shows. The designer has always balanced a relationship between the natural world and industrialisation. It's kind-of a literal exploration of who he is as a person: an Australian (where nature is abundant) who has spent a large chunk of his career living and working out of New York City. It has certainly become more directly approached since his years in New York, investigating both prints and silhouettes that could be found in a Far North Queensland national park, and other that look like they've been peeled off the walls of the very venue his Winter 23 show was held. In previous seasons, there has been a heavy emphasis on the Monstera leaf and Motor cross. For Winter 23, Lee explores ideas around shedding and unravelling, of reptiles and serpents and scales.
The progression is clear, and Lee's balance between sex and tech has never felt more steady, but there is also a sense of evolution in the air. Prettiness is almost completely forgone for tactility and toughness, layers are peeled back to reveal just enough, Lee's play with power feels stronger than ever."
Is there anything more New York than Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta? As guests sat in a pitch black room on the fourth floor of Performance Space New York, they were treated to a fuzzy, textural and moss-like lineup of clothes, with sheer knits and hemp-like trousers peppered throughout the collection and models looking fresh and paired-back with the help of Sunday Riley. The real talking point, as always, was the brand's IFYKYK casting with The White Lotus actor Jon Gries making his runway debut.
For the past two seasons, Queens-born Chinatown-native designer Sandy Liang has been toying with the ballet-loving, pink-obsessed fantasist that lives, however deep, in all of us. In a lot of ways, this era of Liang revolves around the satin-coated Mary Jane Pointe Shoe the designer debuted in September 2022. The leg warmers and braids extend the ballet metaphor, while the continuity of rosettes, puff sleeves, cross-body sashes and sailor collars touch on the coquettish foodstuff of girlhood, like Sailor Moon and Hello Kitty, Polly Pocket and renaissance-inspired fairy tales. I want it all.
After years of wanting to escape it, Proenza Schouler has decided to put its foot down and return to reality for NYFW Fall 2023. "We’re tired of all this fantasy and Instagram clothes, and like, everyone not wearing clothes,” Lazaro Hernandez told i-D backstage. It makes sense, Proenza Schouler celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and this season both Hernandez and Jack McCollough wanted to use this moment as a timestamp, but also to reflect on what the brand has become. A big part of that revolves around the women who wear it; Chloë Sevigny opened the show while Julia Nobis and sculptor Olympia Scarry trailed out after her, all wearing souped-up office wear but office wear all the same. There was only one audience row, so all who attended were within arms-length of the clothes, meanwhile the models walked to a series of fictional journal entries by Ottessa Moshfegh, read and recorded by Sevigny. Fashion is always trying to pin down what real women wear, for Proenza Schouler, this is it.
Heron Preston served New York up on a platter to an audience of keen-eyed New Yorkers, which felt fitting for his return to the NYFW Fall 2023 schedule after seven years away. Held in a downtown Manhattan loft, the show opened in the most unassuming of ways, with two city workers marking up the runway site with cans of spray paint. Preston joined them in an orange safety vest. What came forth was not a projection of the future, but a collection focused on the here and now. The mish mash of technical clothing, workwear, fur boots, track pants and bikinis feels like a direct reference to the streets of New York as they are, only mirrored back through a Heron Preston lens.
A dance of light and shadow. It was all about the movement of materials at Khaite, something images never quite do justice. A floor-length écru ribbed knit gown skimmed the contours of the body and swang heavily down the runway. Exquisite tailoring and crisp lines offered a rare moment of restraint in the fashion calendar and allowed all the singular accessories – shearling mules, studded totes and 80s clip-on style earrings – an opportunity to pop. In a lot of ways, it's also a glimpse at the future; an insight into luxury, quiet, understated, at the foothills of a recession.