NYFW is officially upon us, and a slew of fresh collections, brimming with inspiration and innovation, is exactly what the doctor ordered. It's summer in the city – at least, the very end of it – and the energy is incomparable to any other in the fashion circuit. Hot off of holidays and straight into a season that is grounded in unbridled energy and creativity, this is the kind of atmosphere that makes new ideas come alive.
The week kicked off on September 9 with shows like Proenza Schouler, Fendi's Baguette 25th anniversary show, Dion Lee, and Eckhaus Latta, and things have only gotten better. Below, are our NYFW highlights so far.
Fendi's Baguette 25th Anniversary show
25 years ago, Silvia Venturini Fendi designed one of the most iconic bags in history: the Baguette. Together with Silvia Venturini Fendi and Kim Jones for FENDI, Marc Jacobs, Tiffany & Co, Sarah Jessica Parker and Porter, the brand's tribute show to mark 25 years of the iconic bag, which was popularised by SJP in an episode of Sex and The City when Carrie proclaims, "It's not a bag, it's a Baguette!" while being robbed.
The show championed Fendi’s Baguette design, which featured amongst parkas, gloves, hats, skirts and sweaters. Fabrics that are synonymous with the late nineties and early aughts like satin, glossy leather and sequined fabrics were layered on top of each other to evoke the time of the bags conception. Marc Jacobs played a hand in designing 10 of the 54 looks, which, similarly to his Fall 22 collection, features exaggerated silhouettes like parachute skirts, opera capes, and recycled fur hats.
For Tiffany & Co.'s contribution, the Baguette is reimagined in silver, enamel, white gold and diamonds, with one Baguette handcrafted entirely out of sterling silver over a period of four months. Finally, Japanese brand Porter’s version of the Baguette was a uniform and masculine display of utility and function.
All came together as a tribute to New York, the city where the show took place and the city the Baguette was popularised. The best part? It encapsulated the fun, the essence of the Baguette, perfectly.
It is always a large task, to be one of the bigger opening shows of the week, and Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez are infinitely good at setting the vibe. And for SS23, this was no exception. It was a celebration of spirit. One that captured joy, energy, and the feeling of a summer well spent. In juxtaposition to Fall 22 which was all about protection, binding, and coverage, Proenza Schouler's SS23 collection freed the body, made it move like water, and welcomed the return of house signatures like the midriff, crochet, fringe and lace.
To open, Arca, opened the show in a loose black tank, the hem of which was pulled over one shoulder, revealing an ivory fringe that shimmied across the torso. Crochet was out in full effect, offered up in intricate dresses and two pieces with extra fringed hems. There were generous bellbottoms and button down shirts whose oversized, frilly, cuffs matched, a nod to Hernandez' latin roots. Padded shoes made their way down the runway accompanied by delicate lace dresses.
If anyone were to set the scene for what's in store this fashion month, McCollough and Hernandez have done it expertly.
Dion Lee knows he's got a good thing going on, and he knows Spring Summer is his time to shine. All structure, all sex, all Dion. Most notably, the show riffed on his current fixations: monstera leaves and motorcycle garb, and for SS23, the two came together, perhaps more harmoniously than ever.
It's been all eyes on Dion since his collaboration with Rosalia for her current tour, and building on his signature concepts, Lee tapped into the slinky singlets and leather harnesses with a Moto Mami lens. It was all mini skirts in denim, moto jackets in leather and windbreaker material, paired with slinky mini dresses and crystal fringing. There were open-toe boots in lime and black that displayed laser-cut leather in the shape of monstera leaves that wrapped around the shins, with matching dresses that did the same around the torso. Signature corsets returned with the same, modernised motifs. A favourite, was one that was offered in black lace with boning shaped like the foliage, paired with delicate lace opera gloves to match.
In contrast to Fall 22, which felt very dystopian and doomsday, SS23 turned a - pardon the pun - new leaf, one that continued Lee's ever-rolling conversation between the urban environment and the natural one.
There's something about an Eckhaus Latta Spring Summer show that just ticks the boxes. It makes us want to get sweaty in the city with our friends and dance until the sun comes up. This season, designers Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta bottled the feeling.
Taking place in a luscious garden in the middle of the city, Models walked through the grass in glittery, sequin tops and slouchy drawstring pants, ribbed knitwear and lace separates. Upon a closer look, the collection comes to life through texture, mostly because it's so varied. There are boucle two pieces, chunky lace trousers with overlapping mini skirts and ruffle details, huge, bubble-like vests and matching skirts made our of an elasticated fabric. Most notably, were thick ribbed knitted pieces printed with the work of artist Matthew Underwood, a friend of Latta’s who recently passed away. With each exit, an invitation was offered to look a little bit closer, move with a little more intention.
The designers always walk the line between exactly what we want to be wearing and experimenting with texture and silhouette while somehow, expertly dodging the feared "graduate project" label. How do they do it? Perhaps we'll never know, what we do know, though, is that it works.
Maryam Nassir Zadeh
Since the brands inception in 2012, Zadeh has thoughtfully curated an identity for her eponymous brand that, so far, few people are able to remain uncharmed by. It would seem that she just genuinely lives a beautiful life, surrounds herself with beautiful things, and has created a brand that at this point, is almost a New York institution because of it.
Perhaps this is part of the fascination that Zadeh captures so well. As an outsider looking in, the city can feel like an impermeable place shrouded by an endless pace that most Australians – most people, even – aren't used to. But with MNZ, on Instagram, in store, and at her shows, it feels as though the designer has carved out a moment of calm in a city that is constantly painted as anything but. In Maryam Nassir Zadeh's world, life like this can exist in New York, you just have to look in the right places.
For SS23, that place was a handball court on Grand St in the Lower East Side, where models wafted through the concrete space with so much ease you'd never think they had anywhere to be. What followed, was so quintessentially Zadeh. The best part? It all still feels entirely wearable for the confident woman. This is the charm of Zadeh's work, and one we've touched on before. She's not making pieces that feel massively theatrical or even unattainable, she's just making stuff that she and her friends would probably wear, and she's got us wrapped around her finger in doing so.
Victor Barragán presides over the altar of IYKYK fashion at NYFW, dishing out metaphors aplenty and a grotesque collection robust enough to stand up to the designer's penchant for theatrics.
At its heart, Barragán is a distinctly Latinx brand, using cultural markers like christian iconography, sex, immigration and styling that references the seemingly random way popular North American clothing is interpreted in Latin America, to forge a self-possessed identity. Although, if you don't get this, the magic of the clothes can be easily lost. Which is fine in itself, Victor Barragán knows his audience, and they're kneeling at his altar.
For spring, the designer riffed on the distinctly American concept of "business as usual". As the western world is stuck in the denial stage of grief, Barragán is watching, doling out references to capitalism – dollar bill printed toilet paper, distorted swollen lips, silver briefcases – and whiteness – stars and stripes, a belt buckle that reads "white tears" in the Mountain Dew font, and the signature Karen hairstyle. The all-white casting was perhaps the most salient example of this, subverting what is expected of him as a Latino designer.
Gods walk among mortals at Gabriela Heart's Grecian fashionscape. Models exited the runway stony-faced and resolute, their torsos clad in gilded breastplates, cinched over willowy black evening wear. Continue past the tough exterior and you'll find an earthy palette woven into knitted body-skimming dresses and the odd suit in yellow and rust. Towards the end an interplay of light and dark swept forward, floor length gowns with peasant sleeves offset by tailored leather.
Khaite's woman is always staunch and fiercely independent, but for spring designer Catherine Holstein proved she can be a little theatrical too. Maybe it's the python print or the fact that Holstein had her eyes glued to David Lynch while crafting the collection, but altogether it felt darker, sultry, like they stepped of the set of Scarface into this barely there runway. Even, dare I say, a little off-kilter. Did you notice the surge of bubble skirts at NYFW so far? Khaite is carrying the baton, and if her penchant for creating cult accessories is anything to go off, we could all be wearing T-strap sandals again very soon.