Welcome to Glossy’s New York Fashion Week briefing, bringing you on-the-ground insights and analysis from straight off the runway. All week, we’ll be providing behind-the-scenes glimpses and interviews with industry members. Whether you’re keeping tabs on the latest looks on Instagram or rushing around Manhattan in a frenzy to get to the next show, we’ll keep you updated on the latest in fashion and tech from the heart of it all. Sign up for Glossy emails to see the daily recaps in your inbox.
The fashion week crowd was noticeably chipper and more relaxed than in seasons past, in part because of a venue upgrade. This season, IMG transitioned the official hub from Skylight Clarkson Square to Spring Studios, a decidedly more aesthetically pleasing venue thanks to the ample sunlight and chic design. The sunlit galleries, with floor-to-ceiling windows providing a soft glow against the Tribeca skyline, proved to be a fitting backdrop for collections like Colovos, with its flowy, feminine tops and dresses, juxtaposed with structured jackets and tailored pants.
However, not everyone was so pleased with the venue switch, particularly when it came to logistics of physically moving to and fro. Alexa Alfonso — the blogger behind Lex Loves Couture, dressed in an eccentric bright yellow Spongebob Squarepants jacket and black lipstick — said that while she prefers Spring Studios, she does “not love the elevator situation.” In between shows, attendees were ushered from gallery to gallery and floor to floor using the few available elevator options.
Ultimately, feeling like a sardine may be the price attendees have to pay for a more fashion-forward space and a little Vitamin D. However, NYFW’s struggle to find an official home is also telling of larger transitions within the industry regarding scheduling and pinning down strategy. This has continued to be exacerbated as more and more designers drop out of fashion week in favor of other cities or alternative methods of showing new looks.
Irene Ojo-Felix, associate editor at Models.com, said regardless of the changing tides of the fashion calendar, runway shows will never be obsolete. Instead, she said this new era provides more opportunities for younger, emerging designers, giving the industry a much-needed breath of fresh air.
“There’s so much new energy. There are so many new designers showing, and I think that had a lot of people worrying because a lot of things are in flux,” she said. “But there’s this need for something new, and that’s what we’re seeing across the board and what we’ve been seeing design-wise.”
Despite anticipation around how designers would speak up in the wake of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault, by midday discussion around this was fairly sparse, a stark deviation from the politicization of the runway last season. While you could still spot the occasional feminist shirt — or pieces of cultural commentary, like the woman wearing a “Sean Penn is a snitch” sweater — it was largely few and far between.
On the flip side, many showgoers expressed optimism around increased diversity, especially after a particularly inclusive men’s week. Ojo-Felix said she was impressed by what she’s seen so far and hopes the other cities can keep up. “Collectively, the four fashion weeks need to see the power behind minorities. When these issues are being talked about in our industry, a lot of times, it’s the disenfranchised that are speaking the loudest, and they have power,” she said.
Jazmine Naje Bowen, an associate at networking site Fashion Mingle and college senior, said she was inspired by the menswear-influenced looks in the Noon by Noor show, which showed more casual statement pieces and bold colors. Models paired button-downs and double-breasted jackets with neon oxfords and white leather sneakers, not a heel in sight. Model and designer Alexa Chung and New York socialite Olivia Palermo looked equally as impressed, watching the show together from the front row.
“Noon by Noor was a statement itself, with its womenswear with a masculine vibe. It shows that women don’t have to be in skimpy outfits; we don’t have to show our body. We can look empowered just by dressing like men and doing that whole vibe,” Naje Bowen said.
Heard: The dissenter
Ahead of New York Fashion Week, Glossy senior reporter Hilary Milnes sat down with six people approaching the fashion industry from unique angles for a new Glossy Podcast series.
First up: Audra Noyes, a designer who, after putting in her time working at luxury fashion houses Lanvin and John Galliano, always had her sights set on putting on a fashion show of her own. And her brand, Audra, held a spot on the official NYFW runway calendar for nine seasons. But this year, she’s taken business behind closed doors, deciding not to host a show but to instead host private appointments with editors, buyers and influencers.
“[When] I did runway, that was too much the priority. You’re worried about fit on a model rather than hanger appeal. You’re worried about casting, makeup and hair, set up and producers and the right front row when really, at the end of the day, it’s about the woman you’re selling to and, what’s setting your brand apart,” said Noyes.
Full episode, below.
New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman in the front row at Colovos — lips pursed, revealing little by the way of expression — sneaking a few photos from her phone before the finale.
“People’s egos are coming down a bit. Talking to other friends in the industry, everyone is saying they’re trying to go [to shows] they really want to; it’s not about being seen everywhere.”
Fashion month by the numbers, including everything from the average number of minutes a show is delayed to average brand investment.
Amid fashion calendar turmoil, New York Fashion Week: Men’s has changed its strategy to adjust to designers’ changing priorities.
Later today, “luxury knitwear company” PH5 will feature a runway of real women, including individuals from organizations like Girls Who Code and the Hillary Clinton Campaign. Other big runway shows and presentations we’ll be watching: Creatures of Comfort, Adam Selman and Jeremy Scott.
Looking to the rest of the week, anticipation is percolating around Alexander Wang’s last show. Feeding the ongoing rivalry, Wang and Philipp Plein will show at the same time this weekend — however, this time, Wang is taking over Manhattan while Plein is posting up in Brooklyn. Should be an affair to remember.
Runway image: Noon by Noor fall 2018