The Ultimate New York Fashion Week Roundup AW'18

The standout womenswear shows to come out of New York Fashion Week this season including Juicy Couture, Sies Marjan, Alexander Wang and Calvin Klein

NYFW had a bolt of energy this season, including CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC shaking up the runway with a dystopian inspired show and a sea of popcorn, and cult 90's label Juicy Couture making a spectacular comeback with its first ever runway show. Alexander Wang's ode to female empowerment was presented through executive realness, while others stuck to classic, unfussy sophistication such as Victoria Beckham, Gabriela Hearst and Rosetta Getty.


For the first time ever, cult label Juicy Couture debuted on the runway at New York Fashion Week. The once-iconic label synonymous with velour tracksuits, was the brand of choice for the likes of Paris Hilton back in its heyday. So deeply ingrained in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, newly appointed Creative Director, Jamie Mizrahi, was determined to re-launch the brand to a whole new level, and she did not disappoint. Serving up a refreshing, coherent collection that now places Juicy ahead of the times, Mizrahi updated the label’s signature athleisure-chic sensibility with references to multiple eras. There were tie-dye faux furs with a nod to the ‘60s, floor length hooded zip jerseys embellished with sequins, leather jackets with ‘70s collars, a leather trench a la Matrix and a black leather jumpsuit. Inevitably, there were a hoard of nostalgic tracksuits, though tweaked for the discerning modern eye. There were pink sequined versions, leopard print iterations, classic black velour and a lurex number with a cinched-waist bow. Other major standouts included a silver brocade puffer jacket and matching tailored trousers, as well as a satin Changshan-style pyjama set with silver frog closures. Along with their Vetements runway collaboration last Spring, and their debut rooftop garden party at Rockefeller Center for SS’18, it’s safe to say Juicy is making a striking comeback on the high fashion map.    


Ombré was the order of the day at Sies Marjan, presented within the unlikely setting of Manhattan’s rundown Hotel Pennsylvania. Transforming the vacant space with light and colour, garments featured a range of gradients in jewel tones and soft sunset hues. An extra dose of oil slick, holographic and iridescent finishes offered a zesty element to many of the pieces, without looking brash or tasteless. Flowing silhouettes presented an effortless cool, while abstract cuts and asymmetric shapes added a modern twist. Pink patent leather trenches showed alongside blush satin suits, loose silk shirting with ombré dipped hems, and flared tailored trousers. Bold outerwear included a psychedelic mohair overcoat with matching bucket hat, a fur coat with inverted panels of ombré fading from maroon to mint green, and a number of rich shearling coats in camel and rose. Classic knits were differentiated through spiraling elements and satin gowns were deconstructed with sheer overlays and geometric constructions.


For Victoria Beckham’s last show in New York, before shifting the house to London in celebration of the label’s tenth anniversary next season, the designer stayed true to her no frills, ultra sophisticated appeal. Simple and considered, it offered wearable-chic staples, fit for the modern power woman. There were an array of streamlined coats in military greens and greys, tailored suits with rigid silhouettes and belted waists emphasising the female figure. Inserted into the mix was the occasional fan pleated dress, adding a touch of ease, while magnified shopper totes, mini geometric shoulder purses, and mules with sculpted details gave an extra urban edge.


Inspired by female CEO’s, power women and his days as a Vogue intern, Alexander Wang’s AW’18 collection saw more controlled silhouettes than usual, flashing executive realness. Set within Condé Nast’s old office headquarters, models walked amid fake cubicle walls and fluorescent lighting. Business-luxe day wear, tailored suiting and outerwear were designed with slender cuts and an urban prowess. There was the occasional sportswear nod including Platinum Card numerals and typography on a number of jersey knit and nylon tracksuits. Silk shirts and shorts featured a repetitive ‘CEO’ print, while deconstructed tuxedo dresses and a number of leather and wool mini skirts added a dash of sex appeal. Zips and hardware were a major occurrence on almost every item of clothing, acting both functional and as embellishment, carving out geometric lines along the female form. The pallet was unfussy; corporate black and white typical of Wang’s aesthetic, with only a couple of shocking pink pieces throwing everything a little out of whack. Accessories were an especially huge hit including a rhinestone ziplock clutch, spiky rhinestone stilettos and Swarovski encrusted sunglasses and hosiery.  


Polished femininity is the foundation of Los Angeles-based womenswear label CO. With stockists like Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Lane Crawford, Harrod’s and Selfridges amongst a plethora of others worldwide, the brand has quickly become a household name for the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore and Angelina Jolie. Always with a sense of ladylike sophistication, their Fall Winter ‘18 collection was right on the mark, with updated ‘40s-style long sleeve day dresses - a major signature of the label - offered in pleated wools and flowing silks with pussycat bows. Patterned blazers and tuxedo-chic suiting add an element of androgynous elegance, while knits with bell sleeves and maxi bell skirts add a dash of ease.       


Drawing on the work of contemporary artist Analia Saban, Rosetta Getty’s AW’18 collection was highly attuned to form, line and texture. Poised and confident, an earth-toned palette with pops of red and bright blue underlined elongated tailoring, lean silhouettes and floor-grazing lengths. Many of the looks had waists, collars or cuffs cinched together with thick leather cords, creating sculptural, feminine ruffles. Slouchy tailored trousers, asymmetric cashmere knits and draped dresses followed the sensibility of Saban’s conceptual work, along with a wide exploration of textures including wool, patent leather, distressed velvet, shearling and silks.   


Bringing a sense of spectacle to her AW‘18 collection, Gabriela Hearst held her show at Café Altro Paradiso on Spring Street, where guests were served a spot of lunch before models weaved their way amongst the tables. Far-removed from the traditional bench-runway setting, it offered guests a laidback moment of relief from the hustle of New York Fashion Week, to contemplate the collection more intimately. She chose the restaurant for its Uruguayan chef, whose quality standards in culinary echo Hearst’s sustainable craftsmanship philosophy. Inspired by 19th-century female coal miners and factory workers from World Wars I and II, silk twill day dresses, trenches and coats held utilitarian elements. Statement pieces included pinstripe and tartan suiting, constructed with slimming silhouettes in wools and silks, whilst jersey maxi dresses with thick coloured stripes added a touch of informality. A purple tartan blazer-turned-jumpsuit was a major standout, as a was a cobalt blue cashmere mohair coat, which closed the show. Further updated with a modern edge were leather lunch box bags and tool belts with removable pouches, alluding to the utilitarian Victorian workwear theme.  


Filling the American Stock Exchange building with a sea of popcorn and three rundown wooden barns covered in artwork by Andy Warhol, undertones of apocalyptic Americana were prevalent at Calvin Klein 205W39NYC. The label, which was once synonymous with refined simplicity, seems to have been invigorated under Simon’s new Creative Direction for the last two seasons. A continuation of the previous collection’s American horror film theme, the dystopian-inspired collection featured lots of elevated protective gear suitable for a chemical spill clean-up. These included hazmat boots, padded gloves, white waders and hi-vis fireman’s jackets and boiler suits complete with reflective strips. Knitted hoods offered an extra layer of protection, as did foiled bonnets and Mylar-inspired dresses and jackets, which sent a nod towards 1960’s astronaut gear. There was a stark contrast of wispy, frilled prairie dresses in sheer fabrics, pinstripes and checkers, as well as neat Western-style shirts in mint greens, pale yellows and salmons, adding a solid mid-western cowboy element. There were also voluminous checkered suit jackets with exaggerated shoulders, adding a comical silhouette. Haphazard homespun knits featuring Loony tunes characters were distressed and blurred as if they had emerged from an ominous dreamworld. With a healthy dose of escapism, it was a quilted patchwork of American cinematic history, morphed into a multi-layered show and collection.