Tadashi Shoji says he’s getting old and that’s the inspiration for his collection. Someone should have told him that being old and creating a youthful collection seems somewhat the opposite of what happens when you do get old. No matter, Shoji for Spring 2016 went heavy on floral patterns and embroidery to great effect and ended up with a collection that shows a versatility in gown design but also a nod to the love of sheer fabrics. The sheer fabrics have been everywhere during awards season and with the celebrities that have loved Shoji’s creativity in that regard. Shoji though has been strategic for Spring 2016, hiding the feminine form and showing just enough. Maybe that’s what he meant by being older. So when you have highlights that include a maxi skirt with sheer diamond design in a teal/white, a kimono style sheer floral embroidered coverup, a floral embroidered dress with short sleeves where the black prints extend past the hem of the dress, you know Shoji is mining his past, but with a stern look of what’s to come. Keep getting old Mr. Shoji, we love what it is doing for your collections.
The design duo of Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne have been the talk of New York fashion week for plunging into the deep end of womenswear and performing swimmingly. The Fall 2016 collection was about showing how the mens and womenswear collection could live in the same place, with the same fabric and continue to thrive. In execution they seemed to perform that well. Spring 2016 in our opinion follows the same ethos but there’s still a bit of a split that’s evidenced by the execution. Highlights include a long flowing white suit with a plugin v-neckline, a belted deep blue double breasted trench, a short tennis skirt in deep blue with white lining and undertones, a boxy white red and gray top and a sheer striped dress. The two have essentially created a collection that is sleek, feminine and what seems to be a slow and lingering departure from the staunchly male aesthetic that was seen in the previous collection. It may not have been their intent in previous collections but that definitely seems that direction at this snapshot in time.
The voluminous dresses, jumpers and suits in white during the Nicholas K Spring 2016 collection only seeped into my conscience maybe an hour after the show. I’ve seen this level of detail before in a sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland type of movie, but nowhere near as beautiful or dramatic. If you’re thinking Mad Max you’re along the right track, but feminine, detailed and heavy with wind-swept look even when standing still. Here we’re seeing maxi dresses, ponchos, silk dresses and trousers all with multi layered wrapping and extension. Nylon was the fabric heavy in use, though the nylon belied a look of silk so it was done to outstanding effect. As a writer of fashion I have the privilege of seeing this collection as a whole, but taken individually, the design duo of Nicholas K has been able to provide a sense of high-minded items that are easily added to a wardrobe.
How do you outdo your last collection when it received praise from so many sources? You continue with the aesthetic that was prevalent for Fall. Lhuillier maintained the curve-appreciating look that dominated her Fall collection and should be a hit for Spring. Still clamoring for that tulle or a hint of princess skirt that has made her bridal gowns the talk of industry, Lhuillier wearers will be happy with her decision to include those elements but expand with embroidered cutout skirts, floral patterned dresses, boxy tops and a high slit strapless dress in black with white accent. The designer carries her Fall 2015 forward to Spring 2016 by bringing what may have been absent in the current season forward only with more. It’s what her denizens have requested and its been returned in spades.
Oh the cavalcade of color. Oh the paisley, the elaborate abstract floral prints, the near impossibility of pinning down quite the mix of color and fabric. This Anna Sui show was right up there when it comes to creating that retro fall that we know we’ve never seen before. That heavy cable knit, that multitude of detailing on a blouse, the abstract asymmetrical cutouts and patterning, all coming from a richly deep place. Anna Sui’s fall 2015 is warm and flirty, but the sexiness lies in between femininity and the abstract. It’s a decidedly woman’s collection, no androgyny, no borrowing from menswear, just good new fashion pretty. The Anna Sui collection is varied as it is centered on a common near 60s free love hippie-like theme. Many designers went retro 70s for their foray into Fall 2015, Sui’s Fall 2015 is about a decade earlier.
How can you ignore a collection that dazzles with an assortment of red dresses all in different shape and form and function. You can’t. And if Zac Posen’s Fall 2015 collection were limited to just that we’d be more than happy. But he provides more than that in a beautiful showing replete with a ruby red sequin skirt, a grey dress and coat set, a black fur crop coat with slender grey pants, powder blue sequin dress with an ever-so slight slit, a beautiful lbd that falls just below the knee and has layer folds – this is Zac Posen’s Fall 2015 and it is truly a sight. That black silk satin gown will stop traffic and some hearts and is primed for the Oscars. Naomi Campbell thinks so and made an appearance with the last dress Cinderella-style.
All that was missing was the Kleenex and there would have been utter confusion as to whether this was a fashion show or a funeral. And other any other circumstance, that would be a very bad thing, but this is Thom Browne we’re talking about. His funeral/fashion show was just the thing to wake up the fashion crowd stumbling from one collection to another. This collection came in either black or white, if you were looking for any other color heading back to Lincoln center would have been your best bet. The monochrome setting allowed attendees to fixate on the mastery of the cut, the tailoring, the detailing the use of raffia tween, silk sating, woven grosgrain. In Thom Browne’s Fall 2015 collection you have a severe obedience to the human form. This manifests itself in dresses that obey outlines, plunging neckline coats that mix pattern and shape with tailoring, a skirt with detailing that falls below the waist. You may not be ready for Thom Browne’s Fall 2015 collection, but you still have 9 months to get your affairs in order.
After viewing Tory Burch’s Fall 2015 collection it’s hard to remain impartial and not pick favorites. This is especially the case with the wind down of the New York showings. The decidedly Middle Eastern / North African flair of the collection gave her showing a twist unseen from her previous offerings. Realistically the flats are hundreds of million sellers but the ready to wear, is where it’s at. Burch displayed a smorgasbord of abstract prints a dress with a daring slit, a white honeycombed patterned dress, a long white tunic that was as casual as it was feminine, leather made an appearance, but it was the various shades of red and burgundy that made this such a treat to watch. Oh … is my favoritism showing?
I won’t accuse Jenny Packham of being a contrarian, but I will say that she must have had her pulse on what the majority of designers were going to put forward at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week because whatever they did, she did the exact opposite. It made for a refreshing collection that has enough unique pieces that will separate it from the crowded racks at high-end retailers. Yes there were the ubiquitous sequins and embroidered patterns, but that’s where the similarities end. In Jenny Packham’s Fall 2015 collection you have luxurious gowns, beautiful detailing, bead work and styling. Indeed, this ultra feminine collection contains chic jumpers, plunging necklines (but not comically so), a strapless dress with sequin print detailing throughout, a feathered deep blue gown that opened below the knee, a belted shimmery black skirt the accessorized with nearly everything and solid color choices instead of the vomit of colors we’ve seen throughout. Every now and then a little vomit is ok but the English transplant’s decisive use of color, focuses the eye on the design aesthetic and the mastery therein. If you’re not a Jenny Packham fan yet, her 2015 fall collection will make you one.
The design tandem of Mark Badgley and James Mischka have come with an uber sophisticated collection for the Fall 2015 season. While the majority of the collection comprises event dressing, that is gowns, evening-wear, there are also items for the executive, the high end dinner date and the like. Their prowess in masterfully putting together something ultra expensive shows easily in their shimmering strapless gown in han purple, the slender gown in aqua is a show-stealer must-have, there’s the breath taking black gown with plunging neckline and sheer embroidered design and all of it comes in the form of dramatically differentiated patterns. There’s been more adventurous Badgley Mischka collections in the past, but this need not be one of them. This is a sharp view on how the designers see Fall and it is more than welcome.