There’s a quaint little 6-month time lag before you can buy most of the stuff you see on the catwalk but the crowds and the FROW are a brilliant barometer of what’s trending right this minute – whether that be female empowerment or rapper Cardi B (who smashed it on the FROW a total of seven times).
And it’s also a chance to gazump autumn fashion by adopting our favourite trends a bit early. Here’s our ten-bite takeaway from a roller-coaster fashion week in the Big Apple.
“Outside the box” casting
The New York catwalks were still jam-packed with skinny white models, but some runways felt more inclusive: plus-size bombshell Ashley Graham and actress Danielle Brooks both twirled for Christian Siriano’s exuberant anniversary show, while Desmond Napoles, a 10-year-old LGBTQ activist and ‘drag kid’ walked for Gypsy Sport (in a corset and painted nails no less).
Swimwear brand Chromat had the most diverse line-up of plus-size and transgender models – as well as an amputee, a breast cancer survivor and a hijab-wearer.
Back to the 80s
The trend that’s been simmering for a couple of seasons is now officially on the boil, starting with the corporate glamazons that stalked the Alexander Wang show in power suiting, sheer tights and spikey stilettos.
Or there’s the exaggerated silhouettes and design details (think brimmed hats, huge bow belts, crazy-wide shouldered jackets) at Marc Jacobs.
But the most defiantly trashy take on the decade came from Tom Ford, with gigantic crystal hoop earrings (editor’s note: yay!), rowdy leopard prints and a sequin logo ‘Beverly Hills’ sweatshirt that will rocket to the top of Rihanna’s wish list.
Also: the wide-shouldered matchy trouser suit is BACK, people – even Victoria Beckham says so.
For his third show at the helm of Calvin Klein, Raf Simons sent his models crunching down a catwalk strewn with popcorn; combined with his dystopian-themed collection, this didn’t seem as weird as it probably should have.
Curiously, though, this wasn’t the only snack sighting on the runways, with Flaming Cheetos the accessory du jour in Chromat’s edgy swimwear collection. Yummy.
The feminist message and ‘that bag’ from Tom Ford
There were surprisingly few references to the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements on the runway, though Prabal Gurung invited the founder of the #MeToo campaign, Tarana Burke, to sit front-row and had his models march arm-in-arm solidarity for the finale.
And Alice + Olivia used suffragette imagery as the backdrop for their presentation.
But we didn’t know that we wanted a portable – and sparkly – feminist fashion statement until Tom Ford’s bag spelled it out for us.
Clothes that you’ll want to wear
There’s a real virtuosity in creating clothes that are both totally wearable and totally un-boring, and a couple of labels pitched their collections just right.
Tibi applied the ‘perfect amount of slouch’ algorithm to their trouser suits and served up slinky oversize v-neck jumpers and billowy, colour-soaked dresses in silk.
And Scandi brand Mansur Gavriel (the purveyor of that insanely chic bucket bag every influencer was carrying two years ago), showed a breezy summer collection of fluttery midi dresses and floppy, unstructured duster jackets that looked easy and polished at the same time.
A trend to thrill your twelve-year-old-girl-self
Referencing a young, horse-obsessed Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet, Derek Lam’s show was soooo good – a swishy collection of neat checked blazers, sweeping capes, riding boots and jockey-inspired trousers.
If you prefer your horses a little fancier, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, the design duo at Oscar de la Renta, bedecked their swirling skirts and dresses with prints featuring unicorns and enchanted forests.
Some hot colours that are not millennial pink
Fuchsia emerged as a ‘colour of the season’ front-runner: Alexander Wang chose it for his sassy miniskirts and playsuits, while Adam Selman co-opted it for his one-shouldered dress and sunglasses combination (Ulla Johnson, Cushnie et Ochs, and Prabal Gurung are also really into it).
Making a compelling case for lavender, on the other hand, were the leather skirts and dresses at Zimmerman, a delicious fuzzy coat at Sies Marjan and the glamorous evening looks at Brandon Maxwell.
If it takes 3 catwalk sightings to qualify as a trend, cowboy boots had the fashion world’s seal of approval by day one of the shows.
They’re everywhere, like the ones that rocked out at Zimmerman and Zadig & Voltaire, or the heart-stoppingly glossy ones at Tibi.
Mylar survival blankets, firemen’s jackets, lumberjack checks and quilted patchwork made an unnerving but cool combination at Calvin Klein.
Raf Simon’s collection touched on American icons, from the pioneer to the prairie girl to Wile E. Coyote, in one of the most thought-provoking (and snack-filled) shows of the week.
Stuart Vevers for Coach also sent his woman on an Americana-themed trajectory with moody prairie girl dresses, sharp-collared leather jackets and bandana prints.
Kaia Gerber’s legs
When Kaia Gerber made her catwalk debut last September, most people were talking about her supermodel mother (Cindy Crawford). But at NYFW most people were talking about her legs (they’re really, really long).
Photos Vogue Runway