Chaos and Calm at New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week 2023

The 2023 New York Fashion Week has just concluded. Throngs of excited people gathered outside the most talked-about shows as various designers tried to create all the right hype.. often unsuccessfully. 

New York Fashion Week
Rodarte Catwalk Show
Amidst the bustling backdrop, a few up-and-coming New York designers managed to stand out. According to Nicole Phelps, director of Vogue Runway and Vogue Business, Proenza Schouler was in fine form this season, while Tory Burch continued to showcase her expanding design range. 

Among the highlights were those from smaller labels - Ashlyn's meticulous tailoring and Zankov's vivid knits as well as Diotima's crocheted dresses all giving cause for appreciation.

Preparations were marred by a gamut of logistical and organisational challenges, making an arduous task even more arduous. Prabal Gurung and Gypsy Sport showed on islands near Manhattan, only for their events to be thwarted by gusts of rain; a reminder that it may be best to stay on the mainland in the future.

When it comes to staging outdoor shows, Gypsy Sport designer Rio Uribe told US reporter Maddie Schulz, there are so many factors such as the weather or natural elements that can come into play. Consequently, they've decided not to present an open-air show in the foreseeable future.

It has been far from a glamorous experience for those on the ground this season, and the tough times brought up some familiar questions. Would it be possible to return to having NYFW in one centralised location? 

Who needs to attend a fashion show? Currently, there's tension between its promotional value and its trade purpose, making it difficult for all those involved with it all week (which started two days before the official start date with Victoria’s Secret’s non-show event).

Soft luxury ready-to-wear brand Khaite showcased at the Park Avenue Armory. A clear indication of founder and designer Catherine Holstein's ambition to create a major luxury brand. The powerful statement was made apparent by the bags, which are essential for fashion companies to generate substantial revenue. This leads me to speculate that a possible Khaite fragrance could be in the works.

At NYFW this season, it was clear that the emphasis on sellability was more pronounced than ever. Peter Do's first show under the Helmut Lang umbrella disappointed some onlookers because of its commercial nature. Meanwhile, Staud's runway show made a clear statement with its front row-occupant Jeff Bezos - a reminder of Sarah Staudinger's Hollywood connections to her power agent husband Ari Emmanuel. 

The "Quiet Luxury" aesthetic - minimal and digestible - was seen prominently across the event. Even Wiederhoeft's performative presentation gave evidence to their embrace of marketability through mixed-in T-shirts and corsets that are liable to attract buyers. As Maddie noted, the range achieved its express aim of creating items that stayed true to its flamboyant, narrative-driven DNA while being eminently wearable.

Questions about New York Fashion Week's identity have been around for years, but according to Vogue Runway senior fashion news editor Laia Garcia-Furtado, those who say it's dead aren’t looking in the right places. Tory Burch and Keith Herron are just two examples of designers resolutely committed to the NYFW scene. 

And as Christina noted, it's during fashion week that everyone questions its ongoing relevance. Unlike Milan or Paris, there is no overarching body governing NYFW. Similarly, London has more resources for young brands than New York --- their runway shows depend on support from corporate sponsors.

Some might flock to Paris when the opportunity arises, yet New York will continue to attract new faces with boundless enthusiasm, tender moments and impressive presentations. Expanding and improving the logistics would only refine the experience, leaving less room for missed engagements and more time devoted to apparels.

Laia shared that a collective of fashion designers is rising up, among them Collina Strada and its creative director Hillary Taymour, who utilized AI to formulate a distinct array of looks. Eckhaus Latta's entrance at the Rockefeller Center confirms their status as this generation's leading American sportswear label, while Kozaburo Akasaka's first show boasted an inimitably wonderful atmosphere.

José Criales Unzueta of Vogue Runway praised several new designers at New York Fashion Week, starting with Alejandro Gomez Paloma of Paloma Spain. According to the fashion news writer, his Spring/Summer collection was simultaneously light, airy, cool, and sultry - capturing queer and gay styling today - while also being expertly crafted.

José went on to praise Willy Chavarria's refined vision, hailing his tailoring as some of the most directional around. Chavarria's exploration of Latinidad and the Latin identity left a profound impression on the writer. Last but not least was Luar who closed out NYFW for a second consecutive season. 

His combination of spirituality and Dominican roots blended with an idiosyncratic version of modern New York style makes him “the best exponent of what New York fashion is”, said José.

Maddie wrote about influential platforms that make social commerce a reality once again, and Maghan shared her thoughts on how flashy stunts were replaced by practical tools. While Christina gave an insightful look into NYFW's reputation on the global stage.

Coach made headlines after being crashed by Peta protestors. Ralph Lauren and Phillip Lim made their triumphant comeback.

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