Just like every other year, this Fashion Month began with New York Fashion Week – except this is not like every other year, it’s quite different. Coronavirus has ravaged the world to the extent that it would be bizarre for the fashion industry to have been unaffected by it and improper for brands to pretend that this was the case. From the frenzy of fashion shows themselves to the international travel required to attend them, Fashion Month as we know (or knew) it is not particularly compatible with combatting COVID-19. It would be fundamentally unsafe for things to be business as usual – and so they weren’t.
Huge names such as Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren were notably absent from this season’s New York Fashion Week schedule. So too were fashion favourites like Telfar and The Row. In spite of this, designers like Tom Ford still showed via ‘digital activation’ (revealing their lookbooks for the season) and Eckhaus Latta even staged an outdoor show in which all the models wore masks – naturally. Yes, this was an affair without the pomp and circumstance we may be accustomed to, but if Fashion Month is simply meant to be about clothes, its first offering set a hopeful and exciting tone for the weeks ahead.
Here are just four of our favourite trends from New York Fashion Week:
We know that florals being on trend for spring is one of fashion’s finest and funniest clichés, but there’s something heartwarming about seeing them defiantly rise again in the face of a global pandemic – and with such diversity too! At Rodarte, they were omnipresent: as corsages; fashioned into symmetrical patterns; framing faces in 3D. In typical maximalism, they were paired with animal prints at Tom Ford and appliquéd on – stem and all – at Christian Siriano. We assume you’ll now be investing in some supermarket chrysanthemums for every room of your house.
By their very nature, slogans are always saying something. But with a looming presidential election and the ongoing toll of coronavirus, their iterations at this season’s New York Fashion Week were more poignant than ever. Christian Siriano made a direct plea for American citizens to ‘VOTE’ (presumably not for Trump), while Collina Strada’s collection – as shown in a video named ‘Change is Cute’ – included a ribbed tank top embellished with pink diamanté crystals that spelt out ‘Vulnerability’. If the thought of the latter made you wince, Anna Sui offered T-shirts telling viewers to ‘Chill Baby’ and ‘TAKE CARE’ – two statements it’s useful to be regularly reminded of that don’t have the, well, vulnerability of ‘Vulnerability’.
Denim tends to be one of those things that’s just always there, but every once in a while you’ll get denim pieces so good that they usurp their predecessors. With a full denim look and a pair of jeans almost ripped to the point of non-existence only to be emblazoned with crystals, the collaboration between Christian Cowan and Lil Nas X did denim with aplomb. On the subtler but no less scintillating side of the spectrum, Eckhaus Latta offered baggy jeans for those of a painterly persuasion and charcoal cropped kick flares that will no doubt become a ‘wardrobe essential’ to someone somewhere somehow.
For anyone who doesn’t (or didn’t) need to fake formality on Zoom, tracksuits are (or were) a key component of the WFH uniform. Complete with imperfectly hand drawn prints and a quietly feminine edge, Collina Strada offered those of the upcycled variety. Eckhaus Latta’s tracksuit was a treat in earthy ones, while Tom Ford provided for those who like theirs as luxurious as possible.