If you've any doubt that humanity will bounce back after this pandemic, just look how New York Fashion Week is playing out. A few months ago, we never would have imagined that runways could make a comeback this year, but it did. It doesn't look the same — no bustling crowds, no flashing lights, no air kisses exchanged between fashionista attendees — yet the elements that make a fashion show is still there; the clothes, the models, the designers, the spectators and, of course, the catwalk. But not everyone made this bold move, more than a few labels have found new creative ways to present their collections via streaming and pre-filmed videos.
In a nutshell, it's a mixed bag but what a fun bag it is! Here are highlights of New York Fashion Week 2020 in the new normal so far.
Jason Wu returns to the runway
In an unexpected move, some designers opted to push through with a physical fashion show complete with guests despite all the hassle it entails — from casting models remotely to dealing with strict hygiene restrictions to prepping an outdoor runway setting and preparing for the possibility of a last-minute schedule change should a thunderstorm decide to make an appearance. Among the most well-known NYFW homegrown labels, Jason Wu is one of the few that decided to show his latest designs in the flesh to a select few.
Last Sunday, Wu and his team created a set design inspired by the rich, tropical landscape of Tulum, Mexico complete with more or less a thousand plants at the terrace of Spring Studios, The New York Times reports. All furnishings (including the sand) are courtesy by Lowe's Home Improvement.
Against this backdrop, models in breezy sundresses and airy kaftans strutted on the runway sans mask. Oranges, deep blues and bold prints dominated the palette and will remind you of an indulgent vacation by the beach. The first look was worn by Pose actress Indya Moore which was a sleeveless rusty mustard-coloured heel-length dress with an eyelet hem. Other looks that caught our eye include the striped modern kaftan with a cinched belt and a slip dress with circular blue and orange watercolour prints. Very tropical chic, indeed.
When compared to the runway shows pre-coronavirus pandemic, the catwalk concept wasn't exactly groundbreaking, but no one can deny that it's a standout in the new normal. It's a statement that runway shows are here to stay especially when other big labels such as Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta and Marc Jacobs decided to skip New York Fashion Week 2020.
In the coming days of NYFW, a few designers — womenswear brand Brox and Banco, Rebecca Minkoff and LaQuan Smith — will follow suit with the terrace runway trend.
Hanako Maeda does NYFW in Tokyo
Even with all the efforts to make runway happen in the new normal, streaming is still very much the preferred medium of most designers. More than the promise of a safer way to show collections, live-streaming or showing pre-filmed lookbooks ala 2013 YouTubers allow brands more creativity with how they present designs through moving visuals. Additionally, in this way, a designer can be in a different part of the world and still join NYFW.
A prime example of this is Hanako Maeda's ADEAM, whose collectin's footage was shot in the designer's Tokyo home but unveiled in New York Fashion Week 2020. The collection is rooted in the minimalist aesthetic and its design's simple, crisp look brings a feeling of tranquillity amidst chaotic times. Linen and airy silhouettes are the stars of this launch. Most pieces are monochromatic but a striped sleeveless top with a flowing hem made a notable appearance. Timeless, subtle and serene are the adjectives fit for this collection.
PH5 pays tribute to Australia's indigenous women
Another noteworthy digital presentation is PH5's tribute to Australia, the home country of the brand's lead designer Zoe Champion. As we all know, the Land Down Under started the year battling one of the worst bushfires in its history. Inspired by this, PH5's video was filmed in Awabakal land and it spotlighted Australia's indigenous women who are working with Firesticks Alliance.
Aside from showcasing the clothes, PH5's lookbook also featured traditional burning practices used to replenish the land. Plus, their knitted pieces consisting of dresses, tops and bottoms were in either fiery red-orange hue or cool blue representing the fire and the cool smoke that comes after signalling a new beginning.
Sightings around New York
Back in New York, locals are delighted to catch the behind-the-scenes of digital presentation productions as they run errands. Just a few hours ago, many Instagrammers posted about getting a sight of Cynthia Rowley's lively dance-themed shoot which is scheduled to air this Wednesday.
With New York Fashion Week 2020 starting strong, we're excited what the next days of NYFW have in store for us! Milan, London and Paris, we're looking at you next.
(Cover photo from: Laura Chouette via Unsplash)