New York Fashion Week Day 2: Jason Wu, Peter Som, Rag & Bone, Tome
I’m only two blocks away from Jason Wu’s show, but traffic is moving at a snail’s pace thanks to a stream of burly, black SUVs carrying editors to the venue and a gang of bloggers spilling out into traffic to shoot one of the street style peacocks. Inside, bona fide celebrities like Alicia Keys and Maria Sharapova stoke a different set of paparazzi. The clothes that come down the runway shortly afterward seem designed to move easily into the closets of women of a certain kind of wealth and taste level: celebrities who want to look fashionable without taking too many risks, jetsetters looking to update their wardrobes for expensive, warm weather trips. These easy, bias-cut dresses and loungey separates feel more grown-up and wearable than the more youthful, vampy edge Wu gave us last season. The clothes are pretty, and beautifully made. But it’s all a little too polished, and, frankly, slightly benign — I honestly struggle to remember what I’ve just looked at. And that’s never happened at a Jason Wu show before. Kenya Hunt
Forget coffee — Peter Som jolts our senses by pushing his polished lady into tougher territory. And the slightly edgier approach is working. Every editor in the room is sitting at attention, swooning over the confident looks mixing the masculine and feminine strolling down the runway. Tomboyish jackets such as motos and bombers are done in refined tweed; sporty neoprene sweatshirts pair with silk skirts; even dainty eyelet gets a makeover. How do you give eyelet street cred? By coating it in sleek, glossy lacquer, of course. Everyone seems to be mentally jotting down (or live tweeting) their shopping lists. Mine definitely includes the painfully cool cheetah print oxfords Som created with Christian Louboutin. Not to mention one of the many crop tops (yup — half shirts aren’t going anywhere). Tina Chadha
Fashion Week is turning into swag week, and the most random things are being distributed, including electronic cigarettes and tacky, crystal-encrusted sunglasses. Don’t these companies know that unless it’s a green juice, fashion people are going to keep it moving? TC
The Jenni Kayne collection is the opposite of the crystal sunglasses happening outside. She’s showing a tightly edited selection of minimal classics that look both office appropriate and relaxed at the same time, including a smart jumpsuit with a plunging neckline in white and a preppy navy blazer. TC
The street style spectacle outside of the shows is out of control. You literally can’t walk down Ninth or 10th Avenue without either getting bombarded by photographers — or worse, not getting bombarded by them. It’s making the walk a painfully self-conscious process. I spot a girl in stilettos and hot pants! Her derriere is hanging out for people to Instagram. Why would her friends let this happen? TC
Misha Nonoo’s set for her first runway show resembles a quaint English garden complete with hedges and pretty pink roses. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist took inspiration from artist Gerhard Richter’s layered squeegee series for the dreamy, streak-like prints on softly tailored trousers and flouncy silk skirts. A delicate yet cheery color palette — spearmint green, faint lavender and vibrant yellow — adds to the carefree femininity of it all. TC
The audience at the Rag & Bone show makes me wonder if I’ve been transported back to 1994. I’m sensing a strong ’90s moment on the runway, too. Though, it’s less Courtney Love, more Obsession-era Kate Moss — and sexier, which is a new direction for David Neville and Marcus Wainwright, who have built their brand on a foundation of mannish tailoring. Not surprisingly, their minimalist slips work best when styled with tomboyish pieces such as a simple pale moto jacket or a monochromatic, deep v-neck sweater. (These are the guys who perfected that perennially popular formula of mixing boyfriend staples with girly girl elements.) Actually the most memorable pieces here are the simplest: A sexy white halter top worn under a pair of polished, streamlined, overalls or an A-line leather wrap skirt styled with a crisp white short sleeve polo shirt.
Jenna Lyons is on stage touching the models’ dresses, examining them up close, and nodding her head in approval. Meanwhile, the rest of us in the audience, which includes power editors and buyers, jostle for a better look at Tome’s spring collection in a crowded tiny theater. It’s an impressive turnout for designers Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin, who are relatively new, but becoming increasingly known thanks to their CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund nomination. The collection seems to be made of two parts. The first is a series of wispy, delicate, pretty little silk and lace looks in white, with some stellar options for brides on the hunt for something unaffected and cool. The second group consists of more robust separates, outerwear and dresses in voluminous shapes, which would make some really artful additions to a work wardrobe. It’s all enough to reduce this fashion critic to a giddy shopper. KH
It’s pretty safe to assume that white will be trending big for spring/summer. Even Suno, a brand that’s known for in-your-face colors and prints, opened its show with a crisp cotton blouse and skirt in the non-color. But the boldly colored African patterns are what really stand out in this show.