New York Fashion Week is officially upon us, that particular time of year when sartorial deities of the world descend upon Manhattan to craft and witness everything heralding the approaching season in said sphere.
Fashion and culture go hand in hand, if there’s one movement that is clearly looming on the fore for the latter and thus the former, it is that of the culture clash: whether political or sartorial, historically oppositional styles are being brought face-to-face with one another in the active present. Chaos is the bedrock of creation, and the emerging aesthetic blueprint in fashion, particularly, reflecting a clear merger of high fashion and street style; in more ways than one, that creative culture collision translates the runway into a tale of two cities: New York in Los Angeles
For years, NYFW has been the epicenter for groundbreaking, exciting fashion, where designers like Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang and Marchesa show their latest collections — and give a preview of what the stars will be wearing at award shows to come.
But this year, there will be a few very notable absences, as there is now a bit of a mass exodus from New York Fashion Week.
Rodarte, the LA-based brand with fans like Brie Larson and Elle Fanning, is ditching NYFW and moving things to Paris. And after this season, Proenza Schouler has promised that its next show is going to be in Paris as well.
And it’s not just Paris that’s taking all the uber-popular shows away from New York City. It’s Los Angeles too.
Rebecca Minkoff, Rachel Comey and Tommy Hilfiger, who hosted a bash of a runway show in September with Gigi Hadid, are now all moving their next shows to Los Angeles.
As Fashion Week finds a subtle migration Westward to Southern California, the face and facade of fashion is finding a balance between the States’ sister cultural epicenters, paternal twins by way of style. So, for a different take on an established standard, who and what to watch in the times of see-now-buy-now whiplash speed modern fashion: looks that encompass the look of the Manhattan front row with a signature Angeles feel; a NYFW Opposites Attract style guide primer on how to pair mod Americana by way of Gotham and Angeles design.
The Punk Monk
Style: Late-Seventies / early-Eighties underground rock scene where glitter meets graffiti beneath a thin layer of grime beneath the ricochet layer of limelit shine, meets the effortlessly liberated minimalist flow of bohemia.
Manhattan’s climate lends much of itself to the borough’s fashion sense and cultural identity –– stark, severe, rich, deep, cold, structured, muted gravity, but within the depths, a distinct sense of established aristocracy: to be in and of Manhattan, and to wear that as a style of life. Denim, silk, leather, wool, simple, sturdy, lasting fabrics, tailor-fitted and crafted for impact. Enter, punk: culture to rework the style and strike the status quo. Everything Manhattan, but tighter and torn, svelte silhouettes and safety-pinned scars on display.
The modern revisitation of Minimalist style reaches beyond urban cultures and into indigenous spaces, reflecting a more considered and fundamental focus on fabrics and design this season at NYFW. Much of fashion is focused on the immediate clash of cultures within metropolitan capitals and cosmopolitan centers, but this year’s shows include collections expanding the social spectrum to spaces that invoke a more free-flowing and relaxed sense of proportion and design. Think, monk; think, boho; think, linen, and tailor-fitted sartorial decompression.
An immediate nostalgic nod to Hedi Slimane’s YSL Palladium Summer ’17 collection-meets-LA-native and NYFW one-to-watch Ally Ferguson’s Seeker. Slimane’s Palladium show defined the bohemian rock-god aesthetic in a comprehensive signature that blended the sheer cosmic capacity of rock stardom, with the eclectic romanticism and effortless silhouettes of bohemia, through a remarkable composition of pieces that eclipsed mere notions of “Boho-chic.”
Ally Ferguson’s, Seeker, brings Angeles to the East Coast with a line that illustrates where, “East meets modern. Spiritual in theory. Minimalist in detail. Hemp clothing for the Modern Monk.” Simple, breathable pieces, layering with a focus on redesign through perspective, familiar with a subtle twist, an undertoned take on the alternate. Together, bohemia and the bandstand break even by way of fashion.
A Look: Pair semi-relaxed black linen pants with a white muscle tee and black bomber jacket with gold zippers for a clean take on the collaboration, finish off with black or goldenrod gladiator sandals for a polished punk monk foundation.
Style: Evolutionary independence with a street-regal edge of real-world aristocracy meets make-art-not-war, Americana-by-way-of-California, Sixties-leaning contemporary feminine mystique free-spirited flower power.
New York now is New York forever, fashion ebbs and fashion flows, but style is eternal: New York knows this well. Gotham concrete silhouettes and sky-piercing monoliths exude the same rigid structure as the City’s sartorial frame –– leather, steel, silver, gold, denim, sturdy fabrics, tangible stock, gravity without losing humanity. New York is rebellious, it is the active tension between the industrial atmosphere and the active individual living beyond defined limitations. Moto culture lives in the land of pedestrians and public transport through its native style. Zippers, distress, silver bombers, gold-framed aviators, asymmetry, horizontal hemlines, geometric undertones beneath established design: redefining what you thought you knew.
California Love is a way and style of life alike, it’s intuitive ease in movement, and openness to all elements invites a wider lens when composing fashion. The culture of free-thinking, forward-moving, laid-back progressives cultivates a look that plays to the rose-colored sunglasses of an idealism inherently native to Hollywood Hills and campuses surrounding Silicon Valley. Linens, embroidery, subtle embellishments, patterns and prints that merge the worlds of near-folk art and music festival revelry, with a subtle message through style that indivisible communal union is political chaos’ remedy. Baby-doll dresses, peasant skirts, denim jackets, patterned camis, sunglasses, espadrilles, casual consideration beneath California cool.
RtA bring refined rebellion and effortless chic to NYFW, in a collection that echoes the evolution within their independent-minded muse’s established aesthetic. Meanwhile, on the sunnier side of the States, Rebecca Minkoff presented a see-now-buy-now collection that embodied the every look and layer of California Love at Angeles’ very own Grove. RtA and Minkoff’s styles are situated on either end of style culture’s spectrum, similar to New York and Los Angeles as cultural centers; each is definitively rooted in the expressed individuality of free-thinking women with independent senses of style cultivated in their natural (urban) environments. RtA’s Harley rebellion and Minkoff’s rose-echoing understated feminine majesty find a natural aesthetic home in this season’s fashion landscape.
A Look: Pair a white cami top with a black leather skirt, top off with a darkwash distressed denim jacket, finish with faded-white espadrilles, and mahogany-rose-toned beaded jewelry (de facto cuffs and collars for the Californian) for a prime Harley Rose aesthetic base.
Like day and night, a pair of looks for a tale of two sartorial twin cities amidst the week when fashion reigns –– even in the land that rarely does: Gotham style edge, with a dose of California love.