New York — Some highlights from New York Fashion Week on Sunday and Monday:
Prabal Gurung celebrates strength of women
With Gigi Hadid as his opener and her royally dressed sister, Bella, at the end, Prabal Gurung celebrated the strength, grace and resilience of women in a collection full of vibrant purples, reds and blues, inspired in part by the women-led Mosuo tribe of China.
Gurung, raised by a single mother in Nepal, said in a backstage interview he’s had matriarchies on his mind for a collection over the last four or five years, deciding to go ahead with this one now amid the recent movements bringing women together to fight back against sexual misconduct and oppression around the world.
His bright pinks, some in lush cashmere and wool knits hand done in Nepal, and his sari and sarong-inspired draping, he said, were references to the Gulabi Gang of women activists in northern India. They “adorn themselves in pink saris symbolic of their self-proclaimed power and fearlessness,” Gurung said, as they come to the defense of women, vigilante style.
There were other elements, feather and sequin detailing, the use of velvet and pearls, that generally symbolized ceremonial wardrobes.
Bella Hadid took a slow walk around the bright sand art Gurung displayed on the floor wearing a strapless, royal-red cape gown with a gold cord belt. Gigi Hadid opened the show in a porcelain-white cashmere turtleneck with fox trim on the sleeves, an orchid-colored skirt and a draped sarong overlay that wound around her neck and fell below the waist.
Family affair at Beckham
Usually, Victoria Beckham takes a quick little bow and a wave at the end of her runway show. On Sunday, she changed it up a little, rushing over to the front row to embrace husband David Beckham and their three younger children, Romeo, Cruz and Harper.
Beckham may have been emotional because she was beginning what she called her label’s 10th anniversary year. In her show notes, the British designer noted that she wanted Sunday’s show to be “a quiet celebration of where we have come since those very first appointments here in New York.” In September, she plans to show at London Fashion Week to fete her anniversary.
Beckham was also showing in a new space on the Upper East Side of Manhattan — the James A. Burden House, an Italian Renaissance-style mansion completed in 1905. Guests climbed a grand spiral staircase to arrive at the show.
It was a collection heavy on workplace looks, with belted coats and jackets with defined shoulders and drawn-in waists. Her favorite item, Beckham said afterward, was a striking belted leopard-print coat, made from a chenille jacquard fabric that was based on Venetian upholstery. She also featured clingy leggings, ankle cuffs in leather, and a print on silk that resembled fur — “my take on fake fur,” she explained afterward.
At DVF, a returning designer and a new muse
At DVF, the label’s creator, Diane von Furstenberg, introduced a new (and returning) designer — Nathan Jenden — and a new muse for the brand: her 18-year-old granddaughter, Talita von Furstenberg, who modeled an outfit from the new collection and pronounced it “really cool” to embark on her new role.
Jenden, who returned to the label in January after working there for a decade until 2011, said he’d chosen the young von Furstenberg as his muse after watching her grow up.
“I’ve known her since she was 2,” he noted.
The new collection included a lot of riffs on the iconic DVF wrap dress — some obvious and some more subtle.
Von Furstenberg, 71, made a pointed reference to the #MeToo movement in remarks to the crowd at her showroom.
“I just wanted to say that with everything that’s happening with women right now … I personally am more committed than ever to the empowerment of women,” she said. “And this is really important and the DVF woman through the generations has always been about being a woman in charge — in charge of her life, in charge of who she sleeps with, in charge of what she does. She’s in the driver’s seat.”
Jenden addressed the crowd as well, saying his designs were “all about being brave, about being unapologetically a woman, about celebrating femininity … this is an homage to Diane, it’s an homage to Talita, it’s an homage to all women.”
Ralph Lauren heads to Jamaica
As the Olympic outfitter of Team USA, Lauren’s South Korea job is done, so where to go next?
Under gloomy skies and intermittent sprinkles Monday in New York, he headed for his Jamaica retreat in Montego Bay as inspiration for spring and summer collections for men and women.
The clothes couldn’t have screamed Jamaica louder. They were nautical. They included the yellows and greens of the island country’s flag and regatta pennants, along with pops of red and blue in bold graphic designs. There were yachts on wide ties and, well, kind of all over.
And, as always, there was Ralph Lauren himself on the runway for his end-of-show walk and wave to guests that included Hilary Swank, Katie Holmes, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Rachel Brosnahan.
“Everyone wishes for a magical place where they can step out of time and into the beauty of nature,” Lauren said in show notes. “I wanted to share the mood, the light, the blue and white freshness of my retreat in Jamaica.”
The brand said all of this in crisp cottons and silks, stripes and tie dye. There were patent leather shorts and jackets worthy of a tropical downpour or afternoon deckside. There were also predictable whites in lightweight suiting for men and women, along with some evening looks for the latter.
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