As fashion weeks kick off again, New York's is the first to lead the shows.
From Singapore–born Nepalese–American designer Prabal Gurung to Nigerian-born designer in New York, Taofeek Abijako, and Indian Kanika Goyal, established names to young up-and-comers pave a path for future trends on the runways.
Here are some of the highlights since New York Fashion Week began on Thursday.
Prabal Gurung explores impermanence
Prabal Gurung was thinking deep this season. He installed a mirrored square runway reflecting an opulent blue light display at the main branch of the New York Public Library for a fashion week show on Friday, exploring the Buddhist concept of “anichya”, or impermanence.
In butterfly motifs, wool jackets and hues of vermilion, saffron, burgundy and dusty pinks, Gurung was thinking of his homeland, Nepal, where he hasn’t been since before the pandemic. He was motivated by a 10-day meditative retreat he recently experienced to “silence everything”.
“In Nepal, we talk about it all the time, what is present and how soon it can go,” he told The Associated Press in a backstage interview. “And there’s actually an optimism to that, especially during these challenging times.”
The idea, in part, was finding hope “in the dark places,” he said. “There’s light after darkness.”
His silhouettes were sharper and longer this time around. His asymmetry challenged the idea of harmony. He draped softly and provided sharp angles at the same time. There were fluid, gliding skirts, wool jackets and glitzy golds and crystals.
In short, Gurung explained, New York Fashion Week for him was a “magical, mystery journey. An inward spiritual journey” taken at night back home in Nepal.
Having grown up with “impermanence,” Gurung said, he wanted to embrace the notion that nothing is fixed but constant shifts need not be feared. They must be embraced, he said, and he’s got just the right clothes for the job.
Siriano channels Audrey Hepburn in a garden
Christian Siriano lined his New York Fashion Week runway on Thursday with thousands of multicoloured flowers and put wide-brimmed hats worthy of muse Audrey Hepburn on some of his models to top off a big week.
First, there was the custom burgundy power suit he made Vice President Harris for Tuesday’s State of the Union. “And we had the Grammys and fashion week,” Siriano told The Associated Press in a backstage interview.
Then there was his update of Alicia Silverstone’s Clueless yellow plaid skirt set for her Rakuten Super Bowl commercial broadcast on Sunday. He even scored a cameo as a student in Cher Horowitz’s debate class.
Siriano and Silverstone are long-time pals and she sits often on his front rows. She was away filming this time around. Lindsay Lohan, with brother Dakota and one of her sisters walking in the show, attended with Quinta Brunson and Julia Stiles.
Siriano had another muse on his mind for his latest collection: Hepburn. To be precise, Hepburn in a rose garden at midnight. He was inspired by a 1990s TV documentary series she did with Michael York, Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn.
The series had Hepburn visiting spectacular gardens in England, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the US and elsewhere.
Siriano honoured the series with Japanese-influenced hats in purple check and large 3D floral embellishments in looks of fuchsia, or as he described it, “orchid purple”. He incorporated roses into a swirly black-and-white print and offered up sunny yellow in solids and colour-blocked looks.
And there were youthful, girlie little black dresses, more matronly, roomy dresses and other looks, and a standout barely there evening dress in body-hugging, delicate tulle.
Siriano took his flower mission seriously, sending out one model in one of his big hats adorned with huge blossoms, with more huge blossoms on the top of a matching fuchsia pantsuit.
Proenza Schouler debuts effortlessly cool
Known for notoriously dressing the It Girl, it came as no surprise when actor and fashion muse Chloe Sevigny opened the show for Proenza Schouler on Saturday to a room packed with her celebrity peers.
The design duo behind Proenza Schouler, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, took fashion show attendees on a showcase of their reality and the spirit of the everyday woman at the Chelsea Factory.
With their label named after their mothers’ maiden names, the two designers honoured the women in their lives both new and old with their latest collection. It was the growth of the wardrobe of the sophisticated intellectual woman they have been designing for more than 20 years, they said.
“It was totally a reflection of the women in our lives,” McCollough said after the show. “It was the first season where we made the mood board just out of headshots of the women in our lives.”
Models could have easily walked off the runway and on to the New York streets in their effortlessly cool looks. Hernandez said he wanted a break from “Instagram clothes” or the flashy dressing often seen across social media.
Models entered the runway with barely-there make-up looks from behind a transparent film background as the words of author Ottessa Moshfegh were narrated by Sevigny over the speakers with the musical composition by Arca.
The layout of the show gave attendees an intimate close-up look at the details of the clothes such as the glittery over-the-knee boots and pops of colour that peeked out from cutouts around the models’ legs, giving them the freedom to move. Models snaked around the runway in carefully constructed blazers cinched at the waist with bolo tie-like belts, knitted sweaters paired with leather skirts and PVC pants, to the velvet dresses dyed with ice.
TikTok stars, fashion influencers and even Ella Emhoff, the stepdaughter of US Vice President Kamala Harris, were in attendance. Sienna Miller, Meghann Fahy of The White Lotus fame and Natasha Lyonne stopped backstage to congratulate the designers after the show.
Sergio Hudson delivers colourful ‘90s celebration
Sergio Hudson created a nostalgic scene with shoulder pads, neon colours and graffiti prints taken right out of the early ’90s with his latest collection on Saturday.
Hudson, who has dressed the likes of Beyonce and Michelle Obama, borrowed inspiration from artist Jason Naylor’s colourful and borderline psychedelic murals for New York Fashion Week in an eclectic celebration of energy.
Models walked on a graffiti print by Naylor with voluminous Fran Drescher hairstyles in multicoloured mini dress suit sets to thumping beats.
Hudson told The Associated Press that Naylor added his vision to Hudson’s brand name iconography and the two merged their styles into graffiti letters that were spray painted on white T-shirts, incorporated into the fabric of the collection and sequinned designs. Aside from Naylor’s striking use of colours for his art, Hudson also said the artist’s murals have a deeper meaning for him.
During a hard time for his business when he was living in Los Angeles, Hudson said, he came across a Naylor mural.
“He did this great inspirational painting on the other side of the street,” Hudson said. “When I saw it, it just kind of touched me emotionally. I always said if I ever get the opportunity, I was going to do a collection inspired by him.”
While meshing Naylor’s fun colours and lettering with his show, Hudson paid homage to another artist. After the Met Gala unveiled its theme to honour late Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, Hudson said that he too wanted to add his own interpretation of Lagerfeld’s infamous ’90s rebrand of Chanel by adding playful tailoring to his looks.
Hudson even brought his youthful flair with his red carpet looks as models adorned in slinky dresses with sparkly cutouts walked the runway.
Celebrities in attendance included The View co-host Sunny Hostin, journalist Joy Reid, and model and brand founder of Baby Phat, Kimora Lee Simmons, who was supporting her daughter Aoki Lee Simmons walking the runway.
— Agencies contributed to this report