Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s Runway Magic at NYFW
The sisters were front and center at Vera Wang, the ’70s ruled at Alice and Olivia, and why Whoopi Goldberg loves gender-free clothing.
Lizzie Crocker at Vera Wang
Four years ago, Kim Kardashian was perched in the front row at Vera Wang’s Spring show in a blue Grecian gown, having earned the honor by wearing three different Wang dresses during her wedding to basketball star Kris Humphries.
Having a gaggle of Kardashian-Jenners at your show is a risky gambit—the cameras tend to wander away from the clothes and toward the first family of reality television—but Wang was smart enough to also put Kendall on the runway, wearing one of many fencing-inspired looks: a black, one-shouldered quilted plastron over a white cotton button down—hair pulled back and tucked into the shirt—with a black, pleated, slit-up-to-there maxi kilt. Models faced off on the catwalk: a fluorescent white, 70-foot-long piste.
Wang’s collection was wonderfully elegant, and elegantly minimalist, though this was slightly disrupted by the always disrupting Jenners.
Kylie wore dyed cotton-candy pink hair, oversized hiding-in-plain-sight black sunglasses, a gold lamé Vera Wang dress, and over-the-knee black platform boots. (The others in her crew—Australian model Jesinta Campbell and famous daughter Zoë Kravitz—wore identical boots.)
When not distracted by those distracting famous people, the clothes wowed. Wang described the collection as “long, lean, lithe,” inspired by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti’s “walking man” sculptures and the colors of Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani—olive, mustard, plum.
There were sheer, color-block tulle dresses and nude ones with embroidered panels of sequins, worn over sporty, strappy demi-bras.
But some of looks felt more 12th-century Viking than 20th-century modernist, including a series of oversized, patchwork fur coats that wouldn’t seem out of place in a Thor battle scene.
Tim Teeman at Alice and Olivia
The stage for Alice and Olivia’s presentation was a mocked-up set of artfully scarred cityscapes. This was apposite and atmospheric for label designer Stacey Bendet’s delightful takes on ’70s rock music, and her overall intention to evoke the cultural cauldron of ’70s downtown New York, “where rock and roll edge meets geek chic glamor.”
In order to fetishize this “bleak and dangerous, financially bankrupt but culturally rich metropolis” Bendet deployed mocked-up subway platforms, and racks of old Life magazines. There were even signs stuck to walls requesting help to find lost pets, but thankfully no discarded syringes.
The models, too, seemed not as grungy as some of those Downtown-ers of yesteryear may have been: I’m not sure those folks’ harem pants always swished so perfectly beneath cute vest-tops back in the day—but general aesthetic point taken.
Perched in scenic backdrops or on ladders and platforms models lounged, posed, and pouted, and would drift off to be replaced by other models. A belted pink dress came with pussycat bow and camel, fur-trimmed jacket. A gold lamé top also came with a red pussycat bow, a hat, and a slinky blazer.
There were long and short patterned dresses, gussied up with sparkle, hot pink and black flared jumpsuits; a long, leather-print jacket; a short dress with fur and thigh-high boots, and a classic rocker’s outfit of stacked heels, thin-striped trousers, and thicker-striped jacket.
Next to that: a patterned long dress, with high slit topped with a floppy hat, and then a pair of embellished jeans with a peach-colored silk top.
Bendet’s command of pattern and shape was exquisite, with dresses that were embroidered and embellished subtly and strikingly: The color palette, Bendet said, was inspired by the artist Frank Stella.
There was bold brocade on jackets, and a beautiful dress that was a kaleidoscopic riot of clashing shapes. A ruffled, long striped dress—in blue, yellow, and red—came with my favorite boots of the week thus far, heeled with red, blue, purple, and yellow stripes. (You’d worry about them anywhere near a puddle, though.)
Bendet’s flower children are not completely lost in the moment—there is a sharpness and overt sexiness to them too. And oh, the soundtrack: standout was Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.”
In one scene, a male model clad only in black boxer trunks was being sketched by an artist in a simple black dress (thoughtfully he eventually stood up for the audience to see). A pair of red-and-black shorts came with a similarly patterned boxy jacket and more thigh-high boots.
The same boots partnered with a floaty dress, with stars and planets and a red, black and white-striped jacket.
Bendet’s partnering of contrasting structures and shapes was again apparent in a short, patterned black dress, with thigh-high boots (you sense there will never be enough boots for Bendet’s liking), and another floppy hat. The riot of patterns continued over long and short dresses, with a simple blue denim jacket over one of them.
Away from the minxiness was a lush pair of pink bell bottoms, with skinny maroon sweater, a long, richly detailed jacket over black trousers, and simple clay-colored T-shirt with maroon skirt. On some models demure heels replaced thigh-high boots, when partnered with a bead-encrusted mini-dress, or with a long patterned skirt and short, fur-trimmed jacket. The message: You could rock out, or peace out, or even both.
The music was so good you may have stayed longer than you intended. If you’d been around in the ’70s and if you hadn’t been around in the ’70s, this was still the coolest ’70s disco you’d ever been to.
Lizzie Crocker at Gypsy Sport
Before the debut of Gypsy Sport’s Fall 2016 collection, actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg was milling about in front of the runway, wearing what she insisted were Birkenstocks but, to the naked eye, looked distinctly like a pair of Crocs. Red ones. With yellow cats on them.
But Goldberg insisted that she takes fashion seriously. “In my old age, I’ve gotten more girly with coats and shit. Pardon my French. But it’s great to see [Gypsy Sport’s] big tops and know that no one is going to say, ‘Oh that’s a guy’s top.’”
And that’s the point, says designer Rio Uribe. Gypsy Sport has always been a Unisex collection, though he presented several weeks ago during “New York Fashion Week: Men’s.”
On Tuesday, several of those looks were worn by female models, including a denim shirt-dress and a denim pencil skirt that zipped open at the front. And some of those looks reappeared on the men: fleece and shearling patchwork coats; lace pants and shirts; ruffle crop tops, inflected with ’70s street style and ’90s hip-hop.
The show opened with a nonchalant nipple slip (“She came backstage and said, ‘My nipple came out,’” Uribe said excitedly, “and I was like, ‘Great!’”), one of the rare moments distinguishing female models from male. Another? When an ambiguously gendered model took to the catwalk while breastfeeding a baby.
“That was the model’s baby!” Uribe exclaimed. “She opened the show last season and was really pregnant. She just had the baby last month and she said she’d walk in the show, with the baby.”
That’s Gypsy Sport’s real draw, he says; the brand’s “inclusivity and diversity, which people will latch onto more than any cool trend.” In other words, the clothes are for everyone (despite them looking like they are for no one).
And it’s exactly what excited Goldberg. “This is pretty wonderful. I love the new designers putting out all kinds of great stuff that everyone can wear—men, women—whatever your proclivity it is, it’s there. They really don’t require a gender to wear and I love that.”