New York Fashion Week is over—and it's been quite a ride. On the final day, Ralph Lauren returns to vintage glamour, and Kate Bosworth and Naomi Watts dazzle at Calvin Klein. VIEW OUR GALLERY of Thursday's best styles.
Tavi's mother has taken her back to Chicago; Bryan Boy has packed up his fur and returned to the Philippines. The fashion bloggers in the front rows have gone back to their computers, and editors are now either ensonced in their uptown offices or on the redeye to London. New York Fashion Week is over—and it's been quite a ride.
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It began, of course, with a wallop: Fashion pioneer Alexander McQueen was discovered dead in his London home last Thursday morning. The week proceeded uneasily—it was too late to call things off, but no one quite knew how to go on. McQueen's own presentation was canceled, and moments of silence preceeded the week's first shows. Naomi Campbell's Fashion for Relief show to benefit Haiti on Friday night ended with a tribute to McQueen. Campbell, Daphne Guinness, Angela Lindvall, Karen Elson, and Helena Christensen—all in McQueen—gathered at the end of the runway for a teary-eyed tribute to the late designer. And at the Betsey Johnson show on Sunday, a model walked down the runway with McQueen's famous wax lips, holding a sign that read simply: "Long Live McQueen."
More Fashion Week Coverage from The Daily Beast • Days 1-3• Day 4• Day 5• Day 6• Day 7The week also marked the end of fashion under a tent, as New York Fashion Week will move to Lincoln Center in the fall. And though nostalgia prevailed, the fashion community largely appeared to have already moved on from Bryant Park—many of the shows this year fanned across Manhattan, and were held everwhere from Chelsea galleries to Upper East Side showrooms. And the week's collection featured a mixture of newcomers and Old Guard: Prabal Gurung swanned at the Tents, Diane von Furstenberg threw an all-out bash (both on the runway and at her afterparty), Marc Jacobs unwrapped models from a box—and sent them around the runway in muted garments, and Kate and Laura Mulleavy channeled the sleep-walking factory workers of the American Southwest in a black-lit performance in Chelsea. But as the dust settled Thursday, there were a few collections left to go: Ralph Lauren, who debuted a sturdy collection of florals and well-tailored vests and jodhpurs. "Bohemia may be only a figment of Mr. Lauren's fashion imagination," wrote The New York Times' Suzy Menkes, "But he made it sweet and compelling."
Meanwhile, at Paris 68, Marcella Lindeberg, a much-buzzed about new designer, debuted a collection inspired by—no surprise here—Paris' social and political upheaval in 1968. What resulted were a phalanx of decadent military motifs—structured fencing jackets, metallic, chain-mailed knits, and King-Arthur-like mohair capes.
The scene was just the opposite uptown at Calvin Klein, where Francisco Costa stayed true to the line's signature minimalism—but injected it with fresh new shape: billowing pockets, muscley arms (similar to those at Prabal Gurung), and a strong round shoulder. And while the lineup of girls at Calvin Klein was full of fresh faces—including Karlie Kloss and Jacquelyn Jablonski—there were, thankfully, some veteran models in the mix: Stella Tennant and Kristen McMenamy, whose silver hair perfectly complemented a silver drape column dress. "It is the essence of a man's wardrobe," Costa said after the show. "But it is much more regimented and more precise. I wanted to emphasize the waist—make her a stronger woman, who is both structured but soft." And structured but soft it was, with a whitecap glazed cashmere dress—squared off perfectly at the shoulders—as a collection highlight. Four minimalist beauties, Kate Bosworth, Naomi Watts, Helena Christensen, and Kerry Washington, sat quietly in the front row, taking it all in. "The market is looking up, and business is getting better," Costa said. "So this is a very good moment."
Isabel Wilkinson is an assistant editor at The Daily Beast.