Sergio Hudson—you know, the guy who dressed Michelle Obama in her show-stopping plum Inauguration pantsuit—dubbed his NYFW runway “The Return of Glamour.” So what better way to begin the event than with a performance by Sheila E., drumming and singing her signature song, “The Glamorous Life”? Hudson’s high-octane energy did not stop at music; the Gianni Versace-obsessed designer put his models in ’90s power suiting silhouettes with crystal studding and Cindy Crawford-esque bouffants.
But it was more than just a nostalgia-fest: several sequined gowns with ab cutouts were very modern, and will surely be contenders for red carpet dresses this awards season. Alaina Demopoulos
A gloomy NYC day cleared up just long enough for Najla and Cynthia Burt, the mother-daughter duo behind Dur Doux, to host the DC-based line’s first IRL runway show. The designs heralded optimism: there were layers of tulle, which has become the brand's signature look, and something Ariana Grande needs to wear to a red carpet ASAP. Prints like a fern motif set and tiger patterned bra kept things whimsical, but the real standout was a voluminous and delicate mint green gown with floral appliqués. Alaina Demopoulos
Sally Pointe’s recently rebranded line, which is now just LaPointe, seeks to bring the glam back into a sartorial landscape that's become more and more casual, especially during the pandemic. The collection was filled with fun and modern takes on 1970s leisure suits and trench coats, some of which were adorned with feathers and fur, flowing lounge wear lamé mesh trousers, fluffy feathered sweaters, and monochrome bondage-style strap accessories that winked at the playfulness of it all. Sarah Shears
Snow Xue Gao
Designer Snow Xue Gao’s presentation was accompanied by a live classical pianist, while stationary models donned her newest collection that was pattern-filled, and featured floral silks and tailored houndstooth. Bold accessories—which were a collaboration with artist TengTeng—added a bit of Victorian bling. Tailored blazers that draped the body and delicate camisoles were given structure with pleating and a mixing of textures.
Speaking with the Daily Beast the designer said that the collection was inspired by her grandmother’s garden, and particularly the peony flower. “Also our brand identity is always telling a story between tailoring and prints, and the balance between masculine and feminine.” Sarah Shears
Rebecca Minkoff’s presentation is the perfect encapsulation of the state of New York fashion today: confusing. Some throw spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks; Minkoff instead slaps studs on a leather jacket and calls it a day. The designer offered a “capsule collection” celebrating her hometown, with “I Love New York” studded t’s and cocktail dresses fit for the type of urbanite who has tons of “dinner things” to attend these days.
Large photos of models in outfits photoshopped over the city skyline were displayed in a low-key manner, and the designer partnered with Yahoo to sell NFT (non-fungible token) images—a first for fashion week. Those who wish can bid on “digital garments” intended for “virtual avatars.” Alaina Demopoulos
It takes a lot of chutzpah to make the type of clothes Alexandra O’Neill does these days—gilded ballgowns, sequined pantsuits, tea-length embroidered frocks that all scream “expensive.” It takes even more guts to show them off inside 30 Rock’s Rainbow Room, while guests sip on cocktails with midtown Manhattan’s backdrop as a skyline. Austerity isn’t quite Markarian’s thing, as the brand sells a mid-century fantasy. (Jill Biden wore the line on Inauguration night.)
Ultimately, the fantastical, American princess-y vibe makes Markarian the post-#MeToo successor to Marchesa, and many of these gowns could be seen on the red carpet later this season. A few white frocks—and one ivory glitter suit—would make excellent wedding dresses, too. Alaina Demopoulos
House of Aama
The mother daughter duo behind House of Aama debuted their “Salt Water” line of men’s and women’s wear on Friday. Inspired by the resort community at Idlewild, known as “Black Eden,” the collection was full of rejuvenated 1940s inspired swim-wear and sailor collars and wide legged pants as well as 1950s inspired dresses that Betty Draper would’ve been lucky to wear.
The show was a celebration of Black culture through a vintage lens, giving a much needed history lesson through beautiful clothes. Beautiful models were coiffed in bee-hives and victory rolls, and held beach balls and posed for photos with onlookers. Sarah Shears