New York Fashion Week: Brandon Maxwell, LaQuan Smith, Area, Tory Burch, and Christopher John Rogers
Brandon Maxwell staged his New York Fashion Week show at the American Museum of Natural History, with added cheerleaders. Plus, Area showed why Michelle Obama loves their designs.
During Brandon Maxwell’s New York Fashion Week show, the cheering was raucous—and very planned. Maxwell had invited Gabi Butler and Lexi Brumback of Netflix series Cheer to sit front-row and whoop the passing models, including Bella Hadid, at his New York Fashion Week show at the American Museum of Natural History. And they did their jobs, loudly.
Maxwell, now a judge on Project Runway (host Karlie Kloss, with her bob sharp enough to cut steel, headed backstage to chat to Maxwell after the show), had created a fun party “in loving memory” of renowned fashion PR Ed Filipowski. This featured a buzzy, pre-cocktail reception featuring vodka, wine, Shake Shack burgers, and then a runway show taking part in the corridors of the museum’s Bernard Hall of North American Mammals.
For this critic, any time spent around dioramas featuring giant bears and the graceful mule deer is time well spent, and the show was a clever Fashion Week collaboration for the museum whose major spring exhibit, The Nature of Color, opens March 9.
The clothes for women and men were a riot of dressed-up, dressed-down difference: the most casual looks featured gender-neutral blousons and tapered trousers, jeans with artful rips, beanies, fanny packs slung across shoulders, and then suddenly, bam, there came the most glamorous eveningwear for women in red, black, and dark brown. A beautiful white dress (for a very lucky bride) featured a billowing skirt, and then tied in a frothy bow at the side of the neck. Silk and chiffon were swirled and tied dramatically.
At the end, to even more cheering—this time by seemingly everyone in attendance—Maxwell, thronged by his team, jumped and punched the air in rightful jubilation. Tim Teeman
LaQuan Smith knows how to make a red carpet gown for the likes of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Lady Gaga. At NYFW, he made the case for dressing you and me. Though there were plenty of sultry looks, including a chainmail slip dress sent down the runway to the sound of a breathy orgasm, Smith showed restraint in other pieces.
There were structural blazer dresses and mini-skirts that were wearable (or wearable enough), plus some oversized quilted coats one wouldn’t mind snuggling under come fall. Two skin tight, v-neck black denim dresses were made in collaboration with Jordache, as were bootcut jeans for both men and women. (Smith and Jordache first partnered last year.)
Don’t think Smith is going soft; one mid showstopper included a gigantic furry purse slung over a model’s shoulder, which read “I’m moving out.” Alaina Demopoulos
Since 2013, New York-based designers Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk have indulged us in everyone’s secret fashion dream: to dress like “Heart of Stone”-era Cher. . . in space! The shimmering crystal fringe detail beloved enough by fans to keep the lights on in Area’s studio (Michelle Obama wore the label while on tour promoting her book, Becoming) was present in the fall lineup. But this time around, perhaps in an attempt to woo more stockists, there were nods to daywear, like skirt suits and car coats.
Of course, those “everyday” staples were adorned with twinkling beaded detailing, too, so don’t think Area has gone conventional. There were a few standout gowns that have meme potential if worn on a red carpet, such as a mammoth sky-blue glitter dress, bulbous on top, with a slit up the legs. One can imagine Cardi B wearing the heck out of it. AD
Tory Burch’s AW20 show was held in a series of galleries at New York’s Sotheby’s, with the models walking around eleven sculptures by Francesca DiMattio. (Like Brandon Maxwell’s show, it was held in memory of Ed Filipowski.)
Burch was inspired by DiMattio’s use of wedding-dress beads and basket weaving, and by the example of artists like Dutch Master Judith Leyster whose work was misattributed after her death “simply because she was a woman,” as Burch wrote in show notes. Leyster, wrote Burch, was just one example of the more general erasure of women artists in art history.
Ushered in by Alice Smith, performing Q-Tip’s version of “You Don’t Own Me,” the 42 looks—with some prints designed by DiMattio—played with notions of femininity. There was the softening and dimension-playing of masculine-looking suits, with peppy herringbone prints, crepe de chine, and shearling—uptown chic heads to the country for the weekend, with a dash of plush edge. Other designs featured organza layering and ruffles; floral-patterned and striped dresses and woolen sweaters—with the models striding forth in riding-looking boots that came in vibrant orange, ruby red, and green. TT
Christopher John Rogers
This season is a victory lap for Christopher John Rogers, who was awarded the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund in November. The 26-year-old Brooklyn-based, Baton Rouge-born designer has used his $400,000 prize well, putting on a high-energy show celebrating a collection full of voluminous frocks, bedazzled suits, and gender-neutral ensembles.
There were audible swoons from the audience during a few pieces, such as a billowing plaid pink ballgown. The energy was infectious—backstage, models were heard cheering and Rogers turned the customary designer bow into a triumphant twirling dance. AD