Taoray Wang by Lizzie Crocker
While hundreds protested the Trump administration’s plans to defund Planned Parenthood in Lower Manhattan late Saturday morning, a phalanx of secret service agents shielded the president’s daughter, Tiffany Trump, as she swept into Taoray Wang’s fashion show at Skylight Clarkson Studios, ten blocks west of the demonstrations.
Less than 24 hours earlier, “Fuck Donald Trump, Who Donald Trump, Fuck Donald Trump” roared throughout Skylight Clarkson Studios at the end of Chromat’s show, the loudest anti-Trump politicking yet at New York Fashion Week.
It was somewhat strange, then, that the crowd at Taoray Wang remained silent when Tiffany Trump arrived with her mother, Marla Maples, and boyfriend Ross Mechanic for the designer’s Fall 2017 presentation.
Perhaps any desires to boo the president’s daughter or throw an egg at her head were tempered by Secret Service presence.
Or perhaps Tiffany was spared harassment because, of all President Trump’s children, she is the most removed from him and the least politically involved, with the exception of her 12-year-old half brother, Barron Trump. It is widely acknowledged that Tiffany was shunned by her father for much of her life, until he recruited her to support him on the campaign trail.
If others seemed bizarrely indifferent about Tiffany’s presence Saturday, Taoray Wang designer Wang Tao is surely thrilled by the buzz Trump’s daughter has lent her brand since Inauguration Day, when she wore a white cashmere coat and matching dress by the Chinese designer. She also wore Taoray Wang on election night and to one of the presidential debates.
Despite Trump’s hostility towards China, which has escalated since he took office, Tao has has not turned her back on Tiffany, who also attended her Spring 2017 show. The designer previously told WWD that she’s not political.
Indeed, there were no “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” pins in the front row at Taoray Wang’s show, as there have been at many others, (the CFDA has partnered with the organization for fashion week).
But the designer’s clothes are socially progressive: power suiting is Tau’s signature, and her fall collection was inspired by “Qing Dynasty characters crossing over from ancient times to present day world...transcending time, gender, and geography, [women] awaken as men in suiting of a very unique kind,” according to the show’s program.
It manifested in beautifully tailored black jackets with hemlines that landed at the thighs, many of them worn as bare leg-exposing dresses with over the knee boots.
Other coats were paired with asymmetrical skirts, lined with hot pink silk or unbuttoned to reveal sheer lace tops and negligees—and, by extension, pert breasts and small nipples, as seen at Calvin Klein (small nipples are always on trend in the fashion world).
Some looks were heavier and more full-coverage, like an oversized wool tweed coat worn with slouchy tweed pants. There were herringbone prints, too, including one modeled by Marla Maples who, at 53, looks young enough to be Tiffany’s older sister.
The velvet suiting was less impressive (boxier and less sleek, for whatever reason). But the collection as a whole was at once sensible and sexy.
After the show, Tiffany and Maples were whisked backstage, where they briefly embraced Tao before disappearing out the backdoor.
Meanwhile, other anti-Trump protests were gathering in New York City’s Washington Park, and the Wall Street Journal reported that Nordstrom’s sales of Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand fell more than 70 percent at the end of last year, compared to the same period the previous year.
The news came as Sears and Kmart announced they would no longer sell the brand on their websites. Nordstrom’s confirmed it had dropped the label last week, citing poor sales, amid calls for a boycott of all Trump products.
Christian Siriano by Tim Teeman
A lot is said about diversity: the need for it, and what it really means. Christian Siriano is a designer who speaks about it and practices it, emphatically.
At his beautiful New York Fashion Week show on Saturday afternoon in the grand surroundings of the Plaza Hotel's ballroom, there was a panoply of sizes and colors. This wasn't tokenism. There was not one plus-sized model, and a whole bunch of skinny minis, but an equal number of both; models of color as present as white-skinned models.
Underneath the chandeliers, a starry crowd including Juliette Lewis, Janet Mock, Alexa Chung, Alicia Silverstone, and Gigi Gorgeous lapped up a procession of 52 looks.
There was nothing divisive in who were what. The larger models wore stunning, body-fitting black dresses, as did the slimmer ones. Both kinds wore outfits making use of finely detailed brocade.
It would be tough to parse the most stunning outfits: all of them demonstrated Siriano's inventiveness, boldness, and his belief not just in fashion, but in design.
"For my Fall 2017 collection, I was inspired by the beehive sand formations in the Valley of Fire State Park," he said. "The grooved lines and unique design created by wind caused a beautiful layered effect that inspired a collection full of powerful silhouettes and strong expressive shapes. The deep clay-colored valley inspired a rich and golden color palette full of open-weave textiles and luxe copper velvets."
Of particular note was that sequence of copper-colored outfits: turtlenecks, a bralette-top dress, a ruched long-sleeve gob, a satin draped jacket, and flared skirt. There were warm-looking belted coats in auburn, and--just as luxurious-looking (and delicious sounding) frosted almond velvet double breasted jacket. Yes, you may want to have it go.
From trousers to slinky dresses, to fitted shirts with an explosion of material on their fronts, to slim trousers and kickass coats, Siriano also found a new vocabulary for that fashion staple, black. Camp architectural flourishes figured too: on the sides of outfits were odd ruffles, sleeves were occasionally puffed-out--as we have seen elsewhere at NYFW--on the arm and shoulder.
Maroon and mauve also leapt straight out of their familiar boxes marked 'staid,' thanks to some inventive cuts, featuring bell sleeves, capes, and intricate beading and lattice-work.
Karolina Kurkova wore the show's most glittering surprise: a dress that combined all the colors we had seen in diffuse bands and with added sparkle. There was a black dress studded with tassels, that wool look completely amazing when its wearer is dancing.
If this all seemed like too much of a frothy fairytale, then Siriano had a final surprise to add to the message of the diversity of the runway.
A model appeared wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan "People Are People," and this as the music segued to Depeche Mode singing precisely that. Not as profane as telling Donald Trump to fuck himself, as at Chromat on Friday, but a message clearly stated nevertheless.
The Plaza's most famous young resident, Eloise, was nowhere to be seen, but I'd like to think she was watching from behind a pillar, loving every moment.
Son Jung Wan by Tim Teeman
The epicenter of New York Fashion Week is the many-roomed Skylight Clarkson Square. And something, for those who have been there more than once this week so far, has become very apparent about Gallery III therein: it's too bloody hot.
Either this is a new fad collective weight-loss program, or something is wrong with the heating system. The air is thick with broiling fashionistas, swapping horror stories--as one I overheard--about the time a woman actually collapsed at one show because of excessive heat.
For Son Jung Wan on Saturday, the heat in Gallery III led to more complaints, and groaning pleas to seatmates for aircon. Fur hats quickly became fans, and then the clothes started appearing--very beautiful, immaculately tailored clothes--and the temperature only rose.
There was no overt politicking at Wan's show, just piece after piece of beautiful tailoring, under the gaze of celebrities including Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere, the actress Kelly Rutherford, and--most exciting for any "Bravoholic" about to pass out from overheating, Kelly Bensimon, an ex-Real Housewife from New York.
First came some very fashionable things to wrap up in on cold days: plaid with fur detail, a turquoise velvet dress, and a patterned fur jacket (fur shame seems totally absent these days). Wan's color palette trends dark--dark blues, browns, burgundy--but occasionally there were flashes of white and gold on jacquard jackets and pants.The final looks were a men's lamb white fur coat and a women's dramatic white mohair coat. Worn a few days ago in New York's snow-blitz, their wearers would have been very fashionably camouflaged, and warm--but probably not as warm as the poor, sweaty folk in Gallery III.
Sheguang Hu by Sarah Shears
Often fashion is just clothes. Occasionally it’s art. Saturday night it was theatre.
Outside the Angel Orensanz Center on the Lower East Side, the line waiting to see Chinese designer Sheguang Hu, was long, unmoving and disgruntled. The performance piece extended to the sidewalk where a legion of invited guests waited in a long and unmoving line across the street from the venue.
Every so often one or two people were ferried across the slushy ice, creating traffic jams on the tiny one-way street, which in turn added a cacophony of horns to the evening’s soundtrack.
Inside it felt much more like a rave circa 1995, than a fashion show circa 2017. There was a makeshift cash only bar on the second floor balcony that served up drinks un-ironically in solo cups. And, throughout the former gothic synagogue, there was a mixed artist gallery show curated by Leo Feroleto, featuring art by sculptor Ailene Fields and actress Kathrine Narducci among others. The crowd was a heady mix of hip LES types, art world aficionados, fashionistas and creative types.
Almost an hour late, the show began dramatically. A lithe Chinese lady in an exceptionally long coat, was placed atop of a high stool and began intensely reciting Chinese poetry. A silver haired barefoot older Asian lady slowly drifted down the runway in a sheer chiffon night robe, setting the walking pace for the rest of the show.
Models began appearing in clear plastic hoods that covered the entire head including the face, peplum bodices, and skirts also in clear plastic, with the only element of modesty being nude thong underwear with a heart that sat perfectly at the end of the tailbone.
An array of other extreme garments and theatrical styling slowly meandered down the runway.
Models wearing long wigs that covered the face in the style of Cousin It, except for the red painted hands that were perched on top of the wigs to resemble horns. A beautiful Asian model wearing an enormous crinoline covered by layers of clear plastic petticoats, stumbled and fell in her stilt like stripper boots, but recovered gracefully.
A not at all model-y middle aged Asian man did ninja moves at the end of the runway. A group of models wearing skin tight nude spandex revealed giant hunched spinal back humps, one model had a belly pregnant with more skeletal material and another had a large face pushing out of her stomach. Another grouping of models wore metal plate that covered the mouth à la Immortan Joe from Mad Max, followed by models wearing Roman helmets with huge white plumes sprouting from the crowns.
The show was a spectacle, performance art at its core, and it was telling that this show—which mixed the macabre and the stupendous—was at the same venue where Alexander McQueen had his debut show in 1996.
The crowd mixed laughing, cheering, and chatting throughout the over 25 minute performance, and at its end NYU Art professor Karl Bardosh shouted “Bravo, Bravo!”
After the show, The Daily Beast spoke with one of the gorgeous models, Samayah Jaramillo, whose face was covered on the catwalk by one of the hairy wigs.
She spoke glowingly of the designer saying that “he’s deeply deeply sincere, a dreamer, a real artist, he only thinks about beauty and ideals. He’s the sort of designer that a model would give their entire career for, they would follow him anywhere. He not only treats us well, but his vision is unparalleled.”