A common criticism of fashion is that it can be out of touch with its audience: Designers are too concerned with presenting an overly fantasized vision rather than with the person actually wearing its clothes. And when FASHION chatted with Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler for our October 2022 issue, the designer duo — who celebrated 20 years this season — admitted to falling prey to this pitfall early on in their career. Of course, there’s room for both fantasy and reality in the ever-evolving fashion landscape. As the pandemic proved, no one wants to wear sweatpants ALL the time. But for the last few seasons, the scale between clothing and costume has leaned perhaps a little too heavily towards campy surrealism (think Loewe’s balloon bustier dresses and Moschino’s musical instruments). But at New York Fashion Week Fall 2023, the most successful collections were quite the opposite.
True to its word, Proenza Schouler celebrated its 20th anniversary by celebrating the women who have worn their clothing with slimming silhouettes, buttery separates and a ’70s-inspired take on Dior’s New Look (read: blazers pinched at the waist). Another winning collection was Tory Burch, who told WWD she wanted to play with traditional female tropes and actually deconstructed old girdles to subvert shape-wear conventions.
Of course, there were ample examples of “fun” fashion. Puppets and Puppets showed egg nipple coverings, and Area and Melke presented fruit-inspired novelty pieces. But the biggest nonsensical trend to come out of New York Fashion Week Fall 2023 was the continuation of the pantless party, started by Hailey Bieber this winter. Christian Siriano, Anna Sui, Prabal Gurung and Dion Lee have all thrown out their trousers and replaced them with barely there tights. Clearly, they’ve never lived in Canada during the winter.
In case you missed it, we’re breaking down a few highlights from New York Fashion Week Fall 2023, including Tory Burch’s broken heels and Rodarte’s return to goth.
Cynthia Rowley: Laugher is the best medicine
Fashion is not known for its sense of humour (*cough* Anna Wintour) but comedy and clothing have more in common than you think — at least according to Cynthia Rowley who presented her Fall 2023 offering as an all-female stand-up show. Comedians Nikki Glaser, Rachel Feinstein, Ego Nwodim and more took to the makeshift stage in vibrant hues, fun flares and feathers before the whole event turned into one big party. “I see fashion and comedy serving women in the same way,” said Rowley in a press release. “If you can be funny, you can feel confident. If you love what you’re wearing you feel confident. And if you can have both, even better.”
Eckhaus Latta: Greg from The White Lotus walks the runway
Is Greg from The White Lotus a murderer? The jury’s still out (although there are SO many theories about this!), but he certainly slayed the Eckhaus Latta runway. Making his New York Fashion Week debut, actor Jon Gries stomped down the catwalk in a yellow knit sweater and cream-coloured linen slacks. While there were, unfortunately, no Jennifer Coolidge sightings, she was there in spirit as audience members could be heard yelling, “Justice for Tanya!” Cue the theme music.
Michael Kors: More anything? More everything
Why wear one accessory when you can wear two? Or so was the mentality at the Michael Kors Fall 2023 presentation. Models sashayed down the catwalk in big belts, statement geode necklaces, wraparound sunglasses, fringe and fur shawls and more, all whilst wearing monochromatic ensembles. And if that weren’t enough, the American designer played with references to the ’70s and ’80s, with bohemian flare pants and power suiting.
Proenza Schouler: Anna Wintour approved
In honour of Proenza Schouler’s 20th anniversary, creative directors Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez dedicated their newest designs to the women who helped them along the way, and you could tell. Every piece was created with the female figure in mind. Nipped-in waists, strategically ruched dresses and structured jackets were the most successful pieces. They could have easily slipped into the wardrobe of any woman in attendance, even that of the famous Anna Wintour, who was an early supporter of the brand and could be seen sitting in the front-row. Bonus: Legendary NYC It girl Chloë Sevigny walked the runway!
Puppets and Puppets: Good egg
If you thought the price of eggs was bad at the grocery store, look at what Puppets and Puppets is charging for its new nipple coverings. For its Fall 2023 show, the American brand known for its campy collections presented egg-accented bustiers and banana bags along a runway designed to look like a messy cafeteria. Mixed in with dark medical references to the David Cronenberg film Dead Ringers, this is one food fight that perhaps went too far.
Rodarte: Gothic Disco Fairies
If you’ve ever wished your life could be more like a movie, we propose wearing pieces from Rodarte’s Fall 2023 collection. Part Wednesday Addams, part A Midsummer Night’s Dream and part disco fever, the artistic assortment made a case for channelling #maincharacterenergy in the most dramatic way possible. Think floor-length sleeves, purple wings and tinsel explosions.
Tory Burch: Go for broke
To quote the great philosopher H. Montana, “Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has those days.” And Tory Burch agrees. From afar, the designer’s newest collection read as very prim and proper. But upon closer inspection, the clothes were an ode to breaking down traditional female tropes and embracing your imperfections. Cue the safety-pin brooches, dismantled logos, and pumps with broken heels that seemed to say, “I’m a mess, but at least I’m a hot mess.” After all, nobody’s perfect.
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