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New York Fashion Week Takes on New Dimensions

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Today marks the end of an abbreviated New York Fashion Week. An event that normally draws high fashion crowds, presents an abundance of street style inspiration, and lends itself to fashion fatigue has substituted tradition for a new formula, mixing the convention of the catwalk with short films, digital exhibitions, and collection-boasting look books. While the compact four-day schedule reminds us what could have been, it also signals momentum for a post-pandemic fashion industry.

Despite a predominantly online program, a few notable names offered simultaneously live-streamed and socially-distanced shows, including Jason Wu and Rebecca Minkoff. An ordinarily packed Spring Studios was made lively for Wu’s first contemporary casual runway on Sunday evening, with the rooftop transformed into a tropical paradise. The designer was inspired by his home away from home, Tulum, for his Spring/Summer 2021 collection, which made its debut among towering palms. Wu announced that he’ll be showing Jason Wu Collection will be revealed in a surprise format soon.

Alongside a diverse lineup of designers and cause-encompassing brands, Harlem’s Fashion Row hosted its 13th annual Style Awards and Fashion Show in a contemporary format that merged runway elements with the championing of Black creators. Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond and actress Tracee Ellis Ross made appearances during the livestream, which showcased emerging designers Kimberly Goldson, Richfresh, and Kristian Lorén. The event served as yet another spotlight on the invaluable impact of multicultural designers.

Intermingled among the week’s many digital displays were virtual presentations by brands Imitation of Christ, Ulla Johnson, and Anna Sui. A look book in video form, the arrival of Anna Sui’s Heartland collection channeled the watercolors of Charles Burchfield and French Impressionist Berthe Morisot, while the collection itself was inspired by the comfort and utility of home. Distinguished designer Carolina Herrera opted out of a Spring/Summer 2021 show, instead offering an intimate series titled The Conversation. Across four installments, Hererra and Creative Director Wes Gordon share messages of optimism and insist that “beauty is bigger than fashion.”

Look books by Rodarte, Reem Acra, Tibi, and David Heart offered refreshing images of their latest collections. Floral and tulle-wrapped headgear topped printed silk pajamas, floral frocks, and embroidered sweatsuits for Rodarte’s look book, which sees the enchanting ensembles surrounded by rolling California hills.

In Wednesday’s early hours, darkness descended on Khaite’s Spring/Summer 2021 showing. The brand toys with juxtaposing ideas of “doom and hope” in a futuristic short film that features models Irina Shayk, Alex Wek, and Abby Champion, as they galavant around in flickering light. Collina Strada was among the last leg of designers to debut their collections virtually, presenting Change is Cute.

And an unpretentious end to the week, Tom Ford forewent a grandiose display, releasing look books for his womenswear and menswear collections. Coupled with the Spring/Summer 2021 reveal, the designer took to Instagram to share a series of short videos that highlighted his creative process and set the tone for the future of fashion. While the colorful, floral-filled collections did not sacrifice glamour, they certainly interpreted it into today’s terms. Emphasizing the importance of self-adornment and the mood-boosting ability of clothing, Ford expressed his ambition for the collections, saying “The last thing I want to see are serious clothes.” He continued,” I think we need an escape. I think we want to smile.”

As New York Fashion Week nears its finale, it is essential to recognize the many brands that made the digitally-driven event possible. Between uplifting words, ethereal look books, and virtual catwalks, we see a modern fashion industry taking form.

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createdAt:Wed, 16 Sep 2020 14:19:45 +0000
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