DAY ONE: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2023
BY SHARON GRAUBARD & NICOLE FISCHELIS
Dopamine dressing — clothes that make you feel good — kicked off NYFW with joyful looks that combine handwork with brilliant color. Jahnkoy put an emphasis on craftsmanship and cultural heritage for textural pieces with a sporty, streetwear edge. Emerging designer Bulan layered up super-dimensional knits that managed to be both avant-garde and wearable at once. All Beneath Heaven’s gender-neutral separates were enlivened with crafty embroideries and hand-painted prints that express designer Jimmy Alexander’s interest in the metaphysical for a collection that brimmed with joy-inducing imagery.
Tailoring loses its business-like reputation and becomes a high-impact statement for FW23. Stephen Mikhail of Atelier Cillian cut silvery quilted fabric into a narrow double-breasted suit. Libertine conjured up a sixties Carnaby Street mood with a vivid striped ensemble, complete with mismatched striped bow-blouse. Nicholas Raefski took the Mod moment further with a sleek “crombie” coat emblazoned with a duotone portrait of John Lennon. Christian Siriano brought his brand of Hollywood glam to a boldly patterned pantsuit. For the ultimate melding of classic with fashion-forward, Terry Singh continued his exploration of time-honored techniques in exquisite fabrics, breaking the traditional mold with impeccably tailored skirted suits.
Florals bring spring-like romance to FW23 looks. Hillary Taymour of Collina Strada layered a vintage-y floral quilted jacket over a water-colored slip dress trimmed in delicate lace. Libertine’s Johnson Hartig used a black-grounded rose motif for a shimmering pantsuit. Phillip Lim pieced clashing florals into a patchwork dress trimmed with strips of “Chinatown shopping bag” plaid. Burkindy of Jahnkoy showed a tunic-length blossom-printed shirt topped with a flower-strewn velvet kimono jacket for a look that combined Japanese elegance with Brooklyn-boho ease.
Head-to-toe black — ever a fashionista favorite — is renewed this season with an eerie, mystical vibe. Dion Lee, known for his club-worthy looks, spun various gauges of mesh into a spiderweb of a top, worn with a sensuously draped skirt. Aaron Potts of A. POTTS elevated streetwear basics like a hoodie and cargo pants into a statuesque ensemble that featured a twisted crop top and an ankle-skimming mermaid skirt. Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte went all-out witchy, sending out goth-inflected maxi dresses as part of their fairy-inspired collection. Jonathan Simkhai brought new energy to the tuxedo in a midriff-baring version, and Atelier Cillian transformed a tailored suit into a magical evening look by embroidering gossamer fabric with slightly spooky bare branches.
NYFW kicks off with a happy crafty vibe at Jahnkoy and Bulan, while tailoring gets an update at Terry Singh, Atelier Cillian and Libertine. Florals look right for fall at 3.1 Phillip Lim, Collina Strada and Christian Siriano, and head-to-toe black creates magic at APOTTs, Dion Lee and Jonathan Simkhai.
Victor De Souza’s vision is creative and unique. His collections are not affected by the passage of time, in fact they aim to harmonize the past and the present. In many respects, they are unique and unusual.
Cargo gets elevated at Marc Jacobs, Rag & Bone and Heron Preston, lingerie looks come out from under at Dion Lee, Area and Anna Sui, denim goes artisanal at Derek Lam 10 Crosby and Sally Lapointe, and animal prints continue to evolve with butterfly markings at Prabal Gurung and zebra stripes at Alexander Wang.
I’ve only known about this brand for less than a year. The mother/daughter team of Cynthia and Najla Burt won me over on our first encounter. Such determination!
Global culture is celebrated at Jahnkoy, Sea and Ulla Johnson, motorcycle jackets prove their iconic stature at Rag & Bone, Proenza Schouler and Sukiena, plaids mix mod, grunge and punk influences at Adeam, Vivienne Tam, Snow Xue Gao and Anna Sui, and dimensional sweaters rule at APOTTS, Alejandra Alonso Rojas, Melke and Eckhaus Latta.
Puppets and Puppets may be a cult brand at this point, but it’s drawing a lot of eyes to its thoroughly unique viewpoint. Elevated from last season's show, today I saw wearable and desirable clothing.
Valentine’s day gets an edge with shocking pink at Carolina Herrera and Christian Siriano, while leather goes supple and sensual at Brandon Maxwell, Proenza Schouler, Bibhu Mohapatra and Coach. Silver is the metal of choice at Laquan Smith and Anna Sui and ruffles complete the romantic mood at Aknvas and Ulla Johnson.
Sometimes what’s old is really new again. I’ve followed the career of Custo Barcelona for many decades and through many iterations, large and small. Now, Custo is back with the same spirit and verve that his past collections have always exhibited.
Minimalism offers a welcome calm with tailored neutrals from Michael Kors Collection, Brandon Maxwell and Tory Burch. Artisanal dyeing goes next level at Altuzarra, Proenza Schouler and Ulla Johnson. Silhouettes get voluminous at Bibhu Mohapatra, Marc Jacobs and emerging designer Kate Barton, while sensuous goddess drapery hugs the body at Hellessy, Jason Wu, Sally Lapointe and Dion Lee.
Bach Mai is not only one himself, but he designs for them! And stars of all statures. His clothing is impeccably made, dramatic, sexy, and elegant - qualities that are often hard to balance in any one garment. He does it well.
Suitings get deconstructed at Ashlyn, Thom Browne and Luar. Fairytale characters come to life at Rentrayage, Victorian Maiden, Maison de Hoe and Ph5. Maxi-Coats stride down runways at Michael Kors Collection, Christian Cowan, Altuzarra, Proenza Schouler and FromWhere, and escapist fantasy reigns at Rodarte, Custo, Colin Locasio and La Fuori.
Erin Beatty has re-emerged as the designer behind the brand Rentrayage. Her former creative endeavor was the much-loved brand, SUNO. Though there is virtually no similarity between Suno and Rentrayage, Erin’s style and aesthetic permeates every piece.