DAY FIVE: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2021
“Thank you for all the wonderful emails and comments – the FGI COMMUNIQUÉ 2021 NYFW Report has been a mission of love for fashion, our industry and acknowledgement of incredible creativity this season. Being so encouraged, the Fashion Report is being extended one more day to add more exciting highlights plus behind-the scenes moments! Look for the email this week. See you at the runway.” — Maryanne Grisz, President & CEO, Fashion Group International
THOM BROWNE – ON A PEDESTAL
A FGI Night of Stars 2017 awardee, Thom Browne’s shows are always theatrical and his tailored creations always impeccable, but this season he outdid himself on both counts. Most thrilling were a finale of dresses, shown on both women and men, that depicted classical drapery as seen on Greek and Roman galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where his partner, Andrew Bolton, is head curator of the Costume Institute. The drapery is not screen-printed on, as might be imagined; the dresses are sculptures themselves, built from artfully hand-stitched layers of tulle. Previous to these mind-boggling confections were tailored ensembles, often missing an arm as in ancient statuary. These ranged from precise suits to boxy tops over slim pencil midi-skirts, exuding a modern take on haute fifties chic.
RODARTE – EARTH GODDESS
Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, former FGI Night of Stars honorees, maintain an artists’ approach to their label Rodarte, an ethic underlined this season by setting their show at Manhattan’s Westbeth Artists Housing. This season Rodarte was all about ease and movement, offering a wardrobe of choices that ranged from slipdresses to ruffled tops to blazers and frocks decorated with 3-D paillette blossoms. A finale of identical shift dresses, each in a different pastel shade, was indescribably touching; the effect was both futuristic and ancient, like a gathering of goddesses sent to heal the earth.
ANNA SUI – BOHO FOREVER
Anna Sui, 2018 FGI Night of Stars honoree, is somehow able to mine her myriad inspirations — a joyful mix of sixties California surfer, New York punk, London’s legendary Biba boutique and more — and spin it all into something fresh each season. This spring her show notes read: “The mood is forever upbeat and anything goes,” a perfect summing-up of her hippie crochet camis, surfer girl shorts, terry-faced cabana jackets and boho midi-dresses. Sui’s accessories are always standouts; this collection was enriched by crochet headscarves, playful shoes from collaborations with John Fluevog and Teva, patterned socks by Atsugi for Anna Sui, floral brooches made by Erickson Beamon, and more. The setting at downtown’s iconic Indochine restaurant brought the tropical fantasy into real life.
Warm weather knits get ever more interesting, moving forward with plenty of texture and detail. Phillip Lim’s rib knit set in flower pink has an orange heather sash that makes the fit adjustable. Wei Lin and Zoe Champion of PH5 are known for their technical knitwear; although grounded in China and Australia, their collection was ode to New York, reflecting the city’s energy with vivid color and rhythmic pattern. Jonathan Simkhai was influenced by the comfort of lockdown wardrobes, and proposed elegant, knitted lace layers as alternatives to suits or sweats.
OUR BODIES, OURSELVES
There’s something radical going on with body-con silhouettes with plenty of skin-show, especially after the last few seasons of high-necked prairie dresses. Sure, the look is sultry, but the new message is body-positive and owning one’s own sexuality; it’s seductive, but on the wearer’s own terms. Laquan Smith, perhaps reflecting his new collaboration with Puma, showed an activewear-influenced high-thigh bodysuit, made sensual with cosmetic color and finished with a twisted sarong skirt. Svetlana Bevza made peeks of skin elegant while Christian Cowan went Hollywood with his cutout star-shaped bra detail. Eckhaus Latta offered wearable button front knits that allow for customized exposure, and Rodarte interpreted the new craze for unitards with a striking one-legged legging topped with a matching crisscross top and a sweeping yet wearable cape.