• Christian Siriano
  • Victoria Beckham
  • Alexander Wang

Keep calm, Posh Spice tells New York

fashion February 15, 2018 01:00


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Victoria Beckham does a low-key autumn- winter show to kick off her label's 10th anniversary

VICTORIA BECKHAM made a quiet presentation of her autumn-winter collection in New York on Sunday before hightailing it to London for the 10th anniversary of her label.

The entrepreneur, mother of four and former Spice Girl broke with her traditional format for what she called “a quiet celebration of where we have come” since her first appointments in New York a decade ago.

Husband David, last month awarded a Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, sat next to Vogue editor Anna Wintour in the front row with three of the couple’s children – Romeo, Cruz and Harper.

His wife, who appeared at the end to acknowledge the applause, dressed elegantly in black pants and a sweater, unusually walked over at the end to give her family members each a quick hug.

It was a layered, working women’s approach to the coming seasons – the safari suit look, belted macs, buttoned-up collars and big belts with enormous slouch bags, worn on the shoulder half dangling open.

There were scarf hemlines and layering – suitable for the global customer who travels or lives in warmer climes – and a smattering of animal print to break up the olive, sand, brown, black and grey.

Shoes were flat, with overhanging buckle strips for a collection that had an undeniable London feel, rather austere and slightly androgynous.

She selected an imposing Upper East Side Beaux-Art mansion, which she called a “more intimate space that allows for the construction and details of the garments to be seen from a new perspective”.

Next season Beckham leaves New York to celebrate in London the 10th anniversary of a label that has transformed her from 1990s pop star into bona fide designer admired by editors and with a loyal following.

She and the four other members of the Spice Girls, the best-selling female group ever, sent fans into overdrive by announcing earlier this month plans to explore “incredible new opportunities” in the future.

Speaking to British Vogue, Beckham hit down the idea that she would get back on the road, but was warm about what the original “Girl Power” band might do in a post #MeToo world, a reference to the social media movement against sexual harassment.

“I’m not going on tour. The girls aren’t going on tour,” she said.

“There’s something so strong in the message of what the Spice Girls stood for. What is that in the future? What does that look like? We were just bouncing ideas around, brainstorming.

“This is what I do,” she added, glancing over at her collection. 

Wang in the office, Plein in outer space at NY Fashion Week

Alexander Wang, the designer who embodies the downtown New York cool so beloved of off-duty models, and Philipp Plein offered contrasting perspectives on the point of Fashion Week on Saturday. Is it about the clothes or the mother of all stunts? 

For Wang, the US wunderkind and ex-creative director of Balenciaga, the clothes spoke for themselves, giving autumn-winter an ode to power-dressing and the working woman in his trademark black.

His models, including Kaia Gerber, powered out under strip lighting on an office-cubicle set – the kind of dull grey space that no one who can afford his clothes would ever get paid enough to work in.

For his final shebang before going off piste and showing in June and December, outside the traditional Fashion Week calendar, Wang’s woman is very much post-#MeToo and the sexual harassment watershed.

She is no-nonsense, zipped up and dressed for business, predominately kitted out in leather, and a sprinkling of hot pink – the same colour as the hats worn by women marching against the Trump administration.

Hair was swept back by banana clips, skirts short, tights black sheer and eyes hidden behind dark glasses. Silver studs covered backpacks and gloves, almost like armour.

There was little cleavage, but high necklines, sporty anoraks and digital bank account-style numbers printed onto leggings.

“The business model needs to change because the consumer has changed,” Stephanie Horton, chief strategy officer at the label, has said of the forthcoming timetable switch that some expect to catch on.

But for Plein, the so-called bad boy of fashion, whose flamboyance, bling and flashiness has had the style establishment up in arms, the point is the experience, the buzz and the chaos.

The German-born, Swiss-based designer put on a futuristic display at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, fake snow falling from the ceiling and coating his guests, many of whom were soaked by heavy rain and infuriated by bouncers’ seemingly chaotic policy on opening the doors.

Known for his extravagant staging, the show kicked off an hour late with hip hop trio Migos, Plein-branded snow mobiles roaring on the runway, a smoke-spewing, deafeningly loud space ship coming down to land and a Transformers-style robot walking hand in hand with a cat-suited model.

The backdrop was aluminium-foil style-mountains, the room bathed in blue light and the music anything from hip hop and |body-jarring thumping bass to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon”.

His models wore skin-tight ski suits and knee-high fur boots, kicking up the fake snow with pink hair and silver teddy bear bags, while his men wore Philipp Plein-emblazoned leather jackets and Playboy hoodies.

At the end the models danced under the red strobe lighting of the make-believe space ship, writhing in aluminium-coloured puffer pants, sequinned tracksuits and fur coats with transparent overlay.

“In fashion, we’re all playing with the same weapons,” the 39-year-old designer told BBC News in an interview. “The difference is brand positioning and imaging. People in the luxury fashion industry buy brands, and when you buy a brand you buy a dream, an emotion, a name.”

Other highlights saw designer Kerby Jean-Raymond, known for his political approach to fashion, debut his Pyer Moss collaboration with Reebok by paying homage to black cowboys and the history of minorities.

“What I wanted to do is start talking about subcultures of America, different people who were left out,” said the 30-year-old.

“We started with the story of the American cowboy, which was rewritten and whitewashed. But the original cowboy was a black man.”

Christian Siriano, a plus-size diversity advocate and red carpet designer who has dressed Hollywood and Michelle Obama, celebrated 10 years in the business with Whoopi Goldberg and Meg Ryan front row.

It was a collection that showcased diversity in all shapes, sizes and colours under a theme dubbed the “ultimate royal dinner party”.

Men, women and trans models walked the red-carpeted runway in the hallowed environs of New York’s Masonic Hall for the London-trained designer's collection inspired by late-18th-century British art.

“It isn’t such a serious thing. Getting dressed should be a fun thing in the morning,” Siriano told Fashionista.com.