• Models walk the runway at the Coach Spring 2019 show during New York Fashion Week./AFP Photo
  • Models walk the runway at the Calvin Klein 205W39NYC Spring 2019 Men's and Women's runway show during New York Fashion Week. /AFP Photo

Sharks, cowboys and bright pops of colour

fashion September 19, 2018 01:00


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Raf Simons, Marc Jacobs, Sturt Vevers and Michael Kors round out the shows at New York Fashion Week

Calvin Klein took a bite out of the New York runway last week, with Belgian designer Raf Simons inspired by “Jaws” in his latest exploration of America, its glistening surface and dark underbelly.

Models marched down a red-carpeted runway against a glittering video seascape backdrop – all bobbing yachts, sun bouncing off gentle waves and a swimmer coming into view.

Suddenly the summer idyll was shattered with the menacing chords of the theme music to the 1975 Steven Spielberg blockbuster, more than 40 years on perhaps still America’s most iconic summer horror flick.

Models emerged as if straight from the ocean, with wet strands of hair, beads of water glistening on their skin and dressed in wet suits, both long and cropped, the “Jaws” metaphor laboured in shark-bite-style slashes on the hemlines of delicately pleated skirts.

“Jaws” imagery was printed on singlet T-shirts, as the soundtrack to the show flitted from the menacing to the sunny, taking in “Suspicious Minds” along the way and closing with “Scarborough Fair”.

Simons moved to Calvin Klein two years ago and has been credited with giving the iconic American label renewed relevancy, his collections diving deep into the good, the bad and the ugly of the United States.

“The landscape of America – literal and psychological – inspires Calvin Klein. A journey through America leads, inevitably, to the edge of the landscape: the beach,” Simons wrote in notes for the show.

“At the beach there is this incredible idea of beauty, but also a tension – between land and ocean, a feeling of two worlds meeting, maybe colliding,” he added.

“There’s a sense of the unexpected – and always, a temptation. For me, Jaws perfectly exemplifies these notions.”

Hints at a savage world were teased out with plenty of animal print in bold reds, greens and yellows paired with black, and fringed, almost-tribal style clip-on chest adornments.

Contrast came from the school’s out look – Cindy Crawford’s 17-year-old daughter Kaia Gerber walking down the runway in a blazer and black mortar board – a nod to movie “The Graduate.”

“Like the film, this collection explores taboos and temptations, shifts in culture and community, but ultimately, the overarching theme is love,” Simons explained.

Coach transported the fashion pack to an alien-like mise-en-scene for a spring/summer 2019 collection of prairie-style skirts and fringed suede jackets inspired by Sante Fe and Georgia O’Keeffe.

It was British creative designer Stuart Vevers’s latest outing for the 77-year-old US leather goods brand, which has only relatively recently moved into ready-to-wear, with muse Selena Gomez, 26, front row.

His spring vision stayed true to Vevers’s fascination with the Wild West, with peasant-style loose frocks paired with slashed and fringed suede jackets and ruffled blouses.

There were also hoodies and T-shirts featuring pictures from that other pillar of US popular entertainment: Disney movies.

The set was something out of 1982 science fiction movie “Blade Runner” with a dinosaur skeleton-style metal sculpture, and a rusted-out Volkswagen Beetle, giving Vevers his trademark contrast between outback and urban grit.

The designer, who has been at Coach since 2013, summed it up as “assembling and reconstructing the craft and spirit of the American look,” and “scavenged and salved American heirlooms.”

Marc Jacobs, meanwhile, brought the house with a dextrous display of 1950s glamour, pastels and ruffles.

Jacobs returned to the Park Avenue Armory, where his models sashayed down an extra long glass runway, between transparent chairs.

His spring 2019 collection had a 1950s and 1960s feel, all pastels and puffy dresses but the late start of almost two hours –infuriated guests, some of whom upped and left before the show began. 

The designer appeared only fleetingly at the end, for the most perfunctory of bows.

If there was one word for the Marc Jacobs evening dress it was ruffles and flounces, adorning the throat, shoulders and skirts of frocks that were so voluminous they had a movement of their own, made genteel and lady-like with little pastel-coloured handbags and dainty heels.

There was more power suiting, hats with netting and plenty of the colour trend of the season – bright yellow and pale lemon. There were also 1980s-style big boxy jackets and a dash of metallics.

The final day of New York Fashion Week kicked off with Michael Kors with A-listers Nicole Kidman and Catherine Zeta-Jones front row for a happy collection inspired by the beach.

The 59-year-old designer created a set of bright, colourful art panels by Australian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Christina Zimpel that evoked the Caribbean or Mediterranean, a stark contrast to misty views of the Brooklyn Bridge through the windows of New York’s sprawling Pier17.

“Global getaway,” “Sunny Side Up” and “From me to you – spread the joy” was how the billionaire Kors summed up the upbeat celebration of colour that is bang on the happiness trend for spring 2019.

The catwalk was a riot of print and colour, from turquoise to watermelon, persimmon and lemon, to floppy floral hats, a fringed lime green skirt and a metallic green trouser suit with matching bag.

Trousers came in all styles, but most striking were floral and broderie anglaise flares with enormous bell bottoms. 

For evening, dresses were cut for the beach but designed for soiree in metallics.

Kors put fringes on jackets, skirts, trousers and shoulder bags, a trend this season also on display at Longchamp and Coach.

The Rastafarian look made an appearance, as did pale denim, chunky beach bags, and huge platform sandals, with Kors staying true to his recent M.O of including curve models on the runway.

The soundtrack was beach-baresque with Peter Allen singing “I go to Rio,” The Beach Boys singing “Good Vibrations” and snatches of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin with “Je t’aime... moi non plus”.