With a snowstrom slamming the city, designers found fans eager to look ahead
AS IF THE fashion world’s flux these days weren’t great enough, Thai-American designer Thakoon Panichgul was busy serving up spring last Thursday as New York was being walloped by its first major snowstorm of 2017.
Although the fashion season is officially dedicated to offering women a traditional 40-look runway for the coming autumn-winter, Thakoon offered his customers 10 looks for now in a Chelsea gallery.
For the second season running, he has followed the likes of Tommy Hilfiger in revolutionising the calendar, doing away with the months of wait-time to sell his clothes straight from catwalk to consumers immediately, cutting out buyers and fashion editors.
Thakoon says the rest of his collection will be “dropped” every two weeks or so to “keep things fresh and new”, culminating in the summer wardrobe at the beginning of May.
“It felt a little boring to just do a straight-up runway,” he said before the show – a three-minute presentation every 15 minutes to an audience sipping from iced cans of sparkling wine.
He presented the looks in a futuristic semi-circle against a backdrop of impressionistic digital camerawork and a New York skyline, the clothes reflected in a mirrored ceiling.
Orange, yellow and pink paper rose petals were strewn on the floor.
Thakoon said his inspiration was “the tumultuous quality” of spring and the quintessential pieces required for the season – the trench coat in particular, both as a classic outerwear item and then reworked, adding a pinstripe or florals and cut-into skirts, vests and dresses.
The tumult reflected the weather as well as the political change currently sweeping the United States.
Outside the mercury plummeted to minus-4 degrees a day after record highs in New York for February.
Thakoon says he is getting better feedback from customers buying from him directly, but it remains unclear how the shifting timetable will pan out. Few other brands have made the same switch this season.
“It’s a learning process,” he admitted. “I never claim to have an answer to everything, but I always felt that there was something that we needed to do to adapt.”
On Saturday, Chinese designer Taoray Wang faced no dilemma amid the fashion-world debate over whether or not to boycott First Lady Melania Trump because of her husband’s |politics.
Wang had Tiffany Trump, the president’s youngest daughter, as guest of honour in the front row for her show, accompanied by her mother, Trump’s ex-wife Marla Maples.
The Chinese label has happily adopted the 23-year-old first daughter – who wore Taoray Wang on her father’s inauguration weekend – as it seeks to open its first overseas store, in New York in September.
She looked beautiful in a pale pink Taoray Wang coat and ivory dress, a similar version of which appeared in navy on the catwalk, and the label proudly announced her attendance in a subsequent statement.
The namesake brand of Shanghai-based designer Wang Tao offered a collection with her modern take on classic suiting in a unique twist of East meets West, and an empowering masculine look made feminine when paired with delicate lace negligees.
Wang designs for the powerful, professional and modern woman – leaders in government, business, finance and law who aren’t afraid to disguise their femininity.
She sent down the runway black jackets, military-style double breasted coats and wide-legged tweed pants – a powerful look made sexy with knee-high platform boots, lace underlay and pink silk lining on coats.
Wang said her clients, mainly in China, were delighted to see Tiffany Trump – “this wonderful young lady” – wear her clothes at the inauguration. “I’d rather focus on personal qualities and characters rather than labelling them,” she said before the show.
Wang said she hadn’t given much thought to the refusal from some prominent American designers to dress the new first lady. “I’m very open minded. I cooperate with international celebrities and all these leaders.”
French label Lacoste went cosmic on Saturday, using space as an inspiration to send Star Trek-style nylon mixed with leather down the runway.
“This is a look into the future,” said the sportswear label’s Portuguese designer, Felipe Oliveira Baptista. “Looking at the future is also a way of being more optimistic.”
The idea of a “cosmic voyage” was rooted in the history of brand founder Rene Lacoste’s brief foray into the aircraft industry, something that Baptista shares since his own father was a pilot.
Lacoste, who is most famous for his tennis career before founding the eponymous sportswear label 84 years ago, also set up a company that contributed to developing the Concorde and Airbus aviation programmes.
Baptista’s collection was both urban and vintage, clothes in contrasting colours from metallic blue, to ochre, beige and lilac, and from earthy cotton, wool and leather and shiny nylon.
King of cool Alexander Wang ditched the bright lights and glitzy skyscrapers of New York on Saturday to stage his latest show against a backdrop of crumbling decay in a disused Harlem theatre.
Celebrity guests Kylie Jenner, rapper Tyga, Zoe Kravitz and ASAP Rocky were among those whisked to the RKO Hamilton Theatre far from the ritzy downtown haunts favoured by the style glitterati during fashion week.
The former cinema, church and disco perhaps exemplifies the rise and fall of urban communities hard hit by the collapse of manufacturing across America. It takes its name from Alexander Hamilton, the founding father and inspiration for Broadway’s hottest ticket, “Hamilton”.
Models stomped out in Wang’s signature black and sharply tailored urban cool, all messy hair, tight leather and gothic eye makeup.
It was a conservative look, with just a hint of cleavage. Models of the moment Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner were among those who powered down the criss-crossing runway, the lights flashing over the decayed backdrop that made it look like a grandiose nightclub from the past.
Victoria Beckham on Sunday unveiled a beautifully tailored collection designed to empower women in troubled times, joined by husband David, who is reeling from an email scandal, and their children.
David, the football legend, sat front row with Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper in a blaze of flashing cameras. The leak of a series of expletive-laden emails in which he apparently raged about not receiving a knighthood has battered his squeaky-clean image at home.
But fashion editors, buyers and fans were on hand for one thing only – his wife’s new line of classic, wearable clothes made for the global woman.
As Victoria knows better than anyone, it was about keeping her customer happy rather than creating the most innovative fashion on the block.
There was a British feel with heritage fabrics and a palette inspired by a gentleman’s club – oxblood, navy and black – mixed with more feminine rose-beige, powder blue and lipstick red.
As Beckham acknowledged, there was a familiarity to the collection, which showcased the craftsmanship of beautifully made clothes to offer a working wardrobe for the woman who can afford it.
Without explicitly referencing Donald Trump’s rocky first weeks as president and Brexit back home, she evoked the uncertain political times.
“There is so much going on at the moment in the world and I think that we have to be optimistic. We have to be positive,” she said. “So what can I do to make my customer feel that? And, like I said, it’s just about really beautiful clothes and luxury and strength.”