It was raining at Tommy Hilfiger’s runway parade.
the designer was back New York Fashion Week Watch/buy preppy cosplay now a few years later with his signature and a special “Tommy Factory” extravaganza based on Andy Warhol’s Factory. (The two men met in the 1980s, and, Hilfiger said in a preview, he’s been inspired by Warhol ever since.)
He covered an outdoor catwalk in what looked like silver tinfoil la Warhol for his set, accessed through a silver-covered courtyard where actors silk-screened posters of Hilfiger’s face behind a camera, like Warhol. One of his self-portraits. And he invited a soup of famous people, including several of them to sit front row in the new Hilfiger ad campaign: Kate MossJohn Batiste, Shawn Mendes, John Legend. On the runway was her lucrative collaboration with cool British designer Richard Quinn, as well as former Warhol “tape recorder” Bob Colesello. He even asked Travis Barker to play the drums in the finale. But he didn’t have a tent, and he was falling down.
Not even the biggest stars could stop the result from looking like a damp squib: an empty shell of clichéd American references (varsity jackets! rugby shirts! tennis sweaters!) in a world that doesn’t have much trucks with them. Covered that washed away by the weather. Downstairs, there wasn’t much substance. and what is the substance New York Fashion is really needed.
As with so many now, a divide is opening up between what was and what could be.
Many of the names that once defined the style of the city have gone—or at least off the official runway: Calvin, Donna, Ralph, Mark. The generations of designers that came after and was heralded as the next big thing seem to be stuck in a very small key.
At Proenza Schouler, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough added huge flamenco ruffles to the sleeves of their tunics and minidresses. He shaped the flares of his skinny pants; Shirtdress in sheer lace with fluted cuffs and layered over polka dots. But they still look like they’re designing for the Chelsea art crowd, when the art crowd has moved on. Jason Wu continues to create Daisy Buchanan cocktail dresses for Stork Club of the Mind in bias, fringe, and crystal mesh, all of which are beautifully generic. Joseph Altuzarra has settled into a rhythm of anarak, striped shirting and highly detailed, increasingly complex shibori, which is a quiet, if predictable, contrast.
at least they didn’t completely lose their way like Prabal Gurung, which wore a faux detour in peekaboo, latex, and lace, consisted of sheer pants, corsetry covered in only acres of tulle, and, at one point, the accidentally exposed breasts of other stepdaughter Ella Emhoff. Show the notes framing the whole thing as a response to the “patriarchy” and “regressive values” that didn’t help make sense of it.
,Sergio Hudson also took an unfortunate turn in sexuality, preventing her from sewing Superwoman with an overdose of Breast ‘n’ Bomb.)
Yet, at the same time, new names are pouring in from the edges, often without the classical training but with the self-confidence and explosive energy that has historically driven fashion.
They have little to do with Seventh Avenue and a lot to do with the communities from which they spring. His origin stories are often associated with making clothes for his friends, not department stores. His audience is often filled with like-minded people, who have already closed the streets like groups. You can tell because at least half of the attendees are dressed by the designers they’ve come to see—not as paid ambassadors or influencers, but as actual converts. His friends often model in his shows.
And they’re defining designer power dressing not as a uniform for climbing the corporate ladder (what is that now, anyway, in vanishing office hours?) but as a uniform of identity for a mosaic of subcultures. in the form of.
Andrew Bolton of the Costume Institute at the Met picked it up in the contemporary section of his show on American fashion, and it’s sporting it on the runway.
In the work of designers like Collina Strada’s Hilary Temor, whose earth-first collection of giant flower-strength cargo pants, shrunken T-shirts and deconstructed court dresses (panniers, corsets, trains) recycle and remix not only materials but historical moments as well. And even vegetables (broccoli purse, anyone?)
Plus, Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta of Eckhaus Latta, whose clothing is the fashion equivalent of collectible ceramics. They combine high craft and tact with a raised eyebrow and include rib knits printed with the work of painter Matthew Underwood, squishy bubble tops that cover the torso, metallic T-shirts and some unexpectedly bare limbs. -Pants with legged pair.
Both labels began as quasi-art projects, but quickly evolved into solid businesses, which also appears to be the direction of mixed media artist Karlie Marx’s line puppetry and puppetry. This season she mixed dresses, lace bodysuit and trompe l’oeil bodysuit leather with simple zip-front sheaths, little crystal cardigan and skirt sets, and snack-food-bedecked handbags that are already a signature.
And also, Everard Best and Tella d’Amour of Who Decides War, a brand that built denim as the universal American religion, and jeans in all their iterations – frayed, embroidered, patched, painted, stained glass. Inset with portraits, speckled with rhinestones like drops of water, overlaid with lace like a baptismal gown, with references to climate change, colonialism and even Serena Williams – as a gospel. It is written on the cloth and in the seams.
The results, ranging from sweatshirts with stained-glass windows cut into the body and some fabrics with similar intricate surface treatments, may be the closest to truly Native American couture for this country.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.