The Best Runway Looks at New York Fashion Week Fall 2019
Updated: Mar 6, 2019
For a Brit I see NYFW as the commercial fashion week. Less fairy tale more realism, NYFW is straight talking. It doesn't pretend we are there for a fantasy, there's a job to be done and that's to sell the clothes to real women up and down the country. If you want to feel like the model on the runway you can only achieve that if you buy the clothes they are wearing.
Take a look at my favorite looks from the Fall Winter 2019 RTW shows.
Brock Collection FW19
Laura Vassar and her husband Kristopher Brock founded their women’s ready-to-wear line Brock Collection in 2013. The Californian couple, known for their signature tailoring and draping techniques, met while they were both studying fashion at Parsons. Their label desires to create wearable luxury pieces with a focus on fabric and shaping. The designers choose only a few fabrics to work with each season, from the finest mills in Italy and France.
What I admire most about the Brock Collection is the unashamed, grown up femininity of their collections, of course there were florals and ruffles for Fall and also heart prints and tiered skirts.
Their signature silhouettes were expected and delivered, they know what their customer base desires. Waist defining peplums, bustier dresses and the vintage looking dresses made from antique prints. My favorite looks came at the beginning in monochromatic tweeds. A tiered cotton dress was belted with a tweed blazer. These heavier, separates were looks I can see my clients wearing to the office or dressed down with jeans and a pair of their covetable tweed boots.
Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs co-founded Cushnie after meeting at Parsons. Ochs left the decade-long partnership in 2018 and Carly Cushnie was announced as chief creative officer. The brand is known for creating sleek, minimalist collections with a sophisticated sexiness. True to form, this collection was no different. With just the right draping and silhouettes, the fall collection oozed a bold sensuality. Inspiration was Paul Poiret’s 1920s archives, particularly his Japanese-inspired silhouettes. I loved so much about this collection, from the textures, the jewel tone hues and Cushnie's sumptuous signature draping and fluid silhouettes, embellished with the angular shapes of ikebana, (Japanese art of floral arranging). Standouts included a navy velvet suit adorned with beaded floral designs, an asymmetric one shoulder mini-dress with tassel scarf details and beautiful print body con dresses. Once again the brand delivers a rich, elegant and sophisticated sexiness for Fall.
After an impressive backstory with her own line and roles at Gap and Vera Wang, Catherine Holstein launched Khaite, Greek for Long Hair, in 2016. In a few years the brand attracted the attention of the influential and global fashion stockists including, Matches Fashion and Lane Crawford.
The brand offers a considered balance of feminine and masculine styled clothes which combine softness with strength, structure with fluidity, and classic with contemporary. It's masterful when a brand can achieve beauty from opposing aesthetics.
I loved the setting for Khaite's show. Staged inside St Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, golden leaves paved the runway and it was satisfying to hear the crunching of the leaves when the models walked. A sound which embodies the essence of fall. The collection was titled, The New Frontier, inspired by the "ingenuity, strength, and audacity of women in America," this gave her the idea to focus the collection on staple American separates, from poplin shirts, and denim jeans to fringed jackets and suede pants. I loved the brand's evening wear approach with tulle gowns cinched with western belts. Holstein made the right call with this collection, focusing on day wear, showing the new accessory and shoe line and proving that staple basics are the foundation of a well-thought out American brand.
Maxwell's mother was diagnosed with cancer, and if you follow the designer on Instagram you can see he's been documenting her treatment.
"This collection is the physical manifestation of the strength my mom and so many women in my life have shown over the past few months. I am here tonight because of their strength; women who so effortlessly turn the cold concrete of reality into a home".
This season Brandon Maxwell looked to "resolving where I am," according to the show notes. If returning to the core of his brand helped this resolve, his execution for this collection did just that.
The silhouette in terms of day-wear was controlled, lots of attention on wasp-waists, from belts to high-waisted pencil shapes which elongated the shape. The color was monochromatic with injections of fuchsia and lime green, which added to the classic, retail-friendly vibe sustained throughout. Throughout the show I could place most of the looks with my styling clients. The clothes want to be worn!
Evening wear was a little less restrictive with a couple of bouffant gowns and skirts, although contrasted with a racing tank top, which was then belted. Overall it was an elegant and restrained collection. And for the finale, Maxwell walked the runway with his Mom.
This was a lovely moment.
Shop this Trunkshow on Moda Operandi: https://www.modaoperandi.com/brandon-maxwell-fw19
In the show notes Ford explained his collection was a reaction to "the chaos and negative climate of the times in which we are living, [which] made me long for clothes that are gentle, not aggressive and have a certain simplicity."
The show opened with a red velvet jacket paired with satin pants in a contrasting hue. The relaxed and generous silhouette hinted at a more boyish femininity. In the first half, faux-fur fedoras accessorized the looks, they left me questioning for most of the time they were on show. Did they enhance or detract? I think it nodded a little to the Ford before the casual elegance, perhaps a slight hint that he's still the man for unabashed glam and luxury.
The finale was a sight to be seen, a grouping of languid gowns, made from silk jersey and embellished with chains that Ford said were meant to frame a woman’s neck and shoulders with a touch of shine.
Tom Ford might be feeling the mood of the time but he's also aware that his devotees need a chance to shine too.
Jonathan Simkhai presented his Fall/Winter 2019 collection amongst a lighted installation at the Industria Studios.
"This season I wanted to celebrate my Mother's side of the family" Jonathan Simkhai
This family inspiration led the designer to perusing images of tradition Ukranian dress to find beautifully embroidered scarves as the focal point. Scarf prints on dresses and tops were a nod to his mother's grandmother, who was born in Odessa.
The collection featured a rainbow of hues, from rose pink and marigold to denim blue. Simkhai’s last look was my favorite, a glimmering gold scarf dress, ruched at the hip and detailed with purple buds. This was the floral featured in a family photo of his grandmother. When collections are personal, you gain a better understanding and the pieces become more evocative to the wearer.
Nicky Zimmermann found inspiration for her FW19 collection in Australian heroine, Nancy Wake, a French Resistance fighter during WWII.
As Zimmermann explained in the show notes, she was inspired by Wake's story because she "loved the idea of such a feminine, skillful, and selfless figure, -a woman who helped people in the most difficult of circumstances."
The collection served as a way of telling Wake's life through clothes.
The brand played with the contrast of leather outerwear and feminine dresses. Soft and supple leather trench-coats were accessorized with berets, high-waisted pants and bomber jackets made for a perfect female-spy inspired wardrobe.
I loved the Burgundy leather skirt and OTK boots worn with mini bold printed dresses.
The signature boho-aesthetic came in the form of floral printed dresses with the expected frills and flounces. I didn't understand where this fitted in with Wake's narrative but they were pretty all the same. I did love the lace dresses and I know my clients would too. Overall it was great to see the brand developing more knits and leather pieces.