The Row Fall/Winter 2019 show in New York. Photos: Courtesy of The Row.
Establishing The Row as one of New York’s most timeless brands, especially when it comes down to tailoring and to the quality of the fabrics, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offer their clients garments that can measure up to any European luxury brand and that can resist the test of time. Over the course of a decade, part of what’s made it possible for the Olsens to build such a strong reputation is that – like Tory Burch or Tom Ford – they’ve skillfully managed to continually bring a fresh feel to their collections without compromising the classic elements that define their oeuvre. The silhouette might be slightly modified, like it was this season, and they might play ever so slightly with the volumes and proportions, but the brand’s signature feel can still be easily recognizable. Their opening look for instance – a blazer layered over a diaphanous ivory funnel neck dress, accessorized with rubber-soled equestrian-style boots – exemplifies well this talent for consistency. It’s seemingly simple in execution and feels new but also marks an evolution from the brand’s previous seasons. As part of their Fall 2019 collection, The Row offered several generously cut overcoats, wide over the ankle pants, masculine blazers, elongated jackets, and a series of cowl-neck blouses. The elegant simplicity carried on throughout their eveningwear, a sleeveless soft-white funnel neck dress in geometric lace being one of the highlights.
Zimmermann Fall/Winter 2019 show in New York. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.
For her Fall 2019 collection, Nicky Zimmermann found inspiration in an unlikely heroine, Nancy Wake. Wake was born in New Zealand, not far from the Zimmermann sisters’ native Australia, and became a spy in Europe during World War II. She was known as the ‘White Mouse’ because she was never caught by enemy forces and was responsible for freeing thousands of persecuted people in France. “I loved the idea of such a feminine, skillful, and selfless figure – a woman who helped people in the most difficult of circumstances,” Zimmermann explained in her show notes.
Through this season’s collection, Zimmermann wanted to imagine what her heroine might wear today. On the runway, this translated to buttery leather trench coats paired with berets, wrap skirts, hooded anoraks, high-waisted trousers, oversize bombers, and a striking blush belted jumpsuit, all of which added up to a different vibe than what is expected from Zimmermann, mostly known for her beautiful romantic dresses. A knit balloon-sleeve dress and knee-high boot combination stood out as a look encapsulating the overall collection’s feel and a clear reminder that we were no longer just in boho aesthetic territory. The designer’s strength this season was venturing into directions which resulted in an unexpected and more varied collection.
Bella Hadid at the Prabal Gurung Fall/Winter 2019 show in New York. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
Prabal Gurung is without a doubt a global designer, pulling inspiration from all four corners of the world, including his own. Born in Singapore, raised in Kathmandu (which he had just come back from), and based in the Big Apple, the designer knows a thing or two about international travel and absorbing culture. At a moment when cultural appropriation is no longer accepted in fashion, however symbolic it might be, and ends up being seriously frowned upon, it’s comforting to know you can rely on designers like Gurung to genuinely and respectfully engage in a cultural exchange when drawing elements from others across the world.
Transitioning from last season’s narrative, Gurung’s Fall 2019 collection was inspired by a pilgrimage of sorts called the ‘Hippie Trail,’ the name given to an overland journey taken by members of the hippie subculture during 50s and 70s between Europe and South Asia; mainly through Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. This time around, Gurung focused more on the South Asian elements and placed his New Yorkness in the background. While the collection featured the elegant and worldly cocktail garments he has become known for, he also presented sophisticated choices for daywear and elegant options for red carpet, like the black velvet gown which was worn by none other than Bella Hadid. A show-stopper if there ever was. An entire series of garments made from that colorful Varanasi brocade really stood out, as did tulle and velvet pieces that had featured metallic tinted illustrations of the Taj Mahal and several other recognizable South Asian landmarks.
Prabal Gurung Fall/Winter 2019 show in New York. Photos by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
One of the most impressive aspects of the collection was Gurung’s play with color. Vivid blues, luscious reds and yellows, and electric pinks, occasionally paired with prints in rich hues, conveyed a sense of exoticism and echoed faraway lands. A ruffled bright red dress with a sunshine yellow sash tied around the waist was a standout.
Zadig & Voltaire Fall/Winter 2019 show in New York. Photos by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
For her Fall 2019 collection, Zadig and Voltaire’s Cecilia Bönström interestingly – some would also say bravely – explored the intersection between streetwear, luxury, and sportswear. Smartly shifting her focus from rock n’ roll to sports as a source of inspiration, Bönström basically bridged the gap between the basketball court and the world of fashion. She did so literally, by placing NBA logos on luxury pieces, but also figuratively by skillfully merging athletic leisurewear and high fashion. If one ponders on who – between today’s remaining rock stars and super athletes – dresses more interestingly (or is more relevant in current culture), the idea not only makes sense, it’s rather brilliant.
The outcome was an eclectic collection for both men and women. Bönström’s use of furs and metallics, for instance, on comfortable leisurewear, and paired with distressed elements as well as logo patches – some of which were deconstructed – resulted in original and interesting looks. Some noteworthy pieces in the collection also included classic checkered suits, neutral monochrome hoodie-sweats, suit combos, cozy sweaters, black backless dresses, jumpsuits (covered in tiny flowers), a series of knitwear, and even some tuxedo jackets (worn with little bow ties). Of course, there was plenty of denim as well even if it felt more formal or at least dressier. Not so much jeans you’d quickly throw on to go pick up the newspaper but more a pair you’d pick out before heading out the door to grab dinner with a few friends somewhere hip in downtown Paris.
Backstage at the Christian Cowan Fall/Winter 2019 show in New York. Photos by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
British-born designer Christian Cowan’s front row included Susanne Bartsch (an icon of New York’s late 80s nightlife), Christina Aguilera, and Aquaria; some of his clients include Cardi B and Beyoncé; and he mentions Gareth Pugh and Alexander McQueen as some of his earliest fashion references. That alone is quite telling about what to expect from Cowan’s design – something along the lines of bright, loud, shimmery, and dramatic. When designing his Fall 2019 collection, which he presented this week at Spring Studios, that is precisely what he had in mind.
A nod to his club-kid days in London and a celebration of his current life in the city that never sleeps, most of the designer’s looks showcased saturated neons and over-the-top embellishments by way of paillettes, large and small, crystals galore, and even watch bands, which, layered as cuffs on some pieces, placed as straps on a Giuseppe Zanotti heels, or clustered together in the form of a mask, have now become of what makes his design immediately recognizable.
To the tune of an energetic soundtrack, the party got started with the first look, a fluorescent pink cocktail frock with a sizable feathered skirt. From there on, in neon hues of yellow, pink, green, and orange, the club-kid-inspired looks kept coming, from mesh mini-dresses with rhinestone overlays to sweatshirts with crystal trimmings. There were a few more restrained pieces, mostly in the form of daywear, which worked quite well. Some of the standouts included perforated polo dresses and some leather mini-skirts.