It was a New York Fashion Week like no other. Among just a few social-distancing shows with pandemic-caused online audiences and digital event happenings by simply releasing the autumn-winter 2021 lookbooks, many big names of the city, including Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors, decided to skip this season of New York Fashion Week.
New York Fashion Week was once one of the main stages for American fashion designers. But in the last few years an increasing number of fashion designers have decided to show their collections elsewhere or beyond the official show dates. The relocations to Europe mostly deal with strategic decisions, especially in times of global realignment and production bottlenecks.
The Covid-19 pandemic has only enhanced this outflow of American fashion designers: travel bans and other logistical and security matters regarding these large-scale events let the traditional concept tremble.
Consequently, Tom Ford announced, as the chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, that the New York Fashion Week calendar will be renamed as “The American Collections Calendar” and will now cover a much longer period of time than before.
Many designers therefore opt for short films and lookbooks or other creative presentations instead of live shows.
Although, the digital approach of Fashion Weeks lacks of emotionality and real excitement, it reflects the current situation in many ways better than any other alternative runway concept.
Despite the common corona-blues, the designers who showed their autumn-winter collections as part of New York Fashion Week, actually brought optimism as the leitmotif of the season on the runway by displaying sophisticated outwear designs and nostalgic club wear to at least temporarily get rid of the currently highly vivid house tracksuits by sustaining our plans after corona.
The heart of New York are the playful contrasts of culture and style: Chinatown next to Manhattan, freezing cold winters and hot summers, classics and trends and light and dark. This is how the New York designers embrace local inspiration and re-discover the joy for unusual material and pattern mixes in a completely new way.
The Pantene Color Institute published its forecast of color trends for New York Fashion Week and lets us look forward to collections in a color palette of Mykonos Blue (deep blue), Illuminating (bright yellow), Leprechaun (lush green), Fuchsia Fedora (bright pink) and Pale Look rosette (soft old rose) as the leading five colors of the season.
Fashion designer Jonathan Simkhai is also inspired by the beauty of haptically lively fabrics. He plays with tactile contrasts made of soft cotton fabrics and vegan leather. The contrast between hard and soft is reinforced by a cooperation with the Brooklyn-based contemporary jewelry label “Third Crown”. The centerpiece of this interplay is an elaborately draped knitted dress, which is held together in a circular cut-out by a golden “Third Crown” chain. This synthesis is continued with fringes and embroidered macramé ornaments.
The Taiwanese-Canadian designer opened New York Fashion Week and indulged in memories. For his fall-winter 2021 collection, he looked back nostalgically on his childhood in Canada and dedicated the collection as an ode to Coca Cola. Jason Wu let the iconic coke bottles and the unmistakable known brand logo abstractly float into his prints on silk dresses, scarves or blouses in different colors. The designer worked closely with the US company and had access to the Coca Cola archive from the past decades.
For the 20th anniversary of the fashion house, fashion designer Johnson Hartig found himself in the brand's design archives and was re-inspired by the highlights of the past seasons. There were allusions to earlier prints and fabrics from former collections, which he revived in patchworks for the current collection. Some pieces were simply refurbished and adapted to the current zeitgeist. Over the years up to the anniversary, Johnson Hartig collected the labels that had been used until the jubilee and brought them back to shine as asymmetrical fringes over prints in the upcoming autumn-winter 2021 collection. Poetic works from the epoche of Romanticism once again served as the long-lasting main theme for this season's collection.
Marcell from Berlin:
The Berlin designer Marcell Pustull celebrated his New York Fashion Week debut with his fashion label “Marcell von Berlin". For the autumn-winter 2021 lookbook, he developed together with Lady Gaga's stylist Nicola Formichetti, a visual approach to express pure optimism towards our new normal. He wants to show that fashion remains strong in this currently rather uncertain world and does not lose any faith in the come back of a hopeful world with new perspectives. In the collection, loud colors meet elegant dresses with disco details.
The British designer presented the new collection in a brightly colored fashion film and questioned the authenticity of fashion and its wearers with an ironic wink that is typical of the fashion house. Even if sequins and Swarovski crystals are not exactly our daily look at the moment, Christian Cowan remains true to himself with shining materials and loud colors and designs eveningwear to stay at home, making us long for a particularly shiny time after the corona lockdown.
The new collection from fashion designer Prabal Gurung is a happy mix of pink, red and contrasting polkadots. The inspiration also lets him wallow in his past and reminds him of the New York voguing dancers and drag queens of the 80s. It is the joy of life and hope that inspires him. It was the reason he came to New York 20 years ago. He now wants to spread this esprit through his collection with the world.
The Irish fashion designer was inspired by the car culture in the 1970s. In particular, the American obsession with pastel-colored Cadillacs are the inspiration for the color scheme of his fall-winter 2021collection. Bright catsuits and bustier dresses shine against these classic cars.
Fashion designer Hillary Taymour teamed up with illustrator David Burroughs to present her fall-winter 2021 collection for Collina Strada and morphed her models into animals with using short gifs. Funny as her delightful human-morphs might seem - it is a serious indication of her sustainable business approach. Their collections are made of recycled materials and even scraps of fabric from previous seasons.
As the secret star of the show, Ella Emhoff made her NYFW debut as the stepdaughter of the just currently elected Vice-President Kamala Harris. Fashion designer Lazaro Hernandez declared the model as the muse of the collection and underlined the beginning of a whole new chapter in American history. For the designer duo Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, Ella Emhoff (IMG Models) embodies the Bona Fides of the New York Cool Kid, who inspired their collection. The result: a balance of soft, pliable attire in contrast with bold designs in earthy tones.
Binge-watching and relaxed film evenings are the number 1 pastime in our everyday corona lifes. The Chinese-American designer Anna Sui was inspired by retro films from the 1960s for her AW 2021 collection. She is particularly fond of actress Jane Birkin and made her the collection's muse. Anna Sui's key pieces such as chiffon tea dresses, leopard coats made of faux fur and fanciful floral prints are simply reinterpreted in a very contemporary tone.