Donald Trump Controversy Hits Fashion Week and a $25 Billion Shed, But Rihanna and Tommy Know the Show Goes On
Your Guide to a Fashion Extravaganza That's Spreading Across New YorkBY Clifford Pugh // 09.06.19
Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya made their runway bow during Paris Fashion Week in March. Now they are headed to New York Fashion Week with a much-anticipated unveiling of their joint collection at the famed Apollo Theater. (Photo courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger)
Korto Momolu's collection will feature hemp-based designs. (Photo courtesy of Women Grow)
A major retrospective of the work of fashion designer Anna Sui will open during New York Fashion Week at the Museum of Arts and Design. (Photo by Thomas Lau)
The inspiration for Tanya Taylor's spring 2020 collection is “Birds of Paradise."
“This season's Spring 2020 collection was inspired by modern pop artists Ashley Longshore and Jeff Koons. Their use of playful, bright and bold line inspire unexpected textiles with a hint of surrealism for evening wear that is modern and elegant.” — Christian Siriano
“Quiet luxury and cultural richness" — Tadashi Shoji
“Our spring/summer 2020 collection is a continuation of the luxurious aesthetic and level of quality that Pamella Roland is known for” — Pamella Roland
Lynn Wyatt, Brandon Maxwell at the Texas Medal of Arts Awards in Austin. (Tyler Schmitt Photo)
Burnett New York designer Emily Burnett takes her first runway bow at New York Fashion Week. (Photo by Burnett New York)
“Business Street; the new uniform” — Romeo Hunte
"This collection is my most personal to date. It is focused on childhood memories of my family in Spain. The women of Moaña who all have a relaxed strength in everything they do" — Christian Cowan.
SAHARA follows the journey of a beautiful Bedouin with each piece drawing inspiration from self-discovery and our ability to seek out beauty in even the harshest of environments. The Bronx and Banco Spring Summer 2020 collection borrows tones, textures and splashes of subtle colour from desert landscapes, it’s inhabitants, the silhouettes of a sweeping sand dune, the warmth of an idyllic sunset and our own personal journey towards the oasis.
“Playful crisp, modern details” — Dennis Basso
BLDWN's Spring 2020 Collection draws inspiration from the dual nature of Marfa, Texas: One part quiet ,West Texas ranching town and the other, an eccentric art community established by the late American artist Donald Judd. We've twisted the American suburban feeling that influenced the collection by pairing classic shapes with clean, modern lines, neutral pops of color and tactile fabrications.
The inspiration for the Elie Tahari Spring Summer 2020 collection comes from the streets of Soho in the '70s.
"Live in the high vibration" is the mantra for the Baja East spring 2020 collection. (Photo by Justin Teodoro)
Laurence & Chico's Spring/Summer 2020 collection is titled "Love Letters To New York" and is inspired by New York City through the eyes of Laurence & Chico.
“Breezy beach days inspired by the fantasy of Suzy in Fellini’s 'Juliet of the Spirits’" — Trina Turk (Photo by Wadley)
Designer Adam Lippes and investor Courtney Sarofim talk fashion at the Sarofim family offices in River Oaks. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)
Models Bella Hadid, left, and Gigi Hadid, right pose with Rihanna backstage before the Savage X Fenty lingerie show.
A model in Lela Rose primrose garden button-front full-skirt dress with bow back walks an English Sheepdog at the "Roseminster Dog Show."
LaQuan Smith looks to "Big Little Lies" Renata Klein, who vows, "I will not, not be rich" for the inspiration for his spring 2020 collection.
“Phase II” — Claudia Li
"I was influenced by thrillers such as ‘Body Double’ by Brian de Palma and ‘Crash’ by David Cronenberg - both films are equally suspenseful and erotic in the best way possible" — Chrishabana designer Chris Habana
“Spring Summer '20 reflects a soft feminine tone, with an emphasis on prints and textured fabrics. Suiting plays a must have in the Spring Collection" —L’AGENCE
"Introspective Prism: Refract different types of self, Mutate desire and identity, Evolve in spirit and form" — Kaimin (Photo by David Dunan)
Designer Eva Xu aims to restore the prosperity and inclusiveness of the Late – Qing Dynasty in her Spring/Summer 2020 collection. Redefining classic female costumes in Qing Dynasty with western style, Eva Xu explores new forms of womenswear at the current stage.
"This season we played with string and straps, inspired by a spy’s mapping of crime on a board and we also explored parachute construction. As spies use parachutes to disappear from the scene, I pictured a very romantic and delicate parachute dress that the spy might wear, where as they walk the dress increases in volume like a parachute. The wrapping and draping techniques throughout the collection represent how delicate and sensitive spies are, and how lonely they feel once they feel safe from the outside world." — Moon Choi
The theme of LEYII’s Spring Summer '20 collection is Blossoming Love, demonstrating the beauty of blooming flowers that is reminiscent of a woman falling in love.
“The collection is inspired by founder Abeer Al Otaiba’s Egyptian heritage and dramatic style. It is organic and geometric, lucid yet magical. I like the idea that it might capture a beautiful stillness in the midst of movement and chaos” – Charles Youssef, SemSem design director
“Spring/Summer '20 is inspired by California in the '60s” — I Am Chen
For Spring/Summer 2020, IISE re-imagines itself as a dominating corporate entity in South Korea.
“With this Spring/Summer '20 collection, we hope to showcase the strength of Chinese manufacturing” —THREEGUN
"Xia is a unique cultural characteristic of China, with this collection, we wish to seek the transformation of the Xia spirit in a quiet and spiritual state" — RIZHUO
LIE Spring Summer 2020 Collection is inspired by UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage of Humanity known as ‘Haenyeo.'
The SONGTA Spring/Summer '20 collection is inspired by “uniform fashion” created by middle school students in Shenzhen.
Upholding the principle of minimalism, FENGYI TAN takes her Spring/Summer 2020 inspiration of colors incorporating techniques from calligraphy, paintings and porcelain glazes found in the art from the Song Dynasty. Porcelain veins and the then popular pleated skirt from the Song Dynasty were renewed in her designs with the help of modern knitwear techniques.
"Be not afraid of growing slowly, Be afraid of only standing still" — AUDRA
HIUMAN drew her Spring/Summer 2020 inspiration from the Qin Dynasty, specifically referencing the color of the period’s famous terracotta warriors. The collection seeks to integrate antiquity with the contemporary period and explore the philosophy behind the Qin Dynasty’s costume culture, with the collection’s color palette divided into three segments referencing the legendary terracotta warriors.
Leaf Xia's Spring/Summer 2020 collection is focused on the traditional Tang Dynasty aesthetic with a modern feminine edge. Drawing inspiration from the motifs of the period including the peony, koi fish, and traditional paintings of maids, the color palette includes gladiola red, which serves as a strong accent throughout the collection.
What’s New York Fashion Week without a little controversy?
In previous seasons, a noticeable lack of diversity on the runway, the swift rise of online shopping, the threat of “fast fashion” ripoffs, and the absence of an attention-getting venue like Bryant Park, which served as the center of fashion week in the ’90s and early 2000s, has hobbled the once-mighty showcase of American fashion.
Now there’s a Donald Trump problem.
The semi-annual fashion extravaganza was all set for a reboot, with dozens of designers eyeing a hip new arts space called The Shed in the $25 billion Hudson Yards complex on the city’s west side to unveil their latest collections and reclaim an added touch of glamour.
However, as soon as word got out that Trump’s billionaire friend, 78-year-old developer Stephen Ross, the mastermind behind Hudson Yards, was hosting a big-dollar summer fundraiser for the controversial president, the site became radioactive for designers, who scurried to find other venues.
But the show must go on.
So when fashion week kicks off Friday, designers will be scattered all across New York, from the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, where Tommy Hilfiger is showcasing his second collaboration with former Disney princess Zendaya, to Brooklyn, where Tory Burch, Brandon Maxwell, Michael Kors and Pyer Moss have secured venues far from the traditional Manhattan locations to showcase their spring 2020 collections.
Change has been in the air since Tom Ford recently succeeded Diane von Furstenberg as chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Ford trimmed a day off of fashion week — it’s now only six days instead of the traditional seven or more — and has promised to bring a more international perspective to the confab.
Even with all of the uncertainty, New York Fashion Week still offers an important opportunity to preview upcoming trends and gauge where fashion is today. For a few days, everyone can forget politics and concentrate on what’s on the runway. And we sure don’t want to miss these highlights:
Hilfiger & Zendaya Storm New York
As one of the few American designers who still springs for a lavish, over-the-top runway extravaganza, Tommy Hilfiger has taken his show on the road to London, Paris, Shanghai and Milan in recent seasons. But he is returning to New York Fashion Week with a “See Now, Buy Now” showcase of his TOMMYNOW fall collection designed in collaboration with Zendaya.
The duo is taking over the famed Apollo Theater for the show, promising an event “infused with a cinematic ‘70s Harlem twist, bringing Zendaya’s confident sense of style and optimistic spirit to audiences onsite and virtually around the world.”
The collection, which has a ’70s “Foxy Brown” vibe with monogrammed power suits, oversized fedoras, snakeskin hobo bags, houndstooth trench coats, and leopard print dresses, can be previewed online now and will be available for sale Sunday at tommy.com and nordstrom.com. Fans of the brand can take part in an online virtual reality commerce experience with no headset required via desktop or mobile at tommy.com.
MAD About Anna Sui
Quirky Detroit-raised designer Anna Sui isn’t a household name, but she has influenced fashion with kicky contemporary clothing that combines vintage styles with colorful graphic designs influenced by European and Asian decorative arts, film, art history, and more. The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) is honoring Sui with a major retrospective of her work, featuring 75 looks from her archives, ranging from her inaugural fashion show in 1991 to her fall 2019 “Poptimistic” collection.
Among the hallmark outfits in the exhibition are the “Backless Chaps” worn by Naomi Campbell in the fall 1992 runway show and iconic “Babydoll Dresses” worn by Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Campbell.
“The World of Anna Sui” will be on display at MAD from September 12 through February 23, 2020. But not one to rest on her laurels, Sui will also present her new spring 2020 collection at New York Fashion Week.
Rihanna Takes on Victoria’s Secret
Rihanna made a big splash at New York Fashion Week last September with the debut of her Savage X Fenty lingerie collection in an interactive runway show featuring a group of diverse models, including a very pregnant Slick Woods, who went into labor soon after the show ended. Now the superstar singer/designer is back with a big runway show that will take place during fashion week and stream on Amazon Prime beginning September 20 in more than 200 countries.
The show “will feature a combination of models, actors and dancers wearing the latest savage styles, offering up a new type of sexy, where attitude meets individuality,” according to a press release. “We are working on creating a bold, sexy, super energetic experience for our viewers,” Rihanna says.
The show, which promises performances from some of the hottest acts in music (although it’s not yet clear if Rihanna will perform), seems set to fill the void left when it was recently announced that the 2019 Victoria’s Secret lingerie fashion show has been canceled.
Brandon Maxwell sure has come a long way in a short period of time. His namesake label is only four years old, but, within a matter of months earlier this year, the 34-year-old Longview native dressed Lady Gaga for the Oscars and the Met Gala and was named the Womenswear Designer of the Year at the CFDA Fashion Awards.
So, of course, the fashion press is eagerly awaiting the debut of his spring/summer 2020 collection in a Williamsburg Brooklyn warehouse.
But he’s not the only designer with a Texas connection to cause a stir on the catwalk. Dallas native Lela Rose always puts on the most fun shows at fashion week — last season she showed her collection at a full-scale dog show emceed by Jenna Bush and fashion expert Robert Verdi — so her runway collection is one of the week’s most eagerly anticipated.
One of the most buzzed-about new lines — Burnett New York — also has a strong Texas connection as Fort Worth native Sterling McDavid co-founded the all-female owned company with designer Emily Burnett. The two women met when McDavid was searching top fashion houses for the right person to design the gown for her Aspen wedding and forged a deep connection with Burnett, who was creative director at Dennis Basso. The duo decided to go into business together to create a fashion line “with unapologetic strength and effortless femininity.” (They will be in Houston on November 14 and 15 for a personal appearance at Elizabeth Anthony.)
And New Yorker Adam Lippes, who will unveil his spring 2020 collection at fashion week, has been embraced by Houstonians Courtney Lanier Sarofim and Elyse Lanier. Sarofim has become a major investor in his business and hosted a show for Lippes at the uber exclusive Lyford Cay Club in the Bahamas (before Hurricane Dorian devastated the island). Lippes was a houseguest at Lanier’s River Oaks home during a spring visit to Houston, where he was featured designer at the Bayou Bend Luncheon and Fashion Show and attracted a loyal Houston following.
“High” Fashion’s New Meaning
One of the most attention-getting runway shows will lend a new meaning to high fashion. Project Runway Allstar Korto Momolu is debuting a ready-to-wear collection featuring hemp-based designs to bring attention to cannabis fashion. While cannabis and CBD products are being largely embraced by the beauty and wellness industries, there is a huge opportunity to use these organic fabrications to pack a big fashion punch, organizers say.
The show is held in conjunction with Women Grow, a women-of-color-run organization designed to obliterate the lingering stigma affected with cannabis and to cultivate female leadership within the cannabis industry.
Target got a jump start on the start of fashion week Thursday night with a big party to celebrate “20 Years of Design for All,” the retailer’s successful collaboration with top designers over the past two decades. Tyra Banks and Isaac Mizrahi co-hosted the party as guests got a sneak preview of items that will be on sale at Target stores September 14.
The treasure trove includes Marimekko beach towels, Michael Graves tea kettles, Proenza Schouler bomber jackets, Erin Fetherstone heart-shaped handbags, Phillip Lim menswear and satchels, Hunter backpacks, Hariajuku childrenswear, and dresses by Zac Posen, Thakoon, Rodarte, Stephen Burrows, Altuzarra, Lilly Pulitzer, and Anna Sui.
Bulgari is touting a new collaboration with Alexander Wang at a party at the luxury jeweler’s flagship store while Coach is hosting a party at its Madison Avenue boutique to tout a pop-up shop called “The Coach Originals,” featuring a handbag-focused collection based on the brand’s conic styles from the ’60s and ’70s.
Influential designer Rick Owens, who showcases his collection every season in Paris, is forging a New York Fashion Week connection with a book signing at his New York store. Owens’ book, Legaspi, documents the life and work of Larry Legaspi, the designer behind the iconic looks for musical acts, including KISS, LaBelle, George Clinton and Parliament.
And Swarvoski is hosting a party to celebrate the publication of Book of Dreams Volume 3, a luxurious coffee table book that showcases the creative potential of Swarovski crystals as an inspirational tool for artists. The party will be held at Hudson Mercantile, an event space in Hudson Yards, offering some proof that not everyone at fashion week is shunning the center.
For a look at what gives designers their inspiration for New York Fashion Week, click through the photo gallery above this story.