Fashion / Style File

Major Designers Break All the Fashion Rules, Note That No One Needs to Tell Women How to Dress in 2019

Prabal Gurung, Kate Spade, Anna Sui All Shun the Old Ways in Favor of Bright Ideas

BY // 03.12.19

NEW YORK —  In the old days, certain fashion rules were made to never be broken. You just didn’t wear colorful clothing in the fall or winter. And no white, except between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Prints were never mixed and sparkle and sequins were meant for nighttime only.

Those are among the traditional fashion dictums that an increasing number of designers at New York Fashion Week shattered. Prabal Gurung, Kate Spade New York’s Nicola Glass and Anna Sui were among the designers that joined Carolina Herrera creative director Wes Gordon in showcasing colorful fall collections that traditionally seemed more suited to spring.

Their thoughts: There’s power in color and, besides, nobody needs to tell women how to dress nowadays.

Prabal Gurung Travels the “Hippie Trail”

At Prabal Gurung, the Singapore-born, Nepalese-raised, New York-based designer continued to explore his fascination with a big-picture world view. After a trip to Kathmandu, the globetrotting designer based his fall collection on the “Hippie Trail,” a 1970s pathway that took adventuresome travelers from Nepal through India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Lebanon to Europe in search of peace, love and understanding.

The collection features quilted coats in loud colors of electric pink or neon green with contrasting trim in red or blue, off-the-shoulder ruffled dresses in tomato red or sunshine yellow with sashes in clashing shades, an ostrich feather coat in rainbow colors, tie-dye blouses, patchwork prints, and evening dresses in a shiny floral pattern.

All of the bright colors enhance the optimistic wanderlust theme, but Gurung’s most sophisticated look, which closes the collection, is a simple white one-shoulder column gown with a feather-trimmed hemline that evokes the glamorous ’70s attitude.

Sometimes less is best.

Kate Spade New York: Optimistic Femininity

In her second fashion week outing as creative director at Kate Spade New York, designer Nicola Glass concentrated on “optimistic femininity” with lots of bold colors. She led off the collection with shirtdresses in bright yellow or forest green (paired with knee-high lace-up boots), showcased ’70-style corduroy pantsuits in bright blue and shocking pink, and featured animal print mini-and-maxi dresses and coats in purple, yellow and red, at times with a matching turban and sparkly tights.

“The brand has always been super colorful, but (I) look at new ways to use color and more unexpected mixes,” Glass told The Associated Press.

Despite the emphasis on colorful ready-to-wear, accessories remain the cornerstone of the Kate Spade brand, so it wasn’t surprising that every model in the runway show carried a handbag or even two. They varied in size, from a laptop-size tote to a smaller cross-body bag with a heart-shape enamel twist lock.

Anna Sui Gets Poptimistic

The always colorful Anna Sui is “poptimistic” about fall with a sunny collection based on the neon bright psychedelic posters of ’60s pop artist Victor Moscoso and the super saturated storyboards that artist Mary Blair created for such Walt Disney classics at Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan.

As inspiration, Sui also created mood boards featuring ’60s rock posters created by Gary Grimshaw for the Grand Ballroom in Detroit, Sui’s hometown. The result is a wildly colorful, yet oddly ladylike collection, that evokes those free-spirited times.

The posters served as the backdrop for the runway show, in which models in Technicolor wigs showcased a variety of clashing colors and styles that ranged from brocade suits trimmed in maribou feathers to oversized corduroy jackets and floral minidresses. Sui also showcased prim tweed suits trimmed in oversized rickrack, cascading ruffled blouses and colorful tights, sequined cocktail dresses and faux fur coats with matching hats.

There’s a bit of a thrift shop quality to a number of the collection’s highly-stylized mix-and-match looks, as if someone dipped into grandma’s closet to come up with the ensembles. But for the stylish young woman, it all looks so effortlessly cool.

Part of the Special Series:

PaperCity - On the Runway Fall 2019
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