But also some clothes.
Olivia Cheng’s organic conserved top and skirt at Dauphinette, for example, and her upcycled black coat with shiny pearl buttons that spell out “New York.” The rhinestone-speckled showgirl denim from Area. The pet-me puppy print and the put together Frankenstein knits from Puppets & Puppets.
The reinvention of the mermaid dress, courtesy of Joseph Altuzarra, who capped off a gorgeous amalgamation of urban sailors and mermaids in long pleated leather kilts and navy wool coats with sheepskin collars; watercolor-like orange and burgundy prints and knit shells of fish scales, all complemented by treasury coins and cowrie shells. At the end, two gowns, made entirely of gigantic gold and bronze sequins, rustled past, the rustling sequins announcing their presence long before they arrived.
As an entrance idea (a dress with its own built-in soundtrack!), it was matched only by Peter Do’s reinvention of the suit in black, white, beige and gray, the colors remaining monochromatic or juxtaposed in half moons of contrast.
Sleeves were split open at the seams to create fluted arms; cropped bolero-style shrugs came in ribbed knits with extra long arms atop tuxedo shirts; pants swirled around the calves; and evening wear was simply a false front of halter-like lapels, stretching to the floor. Caught by the thinnest black leather cords at the waist, they exposed the back and arms, framed by overcoats that fell from the shoulders and were draped at the elbows like an opera stole.
The result wasn’t a tuxedo, it wasn’t a dress—it was something else.
Goodbye to all that
But the good taste of the city that was synonymous with a certain kind of New York designer seems less and less relevant; a remnant of a less crisis-ridden era. That’s why Brandon Maxwell’s emotional tribute to his grandmother, who now suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, seemed such an apt metaphor. A farewell, not just to one person, but to all that in black and white, knitted with cables and crushed silk, fitted waists and mid-century silhouettes.
That’s why Jason Wu’s stripped-down romance, with bows and faded botanicals on sporty dance dresses and Bermuda suits, seemed stifled by their ladylike decency, and Wes Gordon’s rainbow-colored parade of full-skirt entrance dresses, tulle topiary cocktail dresses and floral wraps at Carolina Herrera looked lost without the safe space of a gala.