ARTICLE NATASHA STAGG
THIS PAST NEW YORK FASHION WEEK, WE SAW WHAT AMERICA IS REALY MADE OF
New York Fashion Week, Fall/Winter 2014. Patriotism can be pleasantly subtle when it wants to be, and this past week in New York was one of those times. New York City may not be the capital, but it is the country’s fashion ambassador, and lately it’s been interested in celebrating our nation as a whole. NYFW was a demure celebration, highlighting not the clichéd cultural signposts or camp Americana, but instead the real crafts from the country and the diversity of our population. From the shy compound-wives at Alexandre Herchcovitch to brash cowboy-bar keeps at Cushnie et Ochs, we saw a pretty realistic picture of both the coastal hubs and the inner expanses. Fabrics were knitted, crocheted, macrame’d, painted—anything to resemble the Arts and Crafts movement (as seen at Altuzarra and Rodarte) or Navajo blankets (most prominent at Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger).
Marc by Marc Jacobs’s mismatched youth looked a little more Tokyo than NYC if we’re being honest, but the reference was to a commercial era, which is found in Times Square, the Mall of America and Anytown, U.S.A.’s movie theaters. Later, a more grown up Marc Jacobs collection referenced a sort of seventies Scientific America—a soft and lovely lunar fantasy, in the shape of an established and fashionable, yet sporty woman. And speaking of science, Alexander Wang's heat-sensitive garments played to the progressive streak in every American's DNA.
And because we’re a sporting country and proud of it, Lacoste and others reinvented their most practical sportswear, with lean shapes for the slopes and the stables. Jeremy Scott’s collection was sports-themed (of course), whereas Hood By Air’s riffed on sports branding, but in heritage fabrics like suede and muslin.
Donna Karan won the Most New York award with a golden 30th anniversary collection on Wall Street, while Diane Von Furstenberg’s wrap dress’s 40th anniversary was worn again with an equal amount of fanfare, and glittering, wearable glam strutted out from Diesel Black Gold, and Jason Wu. It wasn’t just New York’s America we saw. Hollywood was at fashion week, but a golden-era retrospective of it. Coach’s Shining reference (that Apollo USA sweater—we saw Room 237, too) mirrored a Star Wars-themed collection from Rodarte (and what’s more American than that?).
Most notably “American,” though, were the two hottest runway trends: truly diverse casting and truly relaxed dressing. DKNY, Eckhaus Latta and Hood By Air showed a more realistic view of NYC’s melting pot by employing multiple genders (including trans), women over 20 (and over 50), varying races, and varying heights, all in tasteful, unforced runway collectives.
At Marc, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, The Row and Telfar, we saw fawn robes of what looked like merino wool and velour, topped with lazily draped scarves. It was a look carried over, for most, from Spring—as if designers couldn’t wait to get cozy while creating their more summery collections. These scrunchy-socked and snuggled-up girls represent that pseudo-laziness we’re now known for. The image we project to other nations is largely made up of our overhyped relaxation climate: forget Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, just look at all the tabloid images of celebrities leaving rehab, wearing luxurious sweats to see the real U.S. of A. Now, instead of just Juicy Couture, we have some more options (and don’t we just love those?).