Even though the sun was shining down brilliantly upon the freshly accumulated snow at Bryant Park today, an air of sorrow and finality was palpable about the tents. Being the first day of the last New York Fashion Week ever to strut its stuff down the runways at the legendary 42nd Street locale as well as the day brining the tragic tidings of the passing of another of fashion’s greatest legends, Alexander McQueen—it truly felt like the end of an era.
And the sombre mood (show programmes rewritten to honour the late British designer, moments of silence observed pre-runway) seemed to extend to the collections manifesting on the catwalks themselves. The day kicked off with the BCBG Max Azria show, where husband and wife design duo Max and Lubov Azria streamlined their vision to cater to the everyday practical woman. The silhouettes were simple and elegant, with just the right amount of detail (a sheer pleated chiffon panel sweeping down the front of simple frock here, a dash of matte sequin there). Layered, slouchy separates in color blocked neutrals, whites and navy blues looked ready to walk right off the runway into any chic working woman’s wardrobe.
At Ports 1961, where Olivia Palermo was spotted, latest Chloé drool-worthy arm-candy in hand, modern shapes, such as zip-front jumpsuits, intricately cut and draped wool ponchos, met classic tones in an array of camels, greys and charcoals. The occasional demure beauty sported a lambskin pilot’s cap, lending a younger and sportier feel to an otherwise very grown up collection.
The BFF duo behind cool cult label Cushnie et Ochs turned out their most retail-friendly collection to date. While they did not toss their signature body-con look out the window, the collection consisting of an entirely black and beige palette and separates such as pleated leather pencil skirts, sheer paneled blouses and even the occasional knitwear piece with fur detailing miraculously did not necessitate a one month liquid diet before wearing. The ample use of black pony skin also went down well, especially where the wedge boots were concerned.
It was also a day for the boys, as two menswear collections walked tall: Duckie Brown and MIK CIRE by ERIC KIM. At Duckie, where Ugly Betty’s Mark Indelicato flitted away on his Blackberry in the front row, well-groomed tweed-clad gents in shrunken suits and mismatched tartan blazers stormed the runway. Complete with combat boots, the whole thing channeled a funky 80’s punk quasi-Westwood vibe. Its Anglo-underpinnings, in light of the sad news, which at 1:00 Eastern Standard Time, most show-goers were only just finding out, all seemed somehow very apropos.
In contrast to the Englishness of Duckie Brown, Erik Kim’s debut collection (he was the former founder, chief executive officer and designer of Monarchy) was all NYC attitude. Long-haired dudes in head to toe black, dirty wash jeans with bondage detailing and leather jackets, trousers and enormous weekend bags aplenty oozed grungey sophistication. It was kind of like Alexander Wang for men, minus the long side braids, of course.