Thrashin’ Fashion: Laia Garcia Reviews NYFW
by Laia Garcia
Another fashion week has come and gone, and just like that, we no longer covet things available tomorrow or next month. Now, we’re coveting things awaiting us in the distant future: February, March, and April. Modernity is old news. New York Fashion Week — always looking forward, always looking for the next best thing, always dreaming, never sleeping.
One side of the week went to the dreamers, like Delpozo, a Spanish label helmed by designer Josep Font. Font is relatively new; this is only the label’s fourth show during NYFW.
Delpozo makes the kind of clothes that make people say things like, “see, fashion IS art!” And — as much as I may secretly roll my eyes — the artistry involved is next level. His explorations of volume and embellishment appeal to that tiny fantasy-loving girl that exists somewhere within me (and maybe somewhere within you, too), but they never seem precious. Sometimes they stand away from the body, sometimes they seem to completely envelop you. His clothes go around and beyond the body.
There’s something about an oversized, exaggerated femininity that is greatly appealing; that is, one that is not performed to the extreme (I will have all the babies in the world!), but one that is simply explored to its weirdest conclusion (this bow is bigger than my entire body and obscures half my face). His final three gowns were sheer tulle dreams that seemed suspended around the models’ bodies, like auras that had materialized in silk through some sorcery. One particular shirt dress, with oversized sleeves and pockets and a bejeweled skirt made me go “oh!” upon first sight. Like my heart skipped a beat a little.
Marc Jacobs is a fashion dreamer if there ever was one. His models, hair inspired by Patti Smith, stripped bare of makeup, stepped out on the runway in army-inspired clothes and velvet Dr. Scholl’s sandals. Marc’s girl is ready for action but only in a lazy sort of way.
The first few looks seemed purely utilitarian (please, no one utter the phrase “Army-chic”). Army jackets and trousers with oversized cargo pockets became bigger and bigger as the show progressed until they seemed like attached pocket bags; the ultimate fanny-pack adventure. Over the course of the show, the fabrics became less work and more play — shiny silk satins and monochromatic embellishments. Pop-art daisies, the kind that we all wore as children of the nineties, blended into olive green and butterscotch backgrounds. The silhouettes took on baby-doll forms until everything exploded in an all-over ditzy floral print. The collection gave way to long gowns with cutouts styled with hoodies with extra-long sleeves. Marc said he was inspired by Grace Slick protesting Vietnam in the sixties, as well as in a short-film called The Girl Chewing Gum, where a camera follows people on the street and a narrator “gives orders” to them.
Coach is exploring that Portland-infused eternal dream of the nineties. Last season they hired Stuart Vevers to reinvent the brand and he skewing young in a delightful way. Looking through the clothes, I felt transported to the days when a dELia*s catalog would arrive in my mailbox (like, my actual mailbox) and I would spend hours looking through its pages, highlighting all the things that I liked, and making mental outfits. Models wore ball chain necklaces — probably way more expensive than the ones I just bought at Claire’s, but there’s something kind of hilarious about buying a luxury version of a regular thing, like a silver ball chain necklace. It’s so unnecessary. And yet…
The clothes were a candy raver’s dream: lush multi-color furs, patent leather skirts that would make Kim Gordon cry, and sweaters and jackets emblazoned with artist Gary Baseman’s weirdo creatures that are cute, gory, and sometimes a bummer. The sad bunny emblazoned on a bag made me think it met a weird Blair Witch-style ending.
There was a definite seventies vibe running through it, but if you recall, the seventies were a big thing in the nineties. These looks are definitely meant to be seen through a nineties filter. So this would be seventies in the aughts (is that what we are calling now?) as seen through the seventies seen through the nineties.
Still with me? Let’s return to earth, where people are no longer dreaming, but busy working 9-to-5 just to stay alive. On our planet, the clothes do not look like this or that, and they don’t really tell a story. They are simply great pieces, pieces that you could see yourself wearing over and over again because they transcend their own time.
Proenza Schouler showed complete leather looks: A-line leather skirts worn with matching leather blouses, sometimes monochromatic, sometimes in that red-and-black combination that makes you think of the worst/best parts of the eighties.
Snakeskin entered into the mix, as did laser-cut leather skirts and dresses, knit skirts and dresses, and finally woven leather dresses, undone and exploding into a mass of leather fringe at the hips. In a way, every look built slightly on the look before, a combination of textures and fabrics that made you want more, made me want to click faster, harder. Their sensuality is so subtle; there’s nothing inherently sexy about a woman wearing baggy two-toned leather trousers, but the way they present it, you feel like you should only have sex while wearing their clothes. Nudity is boring and overrated; wear Proenza Schouler.
Peter Som explored another side of the nineties (there are many sides! It’s not just grunge and original Armani normcore!), through a mix of “ugly seventies colors” that recalled Prada’s ugly nerd collection from the mid-nineties. His layering of horizontal color-blocked skirts over vertical striped dresses (the skirt-over-dress combo appeared in almost every collection!) was one of my favorites, as was his floral print maillot paired with a plastic latex overcoat and worn with silver tasseled loafer-slides. It was beautiful in its discordance.
Rodebjer made me unexpectedly fall in love with pink, particularly an ensemble that featured an asymmetrical, oversized ruffle one-sleeve top tucked into ALMOST acid-wash pleated jeans and accessorized with a printed scarf around the neck. In theory, I do not like this. In theory, I should not like this. But I keep coming back to it. There was a too-cool-for-school (or life, or work) monochromatic pink outfit that consisted of a maxi sleeveless dress worn with matching trousers. As if that wasn’t enough, a creamy yellow knit dress that was also straight out of my nineties issues of Seventeen, a dress made for Drew Barrymore (circa then) or Liv Tyler (circa then or now, she is still a goddess).
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are masters of the candle in the wind stillness and the queens of LUHXSHOOREE normcore. At The Row, they showed clothes so aspirational that sometimes it’s like looking at a beautiful minimalist interior in a architecture magazine: “It’s beautiful,” you think, “but how could you even live there?”
Maxi layers, dresses worn with pants, the obi belt, the long jackets, the crisp shirting — all the trends seen throughout NYFW was here. Their collection might be the quintessential Spring 2015 collection. There’s a bit of fantasy in the lush maroons and deep navies, in the long ecru dress with a perfectly executed knot at the shoulder-blades, but The Row is nothing if not functional. When you start to take apart the looks you realize that they are, in fact, making clothes for real life. A perfect white blouse to be worn with jeans, a long black gown for a mandatory fancy event but dread because you hate getting dressed up. Their clothes are invisible, not in a “no-label-Margiela but here are four stitches so you know this is a fancy-nothing-sweater,” but because they blend in with your style and become a part of your sartorial language. Isn’t that what we want from all our clothes, to just become a part of us?
So yes, I have already started wearing skirts over dresses. New York really is the city where dreams come true.
Laia Garcia is a writer and stylist based in Brooklyn. One time, Chris Kraus made her cry.