10 style lessons from New York fashion week

Caroline Leaper
Kaia Gerber walks in the Calvin Klein spring 2018 show on 7th September - Getty Images North America

New York Fashion Week is well underway, with shows from Victoria Beckham, Calvin Klein and Alexander Wang providing early highlights. A month full of presentations still lies ahead, but we’re keeping a track of the key moments as they happen, picking out the style takeaways that will influence our wardrobes come spring 2018...

Easy skirts

Simplicity often pays off in design, so long as the execution is spot on. “It’s not about creating show pieces that are not wearable. That’s not how i want to dress, it’s not how i believe women want to dress”, said Victoria Beckham. How she does believe women want to dress involved wide leg trousers, checked shirts and - the pièce de quiet résistance, pleated mid-calf skirts. Not pleated all the way up, that will add bulk to hips and bottoms, and not so finely pleated to make them a nightmare to iron. These were a bit kilt-y, but also very office appropriate, and came in a variety of colours. We’d wear ours with knee high boots.

Victoria Beckham AW17.  Credit: Getty

Porcelain florals

'Chintz’ isn’t usually a word I’d put anywhere near your (or my) wardrobe, but the latest incarnation of this perennial print is just that: chintzy. These are the doily on the table, plates on the wall, cup and saucer sort of florals, with the (mostly) modest silhouette to match. Mostly, since Zimmermann balanced long hemlines on the bottom with plunging ones up top, Ulla Johnson offered demure silhouettes in semi-sheer fabrics, and Brock collection’s Thomas Hardy maiden gone a milking puff-sleeve dress was worn pulled off one shoulder, as if post-romp. Yes, you might match your china cabinet - but in the best possible way.

Ulla Johnson SS18.  Credit: Getty

Fringed edges

Just as we spent this summer attempting to fit ruffles underneath jackets, so will we spend next summer addressing fringed edges. Calvin Klein’s fully-fringed dresses and bags would be perfect for dancing, but less perfect on your morning commute - far too easy to get stuck in the tube door. Paired with jeans, Diane von Furstenberg’s fringed blouses would offer plenty of shimmy with far less risk - and far fewer strange glances, were you to wear said fringing to Waitrose.

DVF SS18. 

Pastel palettes are a breakout trend 

Sies Marjan’s founder Sander Lak doesn’t seek inspiration - he seeks colour. “It’s gut instinct. We make a colour chart, and from there we pick the fabrics that go with it. Once we’ve got all the colours and fabrics ready, we’ve got the ingredients of our meal.” It’s possible that Marjan and his fellow designers have been eating at the same gelateria, as variations on the same pastel shades popped up again and again - pistachio at Sandy Liang, lemon at Cushnie et Ochs, cornflower blue at Carolina Herrera and lilac at Victoria Beckham and Tibi. One block of colour will do, but two shades clashed together are even better - try mint green with lavender.

Sies Marjan AW17.  Credit: Getty

Kaia Gerber has arrived

Every new fashion season prompts the declaration of a ‘model of the moment’, but rarely is the newcomer to note so obvious from the get-go. Kaia, the daughter of Cindy Crawford and husband Rande Gerber, has been putting in the groundwork for the last six months, making tentative steps on the red carpet and participating in shoots for Vogue. She turned 16 on 3rd September, so it seems her natural next step is to hit the runway now that she's old enough. Appearances at Calvin Klein and Alexander Wang were undoubtedly just the beginnings for her stellar season ahead.

Calvin Klein Collection SS18.  Credit: Getty

 

Pyjama dressing has become a runaway trend over the past few season, usually combining vibrant prints with, well, pyjama comfort. Wearing a matching shirt and trouser set can be tricky though - get it wrong, and you’ll look like you dashed out when the fire alarm went off. Tory Burch’s scarf-print silks (sourced from the print archive of late interior designer David Hicks) offer a solution - try her matching blouse and skirt set, or follow her lead and style a pyjama suit with a white cotton shirt over the top - it will break up the print, and make the set feel instantly more ‘day’. Pair with flat mules - the closest thing to slippers that you can wear to work.

Tory Burch SS18. Credit: Getty 

Nineties or Seventies? Take your pick...

One of the greatest sports at any fashion week is spotting which fashion heydays the designers are riffing off of, and which era's silhouettes they will be asking us to revisit for the new season. Tom Ford was tipping the Nineties - all high-shine bomber jackets and high-cut leotards - while at Diane von Furstenberg, Jonathan Saunders was putting his new spin on the Seventies' greatest hits. Keep tally as the season progresses to determine which decade will prevail in your wardrobe.

Tom Ford's spring 2018 show

Smart denim

Often, catwalk spins on denim are deconstructed, ripped, paint-splattered, and a bit much for everyday life. AW18’s smartened up denim is an exception: Hellesy’s wide-leg, cuffed denim trousers would be appropriate for most office dress codes paired with a silk blouse, Zadig & Voltaire’s indigo army jacket is a good evening option, and Colovos’s well cut denim jumpsuit is far from scruffy. Tibi’s boxy trouser suit and utilitarian buttoned pencil skirt will both work with heels or dressy flats, and offer a great entry into denim if the fabric always seems to casual for your wardrobe, since they’re cut along tailoring lines.

Tibi SS18.  Credit: Getty

Power blazers

You might already own a take on next season’s cover-up, the shoulder-padded suit jacket. But while black, navy, or checked would work for the office, it’s the brightest versions that will give most bang for your buck, with trousers and a t-shirt by day (see Oscar de la Renta’s bright red) or over an evening dress, as seen at Tom Ford, for unfussy event dressing. You needn’t wait until next season, either - there are lots of good coloured suits on the high street (Mango’s red is particularly nice) at the moment - skip the matching trousers and layer the jacket over summer dresses instead on cool autumnal days.

Tom Ford SS18.  Credit: Getty 

Athleisure is still huge in New York

The sportswear trend is still going large, but designers are savvily moving things on for the new season. Rihanna’s Fenty X Puma show took its cues from the world of motocross, evidenced in the collection of cargo trousers and zip-front bodysuits, plus a troop of stuntmen who flipped and skidded over fuchsia dunes on the runway.

Joan Smalls models Rihanna's new Fenty Puma collection on 10th September

Every body is welcome

Eckhaus Latta is being dubbed as one of the most exciting new brands on the New York schedule thanks, in part, to its approach to casting. Pregnant bellies, wrinkles and curves were catered for - just a cross section of the New York women that the brand hopes will buy their clothes. Elsewhere, brands from Chromat to Alexander Wang aimed to make their shows inclusive - a good start to what is hoped will be the most diverse (and as such, lifelike) season to date.

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