Despite a woman sitting in front of me who couldn't stay still during the runway show, and switched her seat numerous times throughout (people, please stop, it's rude and distracting) to get her very artful iPhone photos (sigh), I once again fell in love with the sister duo that is the magic behind Noon by Noor. There is something so very refreshing in a world of extreme hype and aggressive fashion to view a collection of beautiful tailoring that enhances its wearer without screaming "look at me." With muted, light-colored hues (seems to be the trend for winter 2016) and a menswear silhouette, Noon by Noor created graceful clothing that is all refined elegance. Fabrics were rich, as usual, with wool boucle, cable knitwear, and black velvet. But the simple slip dresses really slayed me with their loose, easy perfection, shown either solo or paired with runway-dusting trenches. Also, almost everything was shown with a slip on loafer, and looked perfect, like why heels?
Carmen Marc Valvo
While we waited for the show to start, we leafed through the program and came across the collection description in poetic verse. It beautifully sums up the show; below, is our favorite verse:
“Quaffs of champagne with caviar beads
And a splash of Bordeaux
Bold gilded strokes a splice with strife
Lacquered lace and brocade below”
True to his brand, Carmen showcased cocktail and evening wear with rich brocades, beading, furs, and lacquered lace. While most of the collection was black and white, my favorite piece was a Bordeaux evening gown with a deep V cut, definitely red carpet swoon-worthy. Other metallic column gowns, occasionally paired with a fur collar, drew "Oohs" and "Ahhs" from the crowd. While his menswear largely consisted of modified black suits, I did like the leather detailing.
With the November 2015 Paris attacks strong in mind, Zang Toi’s Fall collection paid tribute to France, a country near and dear to his heart. Inspired by the French Alps, and the resilience of the French people, Toi aimed to showcase strength, elegance, and beauty. The start of the show was rather tame but classic, with less theatrics than we are used to, with safe layered monochrome knits, tailored trenches and suits, sweater /cardigan combos, and of course luxurious coats and furs. Personally, I loved the cat eared beanies. Cue Part 2, when the mood changes and you just can’t turn your head away, captivated by his evening gowns. Scarlet gowns, capes, fishtails, a standout ombre grey and black tulle number, fur stoles, and extravagant embroidery and beading, all of which remind you of why he has such a devoted following.
Today, in a society where fashion fashion is taking over the way we consume, our wants are many and plentiful, and waste is excessive and abundant, what we need is designers like Michelle Helene. Designers that have a passion and talent for creating beautiful clothing, while also having a sense of ethical and social responsibility. While Michelle is a newer name to New York Fashion Week, with just a 2 year old brand, her collection has a level of sophistication, with the right balance of structure and texture, and details that make each piece unique but classic. Easy to wear and practical, and a step in the right direction, with materials sourced from fair trade, and ethical working conditions.
Besides perhaps one of the most awkward finales and designer bows I've seen at NYFW (I blame the three lanes of Clarkson Square that seem to inspire an excess of exits), Marshall's show of glimmering gowns was an ethereal success. Her light dove grey gowns, especially the sheer lace ones and those paired with light bronze insets of fabric, were particularly stunning standouts. The combat boots paired with gowns and the more convoluted finale piece of tiered ruffles (part of which was left behind on the runway during the bow) felt more piled-on than dramatic, and the many, many black gowns could have used an edit. But on the whole I would look to Marshall for a floating, glowing gown cut nicely down the bodice for the perfect evening piece with just enough romance to make a girl feel like a carefree, fairy princess.
The show notes may have named this collection "British Heritage," and the designer, the very talented Wang Tao, may say her inspiration came from "Victorian fashion," but my dominant takeaway from the collection was "Wall Street: The Women Take Over." Wang Tao's tailoring made exit after exit a blistering statement for perfect cuts, pinstripes, and pants. Granted, all this worked so well for 2016 because of the designer's Victorian touches: lace bandeau panels, fur neck warmers, and black lace trim. But they were done with subtlety and restraint. Very Victorian. Also worth noting: the designer's coats were a home run and dominated her runway in worsted wool, mohair, and cashmere over wide leg pants and sharp dresses.
Lie Sang Bong
The Fall/Winter 2016 Lie Sang Bong collection was inspired by the masculinity of retro military garments and the femininity of lavish Victorian vestments. A perfectly balanced runway was the takeaway, where signature prints were replaced by texture, and highly saturated jewel tones were paired with black. The delicate lacework adorning silk blouses with voluminous sleeves were some of my favorites, but we can’t forget about those velvet / silk combinations, and the always memorable “fur” moments that helped connect the collection. Overall a very luxurious yet utilitarian collection where sophistication met function.