Favourite Designers From New York Fashion Week
New York Fashion Week went from last to first on the global fashion calendar this year to much speculation. A number of high-profile brands jumped ship to Milan and Paris, spurred by legal troubles faced by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (part organisers of the week) and better prospects abroad.
But no need to worry, NYFW remains resilient as ever and the following designers really made us all sit up.
Fenty by Puma
After showing her last collection in the hallowed libraries of the National Library of France last year, Rihanna moved her entire beauty and fashion empire west and shook the world while she was at it. She opened Fashion Week by launching Fenty Beauty, a collaboration with fashion giants LVMH and released a debut line of products that have already been lauded the world over for their diversity and inclusiveness. Rihanna continued that trend in this year’s Fenty by Puma collection that drew inspiration heavily from cyclists, surfers, and scuba divers, reforming their skin-tight, svelte bodysuits for day and night wear and throwing in an array of ready to wear athleisure staples.
Amaka Osakwe’s had a pretty good year, she returned to New York Fashion Week with a new collection that draws inspiration from her childhood in the middle of Nigeria’s successive regimes. Expressing her memories through slouchy tweed jackets accessorised with pvc frilling (popularly used for raincoats) and gossamer light evening gowns that mimic that frilly dresses that most Nigerian women despised and adored equally as children. Osakwe’s much-layered storytelling through her clothes continues to delight buyers and editors worldwide.
A Marc Jacobs finale to fashion week is the kind of homage to old times everyone needed this year and Jacobs more than delivered. There is some controversy concerning the designer’s continued insistence on ‘borrowing’ from Afrocentric cultures without context or true credit, but when he references head wraps and turban styles traditionally associated with African women, he did it with aplomb. Prints, menswear-inspired women’s wear, jackets that scream understated luxury, Jacobs nails them all, in his best collection in years.
Plein is another controversial designer who seems to perpetually draw the ire of black fashion insiders for his fascination with the black culture that is neither really reflected in his model castings or designs. Plein’s show paid homage to hip-hop and its outsize influence on fashion with a collection of modern, urban staples. But this year, Plein answered his critics. It was who was on Plein’s runway, not what was on it that really had heads turning. Plein invited a who’s who of contemporary hip-hop to perform at his show, ticking off Future, Teyana Taylor, and Snoop Dogg. It was definitely the jazziest show of the season.