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April 13, 2024
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New York Fashion Week Isn’t Over, You Just Have to Know Where to Look—Vogue Runway Editors on the Fall 2024 Shows

New York Fashion Week Isn’t Over, You Just Have to Know Where to Look—Vogue Runway Editors on the Fall 2024 Shows

Was it a good New York Fashion Week, or a not so good one? Among the people I talked to, opinion was divided as it was coming to a close yesterday. My sense is there are two New York Fashion Weeks, just like there are two New Yorks, the one that the haves live in and the one that the have-nots occupy, with the middle all but squeezed out. The fashion establishment, which is more or less my beat, being the Vogue Runway veteran, made strong showings: Thom Browne was back in town with a collection that wedded couture magnificence with real-world wearability, and Tory Burch and Joseph Altuzarra celebrated milestones not with hackneyed best-ofs but compelling efforts at reinvention. And let’s not forget Marc Jacobs, who leapfrogged the official proceedings with a playful collection rich with emotional resonance. His 40th anniversary prompted lots of self-reflection—if you haven’t listened to his career reminiscent on the Vogue Run-Through podcast, please do.

Thom Browne, fall 2024 ready-to-wear

Photographed by Hunter Abrams

My favorite experience of the week came courtesy of Anna Sui at the Strand’s Rare Book Room, where she mashed up 1930s Bloomsbury and 1990s Grunge, a fashion moment that she helped shape three decades ago. Tossed in were some dyed vintage slips and reproductions of her own retro baby tees, which she saw Olivia Rodrigo recently wearing. Sui has always danced to her own beat, and is much more influential than she gets credit for. It was Saturday night, and afterwards Laird and I walked down to a gallery opening for André Walker, who was showing new paintings and a screening of his 1984 show. Seeing Walker’s impressive pattern-making in motion made me wonder what might’ve been had he gotten the support that young designers are so vocal about agitating for today. What did you all see?

Anna Sui, fall 2024

Isidore Montag / Gorunway.com

Altuzarra, fall 2024

Photo: Su Mustecaplioglu / Courtesy of Altuzarra

Tory Burch, fall 2024

Photo: Umberto Fratini / Gorunway.com

Nicole, it’s so interesting that you speak about two New Yorks, because my thesis is that fashion week was a reflection of the city as it is today, where the dissonance between its air-brushed mythology and the gritty reality of the streets is as loud as a jackhammer, and as pervasive as the stink of weed. At the same time, the geography and reach and culture of fashion here continues to expand; with the action on Scott Avenue in Brooklyn (where Luar showed) rivaling that on Park Avenue (where Marc Jacobs returned to the Armory). The people designing fashion are also more reflective of the city’s demographics as well, and are interacting with the legacy of American fashion in unexpected ways.

Historically, Seventh Avenue followed Paris, but this season designers found inspiration not far from home. There were myriad references to Helmut Lang (the influential Austrian who moved his show here in the late ’90s), while Jason Wu’s fairytale forest collection included homages to the great Charles James. Graduates from the school of Susan Cianciolo on the schedule included Eckhaus Latta and SC103, who are included in a new exhibition at Pratt. New York is also a city of innovation and several designers tried out formats other than a runway show, like Elena Velez who hosted a salon, Puppets and Puppets’ Carly Mark who showed a collection that won’t be produced as a “remember my name” goodbye gesture as she preps for a move to London, and LIC-based Melitta Baumeister who did a video activation that replicated a phone scroll. Log on, tune out, or jump on the subway. In New York you can still chase your dreams for the price of a token, swipe, or a tap.—Laird Borrelli-Persson

Jason Wu Collection, fall 2024

Umberto Fratini / Gorunway.com

Elena Velez, fall 2024

Photo: Courtesy of Ava Perman @glitchinthesimulation for Elena Velez

Puppets & Puppets, fall 2024

Photo: Umberto Fratini / Gorunway.com

I think the people that say that it was a bad New York Fashion Week or that New York Fashion Week is over are simply not going to the right shows. I saw so many incredible clothes that carried with them the emotions and the idiosyncrasies of the people who made them while still remaining “commercial” (a word that used to be dirty but is now being reclaimed because designers know they can’t live off of vibes alone). To me, Eckhaus Latta, Willy Chavarria, Collina Strada, and Luar are the new establishment designers; they all have their own point of view and their collections are a reflection of contemporary American culture. What you see on the runway is what you get with them, it’s not about styling tricks, or about fantasy pieces that can’t actually get you through your day—the fantasy they sell you is the opportunity to become your ideal self in real life.

We also have such an incredible influx of new talent–people like Zankov, Diotima, and Lou Dallas, who recently returned to the runway after taking a hiatus. They’ve all started small and have slowly expanded each season, concentrating on the things they do best. We have to nurture the new wave of designers because their energy is what keeps the city exciting. They say if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere—something that Puppets and Puppets’s Carly Mark took to heart when she decided to move her brand to London and shift her focus to accessories. But designers shouldn’t be forced to make those decisions. I thought her final collection was also one of the city’s best this season, and very New York. It would be a shame to see other designers follow in her footsteps.—Laia Garcia-Furtado

Eckhaus Latta, fall 2024

Daniele Oberrauch / Gorunway.com

Collina Strada, fall 2024

Photo: Daniele Oberrauch / Gorunway.com

Luar, fall 2024

Photo: Umberto Fratini / Gorunway.com

It’s interesting that you mention the new establishment, Laia, because my main takeaway from the season comes from the contrast between these two fashion weeks Nicole touched on. I also agree with Laird that this week felt distinctly about New York, which made it all the more impactful. On Friday, I attended the Willy Chavarria show in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and then made my way to Grand Central Station for Tommy Hilfiger’s at the Oyster Bar. It was jarring but fascinating to see these two seemingly opposing visions on American sportswear. Hilfiger has helped set the codes for the collective definition of contemporary American fashion, but sartorial sensibilities like prep, varsity, and Americana often feel exclusively related or intrinsic to whiteness. This is something that Chavarria subverted to reverberating effect. His point of view on the American uniform is expansive in terms of identity, and it draws from his own experience as a Chicano. There were Zoot suits, ranchero plaids and jeans, and track suits of the kind Dominican macho men wear around the city. Together with Hilfiger’s preppy chinos, navy blazers, and cricket sweaters, they painted a more holistic vision of what American sportswear really looks like today.

What’s also worth mentioning about Chavarria and also Raul Lopez’s Luar is that these are independent designers who are not necessarily “emerging.” They’ve both been at it for years, they just have the attention of the industry now. Lopez shows in Bushwick every season at 9PM. It’s a show you go to if you really want to, but I think that this season people realized that they should want to be there. Is New York Fashion Week really over if Beyoncé turns up at a late-night show on a Tuesday in the industrial area of Bushwick? Lopez, too, is redefining American sportswear in real time by launching a line of basics alongside his more extravagant ready-to-wear. He knows that, in the right context and on the right people, even the simplest of clothes take on new meaning. One of the big themes among independents this week was anxiety about the state multi-brand retail system, but these designers have their heads on their shoulders and are making sure they’re building businesses that will last. New York Fashion Week is rising.—Jose Criales-Unzueta

Luar, fall 2024 ready-to-wear

Photo: Gorunway.com

Willy Chavarria, fall 2024 ready-to-wear

Photo: Gorunway.com

Tommy Hilfiger, fall 2024 ready-to-wear

Photo: Gorunway.com

I’ve been hearing people say New York Fashion Week is “dead” ever since The Row moved its presentations to Paris, back in 2022. I beg to disagree. Of course, it didn’t help that up-and-comers like Christopher John Rogers, Judy Turner, and Connor McKnight at one time or another all jumped ship for the City of Light, but they’ve since come back (anecdotally, at least, it seems it’s easier to do business here). And then you have the Ukrainian designer Svitlana Bevza. When her business was taking off in Kyiv, she relocated to New York, and though she now calls London home, she keeps bringing her collection back here because it’s where her community is. Talking about community, Sandy Liang has built a truly impressive one both IRL and online. This season marked her tenth anniversary in the business and she had a mix of both old and new friends at the show. Among the oldies-but-goodies were chef Danny Bowien, whom Liang has collaborated with many times for her Lunar New Year parties, to sisters Devon Lee and Sydney Carlson, who helped create the phone accessories for her spring 2023 collection, to Jeannie Sui Wonders, who was posting about the brand long before they became popular on the internet. As for new friends, Liang had rising TikTok stars and influencers like Erika Titus and the Ha sisters sitting front row; the Has told me that this was the only show they were attending this New York Fashion Week. They say there’s power in numbers, and when you combine all of their social media followers, there’s no wonder Liang’s shows keep going viral.—Irene Kim

Leandra Medine at the Bevza show. 

Photo: Getty

Erika Titus at the Sandy Liang show. 

Photo: Getty

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