Fashion Week showcases strong summer

It’s that time of the year again: when magazines’ September issues are in full throttle, models frantically rush from show to show and designers put the final touches on their lines. It’s the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

The event, which started last Wednesday, occurs mostly at Lincoln Center, but also takes place in trendy areas around New York. The week is notorious for starting the season off right. Heavyweights from the industry grace the front rows of all of the most popular shows, and celebrities flock to check out the new trends for the upcoming season.

Since the move from Bryant Park to Lincoln Center and other locations determined by the designers, it seems like they have started to play with the scenery of their catwalks and are not just relying on the traditional white runway. Tommy Hilfiger created a beach scene. Opening Ceremony chose to channel The Fast and the Furious. Alexander Wang included geometric shapes to accent the shapes of his garments. These intentional, artistic scenery choices by the designers only add to the ambience of their shows.

Alexander Wang is the king of reinventing women’s essentials with a sultry twist. He has always leaned more towards sportswear for his collections, but this year, he played with sheer panelling, leather crop tops and preppy, V-neck pullovers. Wang also played with blacks and whites, but also included pastels, such as rose and lavender. Wang’s spring line was heavily influenced by formal menswear through the inclusion of collared shirts and tailored shorts, but by changing the cuts of the traditional piece, he is able to modernize the look for the 21st century woman. The natural makeup choice for the models included a bold tangerine lip and sleek hair. It is always a pleasure to see how he decides to dress his adorable niece, Aila, for his shows and this season, her “Parental Advisory” shirt, leather skirt, and Jordan slides were too cute to handle.

Another designer who grabbed a lot of attention was Tadashi Shoji. His main focus is on gowns, and the intricate beading and lace work of his dresses are elegantly and thoughtfully executed. Her concept for this collection was the powerful woman who doesn’t need to rely on business attire to showcase her strength, but instead can display strength by embracing her femininity. Shoji is definitely a name to remember, especially come next year’s award season.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s line, The Row, seems to be made for the ultimate chic nomad who wants attire for traveling to the French Riviera and Tunisia, then back to the dreamy deserts of Dubai this season. The entire show transports the audience to another place — a pleasurable experience that shows fashion is truly an art form. They embraced prints and depended on drapery that worked not only for high fashion, but was versatile for everyday wear. It’s easy to forget that their claim to fame was acting, not fashion designing, because both of their lines The Row and Elizabeth & James, have come to command respect in the industry.

The masterminds behind Rag & Bone, David Neville and Marcus Wainwright, are the kings of urban, tomboy style for women. The leather, slouchy kilt was a definite eye-catching piece that was hard to stop thinking about when reviewing their show, and it is remarkable how designers are able to juxtapose hard elements, such as leather, with soft pastels and feminine accents to complete their looks. Reminiscent of the ’90s, the crop top combinations with overalls, skirts and sheer blouses were a treat. Their color palette usually tends to be more muted and natural, so seeing the sleek hair away from the face was refreshing. Their show serves as an example as to why designers shouldn’t be afraid to play with makeup and color; it definitely can provide the necessary push to make outfits shine.

Y-3, by Yohji Yamamoto has already perfected the art of urban wear and transformed it into elegance. Yamamoto’s spring line defines the “it” guy who just knows how to do everything right. Suave and a brilliant dresser, the ideal customer is aware of both of these characteristics. Thus, it was no surprise to see designer Jeremy Scott in the front row.

Scott’s women’s line this season was also an eye catcher, especially because he was able to successfully pull off sporty, feminine looks that didn’t seem like someone was trying too hard to channel their inner ’90s diva — a trend that seems to be staying for next spring.

This year, model veterans ruled the catwalk, and audience members at Diane Von Furstenberg’s presentation had the pleasure of seeing Naomi Campbell grace the runway.

The start of Fashion Week seems to have been a success. Fashion fans must now wait and see what the city of London will bring later this week.

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