This evening, New York Fall 2011 Fashion Week comes to a close, marking the conclusion of a truly great season. For the past week, Lincoln Center has been transformed into a full-on fashion playground, overflowing with hoards of fashion-lovers from all over the globe.
The crowd was diverse, to say the least. From fur-draped socialites and celebrities to stressed out bloggers who had obviously not slept in days there was never a dull moment. I arrived last Thursday to see my first show, Duckie Brown, and feel like I have barely left since. Next season, I suggest Mercedes-Benz implements a nap room, complete with Tempur-Pedic cots and soothing water sounds. Trust me, it’s necessary for the sake of everyone’s mood. But I digress…
The highlight of Fashion Week was undoubtedly the overwhelming sense of community immediately apparent upon entering the tents. Everything going on outside of the fashion world seemed to be on hold. The focused yet frazzled energy didn’t let up. Despite being out of the office, it was all about work. Bloggers crammed into designated work areas (or in some cases, sprawled on the floor–I’m guilty) and fought over outlets to charge their computers as they frantically wrote about the collections. Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge, hosted by Alison Brod PR, provided a welcome refuge from the madness, complete with champagne and Baked by Melissa cupcakes (which served as breakfast, lunch and dinner for many guests).
Now, let’s get to the clothes. Designers stepped it up this season, showcasing bold colors and outstandingly varied textures. I struggled to think of my favorite three shows, as there was no shortage of creative genius, but here they are: Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra, and Tory Burch. To preface, let me note that I was taken with Proenza Schouler the minute I saw they were capable of resurrecting tie-dye. Come on–that is no small feat! The collection they showed last night was immaculate, demonstrating their unbelievable understanding of proportions and tailoring. Additionally, the beauty in Proenza Schouler is all about the patterns and the contradictions within each that somehow bring the pieces to life. The stark makeup and simple hair were elegant touches to the breathtaking show.
Joseph Altuzarra’s show was excellent as well. Bringing in the big guns (namely outrageously in-demand models like Jourdan Dunn and Frida Gustavsson) and doing them up in fierce red lips and tight pulled-back hair, Altuzarra presented an aggressively sexy collection framed by a variety of awesome outerwear. Generally, a sheer blouse rubs me the wrong way, but the guy made it work, pairing some of his more daring pieces with exquisite capes and fur-accented items. Quite frankly, any designer who can integrate all of that with argyle throughout and still have it be a cohesive, wearable collection deserves some respect.
Okay, so now it’s time to talk Tory. Let it be known that I am completely obsessed with the woman and her designs (both personify this laid-back yet sophisticated glamour) but I can still look at her work without bias. After taking a peek at Tory’s pre-fall collection in her showroom in January, I had no idea what her presentation this season would yield. Pre-fall was chock full of nautical designs, said to be inspired by a recent trip to Paris. As much as I’m a sucker for a good anchor motif–and there were some killer accessories–I was a little nervous that her designs were falling into a post-adolescent preppie rut. Well, Tory clearly crossed the Channel for inspiration for Sunday’s collection, which merged “English country” with “American sportswear.” It showed massive growth, integrating bold tweeds, plaids, and a dark color palette into a variety of garments, including blazers, flared pantsuits. She also opted to add embellishments to her iconic tunic. I would say that this collection has ultimately cemented her place as a serious designer, with a remarkable understanding of the way the modern, working woman dresses.
The profusion of great shows made it impossible for anyone to see all of them. Luckily, Style.com not only has a full photo archive of the collections almost immediately after they are shown, but provided live streaming video for many. This innovative development has completely altered Fashion Week, making it accessible to people on a global scale. Every blogger and journalist made the most of social networking this year, live-Tweeting every show (and hashtagging with #nyfw), which essentially allowed everyone to be participating in a virtual conversation. As for other standout shows, I highly recommend viewing Jason Wu, Rodarte, and Michael Kors. Michael’s trademark aesthetic of clean, chic sportswear was reinforced and redefined with this collection. But don’t stop there–take advantage of the resources available, and be sure to check out everything! New York Fashion Week is all about making the experience your own.