Day Two (or was it Day One?) of New York Fashion Week saw a return to the enthusiasm and energy that often surrounds the collections. Maybe it was the temperature that rose above the freezing point, but yesterday the fashion crew woke up, slipped on their Miu Miu glitter boots and braced themselves for a day of shows.
Kicking off the day was Jonathan Simkhai, who debuted his first runway show at Milk Studios after five seasons of presentations. “It felt like a ‘now or never’ moment,” said Mr. Simkhai of his decision to show. Known for his youthful, micro dresses and sexy separates, the designer could easily be the face of the cutout trend, which, according to his runway, is still going strong. But the label showed a maturing of sorts, with chic separates in dark tire-track weave patterns and dramatic evening dresses. Fear not PYT’s, there were still enough asymmetrical bra tops and high waist slit skirts to keep you dressed next fall.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the brand Honor showed another feminine and stylish collection staged in a magic forest, complete with colorful wild mushrooms sprouting out of the set. Mad Men star Christina Hendricks took in the show in a magenta bell sleeve Honor dress that she borrowed for a business trip. “Once I put it on I became an instant fan of the brand and had to buy it,” she told the Observer. Designer Giovanna Randall is strongly influenced by the 1960’s, as seen once again in her choice of colorful opaque tights and mid-heeled sandals that complemented almost every look. Randall showed her strength in her scalloping and bead work, and nature-inspired suiting with deer and bird patterns gave off a quirky-cool vibe for Honor’s front row regulars like Chelsea Leyland and Tennessee Thomas. Honor’s signature girly-girls will find plenty to choose from in the form of frost blue taffeta baby doll dresses, silk blouses tucked into A-line skirts and fabulous velvet capes.
In contrast, Marissa Webb’s eponymous collection was a masculine take on women’s ready-to-wear, as seen through her black blazers, white button down shirts and a sassy take on power suiting in powder pink Italian crepe. Ms. Webb, who recently became creative director of Banana Republic, is clearly influenced by the modern professional. Standouts include herringbone coats and great wide leg trousers. A chic way to head to work.
Richard Chai Love showed a collection of amped-up, apocalyptic outerwear. Models wore extra-large scarves with sturdy stripes and head-to-toe plaid in muted fall tones. The preponderance of layers made more than one audience member remark that they’d love to add a coat or two from the collection before heading back out the door into the flurries.
Later in the day, the young brand Tome showed a grown up collection as witnessed by its stellar front row featuring Lauren Santo Domingo and Jenna Lyons. The collection was inspired by two female artists – Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, a Belgian dancer, and American designer Donna Karan. Tome’s take on urban dressing was realized in their oversized outerwear and vests in palettes of camel, white and army green. The brand’s beloved shirtdresses were shown again on their own as well as layered under leather A-line skirts. Most looks were juxtaposed against heels in vibrant pops of coral and teal, a collaboration with Sarah Jessica Parker’s shoe line. It will be exciting to see where this brand goes.
Closing out the night was burgeoning denim label Simon Miller, who presented a relaxed collection of denim, knits and outerwear that cool-kids from both coasts will be coveting next fall. Oversized wide leg jeans with geometric patchwork were layered under light suede jackets and loose tee shirts that could have easily dressed “My So Called Life” heroine Angela Chase. “We were feeling the ‘90’s in this collection, yet updated in a modern and utilitarian way,” said designer and co-founder Daniel Corrigan. Currently available at Barneys and Mr. Porter, Simon Miller is one brand to watch.