For spring, Miuccia Prada continued her exploration of things considered retro, kitschy, and slightly granny-ish: brown, stripes, nylon, argyle, twin sets, V-necks. Wood paneling never looked as chic as it did in leather or croc strips in brown and orange — it seem entirely fresh to those born post-70s, which now comprises the majority of the house's clientele, surely. No one does cross-generational better than Prada.
Gucci's new designer Alessandro Michele continues to infuse new life into the brand, following a rather staid period. For men's he's been toying with gender-specific dress codes, often to shocking effect. And for women's he's been coyly mixing up the generations.
Shown today, his spring collection was another generational jumble, a particularly vast array that swung from plunging necklines and deep slits to blanket wraps and pleated skirt suits — for cool girls and even cooler grannies.
Gareth Pugh's spring collection brought out a debauched disco of influences, everything from bias-cut gowns à la 70s-era Halston to extreme made-up nylon masks recalling Leigh Bowery and Divine.
Specifically Pugh referenced Soho nightlife and draggy glamour, as in shimmery halters made entirely out of copper pennies, white Mongolian-fur stoles, and all-over shiny red paillette numbers.
For spring, Christopher Kane seemed to be elevating various art forms once considered trashy: graffiti, pop, grunge, outsider art. He even threw in colorful plastic trash-bag ties. Not merely an exercise in clashing crude shapes and bold colors, however, the collection took on a crackling tech frisson, suggesting Kane is also ready to embrace the slapdash, throwaway culture of the Internet age.
Marc Jacobs, an American no longer in Paris, staged his own homecoming for spring with a nod to the 50s. Mainly as prints and elaborate embroidery, Jacobs fondly interpreted the first post-war decade through its wholesome, lovey-dovey trappings: high-school football games, varsity jackets, argyle sweaters, movie dates, a double swan motif, bejeweled cowboy boots, and loads of Stars and Stripes. Keeping everyone guessing, Jacobs also sent his friend Beth Ditto for a twirl on the runway.
Jacobs even bid adieu to his longstanding venue of choice, the Park Armory, in favor of the Ziegfeld Theatre. Before its current incarnation as the last single-screen movie theater in Manhattan, the Ziegfeld staged world-class Broadway productions. A playbill he had printed up for the evening suggested the designer is fully aware he's his own marquee name now.
In the sense that Kanye West provided a few more bottoms for this models to wear, his Yeezy spring collection was a modest improvement over last season's debut.
Other than that, it was all but identical — which is to say, uninspired. Once again West collaborated with artist Vanessa Beecroft, casting models from the street and models by trade. Once again he kept to a monochromatic dark desert palette. Once again he showed mostly sweats that, in the absence of any commentary on the state of modern society (or a presidential announcement), came off as uninspired and unoriginal. Add to that a front row crowded with his celebrity friends (and family, of course) and the only comment we're left to chew on is his single-minded drive to sell pricey streetwear. After all, little more than celebrity will do it.
Thom Browne's set designs are getting more and more elaborate all the time, not to mention cheeky. For spring, he constructed a one-room schoolhouse — its wood frame outline only — and stocked it full of children's desks. But everything outside that room was upside down: a white picket fence, a bike, shrubs, grass (in grayscale only, his prefered palette). His models' pigtails, too, shot straight up in the air. Or was up really down? This is the topsy-turvy world Browne now occupies, carving out an avant-niche for himself long ago in New York's otherwise highly commercial landscape.
However, this wasn't a prairie schoolhouse in the American Midwest somewhere, as one might assume, but one located in the Japan of his imagination, a place and theme he's mined before. As with Browne's men's collection, his schoolgirls wore highly decorated, artfully wrought versions of school uniforms — permutations of the blazer and pleated-skirt combo, a look so thoroughly adopted by the Japanese. Models inched along the runway (as is necessary with a small collection), before stepping into the schoolhouse and proceeded to do the things children do: giggling, passing notes, and so on. Yet their school outfits were like no other, embellished with intricate scenes of pastoral Japan: swimming koi fish, flying cranes, strolling geishas, and lots of Mount Fuji. It was beyond lavish, almost beyond concept. Shoes, meanwhile, had elevated soles resembling Geta sandals, but were worn with bobby socks, thus kicking the theme back to Americana. The flat straw hats, too, gave the impression of a county fair. Clearly Browne is having fun with cultural touchstones.
Can art ever truly embrace its shallower sister, fashion? That seems to be the question posed by Eckhaus Latta's Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta season after season as they refine their particular ilk of pre-normcore, post-art school, Bushwick-adjacent cool. Monday's outing proved no exception as most of the Lower East Side and edgier spots of Chelsea left their white cubes unmanned to converge in the Ralph Pucci showroom and offer their support.
Modeled on gallerists, artists, and suitably lithe friends, the collection had a craftsy, almost homespun feel that felt refreshing. Standouts included patchworked prints, slip dresses, and boxy denims that exuded just the right amount of wrong. The overall effect was like FUBU for the gallerina set: for us, by us — and all the better for it. But with Solange Knowles planted front-and-center in the audience, it seemed that larger recognition could be in the horizon. It will be intriguing to see how that impacts the house’s street cred.