As New York Fashion Week once again kicked off across Manhattan and Brooklyn this weekend, designers offered enticing twists on familiar dress codes.
Inside the neoclassical Williamsburgh Savings Bank, Peter Do rethought “protective” fashion for his sophomore showing at the helm of Helmut Lang, sending out silk bubble wrap trousers, knit balaclavas emerging from smart suiting, weathered sand-colored denim and soft armor in the form of slouchy puffer jackets.
Soon after, in Rockefeller Center, models pumping gourd barbells showcased Collina Strada’s delightfully femme take on sports uniforms and gymwear, wearing “elegantly beefed-up silhouettes” — per the show notes — that included lace-trimmed boxing shorts and voluminous jackets mimicking bulging deltoids and biceps.
Then there were the designers updating American dress codes more broadly, whether in their own contexts or anew. Tommy Hilfiger’s return to the runway — attended by the brand’s ambassador Sofia Richie Grange, among other celebrities, and ushered in with an opening performance by Jon Batiste — showcased new takes on prep classics that the brand itself established in the 1990s, with boxy tweed coats, varsity jackets, cashmere dresses and long, bulky scarves.
And Willy Chavarria, who also holds a top spot at Calvin Klein in addition to his own namesake label, brought a bold vision of American power dressing to the runway through layers and structure, with exaggerated shoulders, sharp lapels and sweeping coats offset by ruffles and sculptural florals, all with Chicano-influenced flair. Seated front row for both Chavarria’s runway and an accompanying fashion film presentation, which spoke to community as a respite from the world’s ills, were Julia Fox, Sam Smith, Dascha Polanco and Becky G.
Of course, not all designers set out to re-write the rules, with Prabal Gurung telling CNN backstage that he doesn’t get too preoccupied with whether his new collection will be fashion-forward. Like Chavarria, Gurung also took inspiration from community and family, mining his childhood diaries and heritage to create looks — which were richly colored in hues of saffron and vermillion, and embellished with crystals and gold embroidery — that paid tribute to his father’s family in Nepal.
“What I want to think about is like, ‘Is this a story that I wanted to tell? That I feel confident about? That I can do justice?’” Gurung explained. “You can’t predict what’s going to be cool — I’ve never worried about that. I just want to share a little piece of my world.”
Scroll down to see this season’s runway highlights, which will be updated throughout the week.