Is it Fall Yet? Our Favorite NYFW Collections We Can’t Wait to Wear

Alexander Wang F/W ’18

 

Is it just us or is fall fashion just so much better than spring? That was definitely the case at the NYFW FW18 shows the past two weeks. And so while most New Yorkers might be pining for spring sunshine throughout this temperamental (but mostly cold) Northeast winter, we find ourselves counting down the days until September finally returns, and we can look cute again.

From Matrix-inspired office wear at Alexander Wang to ’80s power suits at Marc Jacobs and ’00s-era Paris Hilton puppy vibes at Gauntlett Cheng, we’ve compiled here our favorite Fashion Week moments – plus two honorable mentions because, well, we just couldn’t bear to narrow it down.

 

Alexander Wang

 

 

We’ve loved Alexander Wang since he first debuted his part minimalist, part rock ‘n’ roll It-girl uniforms; but we have to say, the last few seasons have left us with a never-ending #WANGOVER. This season, though, the San Fransisco born designer channeled The Matrix-meets-The Office, delivering a range of post-apocalyptic professional wear that we want every piece of – especially, the fur-lined ’90s CK-inspired undies.

 

Marc Jacobs

 

 

Marc Jacobs is basically the Alexander Wang of the late ’90s. So, needless to say, we’re giant fans. But much like last season’s awful #WANGOVER, Marc has fallen off a bit the last few years. I mean, remember the dreadlocks fiasco? Still, it seams Jacobs got the memo (or finally found it again), and this season felt like a return to form. Part ’80s power suit, part goth noir, the Marc Jacobs FW18 collection felt like Bianca Jagger in her white suit days, if she had Grace Jones’ attitude and Siouxsie’s sense of color. What more could you possibly as for?

 

Eckhaus Latta

 

 

One of fashion’s favorite new brands, Eckhaus Latta has mastered minimalism in its purest form. For their FW18 collection, designers Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta built upon the easy going feel of their last few seasons, but experimented more with shape and color than they ever have before. While the knits and sheer dresses fit right into the Eckhaus Latta playbook, bright yellow flowy fabrics were a new look for the brand. Overall, the collection was bold but understated, yet what Eckhaus Latta does best isn’t actually their clothes. Season after season, and despite its growing popularity, the brand remains dedicated to its outsider ethos. And did we mention their casting always rules? This season saw a diverse runway filled with New York City favorites, including model Paloma Elsesser and indie rock royalty Coco Gordon-Moore.

 

Tom Ford

 

 

Nobody does sleek and sexy like Tom Ford. This season, the designer went all in with leopard print, mixing loud colors with the even louder print in all different sizes from head-to-toe. Not only did each look feel totally timeless, you’ve got to give it to someone who can make lime green or bright red leopard print look not only classy, but cool.

 

Chromat

 

 

Another one of the fashion industry’s favorite young designers, Becca McCharen-Tran built Chromat to empower women of all shapes, sizes and colors. While most brands have embraced a long overdue push for diversity on the runway (not looking at you, Stefano Gabbana), Chromat also delivers it IRL. With a focus on emerging technology and body positivity, the label pushes boundaries and challenges the fashion status quo. For her latest collection, McCharen stuck with oranges and neons, accessorizing each look with Flaming Hot Cheeto bags tied to models’ pants and in their hands. Rapper Slay Rizz finished out the show with a killer performance in an orange two-piece by Chromat, and even though we didn’t get any cheese puffs to go, we were sold.

 

Dion Lee

 

 

Since launching his eponymous label in 2009, Australian designer Dion Lee has consistently delivered classic yet forward-thinking clothing, with his FW18 collection serving as further proof of his talent. Outfitting traditional sportswear looks with architectural bra-tops, it seems Lee also watched The Matrix and The Office before designing his collection. But unlike Wang’s, the Dion Lee range felt modern, not futuristic – the Neo influence was subtle. Lee also brought in more feminine elements, juxtaposing the structured suits and tops with flowy skirts.

 

Gypsy Sport

 

 

Ever since winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2015, Rio Uribe has been making waves with his brand Gypsy Sport. Inspired by New York City, Uribe turned heads last year when he decided to present his Spring collection in Paris. But for FW18, Uribe returned to the city, thank god. Other than that, though, this was an all new Gypsy Sport. Over the last few years, the brand has become recognizable for their upcycled jerseys and I <3 NY logo tees, with the Gypsy Sport name in place of the heart. This season, Uribe ditched the streetwear element, presenting a romantic collection filled with suits and gothic ruffles, as well as a few sustainable aluminum looks. Of course, the designer stuck to his habit of using friends and members of the LGBTQ community as models, including 10-year-old activist and drag star Desmond is Amazing, who stole the show (and probably all of Fashion Week). Known for his willingness to experiment, it’s hard to tell whether this collection was a one-off, or the evolution of the brand. Either way, it doesn’t really matter, because whatever Gypsy Sport does is really, really good.

 

Adam Selman

 

 

Another CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund alum, Adam Selman won Fashion Week in our book. The FW18 collection was kinky, it was campy, it was part John Waters, part new wave, it was punk as fuck. Featuring a collaboration with artist Cheyco Leidmann, who created the surrealist prints Selman used on dresses and shirts, the range was bold and colorful, mixing prints, patterns and styles in an ode to photographer Ypsitylla Von Nazareth. In addition to the outfits, Selman also debuted his latest collection for sunglasses brand Le Specs. If you haven’t already been spotting his metallic cat-eyes for the last few years, get ready – this season’s heart-adorned versions are about to be everywhere. We want ours now.

 

Vaquera

 

 

Most people had never heard of New York City brand Vaquera before last NYFW, when they debuted a dress made only of blue and gold credit cards. For some reason, the look ended up on every news outlet, even though it was one of the weakest of the show. (We’re not saying we didn’t like it – we did.) What Vaquera does best is their more subtle work. This season, the designers seemed to realize that as well, presenting a range of deconstructed pieces that were delicate and cool. The highlights: an oversized blazer dress, cropped suit and crazy snakeskin skirt that all looked like they were slightly unfinished, but in reality, took forever to make. And isn’t that the best stuff anyway? The kind that costs, like, $10,000, but looks like you got it in the back of Duane Reade.

 

Calvin Klein

 

 

Oh, Raf. There’s literally nothing he could do at this point that would make us angry, because every collection he sends down the runway is as close to perfect as it gets. After presenting a men’s collection for his namesake label earlier in the week that revolved around Christiane F. and Cookie Mueller’s Drugs, Simons presented a classic Calvin Klein collection that took all of his quirky eccentricities and somehow made them look, well, classic as fuck. I mean, who else could send swimming caps and sweatshirt-less hoodies down the runway, without looking like he’s trying to be avant-garde? No one. And that’s part of his charm. Unlike a lot of of designers who, when they take over a storied brand, start to lose their individual voice, Raf’s seems to get only louder with each season, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

Jeremy Scott

 

 

We have to be honest when we say that we love Moschino, but have never really caught the Jeremy Scott bug. That is, until this season, where Scott went full-on Fifth Element, with futuristic space-inspired looks. For those of you that don’t know, Jean Paul Gaultier did the costumes for The Fifth Element, and it’s basically a 2-hour fashion orgasm. So, when Scott sent Gigi Hadid down the runway in a silver overall dress, pink crop-top and matching pink LeeLoo-inspired wig – well, we almost stood up to give him immediate applause. The rest of the collection was equally amazing, with all of it feeling retro-futuristic without trying too hard. The key was nothing felt too much like a costume, just the uniform for a school in 2064.

 

Honorable Mentions

Telfar

 

 

This was Telfar Clemons’ second collection since winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, and though it was impeccable, it was the presentation that really kicked ass. Following the runway show that saw Clemons’ solidify his gender neutral ’70s aesthetic, singer/performer Dev Hynes, rapper Ian Isiah, Kelela, Oyinda, 070 Shake and Kelsey Lu took the stage for an intimate performance. The result was emotional yet understated, just like the collection itself.

 

Gauntlett Cheng

 

 

We’re big fans of Esther Gauntlett and Jenny Cheng’s self-aware brand that makes clothes for cool girls all over the world. This season, the duo went Westminster – or maybe Paris Hilton circa 2002. Either way, we were obsessed with the high fashion pieces they presented on models and a group of pups.

 

All photos courtesy of Vogue Runway

Vaquera’s Spring 18 Show Pokes Fun at Stuffy Fashion & American Youth

Illustration: Hilton Dresden. Photos Courtesy of Dan and Corina Lecca.

 

Designers Patric DiCaprio, Bryn Taubensee, David Moses, and Claire Sully, more succinctly known as Vaquera, have again poked fun at stuffy fashion shows and pretentious ideas of class with their Spring 18 collection.

The show was presented in a boxing gym in lower Manhattan—models stomped down a runway that twisted around a roped stage reserved for competitions of physical strength and endurance. Upon each seat a poem was written:

“I’m trying to think, About who I am, and what I want!!!!!!” it begins. “But instead I’m stuck on when I didn’t think about much at all. When my main dilemma was whether my outfit would read as surf when all I wanted was to be punk!!!!!!!”

As always, the collection appeared to tackle the concept of identity expressed through fashion—in seasons past, we’ve seen elegant chefs, women swarthed in gauzy umbrellas, working class attire and over-the-top Americana. This season seems to take a more youthful approach, calling back to middle school couture with its Abercrombie-reminiscent ‘Vaquera’ logos emblazoned upon cropped tank tops and fringed tees. Board shorts, tropical florals, and license plate-themed textiles reigned supreme, further reinforcing the notion of eight grade mall kids-gone-high fashion.

 

 

The show still felt, as Vaquera always does, very American, or, at least, poking fun at clothing that would, in another context, signify extreme patriotism. There was a giant t-shirt with Abe Lincoln on it, accompanied by a large cowboy hat. The characters created in this show seem more innocent than those of runways past, with their ripped tees and wide cut trousers.

Moments that truly astounded us included the final look, a giant gown made out of bathrobe material, as well as a floral dress with a giant bow tied on its front. We were also partial to the phase of the collection using a yellow checkered fabric, which featured a ruffle-sleeved, high-low shirt fitted ingeniously upon its model. They also struck gold with a pinstripe trouser paired with a skintight floral turtleneck. Take a look at some of our favorites below.

 

The CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Finalists Have Been Announced

Illustration: Hilton Dresden

The ten finalists for the CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund are here, and each now has a shot and raking in that sweet, sweet $400,000 grand prize (two runner-ups will take home a cool $100K.)

Each one of the ten picks will receive mentorship and guidance from established industry creatives, and present a final collection at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles in October. From there, judges will decide a winner and announce the top contenders in NYC on November 6. The panel, which consists of such legends as Diane von Furstenberg, Ashley Olsen, and Prabal Gurung, welcomes four new members this year: previous fund winners Joseph Altuzarra and Eva Chen, Saks’ Senior VP and Fashion Director Roopal Patel, and Vogue Runway‘s Director Nicole Phelps.

The finalists this year include some of our queer faves, including Vaquera, who’ve previously wowed us with their Handmaid’s Tale collaboration and alt-Americana inspired runways, and Chromat, responsible for futuristic swim and athletic wear and a new electric capsule collection with MAC.

Take a look at the full list below:

Ahlem Manai-Platt (eyewear): Ahlem

Becca McCharen-Tran (swim and athleticwear): Chromat

Christopher Bevans (menswear): Dyne

Victor Glemaud (knitwear): Victor Glemaud

Jordan Askill (jewelry): Jordan Askill

Matthew Harris (jewelry): Mateo New York

Eli Azran (streetwear): RTA

Sandy Liang (womenswear): Sandy Liang

Telfar Clemens (ready-to-wear): Telfar LLC

Patric DiCaprio, Bryn Taubensee, David Moses & Claire Sully (ready-to-wear): Vaquera

Vaquera’s Handmaid’s Tale Collection: Fashion That Empowers & Oppresses

Photography: Michael Hauptman for Vaquera

Inside an eerie Lower East Side chapel and seated across from a woman in a chunky red leotard, moody noises began composing an ethereal soundtrack. We knew we were in one of two places: the scene of a high fashion cult sacrifice or the runway of Vaquera’s Handmaid’s Tale capsule collection.

When the NYC brand—composed of Patric DiCaprio, Claire Sully, Bryn Taubensee and David Moses—announced they were teaming up with The Handmaid’s Tale for a special project, we had very high, bonnet-filled hopes for what outfits might result. Our expectations were surpassed by the show we witnessed at the Angel Orensanz Foundation—a place that likely hadn’t seen such energy within its walls since Sarah Jessica Parker married Matthew Broderick there in 1997. The capsule delivered on thoughtful silhouettes, textiles and intentions, but above all, stayed true to Vaquera’s ongoing mission: to create characters.

“It’s something that’s at the core of our collections,” DiCaprio told OUT. “We do work about people that are oppressed, and we like to talk about a person’s individuality, and create these characters, which is the opposite of what’s happening in The Handmaid’s Tale. We’re very focused on the personalities. Once you put a piece of clothing on someone who has a great personality, it evolves and becomes something so much greater.”

Personality certainly took the spotlight on Vaquera’s runway: two models in red tunics and bonnets planted kisses on each other as they took their place center stage, while another stormed around the room chucking ripped up flowers at audience members with all his might. One look featured a woman in a thong and bra holding a pearly white umbrella over her heard, with a cocoon of silvery gauze shielding her body from the outside world. Another model ate a bag of oranges as he walked, letting the peels scatter behind him on the runway.

“We were all fucking weird kids,” DiCaprio said. “So I think doing something that speaks to oppressed people, or people who are weird comes naturally to us.”

In true Handmaid’s Tale form, the collection was grounded in stifling imagery that reflected a history of female marginalization: bound hands, a dress with the words, “Votes for Women,” emblazoned on its chest and a model dripping with sewn-together cone bras.

“The original theme for us in this was empowerment versus oppression,” Sully said. “We were talking about how, throughout the collection, as we worked on it, we realized that every look could be either empowered or oppressed, depending on the way you, the wearer, is wearing it. And so the cast was really important in that. And that individuality coming through with the way that they were acting, and the way that they walked, was really important to us.”

An eccentric, inclusive cast was essential for conveying the wide variety of identities being communicated at the Angel Orensanz Foundation. To accomplish this, the brand collaborated with Midland Agency‘s Walter Pearce, who’s known for discovering and championing unconvential beauty—especially through his work as Hood by Air’s longtime casting director.

Vaquera’s most recent fall ’17 collection tackled American identity, from long gowns constructed with American flags to cocktail dresses fashioned as oversized Tiffany’s bags. Through their collaboration with The Handmaid’s Tale, the burgeoning label continues to explore what it means to be a member of the United States.

“The election has obviously changed this country,” DiCaprio said. “We don’t need to say it. But America has a long history of oppression, and it was built on that. It’s sad to say, but it’s true.”

Moses underlined the importance of working with intent in fashion today: “I feel like we always talk about putting clothes out in an oversaturated market, and how it’s really important for us to have a strong message behind what we’re putting out there,” he said. “So this worked out very serendipitously.”

The individuality of each Vaquera look—a gown made from a wildly oversized hoodie, a high-low tunic incorporating seat cushions—comes from the designers’ understanding that fashion is a vehicle for telling stories about the wearer and the larger cultural context that individual is living within.

“I made a lot of looks with bras this season, so I feel like that must say something about me,” Taubensee said. “I was really interested in sexuality, and—I don’t know, it sounds cliché, if bras are empowering or not, but I guess the bra was somehow very poignant to me, and I guess that would be my personality this season. It’s hard to say exactly why.”

DiCaprio echoed Taubensee, adding that Vaquera likes to use clichés to raise questions, in this case, asking why femininity equates to bras? “You can make a simple answer to that, but if you think about it, it’s pretty complex, and cool to talk about,” he said. “Why can’t women show their breasts? Does that mean something? A nipple is bad, but you can see other things.”

With all these deeply complex conversations at play, Vaquera’s collection certainly felt cathartic, like something inside the designers’ minds had been bumbling around, desperate to escape into reality. And through their Handmaid’s Tale capsule, that something finally has:

“In middle school, I was dying to paint my nails black, and dye my hair, and wear tight pants, or whatever, but when you’re doing something like this, you put it outside of yourself,” DiCaprio said. “And I think that’s why people become designers—that’s at least why I do. I felt so much of that was like, “Get out,” And now it’s on the runway, and I feel relieved. [Now] I can wear jeans and a tee shirt every day.”

 

Vaquera’s FW 17 Show Was an Americana We Support

Illustration by Hilton Dresden

Vaquera’s show Sunday night at NYFW was easily the strongest of the season with its cheeky subversion of classic Americana tropes, like the flag and Tiffany & Co. The collection included everything from Gaultier cone bras to 30+ foot star spangled trains and cartoonish hats rising at least a yard into the air. And yet, as absurd and irreverent as the collection absolutely was, each look felt distinctly chic, of-the-moment, and, somehow, extremely wearable. Every it-girl in the room left wondering how to get their hands on a Tiffany blue assless sack for their next red carpet appearance.

Among our favorite looks: a soon-to-be infamous gown constructed from the American flag, with a train so long we found ourselves shrieking with laughter as it snaked behind its model for foot after foot. We were also obsessed with a boxy red jacket reminiscent of Demna Gvasalia’s Spring ’17 show. A goofy tall hat evocative of the bearskins of ceremonial European military garb left us breathless and feeling naked on our heads.

“All fashion is referential, the New York-based fashion collective told OUT. “It’s absurd to pretend that you are creating something absolutely new in 2017. Instead, we embrace our references. Our work is about combining them in unexpected ways and recontextualizing tired ideas so that they seem fresh.”

On their favorite pieces from the collection, Vaquera said, “It’s exciting to make something super wearable, but I think we get the most excited about our more conceptual show pieces. The American Flag debutant dress, melting Oscar gown and chef/bride were all standouts this season.”

The show was bold in its pairing of high-class pseudo-French elegance with industrial, worksman garb. It’s assymetrical silhouettes, bizarre styling and consistent nods to a warped nation felt beautifully political and the “fuck you” to both our nation and safe fashion that we’ve been begging for. We were left awestruck, excited and hungry to begin our new style chapter of art freak-meets-Audrey Hepburn-meets-mechanic-meets-high-class escort.

“One of the only upsides to having someone in the White House that the vast majority of America distrusts is the unifying power of the resistance movement,” Vaquera said. “We are hoping to see some of the rebellious spirit of the Bush years return to pop culture. We wanted to express how disappointed we are with the current state of American politics without being completely  pessimistic. Positivity and hope are essential.”

Check out the full collection here.