The (unofficial) first day of New York Fashion Week was a sigh of extremes. There were quiet, retrained productions (like that of Protagonist, where Georgia Lazzaro showed a calm collection of sculptural separates and clean gallery attire at The Apartment by The Line), relaxed, integrity-first options (the clever, easeful Tomas Maier, for one), youthful punk re-imaginings (this season’s McQ by Alexander McQueen) and in utter opposition, the loud—extremely loud—avant-street and sportswear party that was VFiles.
Perhaps the most interesting takeaway from this first day of New York madness is that what it means to show in our city is not as defined as we would like to imagine. We’d like to argue that New York is stale, or at least one of the more predictable fashion cities—that we know what the city is saying about sportswear, gender, and ideas of downtown and rebellion. But today we got a unisex white denim Canadian tuxedo covered in blue pen scribbles (the handiwork of Sophie Hardeman, who also tested out sheer silk cut as blue denim), crotch- and ass-less denim mom jeans (from the young Swiss line Ottolinger), early ‘80s Shinjuku-inspired Japanese denim (at Alexander McQueen’s punkier younger sibling), and for a discrete client, crisply cut, immaculately simple shirting (at Protagonist).
VFiles’ new guard, while not without reference (firsts these were not), was also not completely predictable. LVMH Prize semifinalist Anton Belinskiy’s red and yellow oversized rain capes felt like Patagonia outerwear re-envisioned for a rave. Meanwhile, Rome-raised designer Kim Shui played with ideas of excess in fashion. She layered the most stereotypically obscene materials—snakeskins, colorful furs, sequins—in an ode to Wassily Kandinksy. Like it or not, the message for physical re-appropriation was clear.
There was a fair bit of scene. One male model at VFiles wore just denim hot pants, with two mini dogs as accessories; later, at the same show, Tyga performed, as half the room got ready to rage and the other appeared desperately anxious to go home and file reviews. If you could get past the bells and whistles, the start of NYFW suggested a vision of the new in line with Vetements’ genderless, oversized, of-the-underground rebellion. However, for Maier and Lazzaro, Fall 2016 is not about a trend or new statement at all. Rather, these subtle creatives are looking to present the perfect tarnished leather A-line (see Maier’s selection), or a confidently sexy black cocktail dress (found at Protagonist). Here’s to refining what we have been seeing by subverting a call for trends, or, in the case of the youth-focused set, trying them on for fresh size.