NEW YORK — The fashion offerings were plentiful the past two weeks duringNew York Fashion Week.
With hundreds of designers working from their own inspirations, identifying the right looks and trends can be downright daunting. But after viewing close to 40 collections, we've narrowed down the hottest looks so that you'll have a leg up this fall.
The gender-bending trend thatwas first spotted during the European shows continued in New York.
David Tlale dressed his male models — including the well-known Tyson Beckford — in flowing fabrics that softened some of the traditionally masculine menswear pieces such as blazers and pants. At the Custo Barcelona show, male models were dressed in Bohemian-styled ponchos and heavy layered outerwear similar to their female counterparts. Public School took more of a sporty approach to womenswear, dressing itsfemale models in trousers, while Hood by Airsent outmale models in slit dresses.
Bundle up this fall with plenty of coats, jackets, scarves and wraps in heavy, printed woolsand colorful furs.
Custo Barcelona took the colorful printed pattern approach with ponchos and coats. Carmen Marc Valvo's fur coats in red, red and black, and black and whitewere sublime. Prabal Gurung continued to show his dominance in fashionable furs with his offering in a black-and-white geometric patterned coat, and black-and-white fur-trimmed hooded coats all at knee length. Dennis Basso, who is known for his furs, paired furs and exotic skins with success. There were so many matchings of alligator with Russian lynx or sable that I lost count.And I loved the fur-trimmed collars that Rodarte used on the patent leather jackets, bomber jackets and knee-length coats. Metallic bomber jackets were also popular at Noon by Noor, and their capes and coatswere memorable. The colorful cocoon coats at Desigualalso stood out.
The colder weather usually associated with fall didn't stop designers from looking at warmer climates for inspiration.
Annapolis native Christian Siriano said he was inspired by the gorillas and plant life of the jungles in the Congo for his collection. It showed in his red carpet-ready gowns, cocktail dresses and flashy separates. Desigual hinted at its jungle theme with invitations adorned with animal print. The collection followed suit. Christian Lacroix, who designed this season'sDesigual collection, received inspiration in part from photographs of Africa. Design houses Edun and Baja East got inspiration from Morocco.
Fashion Week coincided with the NBA's All-Star Weekend, which meant an added dose of sports power. In addition to a slew of NBA playerssitting among celebrities and fashion elite at runway shows,some players also took ventured into fashion production.
Basketball star Lebron James hosted a fashion show featuring players, models and stylists. And Carmelo Anthonyof the New York Knicks presented a fashion symposium.
Back on the runway, Tommy Hilfiger based his collection on American football. Those who follow Hilfiger shouldn't be surprised. He invited Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to his 2014 runway show, shortly after the Ravens won the Super Bowl.
This year, Hilfiger had an entire football theme for his show. Hisvenue was transformed into a stadium — field goal, scoreboard, bleachers and AstroTurf included. Many of his models wore garments that resembled sports jerseys. He even created a lambskin clutch in the same hue as a football, adorned with the number "30" to commemorate his 30th anniversary. It worked. And it didn't come off as cheesy.
Women will have plenty of red to wear come fall — and in a multitude of shades.
One of the most stunning red moments came from Dennis Basso, who paired a scarlet floral jacquard gown with a similarly hued chinchilla vest. Carmen Marc Valvo's offerings of evening wear included a ruby and black windowpane gown, a plush red and black fur coat, and red with black trim silk gown. Prabal Gurung showed sleek crimson dresses, leather tops in wine hues and rich red turtlenecks. Jason Wu used red as a separate — in the form of a rich scarfed blouse — and as a main attraction with a deep V, high-slit dress. Alexander Wang broke up his black-dominated, goth-inspired collection with a flashy red and blackplaid coat.
Tracy Reese's collection of sophisticated rocker chic garb was peppered with red. From crimson day dresses to red patterned frocks that looked worthy of another Michelle Obama endorsement. Tommy Hilfiger's sports-themed show featured a spectrum of reds, including plenty of Marsala separates and scarlet outerwear such as coats and capes.
Once again, designers ignored the old no-white-after-Labor Day rule.
And offerings weren't all off-color "winter whites." The garments were diamond white, chalk, bone and ash. It was the whitest of white — just in thicker, meatier fabrics.
Mara Hoffman's collection opened with cream-hued heavier garments and ended with metal-adorned ethereal tunics. RANFAN featured outerwear that included including fur and fur-trim hoodies. Herve Leger showed several tight, white bandage dresses, mostly adorned in sparkly details. Stevie Boi named his collection "Cr3am" to reflect his all-white ensemble.
Vivienne Hu presented several diamond white pieces, including a tunic blouse, tailored blazer and quilted asymmetrical sweater. Noon by Noor included a stunning white gown with flowing white cape. Novis also used white effectively. The buzzed-about collection featured a cream dress paired with a long brown and cream plaid scarf that screamed cozy. The use of cream above the ankle stockings also stood out because of the use of mismatched heels.
Mara Hoffman received her inspiration in part from Luke Skywalker. The character and the "Star Wars" series could be seen with nods to alien-inspired clothing that included plush outerwearand long flowing tunic gowns that were adorned with metallics.
Elsewhere, the use of metallics was a repeated theme among designers.
Angel Sanchez showed a good amount of metallic gold frocks throughout his exciting collection. The designer, who is known for his bridal offerings, showed that he could also excel in ready-to-wear with stunning structured day dresses and architectural gowns. The looks were very fashion forward.
Noon by Noor peppered its collection with metallic separates that got a thumbs-up emoji from front-row attendee supermodel Coco Rocha.
Other trends to follow
This trend was forecast during the European shows with the popularity of turtleneck sweaters for men. In New York, that expanded to womenswear designers layering turtleneck sweaters underneath dresses, which was the case at Nicole Miller. Prabal Gurung paired sweaters with skirts and jackets for toasty-looking ensembles.
Pamella Roland's collection was filled with more than a half-dozen purple-hued items, including a plum silk gown with hand painting. Monique Lhuillier's runway show included several flowy purple gowns — one that trailed in the wind as the model glided down the runway. Tadashi Shoji showcased two gowns that he described as "purple parade" on his Instagram account. The gowns featured detailed beading and metallic applications that epitomized opulence.
Maryland's David Hart ventured to the Old West for inspiration. In fact, Hart basedthis season's offeringson the spaghetti Westernfilmsof the1960s. It showed in the cowboy prints that were used to create blazers andpants — and in the American Indian patterns that adorned his sweaters and coats. Alice + Olivia channeled the 1970s for its fall offerings, including jacquarddresses and coatsand feathered skirts. Nicole Miller's collection also channeled a '70s theme with floral patterned frocks, leather bell-bottoms and fur-collared coats.
Pamella Roland was inspired by the world of fashion in 1970s Paris as described in the book "The Beautiful Fall." Nicole Miller tied scarves around the necks of her models, reminiscent of French bikers.
Between high-profile designers, models and even a public health innovator, there was a strong Maryland presence at Fashion Week.
Jill Andrews The Baltimore-based wedding gown designer participated in a pop-up loungeat the Empire Hotel to showcase the award-winning suit she designed to protect medical staff from the Ebola virus. The lounge was sponsored by GE Foundation, the global health nonprofit JHPIEGO and International Rescue Committee.
Andrews, whosaid that she was "honored" to have her work recognized,added that the suit is in the process of beingtransitioned from a prototype to production.
"This humanized the pandemic for me," Andrews said of her work on the project. "Pandemics are about people, and people wanting to help."
Christian Siriano Amid a successful red carpet season, the "Project Runway" alum — and Annapolis-native — found a way to deliver a collection of Congo-inspired day dresses, gowns, separates and outerwear. The designer attracted the likes of Kesha, Juliette Lewis, Zendaya and Kelly Osbourne.
David Hart The Severna Park native unveiled two collections this season. As the new creative director of menswear brand Hickey Freeman, he turned to German photographer Willi Ruge and the early days of aviation for inspiration. His own David Hart brand was inspired by the American West of the 19thcentury.
Stevie Boi The Baltimore-based eyewear designer, whose fans include Lady Gaga and Rihanna, showed that he's also aformidable clothing designer as well. His white-hued collection, Cr3am, featured a mix of ready-to-wear, outerwearand evening attire.
Isis King The "America's Next Top Model" all-star and Maryland nativemodeled for the Chromat label at Milk Studios this season. She was also featured on Style.com.
Hilary Rhoda The supermodel and Chevy Chase nativewalked in the Prabal Gurung show. Vogue featured the model in a behind-the-scenes video where she's shown prepping backstage. Rhoda was also spotted attending the Frame Denim fashion presentation.
Carmelo Anthony The Maryland native and current New York Knick hosted a wearable technology panel at Milk Studios. The forum also included a surprise performance by De La Soul.
Eva Chen The Lucky Magazine editor in chief — and Johns Hopkins University graduate — juggled caring for a newborn and reporting duties for "Entertainment Tonight." Chen interviewed designers such as Michael Kors and then posted videos and photos from shows including Oscar de la Renta, Prabal Gurung, Rodarte, Jason Wu, Victoria Beckham, Altuzarra and 3.1 Phillip Lim.