NYFW SS20 — in Review
WORDS : JOHN MARTIN TILLEY
American fashion is one not limited to a specific identity—especially in New York, where to be American is to constantly reinvent yourself. Our core is one that shifts wildly with the wind, always in search of the future or nostalgia or some sparkling combination of the two, which was especially apparent this season in the city that never sleeps. Who do you feel like being today? I feel like being a New Yorker.
Puppets and Puppets
It would seem that new-kids-on-the-block brand Puppets and Puppets has unleashed an army of innermost Russian nesting dolls, who, in their rampant, clumsy frolic toward freedom, have smashed their way through the Romanav palace, snatching bits of imperial Russian grandma glamour as well as pronounced pieces of bohemian Soviet austerity, all while maintaining, in small, kooky moments, the thematic integrity of their original nesting doll shape: that of the egg. The appearance of the eggs is cheeky and literal (“Wait, are those actual eggshells on those shoes?”); it’s almost as if the Fabergé patterns on the clothes have been wrenched from the surface of the eggs, leaving the shells empty of their rich filigree, the violence of this separation evident only in the chaotic smears of ghoulish red across some of the models’ mouths as if they’d emerged from a murderous brawl. Nostrovia, babe.
Oh, you thought Telfar was going to give you clothes this season? You silly thing, you. The notorious fashion wizard is taking his celebrated line to Paris this time around, but rather than leave the New Yorkers who were thirsty for his latest, he gave us a little appetizer to anticipate Paris: a fashion-meets-performance art video that acted as a “preview” for the upcoming show. It was daring, weird, and political—the designer has been directly affected by the restrictive travel policies of the current administration—showing the now iconic Telfar mini bags going through airport security. Perhaps a TSA-inspired collection? We shall see.
The Mexico City club kids over at Barragán looked like they had a rough night, Euphoria-style, showing up at the wrong kind of pool party and making an Irish goodbye with a hodge podge of swirling, baggy denim, ultra-clingy tops and swimsuits fresh out of the blender, and a sprinkling of graphic zebra-print fantasy just for the hell of it. It was a funky fresh blend of the boldly body positive with a signature Mexican street sensibility, something loud and bright and cool, but a little dangerous. Wear with caution.
Collina Strada’s fleet of flower children preached the house down in Stuyvesant Park (aesthetically, anyway), where the children’s book florals-meets-head shop tie dye designs were all in service to Mother Earth, with doodles of our endangered planet scrawled here and there accompanied by the innocent phrase, “Thank you for helping me.” Sauntering by a table full of produce, the cast of non-models included mothers young and old, some with children in toe, others with laundry carts full of discarded fabric. The playfulness of the clothes and styling implied a bright hopefulness on such a serious and timely issue as sustainability, the chintzy details and riotous patterns providing the game of dress up that is the whole point of fashion: dress for the world you want, not the world you have.
Underground fashion squad captain Lou Dallas threw a campy, frilly mod picnic for us this season, blowing hair to the ceiling and creating a colorful patchwork of pieces plucked from a magical thrift store in the sky. Imagine a chic country cat lady with a good eye for lines who sews her own clothes from fabrics on sale at Hobby Lobby, except this time she’s been given a harum-scarum batch of luxury materials to mix and match and a gaggle of pretty young things to walk in them. This cat lady did not hold back. She was feeling her brazen whimsical fantasy, tempered only by a sense of smart-girl modesty in the silhouettes, which was in turn offset by an overall rock n’ roll attitude.