Two times a year New York finds itself at the centre of the fashion industry’s attention, playing host to a whirlwind week of world-renowned runway shows, up-and-coming design presentations, branded after-parties and a seemingly never-ending parade of street style action. While some may argue that the fashion capital holds the gaze of enthusiasts gazes all year long, it’s these two special occasions that have designers, models, photographers, journalists, publicists, and the obsessed public on the edge of their seats.
New York Fashion Week is a display of countless collections that guide much of the designs that fast fashion will latch onto over each next six month stretch. Serving as a compass for what will inevitably hot or not, the S/S shows give you a sneak peek of what textiles, silhouettes and intricate details to be on the lookout for as you shop ahead for warmer months. While we may be just heading into autumn, these shows are the perfect indication of what to expect ahead, and keeping up with the do’s and dont’s lends insider information to the trend curve before it is even happening.
Fashion week, no matter the city, is all about trend forecasting and devoted fashionistas make it a point to seek out what’s next to allow ample time to secure the pieces or inspirations seen on the runway, and translate them into real world style. Here, you’ll find the best and worst of NYFW’s S/S 14 trends, to navigate the fashion field before you even step foot onto it.
NYFW S/S 14 Highlights
Anytime a designer is taking risks, it’s a call to attention, and a stir of the pot that should be appreciated by any fashion-lover. Risks, good or bad, equivocate wow-factor, and when more and more of this tenant is missing from the fashion ladder, it’s important to stand up and take notice of those who are doing something different. Outside the norm outweighs playing it safe, and for Spring/Summer 14 this means throwing tradition out the warm-weather window.
In a much-needed scoff to cliche collections, a few American designers stood out amongst the crowd showcasing surprising lace and embroidery numbers, flowing, full-length silhouettes, and exotic elements. In a line-up which now feels run by recycled basics, crop tops and short, structured silhouettes, it was easy to see why Donna Karan, Rodarte, and Tracy Reese left lasting impressions. Refreshing Latin vibes, Marrakech moments, and opulent sheer overlays added something special to a stereotypically sporty season.
NYFW S/S 14 Disappointments
We were less than thrilled to see a sea of khaki, navy, and green shades, from some of the biggest names in the game like Michael Kors. Needless to say, these major players should know better, and instead of resting on their laurels, should continue to aspire to push boundaries. Collection after collection, season after season, it’s not about outdoing other brands, it’s about making brand history. Neoprene everything was a big snooze at the Tommy Hilfiger shows, considering the incorporation of the beach-ready textile already blew our minds a few years back.
Few things are more disappointing than when a label designs for current trends with an attempt to ride on others’ success. It’s great for a brand to build a recognisable aesthetic, but there’s a difference between signature style and regurgitated style. Designers are leaders that should help the industry’s creativity and art progress. Progress isn’t made by designing in circles, it’s made by making innovative strides and running forward from the pack.
NYFW S/S 14 Trends
Origami construction led the shapes, draping and structure of spring and summer’s upcoming designs. Proving that there’s a push for (what we imagine to be) futuristic dressing, the lines of clothing for this season seemed to mesh intricacies with a clean aesthetic.
Unique folds, full-length pleats, and deconstructed designs ruled the tents in terms of silhouettes, and although simplistic, the boxy styles certainly aren’t basic in composition. Creases, casing and architectural elements showcase stunning talents, and the execution of smooth and controlled construction only validates these designers’ discipline.
Modern and minimal garments were mixed and matched at Thakoon and pleated ball gown separates swept the runway floors at Alice + Olivia. DKNY blends halves of a white blouse and double-breasted trench coat, while BCBG Max Azria dismantles and reinterprets basics.
Exotic inspirations were sprinkled like glimmering jewels throughout collections. Models made their way down the catwalk in Eastern-centric shades, intricate embellishments, and elaborate embroidery designs. Jenny Packham and Jil Sander packed on the spice in saturated mustard-hued garments, and Rachel Comeyadded added her own flavour to the mix by featuring paprika-peppered dresses.
Prabal Gurung draped his leading ladies head-to-toe floral branch prints, while it was all about the needle work over at 3.1 Phillip Lim. Rich in colour, detail, and pattern, these are the designs you’ll be using to pop your basics with a surprising statement come spring.
The retro revival was also out in full force, as army after army of models were decked out in 50′s and 60s influences. From picnic plaid fabrics to dresses that looked to be designed with Twiggy in mind, a nod to this golden era is an understatement. Expected from the always classic Kate Spade camp and Marc by Marc Jacobs’ constant obsession with the swinging 1960s and 1970s, Oscar de le Renta, Carolina Herrera and Derek Lam all joined the ranks this time around.
Polka dot prints, florals, and tea-length dresses combined for an ultra-feminine composition at Oscar de la Renta. Glammed up gingham at Derek Lam turned a once casual table cloth pattern into an uber-chic, new neutral. Recycling trends is common amongst the design world, as consumers crave a good play on nostalgia.
NYFW S/S 14 Details
The difference between fashion and style is all in the details. Fashion can be left to describe clothing, the singular pieces, the haute couture items themselves. Accessories on the other hand often fall into the style category, as they are the selections used to tell a story. This season’s stories varied differently between casual and occasion dressing.
Flats in every flavour were seen keeping looks light and easy – boat shoes, birkenstocks, grecian sandals and beyond. Jewellery ranged from fun and flirty pearls and lady-like gloves to dress up retro inspirations, and dainty floral hair pieces sprouted from more casual looks at shows like Honor. No matter the aesthetic, the running accessory theme seemed to circle back to the idea of simplicity, a welcomed change from the gaudy and baroque styles we’ll be wearing for autumn and winter.
NYFW S/S 14 Beauty
During the summer months, we want to stay fresh and avoid clogging up our pores with too much make up. Often, we find the make up a little too heavy, which is why we were happy to welcome the nude faces and minimal makeup showcased for S/S 14. The focus appeared to be on glowing skin, which any beauty enthusiast knows can be achieved with the help of a little tinted moisturizer or BB cream, and a sweeping of bronzer and highlighter to accentuate the features. Little to no eye makeup and just a simple colour pop on the lips (coral or orange are the way to go) were additional wins for the old wallet.
As far as hair goes, stylists are keeping us on opposite ends of the spectrum next season. This means playing it tight with a slicked back look, or going wild with a voluminous and untamed mane. Anything that falls in between, well, falls flat. Whether you choose to go minimal or over the top, either is a successful bet when you ditch last year’s oversized floral crowns and finish your look off with dainty trend-right floral touches ala Honor.
Just like any year in New York, the American aesthetic ran the gamut, and while there’s plenty of unconventional trends to try for S/S 14 our best advice for pulling them off is working them in intermittently. Step outside your comfort zone, try out a new idea that speaks to you, and take higher risks for higher rewards and return.