It sure seems that this S/S’14 season, New York, instead of being all distant and ‘we’re over here & commercial…yay us,’ has gone a tad Euro. Shock.
There’s always been a recognition that New York is the serious business of clothes – lots of neutrals, layers, luxury fabrics, easy to understand pieces that say ‘buy me, wear me’ to every Noo Yoik city broad while London gets palmed off as creative but eccentric & quirky and Milan and Paris as serious contenders but, you know, foreign in terms of that pairing or those colour clashes. While it’s more often as not a case of , ‘Hey you guys in Europe! You can do all that quirky stuff (like democratically electing to stay out of wars and juxtaposed fabrics and hemlines), and we’ll concentrate on the chic, no feathers ruffled, no hemlines slashed, no sweat (shop) style that translates as uptown class’, this season in New York, there’s been a vanguard change.
And our very own Vicky Beckham’s right up there with the best of them. And so is Prabal Gurung. Though the two designers are as different as night & day (Prabal does actually smile genuinely), there’s something going on here.
Victoria Beckham’s show, today, is a case in point. The original Queen of slinky body con, all flowing lines and in-built corsetry, who concentrated on her gowns as show-stoppers, has further shifted her emphasis this season to a largely daywear collection that could have been conceived in the Paris ready-to-wear ateliers by ex St Martin’s graduates.
Modernist in approach for sure, Victoria Beckham is hell-bent in taking her legion of fans and more into new territories – voluminous rounded shoulders, fluted hems on wide tops over cut-off pants, incy-wincy vest tops and mini skirts with hidden kick pleats peaking through, oversized waistcoats and severe, short-sleeve shirts buttoned to the neck that would have a buyer searching for the ‘Celine’ label and laser-cut pattern brights that contrasted buttoned-up frigidity with up-to-there, semi-hidden kick pleat minis. Which isn’t to say that this was a bad collection. Far from it. What it did, was staple Victoria Beckham’s name even further to the list of ‘serious shows to take heed’. But did it bring a taste of the new? No. It was as constructed and as finely tuned as brand Beckham herself.
Prabal Gurung, too, seems to be getting a fair bit of criticism for not pushing the boat out far enough in terms of stretching his boundaries. I think, a tad unfairly. Although this latest offer paid obvious credence to shows that had gone before it in past seasons (namely Raf Simons, new Dior, Marc Jacobs & Viktor & Rolf), Prabal Gurung offered a plastic fantastic, techno-fabric approach with his sharp array of shiny pastels & florid prints that combined ladylike and demure with a fun future leaning. Satin trenches and bomber jackets were right on the money, as were huge floral prints, plastic printed coats (including a fab swagger version) and the huge knotting details. There was a whole lotta going-on going on out there and though the message wasn’t purist or clean enough, those modernist, ‘50s, strapless, wiggle dresses will wriggle the dollars from wallets, for sure. Think a tamed down version of the B52s via Paris and you’ll get the drift.
It may have been New York but globalisation has meant that ideas travel quickly. Almost too much so. No more the broad stereotype fashion capital. Be gone beige, streamlined NYFW of old! Welcome to a new age.
Catwalk imagery kindly supplied by www.style.com. To see more images, click on the link to the website.