It’s been 23 years since Alexander McQueen last hosted a runway show in New York – but the Brit brand is back and it doesn’t get more New York than a warehouse in Brooklyn, where the likes of Gossip Girl’s Evan Mock, French musician Soko and American actress Mette Towley, gathered for the brand’s AW22 show.
The AW22 collection, modelled by a superstar model line-up including Lara Stone and Guinevere van Seenus was a smorgasbord of McQueen signatures, from spray-painted suiting (inspired by an archival McQueen collection, Number 13, the show in which the model Shalom Harlow and her strapless white dress were painted by a pair of robots) to the deconstructed, demi-couture dresses the brand is renowned for.
We’d like to see the one-shouldered dress, embroidered with crystal silver beads and pearl oyster mushrooms, as modelled by Kaia Gerber, on a red carpet soon please.
Punk accessories - including patent leather pumps with silver metal toe-caps and oversized ear hooks and chokers, set in pavé crystal and jet - gave each look a New York touch. The buckled biker boots had just the right level of stomp. 'It is an exciting, creative city and it’s a fast city – I wanted the collection to have a pace to it and a precision to the tailoring,’ said Burton backstage. 'It’s about talking to strong women all over the world.'
The Front Row
New fans include Guyanese-born British actress Letitia Wright, who took a break from filming the much-anticipated Black Panther sequel to attend her first Alexander McQueen show. 'I am at the stage in my life where I want to look strong and empowered and Alexander McQueen has captured that really well,' she told Grazia, dressed head-to-toe in the brand’s leather.
She was joined by an impeccably dressed, McQueen-bedecked crowd including Soko, Evan Mock, Mette Towley and Helena Christensen, who later hit The Standard's iconic Boom Boom Room for post-show drinks.
The show theme was mycelium, a fungal filament which connects trees with one another to transfer nutrients and minerals plant-to-plant. 'The idea is humbling – beautiful – and, of course, a metaphor for interconnection and for community between people, between us all,' said Burton. Inside the cavernous Brooklyn warehouse, models walked around large piles mulch, made from trees that had 'fallen down naturally' and which would afterwards be donated to farms and artists’ projects.
Bright block colours – acid yellow, tomato red and tangerine – found on pantsuits and embroidered into dresses were inspired from photographs of mushrooms. Micro-dosing, anyone?
The Highlights From NYFW AW22:
Prabal Gurung's show was a love letter to two places: where he's from (Nepal) and where he lives (New York). Writing in the show notes, the designer said: 'The beauty of my motherland is often glossed over, and with it, her women overlooked. So here, I seek to tell the visual tale of the radiant, celestial, and glorious women that define the nation.'
Collina Strada's casting for its short film - The Collinas - was out-of-this-world. Its protagonist, the one and only Tommy Dorfman, led a line-up that included Aaron Philip, Katerina Tannenbaum (Carrie's new neighbour in AJLT) and Rowan Blanchard, all of whom were wearing the brand's cartoonishly fun clothing.
Phillip Lim knows exactly what women (or, at least, this woman) wants to wear come autumn, namely glitter platforms, sequinned tank tops and easy-breezy boilersuits.
'For this show, I wanted to bring the excitement and energy of a night on the town to life - because I think right now, no matter where you are, we're all craving that.' We're inclined to agree with Michael Kors, who presented as polished a collection as ever at Terminal 5, the city's iconic music venue, to a front row that included Blake Lively, Brooke Shields and Eric Adams, New York City Mayor. 'Michael Kors is the epitome of made in New York,' he said.
Fashion editors are obsessed with his 'Dumpling', a curvaceous shoulder bag that can hold the kitchen sink. Now Peter Do is coming for your workwear wardrobe. For AW22, he delivered the kind of soft-power separates (with interesting layering and lapels) that would certainly create a water-cooler moment in the office.
It's hard to stage a 'first' at fashion week, but not impossible. Just ask Jonathan Simkhai, who, thanks to a partnership with Blueberry Entertainment, became the first designer to ever show in the metaverse. Yes, really. Simkhai's designs were transformed into digital wearables which Everyrealm, a metaverse real estate investor who coordinated the production, will host a NFT (non-fungible token) sale of today. Mind blown.
LaQuan Smith just won first prize for fashion week's biggest 'moment' when Julia Fox, one half of former couple Juliye, opened his show in a body-sculpting black dress. Smith's clothes come with serious sex appeal and were a natural fit for Fox, whose hair was styled into a gel-slicked bun and whose eyes were ringed with a similar felt tip flick that is fast becoming a signature.
Illuminated by a sign that read, 'New Yorker u2764ufe0f Tory Burch', Tory Burch's AW22 collection was another love letter to the women of the New York. American sportswear - its ease and effortlessness - took centre stage; zippered neon tops were worn with knife-pleat slacks, while turtleneck dresses almost looked like cycling jerseys with daubs of blue, brown and purple.
Coach AW22 was a continuation of last season's story, with 'huggable' shearling coats worn over grungy knee-length skirts and the kind of knitted minis that recalled this season's wardrobe in Euphoria. According to the brand's Instagram, these are clothes made with this generation's cool girls in mind. 'Wear this #CoachFall22 look to sneak out your bedroom window. (Your secret's safe with us.) #NYFW #CoachNY,' the brand posted.
Carolina Herrera does romance like no other designer. Well, the brand did show on Valentine's Day, after all, with a slew of pink and red frocks that would make the most elaborate date night outfits.
He's dressed the likes of Michelle Obama, Megan Rapinoe, Adut Akech and Rachel Brosnahan (who sat front row in peacock blue suiting). And for AW22, Sergio Hudson gave the people more of what they wanted: punchy colours and power silhouettes. He also briefed his models to, whisper it, have fun on the catwalk - and they delivered, smiling for the cameras (smiling!) and sashaying with one hand planted on each hip.
Khaite's Catherine Holstein is the master of the cult buy - but her most famous is still that cashmere bra on Katie Holmes. For AW22, she gave it a twist, sending out a sequinned version - worn with an unbutton shirt and ruched silk mini - that definitely set pulses racing. Do you dare?
Ulla Johnson gave her bohemian following plenty to bookmark for autumn, but it was the patchworked and crocheted co-ord (worn over a graphic turtleneck) that really got our attention.
Known for his extravagant looks on Lady Gaga - remember the year when she gradually derobed on the red carpet at the Met Gala? - Brandon Maxwell explored his more serious side on Saturday, with clever combinations for busy women who still want to deliver some brilliance. The corset-style top + straight-leg jeans was genius; ditto the black crew-neck knit with the ball gown skirt.
Christian Siriano is famous for having one of the best model line-ups in New York - and he didn't disappoint for AW22. Karen Elson, Coco Rocha, and Candice Huffine wore, what looked like, increasingly elaborate inky blue latex. Natalie Chan, meanwhile, was wrapped in sumptuous midnight black velvet. 'Adore you! Thank you for making me feel like a queen. ud83eudd8bud83dudc99ud83eudd8b,' posted Elson.
Pretty was meted out with practical at Jason Wu, where gowns were given pockets and skirts came quilted. With the weather infamously changeable - 9°C one minute and -9°C the next - we bet one or two fashion editors would like to wear the latter straight off the catwalk in New York.
Proenza Schouler delivered what felt like the ultimate wardrobe for a certain type of woman (into dresses but not girly dresses; into tailoring but interesting tailoring). This wrap skirt over a trench coat over a pair of trousers felt particularly fresh.
With her digital presentation, Tanya Taylor seemed to be encouraging her customer to do something they might not have done for a long time: have fun. From the feathers to the ruffles to the minis, it felt like wearable optimism.