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Runways reflecting the times at NYFW

By Kristopher Fraser


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New York - Day 3 of New York Fashion Week rolled along, with shows from Jill Stuart, Herve Leger, Monique Lhuillier, and Francesca Liberatore just to name a few. While the public often focuses on the glamour of the clothes, it's important to remember what else clothes can tell us about the rest of the world. During the peak of the Great Recession from 2007 to 2008, designers were going very minimalist on the runway with lots of neutrals and dark colors to ensure that they would product that sold.

Many designers were not willing to take risks or do anything too ostentatious that would only appeal to a very niche customer, art was therefore sacrificed for profit. In an economy that's considered to be severely improved, despite the crisis with Greece in Europe and sluggish markets in China, designers are willing to take those artistic risks again and give the world true luxury back. The runways not only tell you about the current state of fashion, but, they reveal so much about the political and economic climates of the time as well.

Jill Stuart's show spoke the woman in power. The brand is known for contemporary and feminine ready-to-wear pieces, and in an era where Hillary Clinton is running for president and women's rights are at the forefront of our political mindset, the label provided several looks from a feminine silk blouse with a bow, a black pants suit that was true to the NYFW trend of freer silhouettes, and loose flowing silk blouses that showed us we are in an era in which women want soft feminine clothes, but they don't want to be restricted by their clothing.

NYFW S/S 16 proves true luxury is returning to the runways

While Stuart was very new wave in her approach to clothing, Herve Leger kept it very old school with their extremely slim fitting silhouettes, but, their collection was proof that people are willing to invest in luxury again. Designer Max Azria played heavily with lines and was also went very heavy on the embellishments. The dresses were sequined and beaded with such precision that for a second the line between ready-to-wear and couture almost became blurred. The ornate and detailed quality of his clothing is proof that there are customers out there who want elaborately detailed quality luxury again. The minimalist era went out the door when the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose above 10,000.

In the realm of high detailing and fine luxury was Monique Lhuillier. The designer who can boast having First Lady Michelle Obama as one of her customers, provided a collection included her signature floral prints, but also followed suit after Herve Leger with the ornate beading and sequins giving couture level quality to a ready-to-wear collection, making Lhuillier's collection was easily one of the top collections at NYFW so far. As the age old saying goes, "it's all in the details," and the incredibly meticulous quality detailing is in high demand again as customers are going for top quality.

Francesca Liberatore was all about the printed silk patterns and the free flowing silhouettes at her runway show, again emphasizing that we're in an era in which women will look beautiful without being restricted by their clothing. Silk chiffons and tulle dominated her collection for a feminine and ephemeral touch, while masculine lapels and waistlines freed women from traditionally more tailored silhouettes.

Luxury and feminism are translating elegantly through the runways this season. The runways have brought opulence back in the most sophisticated way, something many of us who are hopelessly devoted to classic glamour have been waiting for. High quality has come home to the fashion houses, and has received a wonderful homecoming.

photo1: Herve Leger via The Fashion Spot
photo2: Monique Lhuillier via vogue.nl

Francesca Liberatore
Herve Leger
Jill Stuart
Monique Lhuillier