While the fashion world has already moved on from New York to London, now Milan, and soon, Paris, I am still sitting here reeling over all the new, unique and surprising (or, shocking, really, but in a good way!) venues from this year’s New York Fashion Week. I realize that this is a bit late, considering the fact that NYFW ended about a week ago. Some might even call it “stale,” but I don’t care. Seeing where the designers choose to present their collections each season is one of the things I love most about Fashion Month, and sometimes I even discover new places that hadn’t previously been on my radar. (The Frick Collection in New York, for example, which I hadn’t heard of until Carolina Herrera’s first runway show a few years ago. I have since visited the museum, and it is now a recommendation on my New York City Guide.) Several years ago, most all of the NYFW shows were held in tents at a central locale. For 17 years the shows were held in Bryant Park, until 2010, when the hub moved to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. The events were sponsored, the shows commercialized. The fashion world of New York took over these areas, staking claim for two weeks while locals and tourists alike, for the most part, probably tried to avoid the madness. But that ended in 2015 when the contract with Lincoln Center wasn’t renewed. Since then, designers have taken their collections and embedded themselves throughout the city. They have more creative freedom when it comes to where they want to hold their show. It’s less commercial this way, way more exciting, and allows them to play with the personalities of New York City (and beyond, thanks to Mr. Ralph Lauren). And I love it. Sure, it may be difficult on the show-goers who have to battle traffic, diving in and out of Ubers, zig-zagging across the entire island of Manhattan to get to the next show on time, but hey, it adds to the energy and excitement that is New York Fashion Week.
So without further ado, let us rehash the standout venues of New York’s Spring 2018 Ready to Wear shows.
123 Nassau Street, Manhattan
Cinq à Sept took to the rooftop of The Beekman, the Lower East Side’s Thompson Hotel, for its presentation this year. This is a presentation I always look forward to not only because I love creative director Jane Siskin’s designs, but because you can guarantee that it will be held at one of New York City’s hotspots. Spring 2017 was presented at The Ludlow Hotel’s Dirty French (which I wrote about here), Fall 2017 at Le Coucou in Soho (a swoon-worthy restaurant), and this year, at The Beekman, a hotel I’ve been dying to visit since it opened in Lower Manhattan one year ago. The hotel, much like the Cinq à Sept signature style, is rich, sexy, heavy, dark and lavish. Guests ascended past the hotel’s many levels to the rooftop, where they witnessed a cir a fabulous circus, with the designs standing out as the main act.
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
2 East 9 Street, Manhattan
The Tory Burch show was a breath of fresh air, both literally and figuratively. Her chosen venue brought invitees way uptown to the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, where the collection was shown in the garden under a cloudless sky. Models walked down a grass runway wearing the collection’s laid-back, classic, sporty looks. The location was fitting, considering her inspiration for this collection was interior designer David Hicks, who was known for his use of bright hues and bold, contemporary designs. If you’ve ever been inside of a Tory Burch store or seen pictures of any of her homes, you know that this sounds about right for her. The collection received rave reviews and editors seemed to appreciate the way everything meshed nicely with signature Tory Burch style, from the inspiration behind the collection to the venue.
The Sculpture Garden, Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street, Manhattan
Carolina Herrera switched things up yet again this year by showing her collection at night on Monday, September 11, outside in the Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Modern Art. This was the museum’s first time to host a formal runway show (apparently it took a good bit of convincing by the designer herself!), and Herrera’s first nighttime show. The Sculpture Garden’s classic, elegant ambiance set the stage nicely for Herrera’s signature feminine designs. Herrera is known to show her collections in such settings, with previous years’ being shown at the Frick Collection, Bryant Park, and The Plaza.
And while we’re on the topic of fashion and the MoMA, there is an upcoming exhibit entitled “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” which will be open from October 1, 2017 through January 28, 2018. It will feature a look at 111 items of clothing that have had a strong impact on the world of fashion, including Levi’s 501s (reminder to self: buy pair!) and the LBD. As explained on the museum’s website, “the exhibition considers the many relationships between fashion and functionality, culture, aesthetics, politics, labor, identity, economy and technology.” Sounds interesting!
Washington Square Park
Lela Rose had a party in the park. Washington Square Park, to be exact, and had everyone adding “host garden party” to their spring to-do list. Complete with a flower bouquet bar, pink chess sets, popcorn, gourmet hot dogs and cookies, and, of course, the clothes. True to form, the designs were fresh, crisp, colorful and classically chic. Vibrant, happy and cheerful are all adjectives that describe both the clothes and the atmosphere. WWD quoted the designer, who said that for her, “it’s all about mixing fashion, food and fun!” Now that is an attitude I can get behind!
Ralph Lauren’s Garage
Bedford, New York
And then there’s Ralph Lauren, who took it to the freaking house. No, like really. He hailed guests about an hour upstate to the town he calls home: Bedford, New York, and into his private carpeted garage which houses his personal collection of some of the world’s rarest and most expensive cars. The (male and female) models and automobiles shared the runway, with the parallel between the collection and the stage obvious–lots of bold colors like red, blue, yellow and black, plus lots of leather, tweed, houndstooth and checkered patterns… all very racetrack themed. But don’t think there weren’t any elegant looks… there were enough slinky, sparkly gowns to stop traffic. The suspenseful music, sports cars everywhere and the concrete surroundings made me think of the James Bond video game 007. Very racy!
Now, how far would YOU travel for Ralph?