Diversity sets the tone for New York Fashion Week
This season's Fall/Winter 2019-20 New York Fashion Week is set to test the endurance, tenacity and warm-weather-wardrobes of editors and influencers alike as the edges of the polar vortex - currently showing its full force in the Midwest - send a bitter chill through NYC. Only the toughest and most dedicated to the craft will persevere, but this season's calendar just might reward them with a crop of diverse new designers emerging from the deep freeze.
The event will run from February 4 through 13, with most of the big shows spread out across Manhattan, including presentations at Spring Studios and Industria in the West Village and Pier59 in Chelsea. This season's NYFW will continue the new event structure introduced by the CFDA in February 2018 of three days of menswear programming followed by womenswear.
Marked absences from the runways this season include Calvin Klein, which cancelled its show following Raf Simons’ departure in December last year, as well as Tommy Hilfiger, who will bypass New York this season in favor of showing his spring 2019 Tommy x Zendaya collection in Paris. Other absent labels include Victoria Beckham, which has not yet returned to the Big Apple, having debarked from NYC in order to celebrate its 10th anniversary in London last season, and Rodarte, which is set to present its Fall 2019 collection in the Mulleavy sisters’ home state of California. Escada, which celebrated its 40th anniversary with a Spring 2019 runway in September of 2018 under new creative direction of Niall Sloan, will also not appear on this February's calendar, and neither will CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award winner Pyer Moss. Nevertheless, global fashion stars Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford and Michael Kors will all be present on this season's New York runways.
Notable new additions to this portion of the week begin with No Sesso, who will kick off menswear on Monday, Feb. 4. The gender-fluid Los Angeles label led by Pierre Davis and Arin Hayes will hold its premiere NYFW show, also marking the first time an openly transgender designer has shown on the official NYFW calendar. In an interview with CFDA, Davis described No Sesso as “an artisanal brand that is fun and whimsical, but also celebrates art and technicality,” and said the brand’s show will be “inspired by business wear and [evoke] the spirit of the Glamazon regardless of gender.”
Lukhanyo Mdingi, the designer who has long been making waves throughout the creative community of his native South Africa and beyond, will also make his official NYFW debut on Feb. 6. In an interview with the CFDA, the designer said the inspiration behind his latest season, entitled "Perennial," grew from the label’s archives. Packing an additional punch, the first days of NYFW will also include presentations and installations by high-tech athleisure label Dyne and female-led menswear labels Tanaka, Dear Miler and Chan Chit Lo.
Prominent returns to New York’s menswear schedule include Palomo Spain, while Helmut Lang will be back this Feb. 11 after a considerable hiatus, marking the label’s first runway show under new editor-in-residence Alix Browne and new menswear head Mark Howard Thomas, appointed in October of 2017.
As the calendar marches on, womenswear will take over with an opening show by Ralph Lauren on Feb. 7. Parisian luxury leather goods house Longchamp will make a second appearance in New York on Feb. 9 after its debut in the East Coast fashion capital last season. Gabriela Hearst will showcase her first collection since LVMH Luxury Ventures made a minority investment in her namesake 'honest luxury' label on Feb. 12, while a slew of up-and-coming international labels and designers stud the following days, from colourful conceptual label Sies Marjan to punky premium streetwear brand Palm Angels. Marc Jacobs will close the week on February 13 at 6 p.m.
Despite the many shuffles that have marked New York’s fashion calendar over past seasons, this February may prove itself to be a newly tilled landscape. One which will provide an opportunity for genuine, multi-faceted inclusivity to grow within the industry.
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