/New York Fashion Week: Celebrating Design and ‘Unbridled Expression’

New York Fashion Week: Celebrating Design and ‘Unbridled Expression’

New York Fashion Week, featuring spring/summer 2020 ready-to-wear styles, just ended and here are some highlights of this biannual design spectacle. Especially in this era of social media, fashion weeks double as entertainment extravaganzas speaking directly to consumers, while filling the traditional role as industry events for designers to display their latest wares for retail buyers.

This year’s NYFW runway shows explored such themes as who gets to be American, California dreaming, 1990s Harlem fashion, classic American sportswear, and America’s diversity. There were floral prints, polka dots, cowboy references, and all kinds of hats.

Marc Jacobs

Twice a year, the New York fashion world trudges to the Upper East Side and the cavernous Park Avenue Armory to see what new tricks Marc Jacobs has up his sleeve.

Somehow Jacobs, who has the final Fashion Week slot every time—a position of considerable pressure—tends to find a way to surprise and impress. But on Wednesday night he also sent a jolt of delight through the crowd with a joyful and dreamlike ode to fashion of all kinds and all eras.

“Tonight is our reminder of the joy in dressing up,” he wrote in notes left on guests’ chairs, “our unadulterated love of fashion and embracing grand gestures of unbridled expressions, reactions, ideas, and possibilities.”

“Tonight is our reminder of the joy in dressing up,” Marc Jacobs wrote in notes left on guests’ chairs.

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If that was a mouthful, it reflected the ebullient mood of the show. Normally, Jacobs’ models walk down a runway in a dark room with a determined pout on their faces. Here, the lights were on and the models were smiling, winking, even waving as they sashayed by.

The room looked different, too. Entering to take their seats, guests found the huge Armory floor empty except for a gaggle of mismatched white chairs arranged in uneven rows at the back, as if in an abandoned vintage furniture store.

Suddenly the doors opened and Jacobs’ models—61 of them—entered the room to the strains of Doris Day singing Dream a Little Dream of Me. They spread out horizontally and then marched directly to the audience, right past them in their chairs, and out the other side of the room.

Were these wonderfully colorful creatures, resembling the cast of a Fellini film on steroids, now gone? Thankfully, they returned and the show began in earnest, with models emerging one by one to parade in a circle around the seats.

Marc Jacobs Spring 2020 Runway Show at the cavernous Park Avenue Armory as an ode to fashion through the decades.

Dimitrios Kambouris for Marc Jacobs/Getty Images

There was color, sparkle, craftsmanship, dazzling variety—and far too many cultural references to count. Bella Hadid looked like a cowboy, in shades of purple, red, and gray. Her sister, Gigi Hadid, was barefoot, in a pastel blue minidress and round hat that resembled a 1960s airline hostess.

There were sartorial nods to people who died recently: Chanel’s longtime designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died in February; Lee Radziwill, who died the same month, and Anita Pallenberg, who died in 2017.

Jacobs also made clear his love for some current TV shows. “From late nights binge-streaming…inspiration draws from the thoughtful and accurately executed set design of Fosse/Verdon,” and what he called the “boundary-pushing…Euphoria, so accurately portraying what it means to be a young person today.”

Jacobs didn’t leave unaddressed the fact that the day was 9/11; he referenced, in his show notes, his fashion show the night before the 2001 attacks, just yards away from the glistening towers.

“This show, like that show,” Jacobs said, “is a celebration of life, joy, equality, individuality, optimism, happiness, indulgence, dreams, and a future unwritten as we continue to learn from the history of fashion.”

Designer Marc Jacobs celebrates during his runway show’s finale.

Dimitrios Kambouris for Marc Jacobs/Getty Images

Whether you caught Jacobs’ historical references in his parade of fashions, you definitely could catch the feeling of joy—and no more so than when Jacobs came out for his own bow.

Not content with the usual quick wave to the crowd, he threw up his arms and twirled around the room on his red platform boot—still clearly dreaming his little dream, and taking everyone else along for the ride.

Michael Kors

There were no flag outfits, but Michael Kors’ show was very much a patriotic tribute as he saluted American fashion with a collection that ran from nautical chic to classic glamour-girl gowns to whimsical polka-dot designs.

The show radiated not only American pride but themes of love and peace, from a sweater worn by a model that had the word “HATE” crossed out with a red line to the music of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, who serenaded the crowd with songs including Don McLean’s American Pie to Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land to the O’Jays Love Train.

Kors told The Associated Press the collection was inspired by many different threads of the American experience, from the recently reimagined Broadway musical Oklahoma to his immigrant ancestors.

Michael Kors’ spring/summer collection, reflecting America’s sportswear tradition.

JP Yim for Michael Kors/Getty Images

His creative process was inspired by a DNA test, given to him by model Gigi Hadid, and their subsequent visit to Ellis Island. “We found my great grandmother’s arrival records and she was 14 years old, she had $10, she literally had nothing…I walked out feeling incredibly patriotic because I thought about the fact that she built a business, raised a family and her dream was to cross the river to Brooklyn.”

Michael Kors’ show was a patriotic tribute.

Kors, of course, was also inspired by American fashion. The show was a mix of casual, sporty outfits to sparkly dresses that harkened back to the Rita Hayworth era of silver screen glamour.

“It’s looking at sportswear which, hey, we invented it. America is not the land of the ball gown. And the world dresses in sportswear. It’s looking at all of that sportswear, which is finding this wonderful balance of power and glamour,” he said.

Rihanna

Big Sean, A$ap Ferg, Halsey, and Migos rocked Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty crowd Tuesday from a color-saturated stage at the Barclays Center as Normani and Laverne Cox joined an army of supermodels and dancers in a showcase of her latest loungewear and lingerie.

But don’t look for the juicy new collection on social media, at least not in a big way. The curated audience heavy on young influencers had their phones locked in cases for the New York Fashion Week show, which was filmed for streaming Sept. 20 exclusively on Amazon Prime.

Rule-breakers spent the rest of the evening posting blurry and dimly lit clips taken with sneaked-in phones.

Rihanna performs onstage during her Savage X Fenty’s loungewear and lingerie show.

Ben Gabbe for Savage X Fenty Show Presented by Amazon Prime/Getty Images

Rihanna did right by her fans by putting her latest teddies and other lacy pieces immediately on sale, at Amazon, and by setting up photo booths outside the Brooklyn stadium after the 40-minute show.

On stage, her white, multilevel backdrop evoked a small city bathed in purple, yellow and red light. Her legion strutted and danced on platforms and in large windows as she dressed some of the biggest names in modeling, sisters Bella and Gigi Hadid included, harem-style in looks of pink and yellow. She also enlisted 21 Savage as a model and Fat Joe and Tierra Whack to perform.

Plus-size model Paloma Elsesser joined the Hadids, Joan Smalls, Alek Wek and Cara Delevingne for Rihanna’s second fashion week foray of her fledgling brand, this collection for fall-winter. Like her models and dancers, her line ranges in sizes 32A-42H in bras and XS-3X for the rest of the body.

Brandon Maxwell

Brandon Maxwell has had quite the year. The designer joined the cast of “Project Runway” as a judge, had some of the most famous women in Hollywood wear his designs, and he accompanied his best friend, Lady Gaga, to the Met Gala, changing her four times on the red carpet during fashion’s biggest night of the year.

Despite his successes, Maxwell told The Associated Press the nerves never go away. “This is my life, you know. I have a lot of people here who are very good to me that I employ. Am I going to start crying? I don’t take that lightly. I want to do well for them,” Maxwell said backstage after the show.

The 34-year-old Texan made his 2020 spring ready-to-wear collection about everything he loves. “I wanted to show in Brooklyn, with food I like, drinks I like, music I like, people I like. Just have a good time,” he said.

Brandon Maxwell debuted his denim collection at his runway show in a Brooklyn warehouse.

Peter White—WireImage via Getty Images

Guests chowed down on Shake Shack burgers and fries waiting for the show to begin. He also served them an array of cocktails, vegan chocolate chip cookies, and doughnuts from Cha Cha Matcha.

Irina Shayk opened the show with a twirl to catchy music that blasted throughout a Brooklyn warehouse. The supermodel wore a pair of green leather pants, a denim button-down blouse and an oversized beige leather blazer.

Maxwell is known for his impeccably tailored clothing, mostly red carpet-ready gowns, but he changed it up for this collection, also featuring men’s suits, jeans, and sweaters. It was his first turn at menswear and he debuted his denim collection.

“Honestly, the inspiration this time, I didn’t start with a story. I started with the women around me. We didn’t always use a fit model. It was just women in the office trying the clothes on. And they were like, I like it. I would wear it. So I am like, ‘OK cool,'” he said.

Brandon Maxwell added menswear to his collection.

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And the menswear? That, Maxwell said, “started with my fiance when I rolled over one night before bed he was like, ‘I would love to have a shirt in the color of Bella Hadid’s dress from last September.’ And I said, ‘Okay, I’ll make you one.’ And I loved it, and I enjoyed it.”

The final looks of the show featured contemporary takes on evening gowns. Shayk wore a body-hugging black gown with an open back and side cut-outs. Hadid was in an emerald green two-piece draped look with a high slit. Candice Swanepoel wore a silk skirt with hip cut-outs and a black bra top.

Pyer Moss

“Sister,” Pyer Moss’ production for New York Fashion Week, was a brilliant, irreverent, and joyous celebration of black culture, specifically black women—a show where even the colorful, eye-catching garments, all worn by black or brown models, proved to be just part of the story its designer, Kerby Jean-Raymond, masterfully weaved together.

A striking gold gown by designer Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss on the runway at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.

Kena Betancur—AFP/Getty Images

“The whole thing is really to recognize our worth, and us as black people, what we’ve contributed to what pop society is in America,” Jean-Raymond told The Associated Press after his show ended a little before midnight. “What I aim to do is to make disenfranchised people, black people, with this series and minorities and women, know and understand how important they are to this thing called America right now.”

Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin was one of the models, wearing an outfit from the new Reebok by Pyer Moss collection. Other runway looks included a flowing white tunic with red trim and matching white pants; a brilliant yellow-gold gown with long, billowing sleeves; a skirt that flared at the bottom and a cut-out back; matching men’s and women’s leather outfits that recalled cowboy chic; and brilliant artwork emblazoned on casual outfits.

As captivating as the fashions were, they were hard to compete with the Pyer Moss Tabernacle Drip Choir Drenched in the Blood, which started slow and majestic, with a gospel song, then morphed to deliver snippets of popular works of contemporary black singers. The audience roared as the choir began to rap Missy Elliott’s The Rain, and cheered when it later segued to Cardi B’s Money, and erupted as it went into Adina Howard’s Freak Like Me.

The Pyer Moss fashion show was as much a celebration of fashion as it was of black culture.

Kena Betancur—AFP/Getty Images

The first sign the Pyer Moss show was going to be something out of the ordinary was its location: Miles from Manhattan, the upstart fashion house held court on Flatbush Avenue, at the Kings Theatre, a venue sitting in one of the more culturally rich black neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York.

What followed was a production that borrowed from black music, the black church. and other aspects of the culture to pay loving tribute to what African Americans have achieved. Before the show began, spoken word artist Casey Gerald noted the grim anniversary currently being marked worldwide—400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in the United States.

But instead of sorrow, Gerald emphasized freedom and noted “we have come here to say we ain’t gonna grieve no more. We have come tonight to say you can’t hurt us no more.”

Carolina Herrera

Wildflowers were blooming on the banks of the Hudson River, thanks to the fertile imagination of Wes Gordon at Carolina Herrera.

Gordon, now into his second year as the label’s creative director, upped his game with a crowd-pleasing, flower-themed collection that was big on color and vibrant prints.

The designer said his inspiration was the California super bloom, a phenomenon that leads to an unusually high proportion of wildflowers blossoming at once.

Creative director Wes Gordon conjured up California wild flowers for his Carolina Herrera fashion show.

Angela Weis —AFP/Getty Images

That’s what happened on Gordon’s runway under a tent overlooking the water at the tip of Manhattan. He sent out a succession of dresses both very long and very short with dramatic bursts of florals. One typical print was a bright yellow background populated with large blue flowers. Another striking look was a belted minidress with an impressionistic mix of flowers in hot pink, green, and purple.

Gordon was also fond of polka dots—big and bold, and in black and white. And he sent a number of plaids down the runway, for example in a miniskirt and jacket with billowing sleeves, or in a long strapless belted number in blue and tan plaid.

Wes Gordon’s polka dots for Carolina Herrera.

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Glam eveningwear finished out the collection, and here, too, Gordon indulged his fondness for both color, as in a shimmering green number, and for those polka dots. One of the most striking designs consisted of a sheer layer of black polka dots on white, over a light pink layer underneath—all adorned with a black bowtie sash, and a bow-like flourish on one shoulder.

Serena Williams

Talk about a comeback. Only three days after her shocking loss in the U.S. Open final, Serena Williams went from the court to the runway to present the latest collection of her fashion label, S by Serena.

As she made her post-show bow, wearing a snakeskin-style miniskirt that she designed, she was carrying her daughter Olympia, 2, in her arms.

As befitting a tennis legend, Williams had some prominent fans in attendance, notably Kim Kardashian, TV host Gayle King, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Also attending: #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke, who said Williams was “strong in so many ways, not just physically. I’ll always support her.”

The runway show began with a lush brown trench-style coat, followed by a suit in the same fabric with an asymmetrical wrap skirt. Pants and slouchy sweaters followed, then a series of dresses, tops, and coats in an animal-style print.

Actress Hayley Hasselhoff, right, is paired with a model wearing the same fashion in Serena Williams’ runway show.

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The 37-year-old Williams showed herself to be a fan of bold prints, in hues like purple or bright blue, or in black and white. And she is also clearly partial to bright colors, as in one hot pink ensemble that was part midriff-baring pantsuit, part long skirt.

But perhaps the most striking and creative sight on the runway came when two models wore the same outfit together, side by side, one in a plus size and one not—an effective statement about size diversity.

Williams noted later on the red carpet her intention was “to show diversity of all colors and all backgrounds and all sizes—just beautiful women.”

Alice + Olivia

Stacey Bendet, creative director of Alice + Olivia, designed a dreamscape in color on nine monochrome backdrops as models posed for a presentation.

“It’s all about color—pastels mixed with brights, dramatic sleeves, big volume skirts and lots of beautiful structured tailoring,” she said. “I dream in color.”

Models posed in the lilac field had lavender braided into their hair and wore dresses with sequined floral designs. On a bright orange stage, models wore black and white, against a backdrop of bright orange teddy bears strewn around.

Models pose for Alice + Olivia By Stacey Bendet in one of her dream landscapes.

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In another of Bendet’s dreamscapes—a powder blue stage—a bakery display case was set up with matching candy, macaroons, and pastries. Models wore pops of electric red, from a leafy detail on a blouse to a baroque pattern on a dress with billowing sleeves.

Elsewhere, one long skirt included a pattern of figures resembling Bendet’s likeness in a floral scene.

“To me, color is like therapy,” she said. “When you’re in the right color for you, when you walk into a room that’s all decorated in beautiful colors, it really uplifts.”

Vera Wang

After a two-year break, Vera Wang returned to the New York Fashion Week runway with a moody and visually arresting show that featured high-couture lingerie elements, and hippie hair.

Camisoles. Bustiers. Garters. Corsets. All of these were on full display in a show that took place in a dark room punctuated by dramatic columns of white light. The show was titled: Seduction. Layering to Reveal. Done and Undone.

Colors were mainly black, gray, white. and metallic—but, typically of Wang, mostly black. Charmeuse, silk, lace, and tulle were in abundance.

California Dreamin was on the soundtrack, and that’s what was on Wang’s mind, too, she said, as she developed her collection, though to others there was a distinct Victorian feel as well.

Vera Wang channeled “a California dream” in designing her collection.

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“It was a California dream, yeah, sexy, underwear, layering, things falling off,” she said in an interview with the Associated Press backstage. “Also, girls falling off their shoes,” she quipped of some models’ mishaps involving impossibly long skirts and spiky high heels. “That I didn’t plan on, but it happened.”

“As a designer you feel what’s going on around you, at least I do, culturally. It isn’t just an isolated exercise. So I really wanted that hippie hair and LA attitude, but the clothes were definitely couture,” Wang said.

For the last two years, Wang had presented her collections via films but decided to return to a staged show this season.

“Film is very different than staging 45 girls, and fittings,” she noted, adding “the level of clothing that we make and show is very couture. It’s not meant to be contemporary or ready-to-wear, it’s really about the craft of creating, incredible workmanship.”

She credited her team: “No matter what I dream, if they can’t sew it, it’s not real,” she said.

Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger never shies away from spectacle when it comes to his runway shows, and his return to New York Fashion Week after three years was no exception.

For his latest collaboration with actress and singer Zendaya, Hilfiger brought the fashion world uptown to the Apollo Theater in Harlem—actually, to a street just outside the famed theater, where the designer set up a stage filled with musicians and dancers to celebrate Harlem-inspired fashions of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The show began with a sole musician on trumpet, then moved on to an addictive soundtrack of funk music and classics like Aretha Franklin’s Respect and James Brown’s Get Up Offa That Thing.

Tommy Hilfiger’ collaborated with actress and singer Zendaya for his collection, presented outside The Apollo Theater in Harlem.”This is a reinvention for us,” Hilfiger said.

Thomas Concordia for Tommy Hilfiger/Getty Images

Models sashayed joyously down the runway in pantsuits featuring tailored jackets and high-waisted, wide-legged trousers in hounds tooth prints or polka dots or animal prints. There were tweed wrap coats with big belts, accompanied by pageboy caps. Accessories included lots of chunky platform shoes, scarves, and big, wide-brimmed hats.

The clothes—which were immediately available for sale in Hilfiger’s See Now, Buy Now collection—were more luxurious than the designer’s typical sporty style, with lots of leathers and velvets and faux fur. In a backstage interview, he said he chose Zendaya as a collaborator for what he sees as her intrinsic style.

“I just thought If I could get a little eyedropper of that sense of style brought into my company, we’d be cool,” said Hilfiger, who previously partnered with supermodel Gigi Hadid on collections. “And she gave me more than an eyedropper, she turned on the faucet.”

Tommy Hilfiger takes a bow after his first New York Fashion week appearance in three years.

Victor Virgile—Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Zendaya said she and her design team were given a lot of leeway.

“He just let me do whatever I wanted to, which was great,” she said of Hilfiger. “He told me I could be as creative as I wanted.”

Hilfiger said the collaboration brought his company a new dimension.

“This is a reinvention for us, because it took us to another area of fashion that we’ve never been into,” the designer said.

Tom Ford

Tom Ford enticed the fashion crowd into an abandoned subway station downtown by serving up dumplings before a precarious three-story walk to the rails, and, yes, heels were involved.

Miley Cyrus, sitting front row in a floppy black hat, could easily pull off any of his bra tops in metallic green and purple. A tiny black strappy onesie with revealing cutouts had her name all over it as New York Fashion Week reached its midway point on a shortened, six-day schedule.

Sporty was the name of Ford’s game for spring 2020, in elevated ball caps and leather biker jackets of black and cream. Wide elastic-waist trousers came in several colors, including neon orange, lime and red, the latter paired with a sculpted breastplate of a crop top that defined his model’s chest in the same hue.

Singer/actress Miley Cyrus arriving at Tom Ford’s fashion show.

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Ford put wide pleats on the front of voluminous long skirts and offered plenty of New Yorkers’ favorite color: black. His female models wore spiked updos and his men rocked shades.

Ford claimed a few key inspirations, which he made his own, including a 1965 photo of Andy Warhol and muse Edie Sedgwick coming out of a manhole in New York. Also on his mood wall were shots of Isabelle Adjani and Christophe Lambert in Luc Besson’s film Subway, set in the Paris metro.

“I remember so clearly when the film came out thinking how cool they both looked,” Ford said in his show notes. “Especially the hair.”

Ford recalled a scene where a bourgeois man at a dinner table asked Adjani what she called her hair style and she replied dryly: “Iroquois.”

There were other Sedgwick images that inspired him, including one of her in a silver bra and silver pants from the mid 1960s. Also on his wall: Ursula Andress in a shiny metal bra from the Italian film The 10th Victim.

Model board backstage at Tom Ford’s runway show displaying his spring/summer 2020 fashion lineup.

Paul Morigi/Getty Images

He looked back to the “breathtakingly beautiful” Yves Saint Laurent-Claude Lalanne breastplates YSL showed for autumn-winter 1969. The sculptress made casts of model Veruschka’s chest and stomach.

Ford also pinned to his wall while working on his latest collection a photo of the Jeff Koons’ polished steel bunny that sold for $91 million at Christie’s this year. Ford’s array of colors was drawn from Koons’ Balloon Dog sculptures.

But, really, he was striving for one prevailing vibe.

“This season for me is about simplicity,” Ford said. “Which is not to be confused with simple. I think that it is a time for ease, and in that way a return to the kind of luxurious sportswear that America has become known for all over the world.”

Ralph Lauren

Janelle Monae brought down the house at Ralph Lauren’s New York Fashion Week show, where “the house” was a jazzy nightclub of yesteryear that Lauren created inside a Wall Street building to debut his fall collection.

The singer hopped on a table and danced to the ground as she performed before the huge roomful of guests instructed to wear black-and-white evening attire—although actor Henry Golding missed that memo, showing up in a stunning blue velvet tuxedo instead.

Sisters Bella and Gigi Hadid were among the models who navigated a grand staircase of the art deco club inspired by the glamorous see-and-be-seen New York of the 1920s and 1930s as they showed off Lauren’s sparkly dresses and tuxedo-inspired evening looks.

Ralph Lauren’s jazz era-inspired evening wear collection.

JP Yim/Getty Images

They walked amid the small, white-clothed tables that seated guests, including actress Cate Blanchett dressed in a sleek black jumpsuit.

Models wore black-and-white looks mixed with opulent tones of amethyst, crimson, sapphire blue and yellow in satin, velvet, lame, sequined cashmere, and faux fur. Lauren threw in some flirty leather dancer’s skirts and beaded tops paired with miniskirts. A short black sequin cocktail dress featured the brand’s Martini Polo Bear.

Ralph’s Club continues Lauren’s penchant of late for immersing his fashion week crowds rather than marching models down a runway. In the past, he has enticed his guests to his rural home north of the city for a jaunt in his garage. Ralph’s Club follows Ralph’s Cafe.

“It just was the right time,” Lauren told the AP after the show as the evening wound down. “We’re celebrating. There are a lot of things in the world that are not so wonderful. Every once in awhile, it’s nice to dance.”

Kate Spade

Kate Spade took its New York Fashion Week guests on a city safari.

With Anna Kendrick, Emma Roberts, Katherine Schwarzenegger, Danielle Macdonald, and Sadie Sink on the front row, the show was held outdoors at Elizabeth Street Garden downtown. Guests sat at small cafe tables as influencers and other non-models walked with the real ones down a gravel catwalk.

Nicola Glass, marking her first full year as creative director and her fifth collection, said the idea Saturday was to celebrate the city’s green spaces and offer guests the experience of people watching in a New York City cafe. Debi Mazar and her daughter, Evelina Maria Corcos, were among the walkers. So was Good Boys actress Molly Gordon.

The Kate Spade show was a walk in a park, at the Elizabeth Street Gardens.

Aurora Rose/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

Always keeping the Kate Spade DNA in mind, Glass reimagined safari-wear in ultra-feminine fabrics, prints, and colors. Pink and orange graphics adorned the front of jumpers in lavender and teal. A double-slit gown that skimmed the gravel was printed with leaves of white, teal, pink and orange.

Glass showed a fall coat in moss green with a playful dot-like lining. A forest green trouser and top set was done in an open floral lace. Some who walked held potted plants and other greenery, and guests went home with plants of their own.

“Kate Spade as a brand has always had a really broad range of women in their marketing and advertising, but it’s the first time in a runway show that we’ve really brought a broad range of women walking the shows,” she told The Associated Press.

LaQuan Smith

LaQuan Smith turned to cowboys and bikers for spring-summer inspiration, bringing a sexy edge to his designs at New York Fashion Week.

The designer made liberal use of animal prints, Western influences and unconventional cutouts.

There were pants reminiscent of riding chaps in a cow print with a cutout in the front and metallic snakeskin short shorts with a matching bandeau top under a snakeskin trench. Models wore black Western hats, transparent pointed-toe heels, cowboy boots, and graphic tees saying, “I will not, not be rich” and “Jordan Smith Hoedown.”

A Laquan Smith sheer animal-print dress.

Sean Drakes/Getty Images

“It’s all about female empowerment,” said Smith, whose models included actor Trevor Jackson, who co-stars in grown-ish. “One of my favorite films is Showgirls, so I just wanted to pull just these different elements of just what sexy represents and what that looks like.”

Tory Burch

From a linen and leather pant to a macrame tweed skirt, Tory Burch looked to one of the most important fashion icons of the 20th century for inspiration at New York Fashion Week: Princess Diana.

At Burch’s show held at the Brooklyn Museum, the designer said she made sure “to be careful not to be too literal, because she’s clearly a style icon but that’s not what was so interesting to me.”

Rather, it was Diana’s humanitarian work and “her fearlessness, her being a mom that protected her family and just how strong of a woman she was,” Burch said.

Tory Burch drew inspiration from the 1980s-1990s’ fashion influencer Princess Diana of Wales.

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Overall, Burch said in her show notes her spring/summer 2020 collection brings together English garden florals, a restrained volume, and her own take on the 1980s. She channeled her inspiration with such designs as linen dresses with rope sashes, a wool sweater with a sequined collar, and a silk twill skirt. Adding a contemporary twist, she put sneakers on her models.

Model Karolina Kurkova, who sat in the front row, said she was excited about the collection reflecting British and royal sentiments. “I think every girl growing up wants to be a princess. It was my dream, too, to be a princess,” she said. “And Princess Diana, she was very special.”

Badgley Mischka

Designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka often take inspiration from their travels and from classic icons and their latest collection combined both. Their show opened with a series of light green dresses and suits printed with oversized orchids and lilies in bright oranges, reds, and pinks. Some included beading, tassels, and sparkly belts to heighten the tropical look.

Badgley said they had actress Claudette Colbert in mind when creating these looks, as she and other ex-pats brought Hollywood glamour to Barbados and other islands in the 1940s and 1950s.

“It was our imagination of how they dressed at night and photos that we’ve seen. There was a certain kind of decadence and ease in the way they dressed in the evening. And all of our clothes this season…are weightless. We did the pinky test and if you couldn’t pick up the gown with your pinky they were too heavy,” Badgley told The Associated Press backstage before the show.

Bagdley Mischka’s spring/summer 2020 fashions were inspired by the Caribbean of the 1950s-1960s.

Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Badgley Mischka recently introduced a swimwear line and some of those designs were on display. A one-piece bathing suit had a high neck and layered cape, while a flower print pantsuit was paired with a string bikini top.

For fans of the designers’ eveningwear, there was plenty of sparkle and drama. Standout dresses included a bright fuchsia off-the shoulder gown with a giant peacock blue flower splashed onto one side and beading and silk flowers for texture. The label offered several sequined silhouettes, with signature flower appliques. Sleek sequined suits with fitted cigarette pants and long, belted jackets came in spring shades such as aqua and pink.

The collection also included a set of dresses and capes made of loose eyelet, with ruffled sleeves and beaded shoulders that revealed skin underneath.

The collection’s Caribbean theme led the designers to act after the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian, they said. The company announced it would donate 10% of all online sales Sept. 11 to the Red Cross to help those affected by the storm.

Christian Siriano

Fashion lovers argue that it’s not only a business but also a true art, and Christian Siriano made that argument in a literal way by bringing an actual artist to his runway, putting the finishing touches on her paintings as models strutted by.

Artist Ashley Longshore went from canvas to canvas, picking up paintbrushes to add color and detail to paintings of powerful women such as Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, actress Laverne Cox, and supermodel Coco Rocha.

His runway, as always an inclusive environment featuring models of all shapes, sizes and genders, was filled with color, notably shimmering greens and yellows. The show ended with a display of rainbow-themed garments, as in a huge belted rainbow coat in metallic lame, with giant balloon sleeves.

Christian Siriano’s fashion as portraiture.

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As always, Siriano did not hold back on the glam factor, with long ruffled trains, billowing sleeves and sequins on dresses, skirts and pants, and even a sprinkling of angel wings.

Before the show, Siriano spoke to the inclusivity of his runway.

“I have customers from all walks of life, and I think that’s what I try to do in this collection,” he said. “We have something for everyone in a way.” He said his focus was still on glamorous eveningwear—his bread and butter, after all—but added that he also wanted to throw in some “great pieces for someone that wants to go out to dinner.”

Elie Tahari

Elie Tahari didn’t shy away from playful elements in his spring-summer 2020 collection. But the patterns and bucket hats didn’t take away from the classic sophistication he brings to his designs

Tahari said he was inspired by New York in the 1970s, around the time he immigrated to the U.S. from Israel.

“Downtown, Soho, the art scene — New York was vibrant and it’s vibrant now,” he told The Associated Press.

To show off the New York spirit at Fashion Week, Tahari used polka dots and animal prints on everything from a long rain slicker to swingy skirts and dresses. He carried over the patterns to his ever-present hats.

Elie Tahari mixed bucket hats, sneakers, and polkas with classic silhouettes.

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He also used a range of silhouettes. There were bell sleeves on a gingham seersucker mini dress, oversized blazers cinched with belts, and a trench coat lined with a leopard print, slung over the shoulders of a satin slip gown.

Tahari said he hoped women wearing his collection would feel confident, comfortable and elegant. Wide patch pockets were meant to evoke a worker’s spirit, according to his show notes. He layered some of his dots to look like a modern animal print.

It was a juxtaposition between industrial and creative, he said. His models wore chunky heels with ankle straps or bright wide sneakers.

Longchamp

Longchamp doesn’t want to be remembered as exclusively French.

Although artistic director Sophie Delafontaine is a proud Parisian, she said she wants the brand to embody an international spirit. And what better way to show that spirit than bringing a collection to New York inspired by the American artist Judy Chicago.

Delafontaine told The Associated Press she drew inspiration from the feminist artist known most widely for her art installation The Dinner Party, currently located in the Brooklyn Museum. Chicago also played with smoke, photographing colorful billows in the desert and other locations.

“I start with an artist that is Judy Chicago and her color explosion in the desert and I really wanted to have this explosion in the city,” she said.

Parisian design house Longchamp’s collection was inspired by American artist Judy Chicago.

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Models in muted orange, petal pink, lavender and burgundy walked Saturday alongside a pool of water at Lincoln Center. Among the models was Kaia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford.

“I was really involved with this location that is super urban, very graphic,” said Delafontaine of the pool with the Reclining Figure statue resting in the center. “And I wanted to mix this location with very feminine and fluid dresses with color.”

While flowing skirts and dresses did make for fluid silhouettes, belts accentuating waistlines, leather mini-shorts, slits in skirts, and transparent materials kept the looks modern and chic.

Skirts, dresses and shorts were paired with shoes that went to mid-calf, either a lacing gladiator sandal or sneaker boots adorned with the signature Longchamp horse.

And while the ready-to-wear collection certainly stood on its own, that doesn’t mean that Longchamp forgot the product that started it all: Its handbags. From tiny coin purses clutched by the handle to shoulder bags with intricate designs and leather tassels, that original craft wasn’t neglected.

“It’s all about creativity,” said Delafontaine. “It’s all about telling a story, playing with the color, with the material.”

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