Twice a year the haute masses gather for New York Fashion Week, a week of much anticipated fashion shows in New York that will dictate the trends for the upcoming seasons. NYC Fashion Week is considered to be one of the “Big 4” fashion events in the world, alongside fashion weeks in London, Paris, and Milan. Though the week has only been known as “New York Fashion Week” officially since 1994, the city has a rich history of runway shows, with its earliest fashion show dating back to 1903.
The catwalks are industry-only events studded with celebrities, with retailers and designers holding nighttime affairs that are sometimes open to the public. The entire week is truly an event, with models and industry insiders showing off their best street style, celebrities wearing head to toe designer looks to the shows, and brand new designers doing their best to make a splash. Get ready for the upcoming shows in September with our guide to New York Fashion Week.
Celebrity Front Rows
The fashionable elite in Hollywood receive a barrage of fancy invites from designers, particularly from those whose clothes they often wear. Jennifer Lawrence, having been the face of Dior campaigns for several years now, is a familiar face at the fashion house’s runway shows. Elle described the front row of Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2016 show as “a who’s who of Young Hollywood,” which included Kiernan Shipka, Amandla Stenberg, and Andra Day. Stenberg wore a skirt from Jacobs’ Spring 2016 collection to the show in a display of support for the designer.
Some celebrities even end up in the NY Fashion Week shows themselves; Zoë Kravitz walked the runway show for Balenciaga’s Spring 2016 collection. Victoria Beckham and Rihanna both paraded down the catwalk for designers before they ever designed collections. Rihanna walked for DSquared2 in 2008 and Victoria for Maria Grachvogel in 2000 and Roberto Cavalli in 2006.
You’ll know if an important designer is giving a show at New York Fashion Week, because editor-in-chief of American Vogue Anna Wintour will almost certainly be in the front row calmly observing. Some of the most highly anticipated fashion shows in New York include Marc Jacobs, Jeremy Scott, Rodarte, Oscar de La Renta, Alexander Wang, Calvin Klein and Proenza Schouler. The invitations to these shows can be just as stunning as the designs that walk down the runway. Kanye West chose to send windbreakers emblazoned with YEEZY and SEASON 3 for his latest invite, Kate Spade sent a vinyl record, and Tommy Hilfiger created a boat boarding pass complete with nautical rope.
Up and Comers
Another designer that impressed Anna Wintour was Hood By Air, a buzzy new label that has been a standout on the past few runways not just because of its designs, but because of the statement-making styling of the models. The label’s Spring 2016 collection was made up of clothing designed to resemble deconstructed school uniforms and the models wore contoured makeup. What was so different about the look was that the makeup was not blended, and both male and female models had patches of brown and white color on their face.
Athleisure is having an extended moment in fashion, due in part to new collections such as Kanye’s Adidas YEEZY collections, and Rihanna’s debut Fenty x Puma line. Kanye packed Madison Square Garden during NY Fashion Week, outfitted his family in complimentary Balmain outfits co-designed by Yeezy and Olivier Rousteing, and also made it a listening party for his new album. Rihanna described her collection as “what the Addams family would wear to the gym,” and indeed, her athleisure had a darker, more rebellious attitude.
Great fashion isn’t limited to the private shows during NYC fashion week; the streets of New York also become a catwalk. Editors, off-duty models, and celebrities bring their A-game for the photographers waiting outside the shows. Celebrities will often be outfitted in a head to toe outfit from the designer whose show they are about to attend. But industry insiders and fashion bloggers who are lucky enough to go to these shows use the opportunity to highlight their personal style, often in creative ways.
Round-ups of the best shoes, handbags, or whole outfits seen outside New York Fashion Week have become popular features for websites and magazines, as street style stars come up with new ways to wear the designs from previous seasons. Don’t expect too many designers to be on those lists though, they’re known for keeping it very low key when they take their post-show bows.