On the Runway

NY Fashion Week: Narciso, Marc, The Row, Thom Browne & More

Editor Miranda Purves on more '90s influences at DKNY, Narciso Rodrguez and Wes Gordon, the restoring powers of The Row, Thom Browne's dramatic asylum and fringe at Rodarte

Marc by Marc Jacobs Spring 2014; Photo by Anthea Simms

Marc by Marc Jacobs Spring 2014; Photo by Anthea Simms

“It’s like a Fellini movie!,” my friend said as we were wending our way through the street stylers outside the Marc by Marc Jacobs show. “No!,” she said, “It’s like Miami.” It was veering into the nineties, and there were a lot of very done up women in tiny clothes. As we steer around the bend in fashion week, Miami Vice-era rainbow sherbert colors (in satin at Marc) vie with black and white as the colours of spring 2014. And we can officially say that the mini skirt is back. Narciso Rodriguez even sent a beautifully constructed micro-mini business suit down his streamlined runway.

Narciso Rodriguez Spring 2014; Photo courtesy of Style.com

Narciso Rodriguez Spring 2014; Photo courtesy of Style.com

With the nineties back in full force and more spaghetti straps than a Barilla factory holding up fluid slips and sheaths it was the original master Narciso’s moment. Although Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s ghost haunted many shows:

DKNY Spring 2014; Photo by Anthea Simms

DKNY Spring 2014; Photo by Anthea Simms

Wes Gordon, the preternaturally focused young designer who’s become a socialite favorite, cited her directly.

Wes Gordon Spring 2014; Photo courtesy of Style.com

Wes Gordon Spring 2014; Photo courtesy of Style.com

Mary Kate and Ashley’s The Row show was a Monday morning gift, as peaceful and restorative as the yoga routine you had to skip to finish three days worth of telecommuting work, in half an hour, in the hotel, in order to make it to SoHo at 10am.  It’s wondrous how the subtlest shift in a colours value can shift mood. Sunday morning’s Victoria Beckham presentation was in a glaringly white room, while The Row’s was all in pale ivory, with sheer ivory hemp floor to ceiling curtains serving as room dividers. Posh’s clothes were white-room stark, hard and body con.

Victoria Beckham Spring 2014; Photo by Anthea Simms

Victoria Beckham Spring 2014; Photo by Anthea Simms

While the twins’ collection, who don’t so much dress themselves as swathe themselves, was flowing, muted, mesmerizing. Both runways were inflected by the designer’s show-biz roots, in that they created a complete world, and told an impressively coherent narrative, but one was the Topanga Canyon side of Hollywood, and the other Beverly Hills. Vancouver versus Toronto. There were charming references to beekeeping (bees are the new chickens in city farming) in the beautiful hats by Yestadt millinery.

The Row Spring 2014; Photo courtesy of Style.com

The Row Spring 2014; Photo courtesy of Style.com

California cults were another reference…

The Row Spring 2014; Photo courtesy of Style.com

The Row Spring 2014; Photo courtesy of Style.com

The Row Spring 2014; Photo courtesy of Style.com

The Row Spring 2014; Photo courtesy of Style.com

…and inspired new twists on the menswear borrow. This djellaba with the (so special) custom shoes by Bologna, Italy-based cobbler of handmade men’s shoes Enzo Bonafè. They reminded me of the street scenes from Tin Tin’s Cigars of the Pharaoh.

The Row Spring 2014; Photo courtesy of Style.com

The Row Spring 2014; Photo courtesy of Style.com

Mary-Kate and Ashley were roaming around pre-show trying to gauge when to close the doors and I had the visceral sense of that experience of waiting for guests to arrive at your party and trying to decide when to stop hoping various people would show up and just enjoy yourself. They were probably aware that most of us were sweating (glowy, fashionable!) bullets about getting to Tommy Hilfiger on time.

After the mad dash to Hilfiger I found myself slightly miffed to have sand in my Rachel Comey sandals, as I’d assumed the one upside of leaving my three year old for fashion week was that I wouldn’t have to experience that dusty-frusty feeling. But the huge recreated dunes were a stunningly fun spectacle (sand must cost more than gold in the wake of the Hurricane Sandy-destroyed beach reconstructions going on) and the clothes were too (I tweet-shopped the color blocked slide wedges).

Tommy Hilfiger Spring 2014; Photo by Anthea Simms

Tommy Hilfiger Spring 2014; Photo by Anthea Simms

Thom Browne spoke directly to the madness by staging an insane asylum-themed, gorgeous, dramatic sartorial theatre. He’s the American whose taken up the British thread of Vivienne Westwood and McQueen, and thus eschewed the New York Fashion Week-dominant pasta form (the aforementioned spaghetti) in favor of shells:

Thom Browne Spring 2014; Photo by Anthea Simms

Thom Browne Spring 2014; Photo by Anthea Simms

In the midst of the madhouse were these very charming basket weave bags:

Thom Browne Spring 2014; Photo by Anthea Simms

Thom Browne Spring 2014; Photo by Anthea Simms

A subtler evocation of the raffia/cord/tassel trend that is everywhere went to swingiest lengths at the mystifying, but totally sexy and on it Rodarte show…

Rodarte Spring 2014; Photo by Anthea Simms

Rodarte Spring 2014; Photo by Anthea Simms

If one of the points of fashion week is to get us excited about the future, now that I’ve watched Kim Gordon sitting in that front row making 60 look so doable and my Marc Jacobs ticket has arrived at my hotel, I can say it’s doing its job.