New York Fashion Week: Moody Hues, Colorful Vibes

This year’s fashion week changes saw many labels cancelling runway shows in lieu of smaller presentations, few celebrities attending the events (save Kanye West) and designers combining their efforts into single shows. This level of downsizing has manifested itself in the clothes themselves, which were simplified, subdued and serious. Dark hues were naturally in order, but designers didn’t completely revel in austerity. To help detract us from the doom and gloom mood, the collections also called for big, bold colors.

Understandably, the result was somewhat polarizing. Alexander Wang kept things very simple, only using black in his show, which was marked with strong, ’80s themed garments. Ohne Titel kept their modern momentum in line with considerably leaner silhouettes than seasons past in moody black and steel greys that pleased the audience of power, yet enthusiastic editors in attendance. Rag & Bone’s definition of casual Americana style yielded menacing hues—deep blues, slates, and dark grays—with a Japanese-inspired twist. Even Carolina Herrera’s somber outing lacked the vivacity of her signature Latin-infused, Uptown way of dressing.

Those who don’t want to revel in the depressing global atmosphere, were luckily met with an array colorful, mood-lifting options as well. Marc Jacobs delivered a one-two punch with strong, sturdy and provocative shapes in eye-popping gumball colors, while Rodarte’s amalgam of textures, produced chromatic combinations of viridiane, beige, powder blues and metallic green, all fit for an intergalactic outing. Thakoon combined a monochromatic base with rich, bright color complements on fur jackets and shawls, just as
Jonathan Saunders used shocking shades of orange to temper the monastic lengths of his wares. Narciso Rodriguez’s body con numbers in lemon yellow also added a bit of energy to his monochromatic outing. When it came to tight dresses, however, the most winning numbers came from Preen, who closed the show with a series of textured mini-dresses in Rainbow Brite hues.

Whether sullen or lively, it’s all about working with your palette scale. And, if you’re easily bored, just start at one end and work your way across the spectrum.

—Michael Miller and Robert Cordero