How many times can a bird replenish its feathers you ask? Well If you're an expensive bird dedicated to high-fashion dramatic displays and the exploration of the modern woman, it appears you will never lose them, you will simply, reimagine their colors and patterns.
NYFW began in 1943, and for decades was exemplary of everything high-fashion is: exclusive, expensive, beautiful and elitist. With the dawn of social media and the widening access however, its appeal has wained, and many designers in recent years have upped and moved their shows abroad to the glamor of Paris or the historic Milan.
The rejuvenation of an institution is no easy feat, with both designers and producers striving each season to ignite the passion that once was. This past week was no different. We rounded up 10 not-so-effortless ways NYFW managed to stay relevant this season.
1. Minimalism to the max
Millennials are obsessed with minimalism. Look at all of our most-followed Insta-influencers. They are artists of neutral shades, muted tones and pastel color-coordination. And these hot trends were not abandoned on the runway or in the frow either. Ukranian designer Bevza showcased a muted, minimalist line that will inevitably be found on the ultra-hip of Instagram's elite. Colovos and Max Mara cascaded their catwalks with further pastel and light hues, but it was Victoria Beckham who made the biggest splash with her collection of minimalist-forward pieces. Having dragged crowds all the way up to 91st St. for her show at the James Burden Mansion, the former Spice Girls certainly spiced things up, before her 10-year anniversary next season. #thebeckhamtrench was our favorite minimalist piece this week.
2. Edible runways
Doritos and popcorn, two foods highly unlikely to be found in a model's cupboard, were instead were found underfoot on the runway this season. Raf Simons for Calvin Klein took immense pleasure covering the floor of the American Stock Exchange in six inches of popcorn for his audacious show, while designers Chromat, had each model scoff a flaming' hot Cheeto at the end of their walk for the cameras. Genius product placement or altruism for skinny models? Still TBD.
Chromat runway. Photo courtesy of Harpers Bazaar
3. Death of the exclusive
Once the most exclusive week of the calendar year, with every passing season, fashion weeks attendees are changing. Whether it's a new wave of influencers brought over by makeup brands, or fashion bloggers from the other side of the globe, the reams of people that rock up now are drastically different to those who used to adorn the seats of the illustrious shows. The frows of yore, peppered with celebrity, Hollywood elite, fashion icons, can now be found to be decked out with the latest insta-style sensation, audacious tweeter or Facebook favorite. Sure, a ticket to Tom Ford isn't easy to come by, but if you've got enough Youtube subscribers or followers on Instagram, you can be certain of gaining access to the world of NYFW without much, if any, hassle.
4. 3D makeup
Our love for Jeremy Scott knows no bounds. His recent collaboration with MAC solidified him into our hearts and makeup drawers, and only to further that was his fabulous display of creativity for the catwalk this season. Gigi Hadid, pictured below, and her fellow neon-haired models donned the runway in all their fantastical glamour featuring a 3D cat-eye courtesy of a lot of craftsmanship and a little acrylic paint.
Gigi Hadid feat. cat-eye at Jeremy Scott runway
5. The Instagram takeover
Aside from the fact that SWAAY had different takeovers on our Instagram nearly every day, this was something almost everyone was doing, because fashion week is different for every person. You simply cannot go to every single show, event or party, and thus the takeover allows for a little variety in your coverage. Before the insta-story was a thing, it was veritably impossible. This season however, we saw takeovers from everyone, be it show organizers, to actors, singers, stylists, to the models themselves. Both a fun way to engage with a new audience, and express a new voice to those already following, we can see this becoming a lasting hit with the fashion media and beyond.
6. Military mavens
Women are made of steel - that much we know to be true, and female designers were paying homage to that strength in their collections this season. The previously mentioned #beckhamtrench was one of a few pieces that particularly stood out for its encapsulation of both strength and femininity.
Alongside Beckham in her fusion of militia and maven was Macau native Gemma Hoi. Upon arrival at Hoi's show, guests were greeted with a complementary Hoi studio pin and the infamous women's "we can do it" rendering synonymous with posters encouraging female work during WWII. "The collection was inspired by female American factory workers in the 1940's," Hoi told SWAAY. "It was a very beautiful time in American history." Models, adorned in bejewelled goggles were shrouded in denim shape works that again placed importance on both the beauty of the female body and the tough female resilience.
Gemma Hoi runway
7. The empowerment effect
This time last year, (most) women of New York were still reeling from the President's inauguration and the defeat of their first female POTUS. None of the big stories had broken about Weinstein, O'Reilly, Lauer, Batali. Fashion week took off as scheduled, and while there were whispers of defiance on the runways, nothing like what we saw this week is even comparable.
Almost every show was a testimonial to women's resilience and strength. The models are no longer mere objects on whom the clothes rest, they're now vessels for how the women will feel while wearing them. From makeup to hair, as TResemmé lead stylist Odile Gilbert commented, the looks were created so that women would be able to say, "Yes, I can be strong."
Everyone from Phillip Plein to Nathan Zenden of DVF to Dior made a big deal of the movement creating an undeniable atmosphere of support for the movement at large."I just wanted to say that with everything that's happening with women right now... I personally am more committed than ever to the empowerment of women," Von Furstenburg said during a speech at her showroom.
I am perhaps just a little biased on the above given my current hair situation, but bangs rocked out this season, and all of the coolest people had them, period. Both Selena Gomez and Rosie Huntington Whiteley showed up on the frow donning fresh wispy bangs, in keeping with much of the models of the week. On runways from Jason Wu to Jeremy Scott, full, exaggerated fringes stole the show, and we're so here for it.
Bella Hadid at Jason Wu. Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for TRESemme
9. Plus-sized no longer a plus
We have finally begun to normalize the inclusion of plus-sized models on the runway, and in fact, I would posit that we're subsequently not far off from ditching the "plus-sized" title and simply calling them models.
Project Runway winner Leanne Marshall presented with a plethora of curvy ladies in beautiful silhouettes gliding down her catwalk. Ashley Graham turned up for Michael Kors. Iskra Lawrence was everywhere. And many other designers of note, including Chromat and Christian Siriano continued to elaborate on what was once a 'niche' or 'token' trend. No longer the exception, we expect to see more and more plus-sized adorned runways, with the focus broadening on diversity and inclusion.
Leanne Marshall runway
There's nothing like saying goodbye to open the door to invigoration. This season at NYFW, quite a few designers said goodbye to New York, or the fashion industry as a whole. And while it may seem a sore spot for some time, change, especially in this industry, is always a good thing.
Alexander Wang announced right before the week kicked off that it would be his last season conforming to the fall, winter and spring, summer calendar. Instead, he will present his collections in June and December, or just before they're released into stores. He nevertheless made a major splash for his Times Square show, with every big name in the industry turning up for what is arguably the most anticipated show of every season.
Carolina Herrera made her departure from NYFW, with her last show held at the Museum Of Modern Art before understudy Wes Gordon takes the reigns as creative director. Herrera, who has been in charge of the fashion house for 37 years, insists this is not retirement, rather, a move forward.
Carolina Herrera and her atelier team FW18. Photo courtesy of Vogue
Universally loved, and, (especially at this time of year) drunk merrily and in excess, wine is the answer to much if not all our prayers, on a regular basis.
The wine industry also happens to be home to some major female leaders, and it's become apparent, that the barriers to entry women face in almost every other industry don't apply here, as long as you've the work ethic and brains behind your operation.
"This is a people's business," says Delia Vader, CEO of Viader Wines, who's vehement about the gender neutrality of the wine industry, and hopeful for it's future, (even with the hefty factors of global warming, and recent wildfires, contending with the grape-producing vines).
Naturally, we were all too excited to sit down with five leaders in the industry working throughout the globe, that are innovating and shaping the future vintages from California to Italy and beyond. Below are five such women, ranging from vineyard to store owners, and one woman who's completely shifting the way we think about wine consumption.
Francesca Planeta, Wine Director, Planeta Wines
Francesca Planeta has been a rising star on the Sicilian wine scene for the last few years. Planeta is devoted not only to promoting her own vineyard, but promoting all the wines of Italy's largest island, which is most famous for the wonderful, Nero D'Avola.
Sicily's wine scene veritably boomed around Planeta as she was growing up. So when she finally began working on the Planeta Wines vineyard in her early twenties, she quickly learned the nuances of the land and the grapes she would ultimately come to produce. “I had begun to help out at the winery, using a graphics studio to create the logo and the first labels, and then I returned to Sicily, during the time of that first harvest. (This) was the moment when I decided that I would take on the challenge of working with the business that bore our family name."
Given that the business was family owned, Planeta did not encounter any barriers to entry because of her gender, but instead made sure that women are integral to the process on the vineyard. “Women have a fundamental role in our business," says the winemaker. “They are entrusted with many responsible positions; from wine making to directing exports and from the hotels to the entire marketing and communications office."
A worrying factor for both Planeta and the women at the vineyard however is global warming, something which has plagued wineries across the globe in recent years. Given that the taste and production of wine depends heavily on its “terroir" (or, surroundings), changes in environment are immediately a factor for anyone in the industry to consider when its coming to harvest season. “It generally seems to us that global warming presents not only a problem of warming in itself," she comments. “But in extremes of weather phenomena, with heavier rainfall – when it occurs, and rather longer periods of drought. (However), living and working in the centre of the Mediterranean gives us better conditions and the last twenty years have shown greater climatic stability."
Selling upwards of 2.3M bottles of wine a year, her chief markets (apart from Italy), are the United States, Germany, England, and Russia, followed by Canada, Switzerland and Japan. And she recommends that for the chillier months, if you're drinking a Sicilian wine, to go for Merlot, Syrah, or Burdese.
Delia Viader, CEO, Viader Wines
Argentinian-born Delia Viader was in the midst of an M.I.T degree, with three children at home, when an opportunity arose to purchase a vineyard in Napa Valley. “The timing was perfect for relocating my very young family," she says, who quickly got to grips with their new surroundings as their mother began constructing a powerhouse wine team to launch Viader Wines.
It hasn't always been easy for Viader and her team however. Before the financial crash of 2008, Viader was sold in every state throughout the U.S, and exported to 24 countries abroad. Since the crash, and an arsonist fire at a warehouse of theirs containing the entire 2003 vintage, they've changed their business model drastically. Now, they sell 90 percent of their collections direct-to-consumer, with the remaining 10 percent sent abroad or to the bigger markets of New York, California and Texas.
She has also become naturally concerned by the Californian wildfires of late, and their threat to both the vines, and the warehouses where the barrels are kept. “The biggest impact on our vineyard has been the change of weather pattern we have been experiencing for the past 35 years that we can speak of," says the CEO. “We are learning a lot about how resilient affected vines can be, and how wine made from those grapes needs to be processed to perhaps reshape stylistic performance of the resulting wine. The winegrowers as an industry will be learning a lot from this."
Learning and innovating are at the core of Viader's vineyards, where her son, Alan is championing new ways to irrigate their 92-acres of land, and fine tuning an understanding of “the exact optimal time to harvest at each vines' peak ripeness." And while she may be the CEO, she heavily depends on him for his expertise and blending capabilities. “I am the owner and CEO but I call myself the wine mother because I am the mother of the vines (I had them planted myself, my way); the mother of the wine (I 'created' our Cabernet-based wine to be highly influenced by the terroir with a high dose of Cab franc and remain, highly influential at the final assemblage-blend); and I am the mother of the winemaker, my son Alan Viader."
What is Viader most likely to be drinking at this moment? “I am very susceptible to a vibrant Pinot Noir from Burgundy most times," she says. “But my choice really depends on two variables: the food I am going to have and the company, the people I am going to share that bottle of wine with. I love harmony in the wine, the food pairing and the conviviality that springs from sharing a great wine."
Julia Jackson, Propietor, Jackson Family Wines
As one of the largest family-run wine groups in the U.S, The Jackson Family has garnered quite a name for itself. Leading the way within the group is Julia Jackson, daughter of mother Barbara Banke and Jess Jackson who built the group up from the ground, which is now worth an estimated $2.3 billion.
Today, their portfolio boasts wines from 52 wineries throughout the world, and integral to that is building relationships from within and amalgamating abroad. For Jackson, that means working in almost every facet of the business in order to cover all the projects she wishes to pursue. “I wear a few hats in my family business," she comments. “I'm spearheading my first acquisition project in another country, (and) I work with our international sales team to be one of the faces for Jackson Family Wines." On top of this, she's also involved with the group's environmental and philanthropic efforts, which, given the wildfire situation in California, will be work much needed in the years to come. “All my philanthropic efforts are focused around our environment and I created a charitable program that gives grants to women within the eco-space through our Santa Maria based winery Cambria."
Jackson's favorite wine at this time of the year? Gran Moraine from Willamette Valley Oregon.
Hortense Bernard, General Manager, Millesima Wines
Hortense Bernard was working with global industry leaders Moet Hennessy Diageo in Paris as a brand manager before she made her big move to the U.S. Now, she stands as one of the youngest female General Managers in the world of a large international firm, atop the Millesima USA group.
Millesima, a leading retailer in Europe, who branched into he U.S in 2006, owns upwards of 2.5M bottles of fine wine that are housed in the company's cellars in Bordeaux, France, (which is also the largest AOC vineyard in the country).
Bernard, who had her first glass of wine at eight years old, works primarily with direct-to-consumer retail and educating the U.S market about Bordeaux wines from their shop on the Upper East Side here in New York. "My goal is to educate as much as I can," she says. "In store, we speak about Bordeaux, and try to explain (because Bordeaux wine can be really complex), the wine."
"When I arrived here, I didn't know anything about American consumption," she laughs. "So it took me quite a bit to learn about it and understand how Americans see wines, and what they mean when the ask for a Chardonnay."
On top of chatting with customers, Bernard plays host to a lot of cultural events throughout the city, accompanying her wines whenever there might be a chance to express the history and significance of the wine for both France, and the industry at large.
So naturally, when asked what she'll be drinking on the celebratory occasions of December, it will be a big full-bodied Bordeaux " because that always takes me back (home)."
Marian Leitner, Founder, Archer Roose
Once it dawned on Marian Leitner that Millennials were drinking more wine than beer, she saw an opportunity to modernise the way we purchase, consume and enjoy wine.
"In the U.S, you actually pay more for the shipping and the packaging than you do for the wine itself," says Leitner. "So I started to ask why and learn more about the alternative packaging market."
Branching away from bottles, Leitner looked to packaging wine in every way beer is packaged - from cans and kegs, and then also, in boxes.
"You have to separate consumers into two buckets - the super high-end collectors, who make up less than 1 percent of the population, and then you have people who are drinking, "value" wines. And then the rest of America are basically beer drinkers."
Upon the realization that Millennial wine drinkers are more than beer drinkers, she also came to understand that they're also very brand-loyal. Brands that represent qualities and values they share, are the ones they're consuming the most. "So we decided to leverage the alternative packaging movement (which is keg, can and box), to cut through all the noise of the bottles in the wine store, and really connect with consumers." In doing so, she launched the company, Archer Roose Wines.
This move means, that apart from the ultra-hip way the wine is presented, you're also economizing. One box of Archer Roose wine contains the equivalent of 4 regular bottles. And inevitably, the kegs contain a huge volume.
Wine kegger, anyone?