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
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.